Former CSI Student on Life in the Military: Books, Bullets and Bonds  

From the lives placed in her hands to facing racism, this minority woman makes many sacrifices to fight for our country 

By Ruth Lemoine  

Juliet Gross was a CSI student in the military who realized how difficult it was to not only be one of few females in her unit, but also a person of African American and Irish descent in a predominantly white male scene.   

“Being a woman in the military, a lot of men speak down to you,” said Gross. “I also dealt with racism as a woman of color.”  

Gross, a 22-year-old born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, enlisted in the military at 17 and retired after 5 years. Her initial reason for joining the Army was to be able to attend college for free.  

Gross began her college career at CSI with high hopes but quickly discovered that it was a juggling act trying to be mentally present in her education, while always having the possibility of deployment at a moment’s notice at the back of her mind.

She attended CSI for a year, moving on to becoming a full-time soldier, also known as active duty. Stationed at Fort Campbell, on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, she started to take her duty more seriously.    

Once Gross entered the Army, she noticed the way male soldiers would comment on minute things about her appearance, such as her hair in braids, claiming she looked “ghetto.” 

About 90% of the men in her unit came from southern or country areas, while Gross was from the opposite end of the spectrum, the east coast and the urban areas. The stereotype of soldiers says that men should be in charge, in control, and enlisted more so than women because they are often viewed as stronger.  

Gross eventually shut down this stereotype by becoming one of the first females in her unit to work in artillery, also known as a fire control specialist. Artillery soldiers tell the guns where to shoot, which requires math to know where they need to target against the enemy.  

Artillery was a heavy responsibility as her fellow soldiers’ lives were at stake. Gross often felt under-appreciated and not respected in this particular job due to her gender. Many of the soldiers including the ones in leadership, agreed that artillery was more of a man’s job, but this did not stop her from working hard and learning to love the ups and downs.  

Isaiah Seise is a Haitian and Puerto Rican male who is currently an officer candidate in the military. He will soon become a commissioned officer as a second lieutenant.   

“Women who are in service are not looked down upon,” said Seise. “I believe the armed services have been able to push towards a more corporate approach, so everyone is a soldier and member of a team.”  

One of Gross’ favorite parts about the army was the relationships she made along the way. There were many people from different walks of life that she formed close bonds with. The military was where she found some of her best friends with who she continues to connect.    

 In July of 2021, Gross medically retired from the military due to a shoulder and clavicle injury. She is now living in El Paso, Texas, which has one of the best Veterans Affairs health care. She also currently works for ADT Security Services, checking houses to see if they are eligible for security systems, alarms, and fire protection.  

Gross believes you need to have thick skin to be in the military due to the emotional challenges, such as missing loved ones.  

“It’s not for everyone if you can’t handle it,” said Gross. “I hadn’t seen my mom in two years at one point, and we’re really close.”  

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