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Sgt. Sharon Duggan applied to join the Irish Army while she was still in secondary school, proudly sitting the Leaving Cert in her army uniform. This was an exciting new adventure for Sharon, as she was part of a group of women who marched into history as the first female recruits to the Irish Defence Forces.
She began her army training with forty other female women who all lived closely together in a small billet on the grounds of the Curragh. Most of the new recruits didn't have any army affiliations but Sharon came from an army background so she knew a little about what the job entailed. Both of Sharon's grandfathers were in the army, as were most of her uncles, and her father was a member of the army band.
Initially, the new female recruits were something of a novelty on the barracks attracting a few stares from their male counterparts, but this was soon forgotten about once the gruelling training schedules commenced and they were taught the harsh realities of being a soldier and the importance of supporting your comrades.
Having successfully completed her training and with her newly acquired skills and knowledge, Sharon decided to apply for active duty in Lebanon as part of the United Nations mandate forces. The country had just emerged from a brutal Civil War and tensions between Lebanon and its nearest neighbours were running high. The Irish battalion's role consisted of manning checkpoints and observations posts and mounting patrols. In addition to peacekeeping, the Irish provided humanitarian aid to the local population
How did Sharon adapt to life in this war-torn country? What dangers did she face as a soldier and as a woman? Will she complete her six-month mission of the region?
Produced and presented by Teresa Davison ( First broadcast in 1991)