Military spouse surprised by threats and vandalism over calendar
Stars and Stripes June 16, 2007
KATTERBACH, Germany — An Army spouse says her attempt to boost troops’ morale with a sexy, military-themed calendar has made her a target of threats, abuse and vandalism that she blames on jealous wives.
Alessandra Bosco, who’s married to Sgt. 1st Class Edward McCoy of the Katterbach-based 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, is selling a 2009 calendar that includes 12 photographs of her wearing a mixture of lingerie and military items.
The 32-year-old Italian has been a bikini model for 10 years and says she never had a problem with Army spouses before she came to Katterbach last year. But since then she has been the target of gossip, hurtful looks and negative comments from wives waiting at home while their husbands serve with the aviation unit in Iraq, she said.
"As soon as they found out that I liked to take pictures it was a problem. It’s a lot worse since the calendar," she said.
The other wives, some married to high-ranking soldiers based in Katterbach, want her removed from the community, Bosco said.
"I’m a symbol that makes them feel self-conscious if they are overweight or don’t have a job that brings them in the spotlight," she said.
After a story about the calendar appeared in Stars and Stripes last month, Bosco said she found threats posted on her Web page — www.alessandrabosco.com — and that she was awakened in the night by women banging on her front door and yelling abuse. Her husband’s car, a distinctive blue Chevrolet that sports an Italian flag, has been vandalized several times with side mirrors snapped off, keys dragged across the doors and the windshield smashed, she said.
These reactions are in stark contrast to those of soldiers who have deluged her Web site with supportive messages. A typical message from a 12th CAB soldier deployed to Iraq reads: "If only the wives knew how many of their husbands in 12th CAB have already bought your calendar they would explode with anger. The guys in my unit cannot wait to get their hands on your calendar (remember I asked for an autographed calendar). Can you please be at our welcome home ceremony?"
Her calendar has also been the subject of an exchange of letters — pro and con — on Stripes’ Letters to the Editor page.
Katterbach, where the somewhat-austere U.S. facilities are sandwiched into a cramped mess of rusty old German buildings, does not, at first sight, appear to be the natural environment for the glamorous lifestyle that Bosco aspires to. During an interview last week at the post exchange, she stood out from the shoppers in T-shirts and jeans in her tight black blouse.
Her husband, who stands well over 6 feet with a physique that suggests long hours in the gym, also cuts a memorable figure.
The veteran of deployments to Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, who works as the 12th CAB operations sergeant major, said Army leaders have told him his wife is a disgrace.
"I’ve never been in this situation but I’ve been told my career is on the line," he said. "I’m probably going to be relocated because my wife is a disruption to the community and it is affecting wives’ morale and they can’t have that in [the 12th CAB] rear detachment at this point."
McCoy said leaders at Katterbach launched an investigation into Bosco’s behavior, something he characterizes as a witch hunt designed to dig up dirt on his wife.
The couple has also been barred from appearing in the local command publication, The Bavarian News.
In an e-mail to McCoy, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach commander Lt. Col. Tammy McKenna wrote: "Bottom-line: USAG Ansbach will not be submitting any stories on you or your wife to the Bavarian News or any other media. You can include this comment in your next interview."
A USAG Ansbach spokesman said Bosco cannot appear in the Bavarian News, although she was interviewed by a garrison reporter earlier this year, is because command publications cannot do stories on for-profit ventures by Army spouses.
The irony of a bikini calendar generating so much controversy when thousands of adult magazines are sold by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service has not escaped McCoy.
"Downrange it is pornography with a capital P," he said. "There is hard-core pornography everywhere and nobody cares. Every soldier could back me up, but they don’t want their wives to know that and the Army doesn’t want the public to know that."
The problem is that Bosco is living in the community, he said.
"One wife said: ‘If my husband is in love with Angelina Jolie I don’t care, but if he is in love with Alessandra Bosco then I have a problem because she is in my community,’ " he said.