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COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) – The first Middle Tennessee woman to volunteer to enlist in the infantry will head off to basic training in a matter of days.
Morgan Noel told News 2 when she enlisted in the Army, she simply signed up for the role she thought she would enjoy the most.
“They were like, ‘Hey, what do you want to do?’ I was like, ‘I want to jump out of airplanes and stuff.’ And they were like, ‘You should try this’ and I was like, ‘Yes, let’s do that,” explained Noel.
Noel said there was only one airborne position remaining at the time and she was grateful to get it.
“Right after we reserved the spot, he was like, ‘By the way, you are the first person for us, and probably more than just us to go infantry as a female.’ And I was like, ‘Oh,’” said Noel.
Company Commander Anita Brooks is a Middle Tennessee Army recruiter.
She told News 2 that it wasn’t until last year that women were allowed to serve in combat roles. Under the new regulations, women can now serve on the front lines.
“Previously, it was only open to men. Over the last 10 to 15 years, the Department of Defense realized that women were serving on the front lines in combat but they were not in a combat job MOS. Why is it a big deal for the Army? Because a lot of our four-star generals, they all served in a combat MOS,” explained Company Commander Brooks.
Company Commander Brooks explained that after the Army changed the rules on who could serve on the front lines they started putting female leadership in place.
Woman began attending the Ranger School, a premier leadership school that was only open to men.
“This year we started graduating our first enlisted females into the infantry in other combat MOS,” said Company Commander Brooks.
Company Commander Brooks said Noel is already achieving big things.
“She got airborne in her contract, which is a bonus, which means she will also not only be on the front lines, but she will be a paratrooper when she graduates and on top of that she got a $20,000 enlistment bonus,” explained Brooks.
In 11 days Noel will leave for basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. She told News 2 she is still processing the magnitude of what she is working to achieve.
“I try to, then I get overwhelmed with that and so I just step back and look at it like, we can do this, we got this,” she said.
Noel added she hopes her story encourages other young women to follow their dreams.
“So when a girl is growing up, if she says I don’t think I can do this as a girl. It’s like wrong. If I did it, you can do it. I think anyone is capable of doing anything they want to do,” she said.