Emily Yates: A veteran in search of validation

Originally published by cburt on July 27, 2012

Emily Yates rushes to the performance area for a sound check before a private home concert in Los Altos, Calif. on Thursday, July 25, 2012. Yates, ex-Army, did two tours in Iraq. Now back home, she is pursuing her passions and interests, which include her studies at UC Berkeley and music. (Dan Honda/Staff)

Oakland, Calif. -  Sometimes it’s as subtle as an arched eyebrow. Other times it’s a full-on, in-your-face confrontation. No matter how the message is delivered, it grates on Emily Yates:

You are not a “real” veteran.

“I want to be given credibility where credibility is due, that’s all,” said Yates, an Oakland resident and UC Berkeley student who served two tours in Iraq during her six years as an Army public affairs specialist. “I’m not asking for anyone to put me on a pedestal. I just don’t want anyone to discredit me when I haven’t done anything to earn it.”

Upon her discharge in 2008, Yates hopped in her car and embarked on a meandering cross-country journey. She hasn’t slowed down since. In addition to her education — her major is near eastern studies — she has immersed herself in activism, music, photography and writing.

But to her, the coming-home experience is diminished when her military service is dismissed as something less than legitimate. She has some theories why that is sometimes the case — why some have trouble reconciling her anti-war stance with her Army career, or why people in the Veterans Affairs office look at her “like, so who’s your father?” or why she was told during a heated debate at a recent Cal Veterans Group meeting to “get the (expletive) out” if she didn’t like the way the group was being run.

Emily Yates jams with fellow musician Nathan Moore during a private house concert in Los Altos, Calif. (Dan Honda/Staff)

First and foremost: She’s a woman. “In my experience, women’s military experience is typically not seen as legitimate as men’s,” said former Marine Mike Ergo, an Iraq War veteran who counsels returning soldiers at the Concord Vet Center.

Second: She was in public affairs. For that she’s labeled not as tough as the next veteran, Yates said.

Third: She loves to discuss politics (she belongs to the group Iraq Vets Against the War).

And fourth: “There is my reluctance to ever back down from a debate,” Yates, 29, said, laughing.

Yates, who freely admits she resisted authority — not always gently — while in the Army, finds it disheartening that her veteran status is challenged most stridently by other veterans. She finds it ironic that she would take so much “blowback” at UC Berkeley, an academic environment in which free speech historically has been celebrated.
“I didn’t expect that kind of mentality from people of above-average intelligence seeking higher education,” she said.

But that’s what she got at a Cal Vets meeting when she wanted to know why her posts to the group’s Facebook page were being deleted, and what the posting guidelines should be going forward.

“Two guys just got in my face and started yelling and cursing at me,” Yates said. “I did not get the sense that if I were 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, they would be talking to me that way. They weren’t talking to anyone else that way.”

Dottie Guy served in Iraq in 2003. As an Army National Guard Military Police officer, she came face to face with high-value prisoners at Camp Cropper. Currently a student at San Francisco City College, Guy describes herself as nonconfrontational.

Though she may differ from Yates in her service and sensibilities, she shares the frustration of meeting people who “have trouble grasping that I went to Iraq.

“They say, ‘What did you do? Administration? Cook? Supply?’ ” Guy said. “I say, ‘No, MP.’ I don’t feel like they treat me like the others. It’s weird having served my country, handled terrorists and people don’t even think of me as a vet.”

Ergo, the Marine, understands this.

Emily Yates, right, gets a hug from Jessie Bell, of Eureka, prior to her performance at a private home concert in Los Altos, Calif. (Dan Honda/Staff)

“The recent wars have seen women doing jobs that have traditionally been men’s jobs,” he said. “Although we still don’t allow women in the infantry, they’re still manning 50-caliber machine guns. In those situations, they fight the same battles. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t share that perception.

“Also, people can be dismissed as well for having anti-war positions, which I think is a mistake. I think it takes a lot of courage to stand up for your convictions. (Yates) has earned the right to have her opinions.”

Yates knows she provokes some of the negative reaction that comes her way. When she encourages veterans groups to participate in political advocacy, she understands she is aggravating veterans seeking primarily a social experience.

What she doesn’t get is the conclusions some people draw about her military service based on her civilian avocations — conclusions she doesn’t think would be drawn if she were a man.

“I worked my ass off in the military,” she said. “It pisses me off when that is written off because I’ve said one thing that somebody doesn’t agree with.”

Contact Gary Peterson at gpeterson@bayareanewsgroup.com. Twitter.com/garyscribe

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  • TJ

    I guess I have to be the one to clarify some stuff in this article. Emily started posting somethings on the Cal Veterans Group Facebook page in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The Cal Vets Group held a vote at a meeting where we decided that the Facebook page would be apolitical. Almost the entire group agreed, in a vote, to not allow political stances on the Facebook page (including other female veterans and including members that support these political stances). Emily initiated the shouting match. One Cal Vet trying to debate with Emily said, “its a democracy. we voted”. Emily responded with, “don’t give me that democracy bull $h!t”. Later on with a different vet Emily said, “I got out of the Army because of dumb asses like you.” At which point the other vet responded with, “well you can get the (blank) out then”. Emily was far from the victim in this meeting

  • Cal Alum

    The following are my opinions and observations as
    another student at UC Berkeley. These statements are not the views of the Cal
    Veterans group.

