By Gabriela Sandoval

   On February 25, Marine Captain Maggie Seymour set off on a 161-mile Valor Run from Los Angeles to San Diego to honor 161 women who lost their lives in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. She’ll kick off her run alongside newly commissioned Navy Lt. Michelle Gosselin as well as friends of both Seymour and Gosselin who will support them along the way. Freshman Yackqueline Orozco thinks, “I think it’s great that she’s doing this for women who fought because it promotes that women are strong and powerful and capable of fighting for our country.”

   Although Seymour didn’t engage in combat herself during her year-long tour in Iraq, some of her friends participated in dangerous combat missions. They participated as pilots, medics, and all-female teams called “lionesses” who did house-to-house searches.

   “It’s in no way to say that women are any more special, or the death of a woman is any more tragic than the death of her male counterpart,” Seymour said. “It’s just to make sure it’s all included in the discussion.” Senior Karina Mendoza thinks, “If women think they’re capable of doing something, there should be no reason why we can’t do it.”

   Last December, President Obama announced women would be allowed to serve in all ground combat jobs after meeting rigorous requirements, an action that stirred a lot of mixed reactions. This decision has been in the works since 2013, when the Pentagon decided to begin the process of doing away with male-only career fields in the armed forces. “I think in the end it’s going to prove to be beneficial to our forces and to our national security,” said Seymour, who is based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

   Seymour hopes to get the message across that women play an important role in the military. The run is set to raise money for the organization Team Red, White, and Blue, and will establish a scholarship for children of service members. Her finish line is atop Mt. Soledad at the National Veterans Memorial, something she sees as an emotionally fitting place to end her run. “It’s a tribute memorial to our fallen veterans through a number of years and wars so I felt that this was an appropriate place to kind of end a memorial run.”