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22-year-old becomes first female combat engineer

Meosha Morris joins Army in job that had previously only been offered to men

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a big day for one young woman Tuesday when she became the first female to join the Army as a combat engineer.

Previously, the job had only been offered to men.

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But Meosha Morris, 22, broke the glass ceiling and secured her spot when she was sworn in Tuesday along with fellow enlistees. Her job includes building bridges and infrastructure, depending on where she is stationed.

But first, she boarded a bus and headed for basic training.

Morris said the one thing she'll miss the most is home cooking, but she and her family just want to get things going.  

"My mother, she's ready for me to go. She's ready for it. She's ready for me to go," Morris said, laughing.

"I'm happy. I'm glad she's kicked out the door," said Julie Morris, Meosha's mother. "Y'all just don't know. I'm so proud of her. I am very proud of her."

Meosha Morris said she's feeling the pressure, but she believes it will subside once she gets going.

The bus left around 1:30 p.m., heading for training at Fort Leonard Wood. Meosha Morris will be there for 16 weeks for basic training plus schooling and then she'll get the chance to head home for a bit before getting her permanent assignment.

"It's going to be hard, but I'm going to push through it," Meosha Morris said. "It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to push through it. There's nothing I can't handle."

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She said even though her nerves are being tested, she believes this job is something she was meant to do.

"I'm more of an outdoorsy person," Meosha Morris said. "I like doing extreme stuff. I don't have nothing against sitting behind a desk, but for me, I like to keep going, running. I played football, basketball. You name it, I did it."

Her mom is on board, too.

"That's a tomboy," Julie Morris said. "She's going to be just fine."

Julie Morris said she had no idea her daughter was taking on such a monumental position.

"I didn't until she came back and said she's the first female. I said, 'You're the what?' She says, 'I'm the first female,'" Julie Morris said. "I said, 'Are you sure you want to go that route?' She said, 'Yea.'"

Meosha Morris said she knows she's paving the way for girls across the nation.

"Do it. Don't be scared because it once was a guy's job," she said. "Come out of your boundaries. Do something different. Like I said, anything guys can do, girls can do, too."