    It is difficult to read such a one-sided story. She
    “didn’t expect that kind of mentality from people of above-average
    intelligence seeking higher education”, when she did not have the maturity
    to realize that there is a time and place for certain things, and placing her
    political ideals on a public page on the Cal Vets page, was not the place to do
    so. From what I understand, that Facebook page is a neutral webpage to connect
    fellow veterans, helping each other out, and academic advice, especially to those
    planning to transfer, currently enrolled, and alumni of Cal. Despite repeated
    warnings, she refused to understand and comply, even at Cal Veterans meetings.

    To state that Ms. Yates is disrespected because she
    is not a male veteran, is a misconception. It is part of her personality to get
    her way, hence this article, and hence the further elongated, and exasperated
    discussion of her actions within the Cal Veterans group as commented before me.
    I believe that it is illogical to look at trends of female inequality in the
    military and say that it is fact that Ms. Yates has been a victim. She,
    being fairly new to the group, comes to meetings expecting everything go her
    way, hence her “reluctance to ever back down from a debate”. I would say that
    the lack of respect is not from the fact that she is female nor about
    questioning Ms. Yates’ veteran status, but the fact that she does lacks the tact
    and maturity to understand that one cannot simply and magically create change
    with other human beings, especially with those you barely know (There is an
    average turnover rate of 2 years as majority of the members are undergraduate
    transfer students). Furthermore, Ms. Yates continued to be uncooperative at the
    meetings, distracted the group from the purpose of the meeting, and excessively
    prolonged them. The reputation of UC Berkeley being an academically rigorous
    and competitive university is very true and having the meetings run beyond the
    scheduled time is disrespectful to the members, faculty, and staff, and
    especially to those who commute, and have a family to tend to.

    Ms. Yates is ultimately upset that she has come to an
    apolitical, veterans group on campus and remains to be bitter about it. I have
    met her before at a meeting and she is a nice person but the comments and
    rebuttals for the comments made on Facebook are quite the opposite, where
    majority of the “blowback” originated from. She claims to enroll in a
    university for its activism, but decides to join a campus-sanctioned group that
    is politically inactive and stays in the group and files a complaint about it
    through a news article. Ms. Yates is and has been unfair to Cal Vets, a service
    and support group, and its members, as they have been as accommodating as
    possible to meet her demands as well as with this article. She also knows very
    well that the Cal Vets group will not try to refute this article, as the group
    itself is quite pacifistic but does not condone in any form of discrimination.
    For her to try to take advantage of the group’s pacifism is petty.

    In the end, she’s the new kid on the block and the
    neighborhood kids don’t like playing with her because she chooses to not play
    by the rules.

  • Emily Yates

    All right, since you’re going to bring up false details, I ought to chime in, here.

    The post I originally posted on Facebook was not an article generally supporting Occupy – it was an article on the previous night’s hospitalization of my friend and fellow anti-war vet, Scott Olsen. I asked the Cal Vets to support Scott and demand justice for him as a fellow veteran. The post was attacked and subsequently deleted – by you, TJ – without explanation. I reposted, unable to believe that a group of intelligent adults would behave in such a way. My post was again deleted without explanation – it didn’t violate any posted guidelines. When I asked for an explanation, none was given. It seemed my “political” post on the UC BERKELEY Veterans Group Facebook page was simply offensive and had to go, no questions asked. I wasn’t even given an opportunity to appeal the decision. I asked a then-officer of the group who was also a friend of mine, to advise on the best course of action. He told me my concerns were legitimate, and that I could bring it up at the next Cal Vets meeting and see what the group thought about how the oversight of the Facebook page, and what we should do to prevent this from happening in the future.

    The meeting agenda was never distributed – it was promoted solely as an “Election Meeting” (“with food!”), and was packed with thirty or so vets, most of whom I had never seen at a previous meeting. I was the only female Cal Vets member present – there were two other non-member females present, sitting quietly in back.

    For the first forty-five minutes of the meeting (which was held on a Wednesday evening in the winter), two men from a nearby VA facility gave a promotional speech about their state-of-the-art facilities. The room got stuffier, people started shifting and grunting, getting bored and hungry – because the food hadn’t been distributed yet. By the time my agenda item was called, everyone was ready to leave. They especially didn’t want to talk about an agenda item that they were never told would be brought up.

    An officer of the group began the topic by passing around copies of the Facebook post guidelines – again, none of which had been violated – accompanied by eye-rolling and loud sighs of discontent. Nevertheless, we forged ahead. It was decided that a politically-focused Facebook group would be established (which is where I posted this article for you), and that the Cal Vets official page would remain free of controversy. Excellent. But my primary concern – that of oversight of the administrators of the group – was neglected.

    I asked to address the issue, and was told it was getting too late – we had to have the elections. The natives were restless. Understandable. We had elections. I said I was willing to table it until the next meeting – at which point the member running the discussion snapped back that we would put it to a vote. A vote – taken by thirty bored, hungry, sweaty men, two-thirds of whom were not regular participants in the group, and as such were not interested in any decisions outside of elections), decided we would not address the issue at the next meeting. Hence my “Don’t give me that democracy bullsh*t” comment – because it was, in fact, bullsh*t to deny a member the ability to have a legitimate concern addressed.

    I was told to shut up, and replied that I was not happy with the level of aggression and lack of respectful communication in the room. A certain member spat back at me, “We’re veterans – we’re supposed to be aggressive.”

    Gentlemen and ladies, at that moment, I lost my temper. I hadn’t been treated this way since being in the actual Army, where intimidation is an accepted way to get what you want. I yelled back at him, with all my might, that “I got out of the Army because of dumbasses like [him]” – because I did, in fact, get out of the Army because of dumbasses like him (as well as because of the two illegal wars – but I digress).

