By Jennifer Villaume
USAREC Baton Rouge Battalion
Apr. 11, 2016
A 25-year-old Robeline, Louisiana, police officer is the first woman to enlist in the infantry. Grace Barnett took the oath of enlistment April 7.
"At first, it was a big shock that I was the first one here to enlist as infantry, but I have been waiting for five months for this to happen," she said. "I have a sense of pride that I am the first."
As an infantry woman, Barnett will help capture, destroy, and repel enemy ground forces, aid in the mobilization of vehicles, troops and weaponry, assist in reconnaissance missions, process prisoners of war and captured documents, and use, maintain, and store combat weapons.
"I have served the front lines in my hometown of Robeline, Louisiana, and now I am going to serve the front lines for my country," Barnett said. "I want to deploy, see action, and I definitely want to go to airborne school.
"It had been on my mind and heart for a long while, but I had been wrapped up in my law enforcement career. In November, I stopped putting it off and did what my heart told me to do, and I have been working at it since."
Barnett was confident as she raised her right hand and took the oath of enlistment.
"I know my mom is ecstatic for me. She is very proud that I am a trailblazer for women," she said. "My grandfather served in Vietnam in the Air Force. He will be proud of me, too."
"I am very proud of the hard work and dedication she is showing to support our nation," said Baton Rouge Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Monica Washington. "With this brave start from Grace, we will recruit from a larger pool of quality recruits to select the best qualified people for particular military occupational specialties."
Barnett ships to Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training in June 2017.