MILWAUKEE – She’s just 18 years old and already making history. A recent graduate of Ronald Reagan High School has enlisted in the Army and landed a job previously unavailable to female soldiers.
Surrounded by people who keep her grounded, Deja Evans has decided she wants to fly.
“I was able to narrow it down to Marines and Army. So I picked Army,” said Evans.
Evans, a 2016 graduate, has enlisted in the Army Airborne Infantry — becoming only the second woman from Wisconsin to do so.
“Now that they’ve opened it up, it opens up some new windows,” said U.S. Army Recruiter Richard Cubbage.
Late last year, the U.S. Military declared all combat positions were opening to women. In fact, Evans is the second woman from Wisconsin to be in the Army Airborne Infantry, but the first woman from the state to go airborne.
“It’s an honor to be one of the first,” said Evans.
Airborne Infantry wasn’t Evans’ first choice. Though it’s not surprising it’s where she landed as her father, Rufus Evans, served in the 82nd Airborne Division from 1995-1998.
Unfortunately, Rufus Evans’ last jump came far too soon.
“On my 30th jump, somebody stole my air and I pretty much free-fell about 150-200 feet. I deployed my reserve but it didn’t have enough time to catch,” said Rufus Evans.
Her father’s service may have been cut short, but his love for the Army Airborne Infantry has never waned.
“I’m ecstatic for her, I really am. I know she can handle it,” said Rufus Evans.
Which is why it’s as clear as the sky is blue — Deja Evans would want to take to the air.
“I’ve always kind of seen myself as a leader,” said Evans.
Deja Evans has the rest of the year to enjoy being a civilian. She’s off to boot camp next January.