    Two large, loud, male members of the group then proceeded to draw themselves up to their full height and yell simultaneously in my face, reducing me to a shaking, sobbing ball of rage and indignance. One member yelled that if I didn’t like the way the group was (as though this assemblage represented every one of the 300 Cal veterans), I could get the f*ck out.

    Not a single member attempted to diffuse the situation or support me in any way as I was ruthlessly bullied by these huge, yelling, sweating, stinking, angry men. I stayed in the room shaking for twenty minutes, after everyone had left the room, patting one another on the back and making rude comments as they left.

    Who was the victim, TJ? The Cal Vets Group, whose good name must be protected at all cost? Sounds a lot like the military to me. It was a roomful of people against one small person: you can’t tell me for an instant that this group of brutes were threatened by me.

    At the next meeting, I stood up and took responsibility for my part in the escalation. I was the only one. One member eventually apologized; but nobody else did.

    At the beginning of spring semester, I met with the newly-elected officers of the group to discuss ways to make the Cal Vets Group more welcoming to veterans of a diverse array of backgrounds. With their approval, I began two new Berkeley vets Facebook groups, for arts and the outdoors. I manage them successfully, with no complaints, and as a result, more veterans have come out of the woodwork. I remain in the group to do all I can to keep what happened to me from ever happening again, to anyone.

    TJ, there’s no shame in admitting that the Cal Vets Group isn’t perfect. But it is quite shameful to defend what happened to me, and to defend the overlying attitude of that meeting. I invite you to get your priorities straight. If you’d like to continue this conversation, call anytime. You have my number. Say hi to Alisa for me.

  • Emily Yates

    All right, TJ, since you’re going to bring up false details, I ought to chime in, here. The post I originally posted on Facebook was not an article generally supporting Occupy – it was an article on the previous night’s hospitalization of my friend and fellow anti-war vet, Scott Olsen. I asked the Cal Vets to support Scott and demand justice for him as a fellow veteran. The post was attacked and subsequently deleted – by you, TJ – without explanation. I reposted, unable to believe that a group of intelligent adults would behave in such a way. My post was again deleted without explanation – it didn’t violate any posted guidelines. When I asked for an explanation, none was given. It seemed my “political” post on the UC BERKELEY Veterans Group Facebook page was simply offensive and had to go, no questions asked. I wasn’t even given an opportunity to appeal the decision. I asked a then-officer of the group who was also a friend of mine, to advise on the best course of action. He told me my concerns were legitimate, and that I could bring it up at the next Cal Vets meeting and see what the group thought about how the oversight of the Facebook page, and what we should do to prevent this from happening in the future.

    The meeting agenda was never distributed – it was promoted solely as an “Election Meeting” (“with food!”), and was packed with thirty or so vets, most of whom I had never seen at a previous meeting. I was the only female Cal Vets member present – there were two other non-member females present, sitting quietly in back.

    For the first forty-five minutes of the meeting (which was held on a Wednesday evening in the winter), two men from a nearby VA facility gave a promotional speech about their state-of-the-art facilities. The room got stuffier, people started shifting and grunting, getting bored and hungry – because the food hadn’t been distributed yet. By the time my agenda item was called, everyone was ready to leave. They especially didn’t want to talk about an agenda item that they were never told would be brought up.

    An officer of the group began the topic by passing around copies of the Facebook post guidelines – again, none of which had been violated – accompanied by eye-rolling and loud sighs of discontent. Nevertheless, we forged ahead. It was decided that a politically-focused Facebook group would be established (which is where I posted this article for you), and that the Cal Vets official page would remain free of controversy. Excellent. But my primary concern – that of oversight of the administrators of the group – was neglected.

    I asked to address the issue, and was told it was getting too late – we had to have the elections. The natives were restless. Understandable. We had elections. I said I was willing to table it until the next meeting – at which point the member running the discussion snapped back that we would put it to a vote. A vote – taken by thirty bored, hungry, sweaty men, two-thirds of whom were not regular participants in the group, and as such were not interested in any decisions outside of elections), decided we would not address the issue at the next meeting. Hence my “Don’t give me that democracy bullsh*t” comment – because it was, in fact, bullsh*t to deny a member the ability to have a legitimate concern addressed. I was told to shut up, and replied that I was not happy with the level of aggression and lack of respectful communication in the room. A certain member spat back at me, “We’re veterans – we’re supposed to be aggressive.”

    Gentlemen and ladies, at that moment, I lost my temper. I hadn’t been treated this way since being in the actual Army, where intimidation is an accepted way to get what you want. I yelled back at him, with all my might, that “I got out of the Army because of dumbasses like [him]” – because I did, in fact, get out of the Army because of dumbasses like him (as well as because of the two illegal wars – but I digress).

    Two large, loud, male members of the group then proceeded to draw themselves up to their full height and yell simultaneously in my face, reducing me to a shaking, sobbing ball of rage and indignance. One member yelled that if I didn’t like the way the group was (as though this assemblage represented every one of the 300 Cal veterans), I could get the f*ck out. Not a single member attempted to diffuse the situation or support me in any way as I was ruthlessly bullied by these huge, yelling, sweating, stinking, angry men. I stayed in the room shaking for twenty minutes, after everyone had left the room, patting one another on the back and making rude comments as they left.

    Who was the victim, TJ? The Cal Vets Group, whose good name must be protected at all cost? Sounds a lot like the military to me. It was a roomful of people against one small person: you can’t tell me for an instant that this group of brutes were threatened by me.

