Penfield, N.Y. — When Henry and Eva Soublet learned that their daughter would attend the United States Naval Academy there was pride and a sense of comfort.
“I felt like being in the Navy would be a lot safer than going into the ground,” said Henry Soublet, Brandy’s father.
Seven years later, Brandy is now a Marine 1st Lt. who is preparing for deployment to Afghanistan in a combat battalion.
“…When she notified us, it was hard to share that joy,” explained Henry Soublet. “To share that joy, you’re like, ‘you want to be in the battalion, great.’ But what else can you tell her?”
Soublet is one of 45 women assigned to male combat battalions. The change is historic.
A 1994 policy excludes women from being assigned to units that engage in direct combat on the ground.
“It is definitely a different type of opportunity than other female officers have gotten to take advantage of before,” said Brandy Soublet.
She didn’t push for assignment, but said she is humbled to be among a group that’s been referred to as pioneers.
“Whether or not I’m a pioneer or a new officer hitting the forces, I just want to do a good job.”
Soublet stressed that she will not be in the front lines of her combat battalion.
“The point of this transition is that we’re taking baby steps so I’m in a combat battalion, but I’m in a support role.”
On November 27th a federal lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Department of Defense against the policy barring women from ground combat positions.
Soublet did not wish to discuss whether women should be on the front lines in the future.
She is training to serve as a logistics officer and is comfortable with the supporting role.