Today Miyoko Hikiji stays at home in Urbandale raising two daughters, but not long ago she was fighting for her country in Iraq.
In March, her experiences will be released in a new memoir.
The 35-year-old knew the front lines of battle long before officials in Washington, D.C., said women could go into combat.
After enlisting in the Army at 18, Hikiji re-enlisted, joining the Iowa Army National Guard. In 2003, she was deployed to Iraq with the 2133rd Transportation Company, a Des Moines Magazine article said.
During her wartime experience, the Iowa State University journalism graduate, turned to writing.
She kept a detailed mission calendar for the entire 400 days she served, the article said.
Later, Hikiji turned those notes into a memoir "All I Could Be: The Story of a Woman Solider in Iraq," which will be released in March.
"While I was (in Iraq), I was trying to survive it, but I always intended to write a book about (my war experience),” she told the magazine.
Through her experience, Hikiji discovered her tranquil Midwestern life was exchanged for days of driving in a convoy entering harm's way.
Hikiji recalled one such instance in her book:
“The infantry's mortar platoon, just down the street, zeroed in and returned fire. The opposite bank exploded. Then, two patrol boats fixed with automatic weapons screamed by opening fire along the bank. The radio on the patio lit up with chatter but we couldn't make out details. Moments later it was silent again. Voices on the radio became clear--all clear. Reluctantly we climbed out of the hole and returned to our tents. No one could sleep, but no one wanted to talk. We lay silently in our bunks until the sun beckoned us to start another day.”
Hikiji hopes her book puts another face on the Iraq War veteran, she told the magazine.
Her book doesn't only cover the horrors of combat, but what it's like to be cut from your everyday life on short notice.
“There are moms who had to stop breastfeeding because they were being deployed,” Hikiji told the magazine. “Moms coming home to kids they barely knew.”
Hikiji's own children were born after her service, but her time in combat has shaped her parenting style - appreciating time with her family, she told the magazine.
While everyone's experience being deployed, Hikiji hopes her book makes an impact.
“It is my war story,” Hikiji wrote in a news release, “It is part military history, part personal revelation, part therapy."