    At the next meeting, I stood up and took responsibility for my part in the escalation. I was the only one. One member eventually apologized; but nobody else did.

    At the beginning of spring semester, I met with the newly-elected officers of the group to discuss ways to make the Cal Vets Group more welcoming to veterans of a diverse array of backgrounds. With their approval, I began two new Berkeley vets Facebook groups, for arts and the outdoors. I manage them successfully, with no complaints, and as a result, more veterans have come out of the woodwork. I remain in the group to do all I can to keep what happened to me from ever happening again, to anyone.

    TJ, there’s no shame in admitting that the Cal Vets Group isn’t perfect. But it is quite shameful to defend what happened to me, and to defend the overlying attitude of that meeting. I invite you to get your priorities straight. If you’d like to continue this conversation, call anytime. You have my number. Say hi to Alisa for me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557276308 Mark Mathews

      Scott Olsen got what he deserved.

  • TJ

    I didn’t write this original post, but I encourage you to reply to the points it brought up

  • Emily Yates

    Right. The “fit in or we’ll kick you out aggressively and that’s going to have to be okay” points. Sorry, not worth my time. I only posted this reply here so the cowardly asshat who wrote it anonymously would not have to scroll up. If you feel so strongly about your stance, sign your last name. Funny that I’m the only one of us here has the balls to stand behind what SHE says.

    • Cal Alum

      This can continue for eternity with “he said and
      she saids”. The fact that remains that Ms. Yates may feel like the victim,
      but is the instigator, escalating a trivial situation of a Facebook post that
      made myself and other members uncomfortable, hence the removal of her post. As
      any organization that has a Facebook page, there is a standard to abide by, so
      not to muffle the purpose of the page. In a world with many instances of false
      impressions and misconceptions, I believe that the CalVets made the right
      decision to remove the posts, as the frequency at which Ms. Yates was updating
      the Facebook page, the informational resources previously shared, were being
      pushed aside. The Occupy posts were also misleading other veterans seeking
      information about transferring to Cal. This was endangering the main purpose of
      the Facebook page.

      This isn’t about “fit in or be kicked out”. This is
      about a false claim of sexism and discrimination of you as a female veteran. If
      anything, it has been you counter-culture personality, and anyone who has been
      to any social institution, whether being in a club, school, etc., would know
      that certain personalities don’t get along with others. You, Ms. Yates, are not a team player. Everything you have
      stated has been about “me, me, me”. Compromise is a big part of being in a
      group, especially a growing one such as CalVets. This article and your comments
      have proven that you have not reached a compromise. And of course, by calling
      me an ‘asshat’ shows the level of your genuine vocabulary, tact and courtesy. I’m
      sure that your mentors beyond the Army have taught you that.

      Who I am doesn’t matter. A name is just a perception.

      • Emily Yates

        Ha! Sorry, if you can’t back up your words with a name, I don’t have to take them seriously, nor should anyone else. In fact, I didn’t even read this last post, because you already made your ignorance gloriously manifest in the first one. If you ever decide your disgustingly obtuse opinions are worth signing your name to, let me know. Kisses, you big strong soldier, you!

        • Cal Alum

          Please explain as to why are you so upset (honestly)? Ms. Yates, you are an up-and-coming musician who attends a university with increasing costs. Is this an attempt to market yourself? Any press is good press? Even at the expense of the group that you claim to be apart of and your fellow veterans? I think that’s shameful and downright dirty.

          What’s in a name? You can choose to not read my responses but the truth is here and you failing to recognize it is your personality failure. I think you should do some reflection as to what exactly are you trying to accomplish because you obviously bit into something more than you can chew.
          I will admit that the way the some of the officers handled the situation was crude, but I don’t think you can blame them or the group. Cal is stressful academically, and you should know that. For you to create such stress in a group that is meant to help veterans unwind for the month and be able to reminisce the ‘glory days’ is unfair. If anything, you’ve created an environment that is uneasy, tense, and unwelcoming. I’m not sure if you promoting your own concerts being 90% of the events is notable as a success of being welcoming.

          You first bashed on everyone in the room for not agreeing with your ideas to support the Occupy Movement, then moments later asked us for your support for an officer position. That night you received neither. The consolation prize was the Keeper of Events.
          You need to leave the CalVets alone if you refuse to be nice and refuse to play nicely. It’s called being the bigger person. Most have graduated and moved on. You’ll be graduating soon too. Time to move on and away from this sad bickering?

        • Emily Yates

          Whatever you say, sweetie. Go ahead and imagine this is about differing political views if it makes you feel better. I leave you with this, and this alone: Try not to be a dick. (http://youtu.be/CYp0cvZ-8N0)

        • Troll

        • Troll

        • Anonymous

          Flat out troll.

        • Anonymous

          Here’s a tissue, cry away.

    • Anonymous

      Troll alert

  • Cal Alum

    Readers, please take note the level of immaturity Ms.
    Yates displays. She chooses ignorance and fails to acknowledge key points in
    the discussion, in which question the validity of this article. Please take
    into account this discussion before deciding whether there was any
    discrimination.

    • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.fristoe.1 Danielle Fristoe

      Excuse me. I HAVE taken into account whether there was any “discrimination” as you call it. And I find, after hearing ALL sides of the story, that I STILL agree there WAS discrimination – against her. So shove it.

    • Notapublicityseeker

      20 people say that Emily is a liar, but you continue to believe her because she is a woman? I think that makes you, dare I say it, sexist.

