Singing Away the Wounds of War
Chuck saw atrocities in the jungles of ‘Nam. Chris was attacked by America’s allies in Afghanistan. Anni was assaulted back at home. How a legion of traumatized vets are turning tragedy into song.
Photos by Rick Loomis, Courtesy of SongwritingWith:Soldiers
It was nearly eleven o’clock at night in the southern Wardak province of Afghanistan. Chris Chirco, a twenty-three-year-old Specialist in the Third Army Division, was up late in the Tactical Operations Center of the Dash-e Towp combat outpost, logging inventory for the interpreters because he was in charge of all of their tactical gear. At the end of his twelve-hour shift, he went back to his room. He was sitting on his bed when an Afghan National Army interpreter burst in. “The commander needs to see you right away.” Chris grabbed his stuff and followed the interpreter to the Afghan side of the base, which was normally off limits to Americans. Because he worked directly with his commander, and it was a hurried situation, he didn’t think about it. As he crossed the threshold, he was hit on the back of the head by a baseball bat.
Chris says he doesn’t know how long he was unconscious, but that when he came to, he was being sexua…