Twenty-five-year-old Tammy Grace Barnett of Louisiana is the first female in history to be sworn into the military as an infantry recruit, which is a “soldier trained, armed, and equipped to fight on foot” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Barnett is currently a police officer and originally was planning on joining the military police ranks, but she told local news station KLSA, "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 have served the front lines in my hometown ... and now I am going to serve the front lines for my country. I want to deploy, see action, and I definitely want to go to Airborne school.”
Barnett will report to basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia, in June 2017. The military provides a 14-month delay in order to have the proper staff trained in the position.
Many Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) and other combat related jobs that had been held strictly by men became available to women on April 1. Another infantry recruit is set to enlist soon in Seattle and Kaitlyn Stanton enlisted as a Fire Support Specialist in Horseheads, outside of New York.
According to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, women will be able to “serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men.”
Barnett hopes that other women will follow her lead. “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.”
Several women are expected to join Barnett on the list of recruits in the coming months. This decision will mean great things for the future of gender-equality in and outside of the military.