By Crystal Allen
Leader’s Training Course
Alexandra Ventura was playing in the woods, using her fake guns and pretending to be in the infantry, like her step-dad. Unlike most children, Ventura’s childhood game wasn’t just a game, it was dream.
A dream that can soon become reality.
“I feel like infantry is the best of the best,” she said. “I want to be on the frontlines with the guys that get stuff done.”
Ventura, a junior at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island, wouldn’t have been able to achieve her goal as of two years ago. However, by 2016, the Army will have integrated jobs for women in combat, just in time for Ventura to graduate.
“It just killed me because I couldn’t do infantry,” she said. “I don’t want to be segregated in my career.”
Ventura said she thinks women should be tested on the same grounds as men and, to be on the frontlines, should be just as physically prepared — a task that could be difficult based on biological findings.
“If a woman can keep up with a man and she can pull just as much weight as he, then she should be able to do the same job that he can do,” Ventura said. “I think people are just starting to realize that now.”
Ventura is currently at Leader’s Training Course in the process of joining ROTC, another small step toward her goal. While being at LTC, she has gotten a glimpse of what male Cadets expect out of the females.
When Cadets arrive to sites to complete physically demanding tasks, some males say things aloud like, “Are you sure the girls can do that?” All are tasks Ventura and the other females have completed successfully.
“There are some girls in my platoon that have the highest PT scores in the whole company,” she said. “If they can do that, then there shouldn’t be any question as to whether a woman could do something or not.”
Being at LTC has gotten Ventura thinking about her future in a combat role. Although she knows she can eventually be physically able, she has some concerns about going into combat and having to keep up with men. A certain scene that keeps playing in her head is that one day she may have to save a man weighing more than 200 pounds and carry him to safety.
“That’s something I battle myself with every day,” Ventura said. “A lot of women can’t do that, so that’s why infantry has been designated for men only I think.”
Her LTC battle buddy, Efua Comduah, has faith in Ventura, saying she can keep up with the men as long as she’s puts her mind to it.
“She’s a very strong person,” Comduah, a senior at Tuskegee University, said. “She’s able to just keep going. You will never know if there’s ever anything wrong with her.”
Not only does she think Ventura is physically able, but she’s also a motivator for Cadets who struggle with a task.
“I think she’ll be a very, very good leader,” Comduah said. “She’s always on top of things, and she always knows what to do.”
After graduating college, Ventura would like to be assigned to a Ranger battalion, and in 10 years, she sees herself holding the rank of a captain.
“I don’t want to just sit behind a desk and do nothing,” she said. “I want to be out there doing what Soldiers have been doing for over 300 years in the United States.”