Where It All Started
I was born December 6th 1984 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fayetteville sits just outside of Fort Bragg Army Post and is the home of over 25,000 soldiers and their families. As I explain in later chapters about my own birthing experience in a military hospital, Mom and Dad opted to deliver me in a civilian medical center. Dad said, “They wore their rank first and treated people with low rank like crap.”
My mama was twenty years old, not even old enough to drink, and I was her second kiddo. While this is a fairly common thing, looking back through the lens of my own motherhood, I cannot imagine having children at twenty years old. Bless her heart. My dad hand been “in the field” which is what we call training exercises lasting longer than a single day. My mother took herself to the hospital and called Dad’s unit to send the message she was about to have a baby. My father, who was very charismatic and had many friends, borrowed a buddy’s truck and showed up to the hospital stinking of sweat and covered head to toe in camouflage. Fun fact: in 1984 soldiers trained for war in tropic climates. Specifically, soldiers of the 82nd Air Borne took Panama Jungle Warfare Training earlier that year. So, all uniforms and camouflage of the time until 2005 were OD-green, black, brown and tan.
Private First Class James R Gilliam made it to Cape Fear Valley hospital a...