CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It is a huge step for the military. Women fighting on the front lines. And for Charlotte’s Jr. ROTC members, it is a time to think seriously about what a future in the military may mean.
“First, I was like ‘wow,’” said Jr. ROTC member Karen Flores.
Flores is a senior at South Mecklenburg High School and hopes to enlist in the Marines when she graduates. News that women will now be allowed on the front lines, came as a shock, she says.
“I was thinking about all of the family I'm going to leave behind and how it's going to affect everybody,” she said as she conducted drills with her platoon.
“I was really happy to hear it because I always wanted to fight on the front lines,” she said.
About a third of the Jr. ROTC cadets at South Mecklenburg High School are women. But women have, and do, make up many of the top leadership posts. Flores believes it's time women take the next step.
“I will say it's just fair for women to have the same rights as men. They do the same training and they should do what men can do,” said Flores.
James Liles agrees.
“I welcome it,” said Liles.
The senior also hopes to enlist after graduating.
"My reaction was ‘why hasn't it been done before?’” he said.
For Flores, the new policy could mean a chance to show her gratitude.
“Because I feel this country's done so much for me, I want to pay back,” she said.