Tammy Barnett is a 25 year old woman from the town of Robeline, Louisiana who is making history. She was once a police officer in her hometown, but she is turning in her badge to join the military. Many women in the US are apart of the military but the reason that Tammy is making history is because she is the first woman in the United States to be a part of the infantry.
Infantry is face to face combat on the battlefield. This job has always been occupied by men until now. Before, women were not allowed to be a part of the infantry branch, but due to a recent law that was passed, women now have the opportunity to join.
One reason that the infantry was an all man job is because no woman could pass the grueling physical and mental test.
The test included: land navigation – they had to complete a day and a night of land navigation course; weapons qualification – they had to earn an “expert” qualification on their assigned weapon, typically an M16/M4; forced foot march – which is a 12-mile foot march carrying an M4 which is a horrible 35 lb. load that is not including the extra gear which can total up to 70 lbs; lane or station testing – an individual task graded as pass or fail, “GO”/”NO GO.”
There are approximately 30–35 stations in this stage. The people must pass every station. If they receive a “NO /GO” on their first attempt, they have one opportunity to retest. A second “NO GO” at any station results in a failure for the assignment.
There are also exams for first aid, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear procedures, call for fire. They also must master techniques for movement under fire, camouflage, hand-signaling, range estimation, and reporting contact to higher power, communication, map reading.
An important part of this difficult testing is the weapon’s proficiency. In order to pass you must be able to load, unload, perform function checks, clear, correct malfunctions, etc. for M9, M16/M4, M203, M249, M240B, M60, M2, Mk 19, and AT4.
And finally, the recruit must demonstrate proficiency with night vision devices and Boresighting proficiency.
This test had never been fully completed by a woman, which is why Tammy Barnett’s passing is such a big deal. This truly is a big step for all women in the military service or for those that are considering being part of the military.
In an interview, she mentions that she hopes her actions will empower women to do whatever it is that they wish to do despite any barrier that you may face.
In fact, Tammy said, “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.”
She most certainly stepped out of her comfort zone, and it kind of makes you wonder what can be done if any of us jumped out of our comfort zones.
There is still so much more that needs to be done in the case of gender equality, but Tammy has helped take a step toward improvement.
If there is something that someone tells a girl that she cannot do because she is a girl, it should be ignored. It happens all the time, but girls have to make a stand and do it anyway. It is up to us to show everyone that girls are just as capable as men are.
Use Ms.Barnett as an example that women can do anything.