Guest post by Captain Ryann Engholm, USMC.

Throughout my life, I have never shied away from a challenge. I was continually encouraged to pursue athletics by both of my parents. They stressed the importance of an active lifestyle and taking advantage of opportunities that were once unavailable to females. My father showed his support by volunteering to coach many of the sports I participated in.

After high school, I chose the college where I would spend the next four years of my life because I thought it gave me the best chance to become a national champion. Softball had been my passion since I was eight years old, and this was my chance to compete at the highest level available to me.

The recent decision by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter regarding removal of restrictions on females serving in combat roles is long overdue. The leadership principles that come to mind in the wake of this decision are “know yourself” and “seek self-improvement.” All Marines are required to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, be self-aware, and possess a comprehension of group behavior. However, it seems as though sweeping assumptions, complacency, and negativity have become commonplace in the military of today. Rather than leaning on the traits and principles that have been carefully selected to carve out the most professional and capable warfighters, we have chosen to go through the motions and crumble under the adversity.