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Movies at MacArthur - “Lioness”

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In recognition of national Women’s History Month, join us Wednesday, March 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History for a free Movies at MacArthur screening of Independent Lens film “Lioness.”

The documentary explores how, despite a Department of Defense policy banning women from direct ground combat, U.S. military commanders have been using women as an essential part of their ground operations in Iraq since 2003. The female soldiers who accompany male troops on patrols and house-to-house searches are known as Team Lioness and have proven to be invaluable. Their presence not only helps calm women and children, but Lioness troops are also able to conduct searches of the women without violating cultural strictures.

Against official policy and without the training given to their male counterparts — and with a firm commitment to serve as needed — the dedicated young women of Team Lioness have been drawn into the fighting in some of the most violent counterinsurgency battles in Iraq. Yet they are rarely, if ever, mentioned in news accounts of those battles.

“Lioness” profiles five of the women who saw action in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle during 2003 and 2004. As members of the U.S. Army’s 1st Engineer Battlaion, Shannon Morgan, Rebecca Nava, Kate Pendry Gottormsen, Anastasia Breslow and Rannie Ruthig were sent to Iraq to provide supplies and logistical support to their male colleagues. Not trained for combat duty, the women unexpectedly became involved with fighting in the streets of Ramadi.

Told through interviews, journal excerpts and archival footage, “Lioness” offers a portrait of five soldiers who are also wives, mothers and daughters, and who have long coped with the demands of military life, especially the sacrifices involved in leaving behind spouses and young children. These combat-tested women exemplify what it means to be a good soldier and illustrate the complicated role that women play in direct war combat. Reflecting on their recent deployment, the Lionesses display strength and cad or, bridging the gap between the perception and the reality of the essential role women are playing in Iraq.

Through Movies at MacArthur, AETN and the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History provide free, monthly screenings of public television films related to our nation’s military. In April, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History will host a free screening of “American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam” on Wednesday, April 8, at 7 p.m.


Movies at MacArthur
“Lioness,” 6:30 p.m.
MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
503 East 9th Street, Little Rock


“Independent Lens: Lioness”