SANTA FE, N.M. — For a young woman about to make history, Anissa Martinez was surprisingly calm Tuesday as she took the 72-word oath of enlistment that officially made her the first New Mexico woman to join the U.S. Army’s infantry ranks.
Before January, the Army’s combat jobs – as with those of most military branches – were closed to women. In 2015, Defense Secretary Ash Carter reversed long-standing regulations that prohibited women from serving in about 10 percent of roughly 220,000 military positions. The Army’s prohibitions included infantry, armor, reconnaissance and some special operations units.
But since January, those positions have been open to all soldiers, regardless of sex.
So, with about a dozen friends, family members and fellow soldiers in attendance, Martinez took the oath, signed her enlistment contract and became the first woman in the state to join the infantry.