By Sam Jack
CHENEY – On March 31, Cheney High School graduate Jordan Ternes became the first woman in Kansas history to enlist as active duty infantry in the U.S. Army.
Infantry and other combat-related jobs have only been open to women for a short time. Ternes said that she chose to enlist as infantry because of her interest in medical jobs in that branch.
“I was told that I could be a combat medic, so I decided to go ahead and take that opportunity,” Ternes said.
She hopes to become a special forces medical sergeant. While she doesn’t know yet if she will end up in that particular role, she does know that she will receive advanced medical training as part of her infantry training, according to Staff Sgt. Brett Troxel, her recruiter.
“It’s something new, in the history of the United States armed forces; she is the first woman to do this (in Kansas),” Troxel said. “The infantry is my job outside of recruiting, so it’s nice to help a young lady do something that she’s interested in and give back to her country.”
Ternes leaves for 14 weeks of basic training in Georgia on May 14. She hopes to pass airborne training and learn how to jump out of airplanes.
A personal trainer at Genesis Health Club in Wichita, Ternes is already physically fit, and she feels ready for the rigors of boot camp. But she admitted she feels some added pressure to succeed, since she will be achieving a first.
“I don’t want to let people down. It’s not just trying to prove things to myself now, but to others, so it’s exciting,” she said.
Longer-term, Ternes is interested in becoming a physical therapist, perhaps working with injured veterans.
“If I get to come back in one piece, then I’d like to help those that weren’t so lucky,” she said.
Ternes is the daughter of Mike and Colleen Ternes.