  • the dano

    Haha

  • the dano

    Haha

  • the dano

    Haha

  • Miss Cleo

    Not cool.

    • danno

      Very nice! Peach the truth!

  • Miss Cleo

    Not cool.

  • Anonymous

    Emily, TJ is a troll.

    • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.fristoe.1 Danielle Fristoe

      Not sure you could technically call it a troll when they’re being a bully inside and OUTside the internet… Or has the term ‘troll’ gone past internet? In that case, every bully out there would be a troll.. not saying that they aren’t. Ah well, guess you’ve got a darn good point on this one. I just wish this particular troll wouldn’t be so troll-ish. Especially not with an issue like this.

  • whoknows

    This is a real shitty article, highlighting a real shitty person.

  • CalVetAlum

    Why does Emily need validation? Was her military service not enough? My actions within my squad were enough for me to know I was an important part of the team. Post military service, validation from the veteran community comes from ones actions in helping continue this idea of the “team”, or community. Emily’s actions inside and outside of The Cal Veterans Group seem to be a detriment to this, and encourage people to react negatively to her. 1-2 years after she graduates all will be forgotten, and my guess is she will wish that she had made more friends from the Berkeley (veteran) experience. Good luck, Emily. Semper Fidelis.

  • CalVetAlum

    Why does Emily need validation? Was her military service not enough? My actions within my squad were enough for me to know I was an important part of the team. Post military service, validation from the veteran community comes from ones actions in helping continue this idea of the “team”, or community. Emily’s actions inside and outside of The Cal Veterans Group seem to be a detriment to this, and encourage people to react negatively to her. 1-2 years after she graduates all will be forgotten, and my guess is she will wish that she had made more friends from the Berkeley (veteran) experience. Good luck, Emily. Semper Fidelis.

  • CalVetAlum

    Why does Emily need validation? Was her military service not enough? My actions within my squad were enough for me to know I was an important part of the team. Post military service, validation from the veteran community comes from ones actions in helping continue this idea of the “team”, or community. Emily’s actions inside and outside of The Cal Veterans Group seem to be a detriment to this, and encourage people to react negatively to her. 1-2 years after she graduates all will be forgotten, and my guess is she will wish that she had made more friends from the Berkeley (veteran) experience. Good luck, Emily. Semper Fidelis.

  • CalVetAlum

    Why does Emily need validation? Was her military service not enough? My actions within my squad were enough for me to know I was an important part of the team. Post military service, validation from the veteran community comes from ones actions in helping continue this idea of the “team”, or community. Emily’s actions inside and outside of The Cal Veterans Group seem to be a detriment to this, and encourage people to react negatively to her. 1-2 years after she graduates all will be forgotten, and my guess is she will wish that she had made more friends from the Berkeley (veteran) experience. Good luck, Emily. Semper Fidelis.

  • Daughter of a veteran

    My father served 32 years in the Air Force. I once asked him why. His answer: Because democracy is worth defending. With democracy comes free speech. When that stops mattering, shame on all of us for we will be forsaking what so many men and WOMEN have sacrificed to defend on our behalf. Emily Yates served her country, a country in which she has the right to speak her observations out loud. The point is she felt discriminated against. And as these comments indicate, that discrimination was because she exercised her free right speech by posting on a Facebook page that the Cal Vets Group voted was not permissable for posting political stances. Shame on the group for denying a right they once honorably defended.

  • Ted Smith

    The Cal Veterans Group is an apolitical group, except when it concerns issues that directly affect the veteran community, such as education and benefits. This is written into the constitution of the group, and for good reason. Free speech? Go ahead, but if your comments upset the socially inclusive nature of the group, then you will run into the problem that Ms. Yates is having, which is that she has found herself “outside of the group”. The Cal Veterans Group is a place where we set our personal politics aside and come together as veterans. That’s important to remember here. What Ms. Yates is doing is immoral.

  • http://www.facebook.com/delmermd Maurice Delmer

    Thanks, Emily, for discrediting in the media the Cal Vets Group, whose mission is simply to help Veterans transition through higher education. I hope you feel validated now. The most upsetting thing is that you can’t seem to grasp why you are having these issues with the group. I hope you look inside yourself to find the validation you need instead of taking it out on a group that is trying to be effective in supporting Veterans.

    • http://twitter.com/Phoenix_Blue Phoenix Blue

      Sounds to me like the group did it well enough to themselves. Veterans treat veterans with respect … PERIOD.

    • http://twitter.com/Phoenix_Blue Phoenix Blue

      Sounds to me like the group did it well enough to themselves. Veterans treat veterans with respect … PERIOD.

    • http://twitter.com/Phoenix_Blue Phoenix Blue

      Sounds to me like the group did it well enough to themselves. Veterans treat veterans with respect … PERIOD.

      • Notapublicityseeker

        Emily slandered a veterans organization with made up offenses in-order to gain publicity for her failing music career. Nobody in the group, including all of the other female members like Emily, because she is a pathological liar not because she is a woman.

        I think that is disrespectful to ALL veterans.

        • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.fristoe.1 Danielle Fristoe

          That’s highly disrespectful, you know, to say someone is accusing someone else of “made up offenses.” What are you, a cop?

    • http://twitter.com/Phoenix_Blue Phoenix Blue

      Sounds to me like the group did it well enough to themselves. Veterans treat veterans with respect … PERIOD.

    • http://twitter.com/Phoenix_Blue Phoenix Blue

      Sounds to me like the group did it well enough to themselves. Veterans treat veterans with respect … PERIOD.

