Dhana-Marie Branton, author of the play Five Rooms of Furniture, joined the Navy’s Delayed Entry Program when she was a junior in high school, at age 16. Branton left the south side of Chicago for boot camp in 1984, just before the crack epidemic decimated her neighborhood. She reports that many of her friends and schoolmates didn’t survive those years.
Branton served two years in Iwakuni, Japan, then went to Point Loma in San Diego, where she ran the Base Chapel. She has said that the Navy shaped her style of writing, because it let her “uncoil from the stress that [her] life, family and culture had piled on.”