Dani Shine, then Combs, graduated from Mountain View High School in 1986 and hoped to be the first in her family to go to college. Without the means, Dani decided the military would be best way to chase down her dream of a degree.
She joined the Army and, thanks to her athletic background, did well in basic training. She was one of just a handful of women who were the first to be trained as infantry.
“It was kind of an experiment,” said Dani, “and we had passed.”
Dani was deployed in Desert Storm and found herself in the line of fire in 1991. Despite that experience Dani volunteered to help bring food and water into Kuwait. On that mission Dani stepped on a land mine while trying to clear a field, but Dani was lucky and the mine didn’t explode. However the experience changed her and she said it felt like a second chance.
After eight months in Saudi Arabia, Dani was discharged, went to college and became a nurse.
After 15 years as a nurse Dani finally addressed serious symptoms which led to a diagnosis of severe PTSD.
“I had been avoiding it for a long time,” Dani said. “You don’t really notice it but other people do.”
While Dani had to give up nursing this year, she continues on her quest to help people by speaking with other women and writing two books about her experience.
Thanks to Dani for sharing her story and a special thanks to Gary Gruner Chevrolet Buick GMC for sponsoring War Stories and giving us the time and resources to tell the stories of Central Oregon’s war veterans every Monday night on Central Oregon Daily.