Tales from the Battlefield: Victoria Hudson MFA '08

By Debra Holtz

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The post-9/11 fight against terrorism has taken Army Reserve officers to many places besides Iraq and Afghanistan. Victoria Hudson spent 1½ years working inside the United States to prevent future attacks on the country.

In 2001, Hudson was called up to lead a security assessment team that evaluated locks and dams along the Mississippi River and made recommendations on how to improve security. A similar mobilization had her working as a joint anti-terrorism officer with the U.S. transportation command to assess potential threats to the country’s ports.

Hudson’s history with the Army Reserve dates to 1990 when she spent 10 months as a first Lieutenant policing the Iraq–Saudi Arabia border during the Gulf War.

“From a young age, I understood that the American form of government was unique and different, that every citizen gained certain rights that we took for granted that other people could only dream about,” Hudson says. “I felt that every citizen owed the nation some service in return. Military service seemed an appropriate way to ‘give back.’”

Like hundreds of thousands of American military personnel, Hudson sacrificed career opportunities and postponed plans for a family. She was finally able to begin her graduate work in the MFA Program following a six-month deployment to Iraq, where she worked on women’s development in Mosul and participated in a human rights visit to the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison.

Hudson weighs the costs of her service against what she gained, including a stronger religious faith and greater understanding of herself.

“I didn’t just read about history, I was part of its making,” she says. “I know that at some level, I made a difference for a better world.”