Troy University Student Tapped as One of First 22 Women Approved To Lead Traditionally Male Combat Units

Troy University student Alexa Arias, 25, is one of the first 22 women in the country to become second lieutenants in infantry and armor units.
Troy University student Alexa Arias, 25, is one of the first 22 women in the country to become second lieutenants in infantry and armor units.

Augusta, Ga. (WJBF)- Augusta University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program commissioned seven lieutenants today, but one of them is making history.

Troy University student Alexa Arias, 25, is one of the first 22 women in the country to become second lieutenants in infantry and armor units.

“I’m pretty excited that I received this opportunity regardless of gender,” she said.

As an officer in the armor branch, she will be responsible for leading tank reconnaissance operations and a platoon on the battlefield.

“I’m not scared. I’m not hesitant about anything,” she said. “My training has fully prepared me for everything.”

Beyond being one of the first women to potentially lead soldiers in armored combat, she wants to take it a step further by completing Ranger School, the Army’s grueling infantry leadership course. Only three women have completed it so far, but that is not deterring Arias.

“I am a leader,” she said. “Why wouldn’t I want to attend the army’s leadership school?”

Her superiors say that she is fully capable.

“She will exceed all expectations, and she’ll definitely excel at that,” said Lt. Col. Jessica Williss, professor of military science at Augusta University.

The other 21 women commissioned as officers in the armor and infantry branches came from ROTC, Reserve Officer Candidate School and West Point.

“To have one of ours that’s so nationally competitive, one of 22 in the nation that was selected for this is absolutely outstanding,” Williss said.

As one of the first women to lead a platoon on the frontlines, and mother to a four-year-old daughter, she wants girls to know that they can do anything they set their minds to.

“I want them to know that they can achieve anything, regardless of their gender,” she said.

Next, Arias will complete about four months of required training at Fort Benning to officially qualify for second lieutenant status.

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