Recent University High School graduate Briana Conde will be Orlando’s first female Army infantry recruit. Briana, who graduated in May, wanted to join the military in her junior year. She broke gender norms even in high school, as a wrestler and weight lifter.
She didn’t know she would be the first woman in the Orlando area to join the Army infantry: “I didn’t know that women weren’t allowed at one point. I had always assumed women were doing jobs like these,” she said. “I know women are just as valuable in this job as a man is.” She is excited, but realistic about what she is up against; “It’s one of those jobs that really pushes you physically. It’s going to test your strength mentally too. It just made sense for me.” Conde said.
Conde is scheduled to begin basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia, on July 31. She will spend a total of 14 weeks there in basic training, infantry training and airborne training. When she is done with those trainings, she will become a paratrooper. Conde is not alone in breaking the “brass ceiling” – in the last 18 months, Fort Benning has graduate its first female Ranger, its first female infantry and Armor officers, and on May 19, 2017, graduate its first gender-integrated One Station Unit Training (OSUT). The graduation of 137 new infantry soldiers included the first 18 women trainees to complete the Infantry OSUT. Conde will follow in the footsteps of these women to be the first women from the Orlando area to complete this training.