Deep

Healing from the wounds of war takes time. For some women warriors, that journey begins at sea. Sergeant Mea Peterson knows what it's like to be among a small group of women in a military dominated by men.

So when women were invited to this year's annual War Heroes on Water tournament — a three-day deep-sea fishing trip for veterans wounded in combat — the Iraq war vet felt right at home. "It's team-building and it also goes back to some of the military experiences that I've had as well," Peterson said.

Peterson received a Purple Heart after being injured in 2005 but says returning home was sometimes the hardest part.

Mea Peterson
Mea Peterson, who received a Purple Heart after being injured in 2005, took part in a three-day deep-sea fishing trip for veterans wounded in combat. Mea Peterson

"It wasn't really known, some of the aspects of returning from a war and knowing what that would look like...I was angry a lot, I was frustrated, I thought there was something wrong with me," Peterson said.

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Retired Staff Sergeant Vanessa Brown was wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

"A lot of people that I met in the civilian world just wouldn't understand some of the things that I went through," Brown said. "They automatically had the stigma that if you have problems with mental health, you're just automatically crazy."

vanessa-mea-tuna.jpg
Veterans Vanessa Brown and Mea Peterson caught one of the largest tuna during the War Heroes on Water fishing tournament. Handout

That's why these women say it's important to connect with fellow vets at events like this one, where the women caught some of the biggest fish.

"It's like I can accomplish something again," Peterson said.

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Veterans: Honoring Our Heroes

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