UPDATE: According to Army Times, a federal arrest warrant has been issued for Pvt. Erika Lopez. She is now officially a deserter.
In July of last year, we were excited to bring you the story of Erika Lopez, the first woman to enlist to be a combat engineer in the U.S. Army, a job that could involve putting her on the front lines of combat.
As positive as that story was for Lopez and the U.S. Army, the newest development has a lot of people talking.
According to Local 8 News:
The first woman in Tennessee to enlist as a combat engineer in the Army went AWOL according to a military spokesperson. Local 8 News was first to tell you about Erika Lopez back in July of 2015. She made headlines when she enlisted for a job that could involve fighting on the front lines. The U.S. Army had just lifted its ban on women in combat roles when she walked into a recruiting office in Knoxville and decided to enlist as a combat engineer. Lopez was in basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. An Army spokesperson tells Local 8 News that Private Lopez was scheduled to return from convalescent leave on January 4th. She was reported absent without leave (AWOL) on January 5th after she failed to return.
Spokesperson Tiffany Wood issued a statement saying, “After 30 days in an AWOL status, a Soldier is considered a deserter and a federal warrant is issued for his or her arrest.“
Just a reminder, here’s what one legendary Marine Sergeant Major had to say about women in combat long before this happened:
Make no mistake. In this realm, you want your fastest, most fit, most physical and most lethal person you can possibly put on the battlefield to overwhelm the enemy’s ability to counter what you are throwing at them and in every test case, that person has turned out to be a man.
There is nothing gender biased about this, it is what it is. You will never see a female Quarterback in the NFL, there will never be a female center on any NHL team and you will never see a female batting in the number 4 spot for the New York Yankees. It is what it is.”