Women in Military

Todd: So Meg, I thought we would talk a little bit about the military. Now, you were actually in the military.

Meg: Yes. I was actually in the Army National Guard. So I enlisted when I was 17. In America, in the National Guard, each state can have kind of different rules, or different requirements. And so, in Indiana, you can enlist when you are 17 with parental permission. So I did that.

Todd: Wow. Seventeen is really young age.

Meg: Yeah. And it sort of happened really quick. I mean, I was a junior in high school and I got a call from a recruiter. And at first, I was really against it but then in Indiana, if you enlist and you serve your time, they’ll pay your college tuition if you go to a state college.

So Indiana has Purdue, and I was interested in going to Purdue anyway, so it seemed like a good idea.

Todd: That’s fantastic. So how long were you in the service?

Meg: I was in for six years all together. That was the minimum commitment. So I could have done more but I was ready to, maybe try some other things after that time.

Todd: Did it go by fast?

Meg: Looking back, it definitely did. I think, there are different stages that went by slow or fast. Like when I was in actual basic training, when you’re in it, it was super slow. Like you’re counting on the hours every day because you’re just desperate to finish and get out and get back to your family. And I was, you know, 17, so it’s a little different.

But now looking back, like, I can’t believe it was a full six years, and now it’s so many years past that already. So yeah, I guess, it did go by fast overall.

Todd: Yeah, that’s great. So what was it like being a woman in the military?

Meg: It was – well, I served in a unit – I was a medic. And so, my unit, a medical unit, naturally has more women. The ratio is closer to 50-50 men and women, which isn’t – at least that time wasn’t – I don’t have the current statistics, but it isn’t that kind of ratio for the Army as a whole or the military as a whole.

And so, for me there was – I was with a lot of other women also when I was serving. But for me personally, there were definitely challenges especially when I was first in basic training like I definitely felt personal pressure to try to keep up with the guys. With everything whether it’s, you know, physically being able to lift and carry these heavy boxes and whatever. You know, you have the same requirements that you have to do. And you never want to be the weak link.

And I think some other women, maybe suffered a little more because they couldn’t keep up quite as well. And so that can be a little difficult. But maybe I’m naturally a bit more suited for those kinds of things. So I did okay but I definitely wanted to and tried hard to keep up with the physical aspect which isn’t as easy sometimes for women.

Todd: Well, that’s interesting. So you do look pretty fit, so you must have been really fit back in the day.

Meg: Yeah, I think. Yeah, especially basic training because you’re never like not running. Anytime you’re walking somewhere, you’re just running, running, running, like they make you run everywhere. And you get like 5 minutes to eat breakfast and lunch, and dinner. Every time, you have to eat it so fast. And then you’re doing all this physical training, and then going through obstacle courses, and carrying heavy packs and carrying your weapon round.

Yeah. So that was probably the most fit I’ve ever been. I’m definitely not that now.

Todd: Right. So if you had a daughter, would you recommend that she goes in the military, or would you recommend other women to join the military?

Meg: I would not recommend it. I guess, I don’t go around telling everyone, “Oh, you should just join the military.” But I think if someone – if there is a woman who is interested in it or thinking about it, I would definitely – for me, I mean, itworked out great. There are a lot of like leadership and personal character qualities that I was really able to develop during my time that have continued to benefit me now.

And so, for a woman who is interested, I would definitely say, “Go for it.

Todd: Awesome. Thanks. Thanks, Meg.

Meg: Yeah.