My future is for the most part, pretty clear. I was able to branch my first choice for the US Army and will be an active duty Field Artillery officer.
While I do get a very positive reaction to branching FA, I always have to field the question of if it was my first choice. The conversation then leads to discussing how many females were 'forced' to branch FA for year set '15.
It is unfortunate that women must be ‘forced’ to fill slots that did not want it but I think it is important that the Army does this. There is a stigma with combat arms even for males. In my experience, those that want infantry are considered the ‘tough guys’ who want to run around in the woods. The same goes for females in Field Artillery. By placing more females into this branch, younger generations can see that it is not such a big deal to branch FA and can thus imagine themselves doing it even if they are not the stereotypical tough combat arms female.
That being said, I am still confused about where women stand in today’s military.
Just because Field Artillery is trying to integrate women still leads the questions about what is the Army doing next.
I think it is great that we are having females go through different pre-ranger schools such as the recent news that 5 females have completed Ranger Training Assessment Course (RTAC). It is just a testament that if the Army is gender blind and sets the standard, any Soldier should be given a chance to meet that standard.
I do not think anyone in favor of seeing the combat role increased for women is saying we should lower the standard for females.
What is not being talked about it that this is just an experiment and that these RTAC courses might not include women when ‘testing’ is over.
The verbiage for combat arms inclusion of females is still grey:
...the Pentagon ordered the services to open ground combat fields to women by 2016. Services can still request a waiver if they want to exclude women from any occupational field. -USA Today
Also, for Army ROTC duty station selection, it should be noted that females such as myself branching field artillery are restricted to what posts we can pick. Currently, I can only choose between nine posts compared to my male counterparts who can pick between 16 different posts. Some of the posts I could not pick were Alaska, Hawaii, and Campbell.