Mac: Once you told them you wanted out, did they keep you at the command you were with for awhile?
Ross: The schedule that we were on, we were supposed to stay at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for a year and a half before deploying again, so they kept me in my unit and basically just made me errand boy, phone watch, barracks watch. I did that for about nine months straight, and that was it. There was a certain amount of harassment that went along with it, but nothing too severe.
Mac: When had your unit returned to Camp Lejeune?
Ross: Back in January, 2005.
Mac: How many Marines had a sympathetic position toward you?
Ross: Well at that point it really wasn't totally clear to me what my position was, so I couldn't really explain it to my friends. I knew something was wrong; I knew something wasn't sitting right with me, but I couldn't totally put it into words. I really thought I had PTSD back then, but now I just think I felt guilty about being involved with Fallujah, but now that I can fully articulate what was bothering me about Fallujah and our entire deployment in Iraq, our entire mission as Marines in general, everyone from my unit hates me. They call me a terrorist basically.
Mac: You're with us or against us! So, when you separated, did they give you an Honorable Discharge or a General Discharge?
Ross: General under Honorable Conditions.
Mac: How long before you decided to join Iraqi Veterans Against the War?
Ross: I'm not actually with them. I guess I am a member of March Forward, but I mostly just do campus activism. I run the Anti-War Coalition chapter at Boston U. I'm in Students for Justice in Palestine and I have my own project called the Justice for Fallujah Project, which is outside of the school I guess.
After I got out, I went to Italy for a year and a half and really didn't want to be involved in anything. I didn't want to live in this country. I didn't want to think about it, and then a year and a half later I came back and started getting involved in activism on the campus.
Mac: What are you studying?
Ross: Lingusitics, Italian and Spanish.
Mac: OK, thanks. Let me start asking Dahlia some questions now.
This is where I will end Part One, and then we will get heavily into what Dr. Dahlia Wasfi has to say about Iraq in Part Two.