- Publisher: Waterside Productions (December 8, 2020)
- Edition: 30th Anniversary Edition
- Available in: Kindle, Paperback
- Published: December 8, 2020
“Compelling as it is unsettling … a terrifically readable book.”
– The New York Times, Aug. 30, 1992 NYT Notable Book of the Year, 1992
“This thrilling account of the Gulf war is all the more affecting for its matter-of-fact, unpretentious tone.”
– Publisher’s Weekly
“A fast-paced story as much about war and one remarkable woman as about the tenacity of the human spirit.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“…a gem of a memoir … Peter Copeland … deserves enormous credit for eliciting the details he needed to craft a taut and finely rendered narrative.”
–The Washington Post, Dec. 13, 1992
Deep inside Iraqi territory, a U.S. Army helicopter on a combat search-and-rescue mission was shot down with eight Americans aboard. Five of them were killed instantly; the three survivors were captured by Saddam Hussein’s elite Republican Guard. One of the survivors was Maj. Rhonda Cornum – Army officer, helicopter pilot, physician, and mother of a 14-year-old girl. She Went to War is her story – a remarkable tale of courage, determination, and pride.
This special commemorative edition, published for the 30th anniversary of the Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm, includes a new afterword by the author.
When the call came in 1990 for the Persian Gulf, Rhonda Cornum eagerly traded her white physician’s coat for a soldier’s flak jacket and flew to the desert. There “Doc” Cornum was attached to the crack 101st Airborne Division. She was treated as an equal, participating fully in both training and combat operations. Major Cornum was requested for the combat search-and-rescue mission when an Air Force F-16 went down behind enemy lines. This was the mission when she was shot down and captured.
Imprisoned in a cold, damp cell with two broken arms, a smashed knee, and a bullet wound, and at the mercy of the brutal Iraqi guards, Cornum tried to keep up her spirits. As the senior officer among the prisoners, she knew they had to depend on each other to stay alive and resist psychological pressure and threats of torture.
As fast-paced and dramatic as a good adventure novel, She Went to War is an exciting war story. More than that, it is an inspirational personal story about one woman who became a hero in a world where women had previously never been allowed. Cornum’s story is unique and eye-opening, challenging the myths about women in the military, and on the modern battlefield.
Cornum’s experience, and her testimony before Congress, helped encourage the military to ease restrictions on women in combat and opened the door to much wider participation and leadership roles for women.
As one of the Army’s top medical officers after the war, Cornum used her own experience to develop new ways to train soldiers for the emotional and psychological stresses of combat.
Rhonda Cornum, one of a small number of women to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, retired as a brigadier general and lives on a farm in Kentucky, with her husband, a retired Air Force officer.
Co-author Peter Copeland is a journalist and the author of the award-winning memoir, Finding the News, from LSU Press.