The Pentagon announced the lifting of its nearly 20-year ban on women in direct combat Thursday.
Cadet Jessica Layman, (as of Thursday) the only female student at Forest Hill Military Academy in Millersburg, KY–a prepatory school through the U.S. Army Cadet Corps–said the lift means she might see her male peers on the front lines someday.
"If I ever ran into them, that’s where I’d be, I’d bet," said the cadet.
The lift means new faces on the battlefield, something many veterans consider long overdue.
"As long as everyone is willing to work their hardest and work as a team and protect your buddy beside you, that’s all that matters," said Jessica Stith, a former Naval Aviation Ordnanceman.
And as for the cadets at Forest Hill, their acting commander said he’s ready to prepare them for whatever path they choose.
"I have no issue with them making that sacrifice as long as they know what they’re getting involved with. Part of my job is making sure they know what they’re getting involved with," said Col. Joseph M. Land, Sr., acting commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Corps.
But despite the fact that she believes women should be allowed to fill whatever military role they choose, Layman said she’ll move cautiously.
"I think before we take the next step, we need to figure out what this step means–what we’ve stepped on, quite frankly."
As for the military, all branches have until January 2016 to decide what actions to take, or to seek any exemptions with the ban’s lift.