BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Marine from Bemus Point is telling the world about her experiences in war-torn Iraq. Her new book details an aspect of war that the general public doesn't even know about.
Jessica Goodell wrote the book "Shade It Black" so we would all know the realties of war beyond what we see on the news. She became part of a platoon that recovered and processed the remains of Marines killed in Iraq, and it changed her life forever. A word of caution: her descriptions are graphic.
For most of us, images on television connected us to a remote and distant war in Iraq. For Jessica Goodell, who joined the Marines after graduating Maple Grove High School in Chautuaqua County, the images of Iraq War that still haunt her are of the remains of Marines that she retrieved and then processed in the Mortuary Affairs bunker just west of Baghdad.
"A torso, a leg, mounds of just flesh, and we would try to sort them so that each family would get their respective Marine home to them," said Goodell.
On a diagram, she would shade in black the body parts that were missing and would also account for all personal items, including family pictures.
Goodell said, "In one wallet, we even found a picture of a sonogram."
It was all too much to carry inside for Goodell, who initially didn't tell anybody about her experiences when she came home.
"I was really struggling with nightmares, flashbacks, substance abuse, social isolation," recounted Goodell.
In the book, she says she avoids taking political positions, but she questions the loss of life on both sides in Iraq.
Goodell said, "They're losing their children just as we are, and that's just really heartbreaking to see that."
Goodell finally told Professor John Hearn at Jamestown Community College about her role in Iraq. It helped her begin to heal. They started a journal, which became her book. Goodell is now working on a PhD at U.B. and will eventually work with veterans suffering from Delayed Stress.
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Lake Effect Snow Warnings return today with the chance for an additional foot for some areas.
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