Women veterans recognized at film screening March 29

The Student Veteran Association at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is hosting a community screening of the award-winning documentary “Lioness” on Thursday, March 29, at 6 p.m. in the Sandburg Flicks, Sandburg Residence Halls, 3400 N. Maryland Ave.


Lionesses Cynthia Espinoza, Ranie Ruthig, Shannon Morgan, and Michelle Perry in Ramadi, Iraq in July 2004. Photograph by Lloyd Francis Jr.

“Lioness,” directed by Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers, tells the story of a group of women support soldiers who went to Iraq in 2003 as clerks, mechanics and engineers, and returned home as part of this country’s first generation of female combat veterans.

Following the screening, a panel of female combat veterans who are UWM students and staff will hold a question-and-answer session with audience members.

According to the filmmakers, “Our goal in making ‘Lioness’ was to use the power of their stories to focus attention on the military’s below-the-radar expansion of women’s roles into combat, a historic shift that continues to unfold in Iraq and Afghanistan. While based in the Sunni Triangle, the women in our film were regularly attached to all-male combat units, with the mission of defusing tensions with Iraqi women and children as part of an ad hoc Army program called ‘Team Lioness.’ With the rise of the insurgency, they ended up fighting in some of the bloodiest counterinsurgency battles of the Iraq war.” Lia Coryell, president of the Student Veteran Association at UWM, says that the screening also recognizes March as Women’s History Month.

Guard Duty

Sergeant Michelle Brookfield Wilmot on guard duty in Ramadi, Iraq in April 2005. Photograph by Spc. Miranda Mattingly