The Dague Bracelet

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Made with dress white uniforms

Designed and inspired by US Army Soldier, (WIA) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, Mary Dague.

In uniform, she’s often recognized as a wounded veteran and thanked for her service. Out of uniform, she pretends not to hear the careless whispers.Her life is forever marred by an accident that has made even the simplest task a struggle. But she’s eagerly looking beyond it, to the day she gets a sophisticated prosthetic arm and beyond that, to a time when she’s self-sufficient.For all the talk of women on the warfront, soldiers like Dague remain extremely rare.

Of the roughly 840 US service members who have lost limbs since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, only about 20 are women.The vast majority of those 21st century war amputees lost their legs or feet, often in roadside bombings. Only about one in five has lost upper extremities.The job of a bomb technician, part of a team called in to detonate or dismantle explosive devices, is open to women because it’s considered a noncombat role, though few women enter the dangerous line of work. US Army-wide, 6% of bomb techs are women.

Dague didn’t plan on being a bomb tech when she enlisted. She was weary of waiting tables and working as a maid and just itching to get out of her tiny hometown of Superior in western Montana. She thought she might want to be a military policeman, since her dad is the undersheriff in Mineral County, but there were no slots for MPs.Dague, on the other hand, was frequently out in dangerous territory with her teammate. They routinely blew up or dismantled explosive devices found by military patrols, trying to outsmart insurgents targeting American forces.

Nothing about Nov 4, 2007, made her think the call they got that morning would be any different. It shouldn’t have blown. It was just blasting cap, rubber and some wires sticking out, with a bit of explosive gunk stuck to it, not enough to do serious damage.

Dague and another EOD tech had already placed the plaster from the top of the device, most of the explosive material and the components in separate containers on the truck. All that was left was the 46cm-wide cap.Dague heaved it over to the truck by herself while the other guys made fun of her burly EOD teammate. “You’re gonna let that little girl carry that big heavy thing?” they cackled.

“She can handle it,” he retorted, Dague remembers with a smile.

The cap teetered when she set it down, and instinctively, she put her hands out to steady it. “Boom! and I went flying,” she says. Blood was everywhere. Other soldiers were frantically checking her wounds and applying tourniquets, shielding her eyes so she couldn’t see her arms, “but I already knew,” Dague says.

Source: The Star Online