By Michelle Zercher
Women in the military is not a new idea, but it has become an increasingly more accepted one, especially as the military officially opens combat roles to women.
In January, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel remarked at his confirmation hearing that “I will work with the service chiefs as we officially open combat positions to women, a decision I strongly support.” This comment has led to increased discussion of the role of women in the military.
There is also renewed debate about making women ages 18-25 enlist in a mandatory draft. Diane Mazur, a law professor at the University of Florida and a former Air Force Officer, told an Associated Press reporter, “Now that front-line infantry, armor, artillery and special operations jobs are open to female volunteers who can meet the physical requirements, it will be difficult for anyone to make a persuasive argument that women should continue to be exempt from registration.”
Greg Jacob, a former Marine Corps officer and policy director for the Service Women’s Action Network, was quoted in the Associated Press as saying women should have the same civic obligations as men.
“The idea that I could get drafted scares me,” says senior Danielle Johnson.
Amber Casey, a senior at Penn Manor High School, has already enlisted in the National Guard and will start basic training in October and plans to make a career out of the military.
“I think that women should have to enter a draft because now girls feel like they can defend themselves and if they can, then they should be able to put their big girl pants on and fight for the country that gave them the right to even have the ability to defend themselves,” said Casey.
Catalina Torres, Penn Manor class of 2009, is currently serving in the Marine Corps and will finish her contract in June. Torres has a different opinion of women in the draft.
“I don’t believe women should have a draft. The military is a cut throat world and if you don’t want to be there then life will be even more impossible,” said Torres. “Women have and will be looked down upon by men in the military especially in the Marines.”