Orlando's first female Army infantry recruit leaving for basic training
Briana Conde, 18, hopes more women will take on combat roles
ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando teen is making history as the area's first female to join the U.S. Army as an infantry recruit and she is hoping she won't be the last.
Briana Conde, 18, tells News 6 she has wanted to join the military since her junior year at University High School. She tried joining the U.S. Army when she was 17, but her parents wanted her to wait.
"At first they weren't ecstatic," Conde said.
The youngest of six siblings, Conde says her parents are worried, but very supportive of her dream to join the infantry.
"I'm 100 percent just excited and ready to go and do this," she said.
Conde graduated in May. She is now counting down the days until she leaves Orlando as the area's first female Army infantry recruit.
"It's one of those jobs that really pushes you physically. It's going to test your strength mentally too. It just made sense for me," Conde said.
Conde is joining other women after the Army opened all combat jobs to everyone last year. Female soldiers are now joining the front lines and breaking the brass ceiling.
"We're not going to put a limitation on you based on your gender, your creed, your nationality. Get out there, do the job that you want to do that you qualify for," SFC Eric Ammerman, a U.S. Army recruiter for the Orlando area said.
Conde says she is ready. She believes her competitive nature will help her succeed in the Army. She wrestled and lifted weights in high school. She says that helped her gain the physical and mental skills she will need to serve on the front lines.
"I know for a fact the reason why I picked this job is because of the way I am and the way I am is because of the sports that really helped me shape who I am," Conde said.
SFC Ammerman says he is confident she was what it takes to serve our country.
"I don't have any doubts in this young woman and her abilities and what she is going to be able to do," he said.
Conde tells News 6 that she didn't intend to be the first woman in our area to break barriers.
"I didn't know that women weren't allowed at one point. I had always assumed women were doing jobs like these," she said.
But now she is hoping her story will get results and encourage more women to enlist in combat jobs.
"I hope sooner or later it's just a normal thing for girls do to this job because we're just as able to do it as a man is," Conde said. "I know women are just as valuable in this job as a man is."
Conde leaves for basic training in Ft. Benning, Georgia, on July 31. She will spend 14 weeks there for basic training, infantry training, and airborne training. She will become a paratrooper and could be stationed anywhere in the world.
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