Lynn Hill: Predator, the stress that you have from being in these two worlds, being one at home and the other foot in the war, we created a very informal environment. It was very casual so we didn't call each other by our call signs or your rank. You call yourself by your first name like, "Hey, John, are you going to hang out with us? Hey, John, do you see that target? Hey, John, fire; we're locked on." And what does that do to a person when you're no longer able to use say just the name Sergeant to say, "I'm Sergeant at work, but I'm for me Lynn at home. You're “Doctor” at work but when you come home your family doesn't call you “Doctor” or, "Officer Jones, what do you want for dinner?" No, this language that we use to kind of separate us from who we are from what we do, and that's explained in the “Name” poem. I try to use that.
Jo Reed: Will you read the “Name” poem?
Lynn Hill: Yes.
One day I was a civilian, the next a serviceman. I didn't hear my first name for years. It was replaced by my rank and last name, stripping me of my gender and ethnicity where Sergeant Hill could be anybody, adopting me into a new kind of family.
We wore a uniform outfit behind a blue mask. Our straight backs, creased slacks, hair pulled tightly into buns and skirts to knees made me feel like a powerful army of one.
I was a sergeant and when a sergeant was given an order she followed.
I relocated to a new unit that didn't follow military formalities. No one used rank or last name or call signs. I was addressed by the unfamiliar first name my daddy had given me at birth.
Tamika. But Tamika is clanking brass and doesn't fit in my mouth like the number five but Lynn is smooth and soft like the number nine. It rolls over my tongue and flies out like a free butterfly.
Lynn is my name.
Lynn is my name. It holds my personality, my individuality. The military didn't issue it to me and it will be there long after my military days are over. I wanted to be Sergeant at work and Lynn at home. But when the orders to fire were attached to Lynn I had nothing to hide behind when I got home, no blue mask, no DOD seal, no insignia on my sleeve nor the name Sergeant to separate me from the atrocities I had committed. It was as if I had done them.
Aside from the irony of performing such work in a city known for its "good-time" mentality, Hill also found it difficult to separate what she calls her "war life" from her "real life." [3:22]