Women Soldiers Reflect On New Army Career Options

Jan 24, 2013

The Pentagon's decision to allow women in combat roles has some female soldiers rethinking their career trajectories.

Spc. Heidi Olson and Major Sheila Medeiros reflect on their career options at JBLM.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Army Spc. Heidi Olson received a Purple Heart last year for shrapnel injuries she got during a foot patrol in Afghanistan. She feels she's earned the right to call herself a combat medic.

"Originally as a female, I wasn't allowed to be titled as a combat medic," Olson says. "It was a 'health care specialist.'"

Now the 24-year-old Springfield, Ore., native says she's debating with herself and with her fiancée whether to try out for Special Forces, provided the commando unit opens to women.

"I joined to make history. That was why I joined the Army, to help break down some of these barriers that have been there."

Olson agrees with other female soldiers we interviewed that there's unlikely to be a rush to get into previously closed positions. Soldiers of both sexes - without exception - said they hope the military brass doesn't lower standards to integrate combat units.

Copyright 2013 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

Women in Service Review Memorandum (Department of Defense)