GREENSBORO, N.C. – After 12 years of serving in the military, Leslie Hines, a recent graduate of N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, considers herself blessed to have never been on the front lines.
The Pentagon on Monday opened more than 14,000 combat positions to women serving in the Army. Supporters have reasoned that women already risk their lives by serving in patrols and security units, so they should be allowed to serve on the front lines as well.
“I don’t know how I would’ve been able to handle that had that happened. Being a service member — you follow your orders. You do what you’re told,” Hines said.
Hines’ last deployment with the Army was from 2008 to 2009 in Djibouti, Africa, where she restricted access to the U.S. Army Base and helped maintain the gate. She never served in Iraq or Afghanistan, but she knows people who have.
“The thing is so many men and so many soldiers come back with so many different things… So many different traumas… And men and women handle things differently,” Hines said.
Hines said she has mixed emotions about women being allowed to fill combat roles.
“I do believe men are built stronger than women. I know that a lot of women are ready to step up and say ‘Hey I can do this. I can be front line,’” Hines said. “I am OK with that. But then there’s a lot of women who may not be as OK with being on the front line — and that’s where I’m kind of torn because I know there is definitely a God-given role as far as men and women.”
Even though Hines knows the military will train and prepare women to handle combat roles, she said it should be up to each person whether or not they want to be in a combat role.
“For a woman to take on the duty of deployment in a combat zone… That is definitely a huge calling,” Hines said.
The Department of Defense will assess the new policy in six months.
About 30 percent of Army jobs are still restricted to men.