RALEIGH (WTVD) --A Franklin County woman made history Wednesday when she was sworn in as the first woman from North Carolina to join the ranks of the formerly all-male U.S. Army Infantry.
The path for 21-year-old Ashley Wedge was cleared in March when the U.S. Secretary of Defense ordered military leaders to prepare for women to sign up for what were once men-only units of all branches of the military.
Previously, Defense Secretary Ash Carter had opened combat positions to women.
On Wednesday, at the Military Entrance Processing Station on Appliance Court in North Raleigh, Wedge was sworn in as the first female infantry recruit from North Carolina.
Ashley Wedge made history Wednesday when she was sworn in as the first woman from North Carolina to join the ranks of the formerly all-male U.S. Army Infantry.
Though she acknowledged being part of history, she said she's not trying to make a statement.
"I always, you know, think of equality. You know, there should always be equality in my mind. In terms of this situation, it's just a coincidence that all this is happening," Wedge told ABC 11.
She added, "I'm not doing it for women's rights or anything. I'm doing it for me. This is my future, my career and it's what I want to do."
The man who swore her in, the head of U.S. Army recruiting for much of the state, believes the former UNC Greensboro student will do well.
"We're very happy to be able to give her that opportunity," said Lt. Colonel Ted Hudson.
As for men like him in the Army, well, he thinks they will accept the new role of women.
"We are able to adapt," Hudson said. "So I do think that we will be effective in implementing what the Secretary of Defense has laid out in front of us."
Wedge said that after two-and-a-half years of college she decided to go another direction.
She plans to make a career of the military and rise in rank as high as she can.
And she knows that may mean she could very likely end up in a combat zone.
"It could be intimidating, and I won't know how I will react until I get into that situation," Wedge said.
She then added, "But at the same time that's what they're going to be here for. They're going to train me and get me prepared and I'm willing to lay my life down next to them."
And, yes, she said her mother is fine with all that.
Wedge is on a delayed entry program and will head off to basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia in January.
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