First All-Female Flight Crew, 1983 (Credit: AF Times)
Social media and the news have been a buzz these days with talks of The Honorable Leon E. Panetta’s [yes, that’s how you’ll refer to him at BMT] recent lifting of the ban on women in combat. The controversy/conversation has been difficult to avoid even in my own home, as DH, a combat veteran of three branches now, has no problems sharing his opinion. Me, I’ve been a little quieter. I understand the rationale behind the various arguments being thrown out there. I self-identify as a feminist, but I try to do my research as I shape my position. I believe in equal access and equal opportunity for all people, and the opportunity to prove one’s worth and merit. I also recognize that I am new to the military and have never deployed. I won’t claim to understand the emotional, physical, and mental demands of a combat environment. What I do know and believe is this – when I tried to do something and others doubted me, it only motivated me further, to prove them wrong. I surrounded myself by positive people who offered a support network and encouraged me to achieve my dreams. I don’t set out to do anything half-assed. As they say, anything worth doing is worth doing well. I gave 100% from the get-go and excelled as a result. If you’re a woman who is passionate about serving on the front lines, by all means, go for it. Everyone knows that road won’t be easy, the nay-sayers will be plentiful, and your fellow service members might not even support you. If you’re up for those hurdles, then who am I to stand in your way of aiming high? It goes against my personal philosophy to be unsupportive of anyone who is determined, passionate and giving their all.