Females on the Front Line

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FORT JACKSON, SC (WLUC) Fifty percent of soldiers in the u-s army are trained at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

When it comes to women that number is even larger coming in at 60 percent.

Their job in training these soldiers has become increasingly more important as the roles of women in the military continue to expand.

For recruits and soldiers alike, women's role with the U.S. Army has always been and always will be one of respect.

"They went through the same hell that I went through, and we crawled out together, so there's no labels." Private Bird is just one of many who share this feeling towards his fellow soldiers.

Those labels were officially eliminated in January following the announcement by Defense Secretary Ash Carter that all military occupations and positions would be open to women without exception.

While this announcement comes with huge ramifications, for the U.S. Army, as Drill Sergeant Sean Sweeney states, equality has already been engrained in the Soldiers from the very beginning.

"Before they even come here to basic combat training the females and the males know they're peers and they're going to be coming down here to train together. Once they get that confidence, they're going through the same stuff; they have the same requirements to get through basic combat training."

When it comes to boot camp here at Fort Jackson the only thing that separates the men and women are the barracks they sleep in at night.

While the training requirements are the same certain tasks offer a different type of challenge to the female soldiers, but backing down or asking for help is never an option, Private Jessica Morotek explains, "There's no way, like if a male would ever help your, or you wanna ask for help for the smallest thing, no way. That's your first mistake; they want to know you can do it on your own and better."

Those familiar with the military, like Sergeant Carmen Quintana, will tell you women have never shied away from combat either.

"Women have been on the front lines, not necessarily in the infantry or Special Forces yet, but we have been to combat."

Throughout basic training women are pushed to their limits, forced to conquer their fears and even become something to fear themselves.

"I'm not scared of heights anymore I love shooting M16s." said Private Alexis Goforth, and Private First Class Wendy Morningstar added, "I'm not scared of any of them, in fact they should be scared of me."

After completing 11 grueling weeks of basic training they leave Fort Jackson not as women, but instead as a United States Soldier.

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