Hometown Veterans: Tammy Hash Carraway
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - From now through Veterans’ Day, we will highlight a veteran from our area every month. To kick this series off, we’re introducing you to a woman from Roanoke named Tammy Hash Carraway.
When you first meet Tammy, you’d probably never guess this petite, kind, and generous woman led troops in the United States Army.
Growing up, her family called her “Miss Prissy.” Now, at 62 years old, Tammy Hash Carraway is still prim and proper, but her past is far from a girlie-girl stereotype. “They couldn’t see me crawling on the ground and carrying a weapon and all that kind of stuff, but you know, you do what you have to do,” explained Tammy.
Tammy climbed the ladder at a sewing plant in Roanoke, but was hearing rumors that her job might shut down. As a single mother with three children, Tammy wanted to make sure her family was secure. So, she joined the Army Reserves with the option to go active duty at any time.
“I remember sitting at my desk at the sewing plant. Everybody started running through the halls and saying, “Turn your tv on!” Then we realized what was going on. It was kind of a sickening feeling.”
9-11 happened and Tammy’s world changed forever. At the age of 32, Tammy joined the United States Army.
“We went to Germany, Bosnia and all of that. After that it was Iraq. There was always that fear of being bombed or blown up,” said Tammy.
Tammy retired as a decorated officer with many medals and awards. She hung up her uniform in 2018 with a successful 26 years of service as a Chief Warrant Officer 3. If you ask her today, she’ll tell you her family’s prayers are what kept her alive on the battlefield. “We have a praying family and I know that’s what got me through it. There were so many occasions where I could have been gone. I had gone to the porta john and as I was in there was an explosion. So many close calls, they bombed our oasis. There was a lot of close calls and I haven’t told a lot of this to my family.”
Tammy comes from a big family. Her parents had eight children, but they were always a tight unit. If her father were alive today, he’d be proud of Tammy. He also retired from the United States Army. One of her brothers was also Army. Another brother enlisted as a Marine, and another in the Navy. And don’t forget about the one they called “Miss Prissy.”
“I came home whole, but I came home broken inside. Nobody sees that. They can see the missing limbs, but they don’t see what it did to us inside. I’m better today, but there are triggers sometimes that can make you think that you’re back in Iraq. Like what recently happened at the Capitol, it just makes you realize that you’re not as safe as you think you are. You thought you were not safe in Iraq, but you come back home and you’re dealing with the same thing. I still feel like I’m in a war zone.”
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