U.S. Marine Maria Daume Could Be First Woman to Serve in Combat: ‘I Want to Prove That Females Can Do It’

Making history. U.S. Marine Maria Daume might become one of the first women to serve on the front lines in combat. The 18-year-old, who was born in a Siberian prison, recently earned an infantry contract.

According to the New York Post, Daume graduated from boot camp last Friday. Following a 10-day leave, she will next attend the School of Infantry with three other women, who have remained unidentified.

"I want to fight ISIS," Daume recently said, via Central European News. "Even though everybody in the military fights, I want to be a grunt. I think everything about it is for me, and I want to prove that females can do it."

Maria Daume
Poolee Maria Daume

The New York Post reports that Daume spent the first two years of her life in prison until her mother died. (It is unknown why they were behind bars.) She went on to live in a Moscow orphanage for two years before being adopted by an American couple from Long Island.

Daume, who says she was bullied in school, became interested in the military when she saw recruiters at an event at age 12. Before enlisting, she gained experience in mixed martial arts and jiujitsu.

Daume opened up about her career aspirations in a video, which the Military Times published on January 12. "I want to prove to everybody that it's not just the male role, females can also be infantry," she said. "I'm going to do it. I'm going to show them that females can do it. Why can't I do it if a man can do it? That doesn't make sense. To be able to fight for this great country is an honor."

In December 2015, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that all combat roles were now open to women. "There will be no exceptions," Carter said in a press conference at the time. "They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men."

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