Following Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s controversial decision last year to open up all roles in the military to females, the effects of the change are now coming to pass.
On Friday, 25-year-old Louisiana native Tammy Barnett took the oath of enlistment and thus became the first woman to enlist in an infantry job in the Army. Barnett is a police officer and had been working with a recruiter since November.
“They told me that I would be the first female in history to go infantry in the military,”
“I was going to go military police, but infantry is similar, and they are more on the front lines, like law enforcement here and I said that’s what I want to do,
“I hope that I give them the courage, because I’m a small female, if I can do it, they can do it too, this could give them the courage to step out of their comfort zone,”
At a hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said:
“We are going to graduate coming up in May-June timeframe from both West Point and ROTC — I think it’s 44 women that have volunteered to be infantry lieutenants. If they meet all the appropriate standards — they will go through the various infantry schools, such as BOLC, the Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Benning, Georgia — they will graduate in the fall. They’ll do follow-on training that is normal for infantry such as Ranger School, and if they continue to meet all those standards, then they will be assigned to infantry units sometime about this time next year … you will start seeing female infantry and armor officers, non-commissioned officers and junior soldiers in those combat units.”
When Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) raised the concern over the lowering of standards of females and how to guard against it, Milley said:
“Standards are standards, and those standards are developed through years upon years of blood-soaked lessons learned in combat. They are neither male nor female. They are combat standards. If you meet the standard for combat, then you pass go, collect $200 and move on your way. If you don’t, then you do something else in life. If we do that, we are actually putting at risk the unit and the women that would go into those services and potentially putting at risk the lives of their teammates as well.”
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