Army Lieutenant Encourages Military Women to Enter Combat Roles

Ernst stresses that women should take the opportunity.

Women Need to Take On Combat Roles

Sen. Joni Ernst, the first female combat veteran to serve in the United States Senate, is encouraging women to enter combat roles. A small number of female service members are able to fulfill this type of role adequately, but Ernst underscores the importance of women taking advantage of this opportunity.

In a piece she wrote for the Army Times, Ernst describes how she envisioned commanding a combat engineer company, but women weren’t allowed to enter combat back in 1993. The University of Iowa graduate pursued a career in the United States Army and Iowa Army National Guard as a logistics officer and was subsequently part of a combat deployment during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She then joined an elite group of women in the military who had served in combat. She ultimately went on to serve in the U.S. Senate.

The retired Army lieutenant colonel says 67 women have enlisted to fill combat positions within the Army’s infantry, and over 238 are contracted to train the combat engineer job field she longed for. Ernst notes that 177 have successfully finished the Marine Corps School of Infantry, with five integrating into combat engineer battalions.

Ernst supports women who want to enter combat training. The support is conditional, however. She doesn’t want to see military standards for women in combat lowered. The Washington Examiner reports that Ernst addressed concerns that the administration was “rushing to open all combat positions to women, a move that could actually harm female troops in the long run.”

Ernst explained that she’ll fight to uphold military standards for women entering combat and prevent Washington, D.C. from enforcing quotas.

As the Iowa native points out, combat roles are quite demanding for women. They must be able to carry heavy items, be capable of changing a truck tire, or carrying a wounded soldier in war.

Sen. Joni Ernst is encouraging non-commissioned female officers to join the ranks of combat, noting they play one of the most vital roles in the chain of command. She extends her support to the female officers who’ve completed Army Ranger School and looks forward to when the first enlisted female achieves the same milestone. The sergeant major of the Army is also urging non-commissioned officers to consider a role in combat arms.