One of the first female US Army soldiers to enter the 11-series MOS after the combat role floodgates were opened to women is speaking about her experiences in the Infantry.
Agreeing to be interviewed on the YouTube-hosted Ben Allen show, Caitlin May spoke about being the third female infantryman in American history, what her life was like in a male-dominated field and how she handled being in the military.
May enlisted at age 17 and was Wyoming’s first female Infantry candidate. In 2016, she was interviewed alongside her recruiter by a local news outlet.
In September of 2018, she spoke with Sergeant Ben Alvarado (aka Ben Allen) of the 1st Armored Division (not a public affairs soldier).
During the interview, May talked about how she was always expected to fail, but overcame the obstacles set before her, despite a mediocre PT score.
“I have a 276 right now,” she said, referring to the female PT score system
“You can definitely tell that, like, some of the males aren’t comfortable with it,” she said of women being in the Infantry. “It’s the same with the PT standards, like they just don’t think that we’re physically, you know, ready to be a part of this job.”
May said that her unit made he an M240B gunner during 1AD’s Iron Focus exercise, and that she had a lot of fun during training.
One thing May has noticed about being in the Infantry is how uncomfortable her male counterparts are when it involves joking or speaking to the women, likely due to fear of sexual assault claims.
“The males don’t really know how to, like, talk to us or joke with us,” she said. “One time, I was talking about boobs and they got super uncomfortable and I was like, ‘You guys make jokes like this all the time.’”
“Their humor is wild,” she said.
May added that if women met the same PT standards as men, the stigma behind their involvement in combat roles would likely decrease.
In the comments section of the video, two viewers claimed that May was a substandard Soldier who was politically correct while in her unit, and ultimately chaptered for stealing makeup from a base exchange.
“Congratulations on getting chaptered!” Jon Brooks wrote. “A woman who steals makeup from the PX is a true inspiration to all women who aspire to be infantry!”
“[I] Trained with her,” Craig Micheals chimed in. “She was in a year before she graduated. She’s so politically correct it’s disgusting.”
It is unknown how accurate these claims are, and attempts to reach the parties involved for clarification have gone unanswered.
May claimed she had broken her pelvis while at Fort Benning and has only been in the service about a year (at the time of the interview), though her last known duty station is at Fort Bliss, Texas.
“I attended physical therapy for about six months,” she said. “After that, I was finally cleared to go back to training.”
Forced to start Infantry training from scratch, she graduated not long before the video was created.
For May, the military has been a positive experience and claims that had she not joined she would “be in college, like on drugs or something.”
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