    • http://twitter.com/Phoenix_Blue Phoenix Blue

      Sounds to me like the group did it well enough to themselves. Veterans treat veterans with respect … PERIOD.

    • http://twitter.com/Phoenix_Blue Phoenix Blue

      Sounds to me like the group did it well enough to themselves. Veterans treat veterans with respect … PERIOD.

  • http://www.facebook.com/delmermd Maurice Delmer

    Thanks, Emily, for discrediting in the media the Cal Vets Group, whose mission is simply to help Veterans transition through higher education. I hope you feel validated now. The most upsetting thing is that you can’t seem to grasp why you are having these issues with the group. I hope you look inside yourself to find the validation you need instead of taking it out on a group that is trying to be effective in supporting Veterans.

  • http://www.facebook.com/delmermd Maurice Delmer

    Thanks, Emily, for discrediting in the media the Cal Vets Group, whose mission is simply to help Veterans transition through higher education. I hope you feel validated now. The most upsetting thing is that you can’t seem to grasp why you are having these issues with the group. I hope you look inside yourself to find the validation you need instead of taking it out on a group that is trying to be effective in supporting Veterans.

  • http://www.facebook.com/delmermd Maurice Delmer

    Thanks, Emily, for discrediting in the media the Cal Vets Group, whose mission is simply to help Veterans transition through higher education. I hope you feel validated now. The most upsetting thing is that you can’t seem to grasp why you are having these issues with the group. I hope you look inside yourself to find the validation you need instead of taking it out on a group that is trying to be effective in supporting Veterans.

  • Anonymous

    “UC Berkeley, an academic environment in which free speech historically has been celebrated.”

    This statement is patently false. Leftist speech has historically been celebrated, but speech in favor of ideas that don’t conform to the Left’s ideology are routinely suppressed and/or shouted down.

  • Anonymous

    I am unimpressed with Ms. Yates’ seeking validation, which sounds to me more like wanting an emotional, if not a financial handout in recognition of her limited military service as a “veteran.” The definition of a veteran is in itself loose, ranging from anyone who has done a short stint of duty to one who has retired after twenty or more years of service in the armed forces. Clearly, Ms. Yates falls into the former, whereas, I have always regarded the latter as typifying what I would call a veteran. Perhaps this is part of the validation she is seeking? I do not have any admiration or respect for those with petulant complaints or those who seek validation by bemoaning their circumstances. In short, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of my way.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.fristoe.1 Danielle Fristoe

      And what would you call serving two tours of duty in one war? A war that’s lasted as long as the infamous, dreaded Vietnam War? I would say that earns one a little experience in the ways of the military, wouldn’t you?

    • Anonymous

      Dear Ms. Fristoe:

      I appreciate and understand your feelings in this matter. I do not for a moment question Ms. Yate’s military experience and her commitment to excellence during her enlistment. What I felt uncomfortable with was her need for validation–validation for what? She served her enlistment like millions of others in the armed forces, many of whom have been in combat without the need to prove the validity of their service under arms. I was left with the impression that her stance was more opportunistic than anything else, and that she was really looking for a way or a “hook” with which to garner public attention in order to further her intended musical career.
      Sincerely,

      John Wm. Schiffeler

  • Couldn’t care less…really

    If it means anything, I’m a non-Vet in a different state who just happened to read the article and blog and can see how this misunderstanding could occur. You guys can fight it out, but this really is a situation in which two reasonable parties could see things differently. Just like in politics, however, when name-calling comes in, everything breaks down.

    • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.fristoe.1 Danielle Fristoe

      You should read her side of the story. Not the article, but her posts here on this discussion, specifically in response to one TJ. Please tell me, after reading that, if you still feel she was not being reasonable. Normally, I would agree. However, I think there’s more to this case than is being let on in the article.

  • Couldn’t care less…really

    If it means anything, I’m a non-Vet in a different state who just happened to read the article and blog and can see how this misunderstanding could occur. You guys can fight it out, but this really is a situation in which two reasonable parties could see things differently. Just like in politics, however, when name-calling comes in, everything breaks down.

  • Couldn’t care less…really

    If it means anything, I’m a non-Vet in a different state who just happened to read the article and blog and can see how this misunderstanding could occur. You guys can fight it out, but this really is a situation in which two reasonable parties could see things differently. Just like in politics, however, when name-calling comes in, everything breaks down.

  • Couldn’t care less…really

    If it means anything, I’m a non-Vet in a different state who just happened to read the article and blog and can see how this misunderstanding could occur. You guys can fight it out, but this really is a situation in which two reasonable parties could see things differently. Just like in politics, however, when name-calling comes in, everything breaks down.

  • Axman

    Emily sounds like a typical loud-mouth, self-absorbed twit. The personality type I’m describing can be male or female, liberal or conservative, a veteran or a non-veteran. She needs to get rid of the attitude . . . I predict she is the type who will experience failure after failure in life . . . and continue to blame others for her shortcomings.

  • Axman

    Emily sounds like a typical loud-mouth, self-absorbed twit. The personality type I’m describing can be male or female, liberal or conservative, a veteran or a non-veteran. She needs to get rid of the attitude . . . I predict she is the type who will experience failure after failure in life . . . and continue to blame others for her shortcomings.

  • Axman

    Emily sounds like a typical loud-mouth, self-absorbed twit. The personality type I’m describing can be male or female, liberal or conservative, a veteran or a non-veteran. She needs to get rid of the attitude . . . I predict she is the type who will experience failure after failure in life . . . and continue to blame others for her shortcomings.

