In 2007, Annie Kendzior received exciting news. As a high-school junior and one of the best soccer players in the country, she had netted an offer of an early appointment to the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Congressman Kenny Marchand, who represents Kendzior’s hometown of Southlake, Texas, said the Naval Academy had asked him to give Kendzior the news a whole year early so that they could ensure she didn’t accept another college offer. It was the only time in Marchand’s eight years of giving out nominations that his office has ever received such a request. The news was a big deal in Southlake—the local paper ran Kendzior’s photograph alongside an article that brimmed with small-town pride. Her father, Russell, an accident-prevention expert and the founder of the National Floor Safety Institute, told the paper that his daughter had received offers from 32 other schools. But Kendzior had chosen the USNA because she wanted the opportunity to serve the nation. “Here is a 17-year-old girl wanting to go off and serve her country,” he said. “And we are at war.”
Four years later, Kendzior was receiving a very different kind of news from the Naval Academy. In July 2011, she was brought before an academic committee, where she heard testimony that military medical staff had diagnosed her with a “long-standing disorder of character and behavior” and that she had been deemed “unsuitable for continued military service.” The committee unanimously agreed that Kendzior possessed “insufficient aptitude to become a commissioned officer” and recommended her for “disenrollment.” She was honorably discharged.
How, in that short span of time, had Annie Kendzior gone from star athlete and honor student to expulsion? According to the Naval Academy, she had a “borderline personality disorder” and thereby not only unfit for service, but also in need of long-term treatment the military couldn’t provide. According to Kendzior and her father, it’s because she reported her rape.