FORT BENNING, Ga. — Pvt. Bettie Campbell, one of the US Army's newest infantrywomen in training, believes her story proves that women are just as capable as men when it comes to combat, according to an interview she gave to reporters from the back of a stretcher in a field ambulance.
Campbell, who suffered a stress fracture in both legs during a 15 kilometer tactical road march, says that hearing congresswomen demand an end to a male-dominated military force pushed her toward the infantry.
"I just want to show that woman can make a real contribution, and aren't just some politically-correct burden forced down the military's throat," she explained, as her equipment was being redistributed to the rest of her squad as they marched past the vehicle.
The other members of Campbell's unit were supportive of her decision to join the infantry.
"Yeah it's real great," wheezed Pvt. Mike Stadler, as he struggled to walk under the weight of a full pack, his personal weapon, and the M240B machine gun that Campbell had been carrying.
"I think it's all about being inclusive you know? Everyone deserves a chance to excel," added Pfc. Darnell Collins, who walked with a limp because Campbell had been unable to hold him during the climbing wall event the previous week, dropping him almost 10 feet.
The infantrywoman also received praise from her drill sergeants.
"We love having Campbell in the platoon," said Sfc. Brandon Wallace. "Because of the new regulations, our nightly patrol bases have to be located by porta-johns at all times. Goodbye slit trenches."
Unfortunately, not everything has been smooth sailing for integrating women into the infantry.
During the previous training cycle, leaders experimented with putting two female soldiers into the same platoon. After several verbal altercations, one attempting poisoning, and what was described as a "street-yard bitch fight" it was determined that no more than one woman could be allotted to a single unit at any given time.
Despite all the attention she's received, Campbell says she's excited to finally show that females are just as capable of being warriors.
Though Campbell says she is looking forward to completing her training after she recovers from her injury, sources say she had been temporarily removed from the infantry school for unknown reasons. Officials said she would return in approximately nine months.