ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico teen will become the first woman from our state to enlist in the U.S. Army and serve in a combat arms unit.
In January of 2015, the Department of Defense dropped its gender-based restrictions for military service. Since then, it’s been a slow but steady process integrating women into roles that were previously blocked to them, namely Infantry and Armor.
Earlier this year, 22 women were commissioned as officers in combat arms units in the U.S. Army. The next step would be women enlisting in these combat positions, which is where 18-year-old Hernandez resident Anissa Martinez comes in.
Martinez just graduated from Española Valley High School this year and knew the military was for her, both as a career and a means to obtain an education.
“This is something I’ve just always wanted to do since I was a little kid and finally I made my dreams come true,” she said.
Martinez will make history as the first woman from New Mexico to enlist in the U.S. Army and go into an Infantry unit as her military occupation specialty.
“That’s one of the jobs that fascinates me I guess you could say, rather than anything else,” she said.
When KRQE News 13 asked her what she planned to do before the military changed its way, she said, “Back then I guess I didn’t know that it wasn’t offered to women.”
Time was on Martinez’s side. Now no aspiring solider will be told, “Sorry, boys only.”
Martinez says she’s not sure how long she’ll serve in the military, but does want to stay long enough to obtain education benefits. She’d like to eventually study the culinary arts or interior design.
On Tuesday, Martinez will sign and swear into the Army.
The Army has the most women among its active duty ranks compared to any other branch, at nearly 67,000 ladies serving.
Correction to video story: Anissa Martinez’s name is pronounced Ah-nee-suh.