Stories from the Front: Pain, Betrayal, and Resilience on the MST Battlefield

by Lisa Carrington Firmin

Bronze Star-decorated combat commander Colonel Lisa Carrington Firmin outlines her own experiences with military sexual trauma (MST) and recounts the stories of 13 others: veterans as well as active duty women and men who are bravely sharing their stories of sexual assault and sexual harassment while serving in the United States military. Stories from the Front: Pain, Betrayal and Resilience on the MST Battlefield authentically captures experiences and carefully tells their stories of trauma and the resilience and empowerment they display in their lives.

After serving 30 years in the Air Force, and as its most senior-ranking Latina officer upon retirement, Colonel Carrington Firmin was horrified by the appalling murder of a fellow Latina, Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén, in April 2020. Vanessa’s horrific death became the catalyst for repressed memories of the colonel’s own sexual assault during initial training and the repeated sexual harassment she endured early in her career and catapulted her on a soul-searching journey to document others’ experiences and to advocate for change within the armed services. Her poem “Into the Light,” featured in Stories from the Front, captures her feelings and recounts how she came to end her silence on the negative aspects of her military career. The colonel is proud of her service and the strong bonds she had with so many military professionals, but acknowledges that now is the time to share the full reality of all that she experienced and endured.

Stories from the Front was published by Blue Ear Books on April 22, 2022, to commemorate the second anniversary of Vanessa Guillén’s murder. A press release announcing is publication is online in PDF format here.

By including the lived experiences of a diverse group representing all military branches, ranks, eras of service, wars, races and ethnicities, from Vietnam through Iraq and Afghanistan to the present day, Stories from the Front documents how men and women suffered at the hands of their fellow sailors, coasties, airmen, soldiers, and Marines. Eerily similar in the retelling, their experiences with MST range from hazing, bullying, misogyny, and sexual harassment to sexual assault and rape. They recount their most painful experiences and open their hearts and souls to the author and to the world. Many of the book’s participants have never previously shared the full details of their MST experiences or spoken publicly before.

Support the mission of telling true stories of military sexual trauma by purchasing one or more copies of Stories from the Front for $18.95 each plus $3.95 US shipping:

You can also purchase Stories from the Front from, from Amazon or Lulu, or by sending a check for US$22.90 payable to Blue Ear Books to 7511 Greenwood Ave N, Box 400, Seattle, WA 98103. Please make sure to include a shipping address with your check.

You can contact Colonel Carrington Firmin directly at To arrange for a bulk order or learn more about Stories from the Front and other veterans-related projects, contact Blue Ear Books publisher Ethan Casey at