(American Conservative) Drowned out by the cacophony of the incoming administration was the fact that America’s first female recruits began infantry training at Ft. Benning, Ga., this month. More than a year after the Pentagon lifted the ban on women serving in combat roles, the first class of coed 11X (infantry with options to attend advanced schools such as Ranger and Special Forces) recruits is set to graduate in May. “More than 500 women are slated to join combat MOSs this year, according to U.S. Army Recruiting Command statistics,” reports The Army Times.

To someone like me who attended infantry training at Ft. Benning over a decade ago, these far-reaching changes have the unreal quality of a dream. Back in 2005, as the insurgency in Iraq was heating up and “The Home of the Infantry” was monomaniacally focused on urban warfare and spotting IEDs, a prediction that women would eventually join the infantry would have belonged to the crackpot or crank. The general consensus in the barracks seemed to be that it would be foolish to force such a drastic experiment on the military during a time of war. It was an attitude that rendered the question of whether women were physically or mentally fit for combat almost moot.

But what did matter then, and what continues to grow in relevance as our wars in the Middle East drag on indefinitely, is the stark disconnect between the American military and the American public…

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