  • Axman

    Emily sounds like a typical loud-mouth, self-absorbed twit. The personality type I’m describing can be male or female, liberal or conservative, a veteran or a non-veteran. She needs to get rid of the attitude . . . I predict she is the type who will experience failure after failure in life . . . and continue to blame others for her shortcomings.

  • Axman

    Emily sounds like a typical loud-mouth, self-absorbed twit. The personality type I’m describing can be male or female, liberal or conservative, a veteran or a non-veteran. She needs to get rid of the attitude . . . I predict she is the type who will experience failure after failure in life . . . and continue to blame others for her shortcomings.

  • Axman

    Emily sounds like a typical loud-mouth, self-absorbed twit. The personality type I’m describing can be male or female, liberal or conservative, a veteran or a non-veteran. She needs to get rid of the attitude . . . I predict she is the type who will experience failure after failure in life . . . and continue to blame others for her shortcomings.

  • Axman

    Emily sounds like a typical loud-mouth, self-absorbed twit. The personality type I’m describing can be male or female, liberal or conservative, a veteran or a non-veteran. She needs to get rid of the attitude . . . I predict she is the type who will experience failure after failure in life . . . and continue to blame others for her shortcomings.

    • Malcontent2

      Unfortunately, you’re correct. The common denominator in Emily’s self-centered
      perpetually angry failed life is… Emily. 29 years old and she doesn’t know her own *ss from a hole in the ground. Her future doesn’t look good.

    • Malcontent2

      Unfortunately, you’re correct. The common denominator in Emily’s self-centered
      perpetually angry failed life is… Emily. 29 years old and she doesn’t know her own *ss from a hole in the ground. Her future doesn’t look good.

      • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.fristoe.1 Danielle Fristoe

        Hey there, be nice. Wouldn’t you agree that it takes a shitload of attitude to be a woman and even want to join the army in the first place?? I mean, they get put down all the time. Just because they’re female. Because they’re seen as weaker. Well, that’s not true. Guys are naturally disposed to want to fight. Women, well, we need a reason. So the way I see it, she’s got guts for a reason. She fought in a war, for crying out loud! How MANY vets come home, after TWO tours, and are not angry?

  • Axman

    Emily sounds like a typical loud-mouth, self-absorbed twit. The personality type I’m describing can be male or female, liberal or conservative, a veteran or a non-veteran. She needs to get rid of the attitude . . . I predict she is the type who will experience failure after failure in life . . . and continue to blame others for her shortcomings.

  • Axman

    Emily sounds like a typical loud-mouth, self-absorbed twit. The personality type I’m describing can be male or female, liberal or conservative, a veteran or a non-veteran. She needs to get rid of the attitude . . . I predict she is the type who will experience failure after failure in life . . . and continue to blame others for her shortcomings.

  • Flip

    Perfect example of why women should not serve in the military

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.fristoe.1 Danielle Fristoe

    You know, I’m reading the comments here. And I’m absolutely disgusted in every one of you. You’re no better than anyone else she’s complained about, maybe worse. She never said the group Cal Vets was not doing what they should be doing. She never said they don’t help vets out. In fact, she’s OBVIOUSLY a member or she wouldn’t have even bothered going to their meetings, or thinking she had a right to post on their facebook page. So read this again. The way I see it, she’s complaining because she’s not being treated equally. I think the article and her statements are pretty clear on that. Wouldn’t you be upset if you called yourself a member of a veterans group and, after two tours in a horrible war (not that any of them aren’t horrible), no matter WHAT you did there, that veterans group didn’t care about you? Didn’t consider you part of their group? I think that’s pretty messed up, personally. Don’t you?

    • Cal Alum

      Ms. Fristoe,

      I’m not sure if you actually read this plethora of comments about the root of the situation, but I can say for a fact that we ALL know that respect is a two-way street and it does not matter how many tours of duty one has gone on. She is most definitely targeting the group that she aligns herself with. And you’re right, she fails to mention the purpose of the Cal Vets group, thus inherently through this article, creating slander in that the Cal Vets group is seemingly a social club on campus exclusively for veterans that dismisses female veterans as if they were worthless. That is utterly false. I am unsure of your connections or ties to the situation other than this discussion or the article itself, however, your contribution to the discussion remains to repeat itself of facts from the article. How many vets come home after two tours and are NOT angry? Plenty. How are they not angry? Connections. Great connections much like the Cal Vets group. Being able to meet up with peers without the confines of military structure, to be able to relax and talk about the ‘glory days’ and to enjoy the now, knowing that we were able to survive and come home. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. It doesn’t matter what branch you were in. Hell, you could have been a contractor. The fact of the matter is, is that Ms. Yates, in this instance, CHOOSES to be angry despite the fact that she is fortunate and is able to enjoy life, unlike our fallen bethren. She made the choice to defame a group that has brought so many vets together and it is unfair to let this injustice stand. Would you not defend your family? If she REALLY had an issue, why did she not go to the university about it? Ms. Fristoe, you may have the same level of tact and intellect as Ms. Yates, and it may not be your fault, but I’d like to point out that telling someone to “shove it” is quite mature. How is one a true member if they attend meetings and post things on Facebook? Also remember that Facebook itself is private property and that the contents that you post are under the care of Facebook itself. There are no rights when to allow or deny you of posting things. You obviously do not understand the point of this discussion as you’ve come to the conclusion that based on the fact that Ms. Yates is a female veteran publicizing a debatable situation such as other veterans looking down on her, therefore she is the victim. That may be how she FEELS but feelings are not factual. They are a mere response to a perspective. I’m sorry but your points have been invalid as you most definitely were not present, and you fail to see this objectively. What is messed up is that Ms. Yates did not get what she wanted and continued to push for it, disregarding all other members involved and present. Why would she and her non-Cal friend continue to push, I cannot say but the disagreement apparently still stands today and instead of taking the proper steps to resolve the situation, she took to the press to create a rough environment. She created a divide because the elected members, along with the majority of the group did not agree with her ideals and her vision for the group. Therefore, she is obviously going to be treated different, not for ideals, not for what she is, but for WHO she is. Why? Because it’s human nature. Not all personalities can cooperate with each other. That’s a fact of life. What can anyone do about it? DEAL WITH IT and MOVE ON.

