Following Rob’s second Iraq combat tour he started having flashbacks. Vivid moments of surprising intensity that mentally flung him back to battle when hearing a loud noise, or catching a sudden movement from the corner of his eye.
Ashley told Fry the situation demanded professional attention when Rob took all the weapons he had in their home, some booze, went to a local hotel and after she called him, told her, “Life’s just really hard, I might do something stupid.”
She called the Army’s Family Advocacy program, an organization that supports families in crisis. After the counselor put her hand on Ashley’s arm, told her she was in a safe place and to trust her, Ashley opened up. “I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours,” she told me on the phone. “It’s the only reason she got me.”
What she meant was that as soon as she outlined the difficulties she and Rob had been going through, the session stopped, the advocacy worker got up and Rob was promptly picked up by the Military Police.
Rob was now facing 72 hours confinement, domestic assault charges, and a dishonorable discharge that would cause the family to lose all the benefits they were entitled to. It didn’t take Ashley long to realize Army officials were preparing to make her and Rob the “civilian sector’s problem.”
None of this is unusual, but facing few options Ashley did something that’s started a viral Facebook movement, garnered thousands of followers, and has so far saved her family. Without a voice and ignored, she wrote a pledge on her back, took a picture of it holding Rob’s M4 assault rifle over her head and uploaded it.
The response from other wives watching their husbands suffer post traumatic stress was immediate, and the sudden interest in her case from Rob’s command soon followed.
The Facebook Group Battling BARE was born and now receives pictures from military wives around the country silently screaming the same pledge on their naked backs.