Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she talks with two women who met as roommates during Army officer training. Emily, a queer woman, was wary of her roommate at first because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But they grew close and supported each other through their eventful military careers. They witnessed the eventual repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and were both selected to serve as consultants for all-male special-forces units in Afghanistan. They discuss the changes they witnessed in the Army during their careers, the special bond among women in the military, and how their friendship grew after they left Army life.
Emily Miller, 34, a co-founder of Rumi Spice and retired U.S. Army captain who lives in Washington, D.C.
Jackie Munn, 34, a nurse practitioner and retired U.S. Army captain who lives in Washington, D.C.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Julie Beck: You met through your military training—what were your first impressions of each other? And what was that social environment like?
Jackie Munn: We knew of each other at West Point, but we first met at the basic officer leadership course we had to take after graduation, in 2008. I was there early; I had already found a room, and Emily was looking for a room. She knocked on someone’s door, who told her, “No, you can’t be my roommate. I got approved to be by myself.” I poked my head out the door, and I was like, “Well, you can be my roommate.”