MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A 19-year-old woman is setting the tone for other women by being the first in South Carolina’s history to take advantage of a change in the United States military and she’s from the Grand Strand.
At 5′2″ tall, Veronica Lasch barely met the height requirement to join the South Carolina Infantry, but she did. And this wasn’t your average enlistment, it’s the first of its kind here in our state.
“Before 2016, there were several jobs that females just couldn’t do and they were combating arms jobs, infantry, tanker, things like that but since 2016, since they’ve listed that, females are open to all of those jobs. It’s been a process the last three years or so for that to trickle down to everywhere,” recruiter Sgt. Derek Calhoun said.
On Friday, the South Carolina National Guard swore-in it’s the first woman ever all because of this change, making history.
“I do know what I’m getting myself in to, it’s going to be tough, there are going to be a lot of challenges that I will face," Lasch said. "But, honestly, as long as I keep the mindset to don’t quit and I’m doing this not only for myself but I’m doing this for my country because I do feel like I must serve to it.”
Lasch said she’s always wanted to protect people that can’t protect themselves. Last year, she saw something that gave her clarity on what job field she could enter to fulfill this.
“We were hit with Hurricane Florence and it was the National Guard who came out here, relayed and responded to that and saved a lot of people and their homes and saved a lot of people from a really bad situation,” explained Lasch.
Along with Lasch, women are joining the military in droves.
“With the National Guard in South Carolina, 20% are currently females that are serving and that number is constantly increasing. We’ve found that right now ages 17-21 females, is the fastest-growing demographic to enlist in the military,” Calhoun said.
As for Lasch, she’s ready for whatever may come her way and hopes other women know they to can overcome obstacles.
“Again, don’t quit, don’t give up on yourself, and you’ll make it through,” said Lasch.
Lasch is set to leave for basic training in January. Until then, her recruiter plans to put her through the paces to get her ready for what’s ahead.