Until January 2016, women were only permitted in one of the combat arms branches of the United States Army. The combat arms are the branches that engage in direct combat.
That year, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense opened all military branches to anyone who wanted to serve.
Each year since then, women from Temple’s Reserve Officers Training Corps, a program that trains students to become officers in the U.S. armed forces, have graduated from the basic officer leadership course and commissioned into combat arms positions. Twenty percent of the students enrolled in Temple’s ROTC program are women.
The Temple News is proud of the female students who have participated in ROTC and continued their service after graduation. In a country where the Army currently has just a 13.6 percent female population, Temple’s ROTC program is above average for gender inclusivity.
“The decision for women to enter into combat arms is one that certainly can’t be taken lightly, in the sense of, the core mission…for our military is to defend the nation,” Lt. Col. Keith Benedict, one of the leaders of Temple’s ROTC program, told The Temple News. “And it’s about readiness and capability to do that.”
We agree with Benedict. When women enter ROTC programs nationwide — which have been traditionally dominated by men — they show impressive leadership and courage. The Temple News commends the university’s ROTC program for fostering a welcoming environment for these soldiers.