FOX43 Newsroom - FOX43's Jamie Bittner has reported on Sgt. Danielle Farber who became the first female soldier from the PA National Guard to pass U.S. Army Ranger school. Though she is the first to carve a path for the women of Pennsylvania, nationally, women have been fighting for the right to fight for generations.
A woman’s right to serve has been a battle in and of its self. Dating back to the Revolutionary War, women followed their husbands to war out of necessity. They served as laundresses, cooks, and nurses - but only with permission from the commanding officers and only if they proved they were helpful.
During the last two years of World War I, women were officially allowed to join the military as nurses and support staff. Of the 33,000 women who serve, more than 400 nurses died in the line of duty.
During World War II, more than 400,000 women serve at home and abroad as mechanics, ambulance drivers, pilots, administrators, nurses, and in other non-combat roles.
Just two years after the war ended, Congress passes the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, granting women permanent status in the military and entitled to veterans benefits.
Jumping ahead, in August 2015, Captain Shaye Lynne Haver and Lieutenant Kristen Griest became the two first women to ever graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School. As with any of the Special Operations units in the U.S. military, they had to pass a series of requirements. This includes completing a physical exam comprised of 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, and a 5-mile run completed in 40 minutes or less. This is standard for all candidates, regardless of gender.
In January 2016, the Department of Defense lifted all gender-based restrictions on military service. The change in the policy included allowing women to serve in all front-line combat roles and in every branch of the U.S. Armed forces - provided they meet the gender-neutral occupational performance standards for service in combat units.
Today, some argue the final frontier for gender equality in the military is the draft. That is the mandatory enrollment of individuals into the armed forces. The United States military has been all-volunteer since 1973 when the draft was abolished. However, it can be reinstated in the case of a national emergency like an impending war. In order for that to happen, the Chambers of Congress would have to approve the legislation and the president would have to sign it into law. As is currently stands, should a military draft be reinstated, women are not required to register. For women to be required to register with Selective Service, Congress would have to amend the law.
For now, should the draft become a reality again, all men, ages 18 to 25 will be given a lottery number through The Selective Service System, the federal department that organizes the draft. The men will then be examined for mental, physical, and moral fitness for military service. At that point, they'll either be deferred or exempted from military service or they’ll be inducted into the armed forces.
You may be asking – if a draft is instated, and I don’t register, what will happen?
According to USA.gov, U.S. law calls for citizens to register within 30 days of turning 18 and U.S. immigrants ages 18 to 25 must register within 30 days of arriving in the U.S. If you don’t register, you will not be eligible for federal student aid, federal job training, or a federal job. You may also be prosecuted and face a fine of up to $250,000 and/or jail time of up to five years.