A US veteran is lashing out at the military in civilian life, turning to rap music (or something like it, anyways) to come down on them for putting her through alleged trials and tribulations.
Brittney C. Aston, who hails from a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and goes by “Brittney Chantele,” claims her uneasy firsthand relationship with the military began when she was approached by a USMC recruiter in high school.
“He saw that I wasn’t eating and asked why,” she recounted. “I said I didn’t have any lunch money, and he ended up buying me lunch and he also gave me a Marine Corps tracksuit.”
Coming from a military family, Aston was willing to enter Marine JROTC at her school, which set her up for an enlisted life in the US Army.
Or so she thought.
“That was, like, the one thing in high school I was good at,” she said. “I wasn’t good at sports, I was good at JROTC. I was the most decorated cadet there. It was just very validating and reaffirming that I was good at something.”
Heading off to basic training on a PA Army National Guard Contract, Aston soon discovered she didn’t like the military all that much. From the lack of mobile phones to waking up early and doing drills, the joy she found in JROTC was surprisingly absent in the real military.
“We’re marching around Fort Sill in Oklahoma saying ‘left-right-kill’ and really romanticizing war,” she said. “We sang these things, though, with a smile on our face, and it was motivating. It was so weird. Forty people marching in step singing it. You’re tossed in with people that you don’t know, some of them don’t even know where they are.”
Aston -who has been open in recent years about her homosexual leanings- also claimed that she was sexually assaulted multiple times, but was allegedly told to sweep the matters under the rug.
“Sexual assault, homophobia and xenophobia, all those things happen outside of the military, but in the civilian world, nobody signs a contract saying they’re going to live up to the seven Army values,” she told the Post-Gazette. “I always say, within those seven Army values, which I’ll never forget because they were drilled into my head -leadership, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage- out of those seven, if you are sexually assaulting somebody, you are directly violating at least five. Possibly all of them.”
In 2012, upon learning she would soon be deployed with her unit, Chanted dodged a tour of duty by signing up for ROTC.
A few years later, Aston explained to her family -including her father and two military brothers- that she wasn’t enjoying her time and that things had gone wrong. While they were initially not as understanding as she had hoped, she eventually got their attention.
“I’m your only daughter and your youngest and if I really am your baby girl,” she told them “You wouldn’t want me in a position where I could die.”
Public records indicate that Aston had a Quartermaster Basic Officer Leader Certification upon completion of her training in 2016.
In 2018, Aston was discharged from the Guard following a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and the disclosure of her alleged sexual assaults.
Since then, she’s turned her scorn for the military into an art of sorts, be it static displays (messages painted on military uniforms) or something akin to rap/ R&B music.
Her anti-war album, “A Golden Opportunity,” strikes hard at the combat aspect of military life she never saw, and the lyrics of many of her songs on the album feel deeply rooted in the simplistic mindset that many veterans admit to having fresh out of Basic Training/Boot Camp.
“Imagine the thought of a teenager thinking that this is the way to be brave,” reads a line from her song, Fort Sill Basic Training. “They think you’re digging their rank, but they’re just digging their grave.”
In the song PTSD, she criticized the military for not acknowledging her traumas.
“PTSD in my system, it was validated real by my therapist last week,” she raps. “I bet the Army will repeal. They deny me of my feelings when I’m feeling all the feels.”
In addition to her anti-military music, she has also committed to many activist causes. In 2019, she marched to protest the acquittal of East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosenfeld, who was charged with criminal homicide in 2018 after he shot 17-year-old African American teen Antwon Rose II in the back during an investigation of a shooting.
It was later found that Rose was involved in a drive-by shooting, and a 9mm pistol with his DNA on it was found in the vehicle used in the crime.
Despite protesting what she seemed to view as an unjust monopoly of force against a US citizen, she was quick to retweet criticism of Virginians marching against gun control measures on MLK day.
As far as politics goes, Aston has publicly shown support for Democratic Socialist US Senator Bernie Sanders, who is currently running to be the 46th President of the United States.
By her own account, Aston has allegedly served a total of seven years and six months, but is denied VA healthcare benefits due to the fact that she was not called to active duty for purposes other than training.
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