      You know, I read all your comments and I’m absolutely disgusted with every one of them. You’re no better than Ms. Yates, maybe worse, for someone who has no depth of perspective of the situation and cannot objectively look at the situation and see through the tone of her personal comments that she is someone who many people cannot get along with. I am also disgusted by the fact that you so easily appease to a false victim. There are many things that Ms. Yates did NOT say about the Cal Vets group, but what speaks louder are what she did say and what she said are misconceiving. Would you be be upset if someone you have known for 5 minutes, tried to push their political ideals on you? How would you feel if an individual tried to push their ideals on a group of people, yourself included? What if that person insisted and refused to back down, then escalate it to a stupid argument that is the basis of this article? I think that’s pretty messed up, don’t you?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557276308 Mark Mathews

      General Benedict Arnold ALSO served this country, you know… What was her discharge type?

      • Slim

        I’m guessing it was Honorable, given she is using her GI Bill to attend college.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557276308 Mark Mathews

          Thanks for replying, but that is merely a guess…

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.fristoe.1 Danielle Fristoe

    Thank you, Emily, for standing up for democracy. For standing up for our rights to free speech. You didn’t break any known rules, and were simply defending a friend. I honor you for your two tours in Iraq. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. You honor me by fighting for our country, as well as our democracy. I honor you because I believe your position is no less than a guy’s, simply because you are female.

    However, that being said, I wish you to remember John Kerry. When he came home from the Vietnam War in the 1970s, he made himself loudly known as an anti-war activist. He made it a big part of his political career. And he got discriminated against. Even though he fought that war too. Even though he was a guy. Then he got discriminated against AGAIN, in 2004, because he ran for President.

    So please remember that your gender is not the only, or even necessarily the biggest, reason you were treated the way you were. It was, I think, largely because of your opinions, and that you speak them so loudly.

    And yet, that’s what we fought for. That’s what we’ve fought for since before the birth of this great country. And yet, stupidity never sleeps.. Ah well. Please accept my apologies on behalf of all those Americans who have no idea what it’s like to fight for democracy, and my sincerest thanks on behalf of those who do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557276308 Mark Mathews

    A simple question; what type of discharge did she receive?

  • John Hoffman

    I applaud Ms. Yates, both for her service to her country and her perseverence in dealing with A-hole vets.

    As a returning Viet-vet, at a local VFW post meeting my fellow Vietvet friends and I were told we were not welcome because Vietnam wasn’t a real war, or because we were too rowdy or something. I never did join ANY veteran’s group except the campus veteran’s club. The American Legion no longer has a presence in my home town; and a few years ago, due to declining membership, the local VFW had to move their show into a small double-wide-sized cinderblock building. I still shred every piece of mail these people send to me. I don’t even care what they want to say. Screw them all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557276308 Mark Mathews

    Those folks would have been the filthy hippies of the democrat party.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hubble01 Chris Rasmussen

    What was that about ‘standing up for your convictions’?! You have an anti-war stance, yet you join the Army!?! What convictions were those? During Vietnam, those with an anti-war stance went to Canada.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZO572HQOQOEWKHYDKRQO5FMPSY Mile High Mark

      Bingo, this is exactly why the Vets confront her. She has conflict within her own message.

  • C. L. Ritter

    It sucks that the highlight of her article should be some about lame facebook drama. This is just a crappy internet argument that spilled over into RL. Rewrite the article about her music career, her hopes and dreams, what she did do in the military that was so important to her. Crappy story. Good luck, Emily.

    • cburt

      We’ve been following Emily’s story, read an earlier piece to learn more about her.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557276308 Mark Mathews

    Does any of this person’s friends know what type of discharge she received from the military?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557276308 Mark Mathews

      Anyone? Anyone? “Bueller? Bueller?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.smoke.35 Rob Smoke

    Actual message here, accurately portrayed — U.S. armed forces are primarily a “groupthink” organization. No???
    I say ‘yes’. “Occupy” groups are not out to “destroy america” , but I can pretty much guarantee that those standing against Ms. Yates hold that belief uniformly — the posts reflect this. Fox news reports that “occupiers” hate america …bingo, you don’t have to think about it, just agree or disagree…and good ol’ boys know what’s what.
    Slight problem: Fox news consists of an endless string of lies to induce hatred for those who would seek an end to the war against the poor. Somehow…trillion dollar bailouts for banks — trillion dollar wars that have no end — all of that jibes with patriotism and loving America. And here’s Ms. Yates, a veteran who has more or less fundamentally grasped the fact that she’s been told a bunch of lies. The moral is…don’t sign up unless you are willing to buy into all the crap being served…hook, line and sinker…no questions asked.