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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Army ROTC Members React to Pentagon Decision

Male and female ROTC members welcome the Pentagon’s decision to allow women to serve in full combat units, as gender equality hasn’t been an issue in their groups.

The Pentagon announced on Jan. 24 that women can now serve in full combat units in the U.S. military alongside men. According to the Associated Press, the action was advised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The move overturns a 1994 ruling, which prohibited women from serving in ground combat units. University of Mississippi Army ROTC participants reacted to this decision to lift a 19-year ban on females serving in combat roles in the U.S. military. Linguistics junior Amina Al Sherif said that from an ROTC standpoint, gender equality isn’t an issue. “That sex barrier is there, but for the majority of the time, at least in ROTC, it’s largely ignored,” Al Sherif said.

“We’re all mixed the entire time – field training, exercises.” History senior Jarrod Snell said that a strong bond already exists between everyone in ROTC. “It’s a tight bond, and both males and females are a part of that,” Snell said.

“So I think that it will work just as well with combat units.” Al Sherif said she thinks the changes will be phased in over a period of time. “I’m anticipating some type of changes in PT standards,” Al Sherif said.

“Being in a combat unit is very physically stressful, and you need to be able to function under that stress, and you need to be able to carry out tasks under that stress, no matter if you’re a male or female.” Al Sherif said she realizes that ROTC is a unique university organization. “It’s a way of life,” she said. “You chose it. And it’s good to know everyone else around you has picked that life as well.”

 from the DM by Nick Andrews