2nd Lt. Pamela Dubey ’14
Leading from the Front
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to join the military,” says 2nd Lt. Pamela “Pam” Dubey ’14. “I grew up with my dad’s stories of the Air Force, and knew I wanted to be part of that legacy.”
And so, when Pam first arrived at Norwich and entered the Corps of Cadets, she intended to follow her veteran father’s footsteps into a lifetime of service. Little could she have anticipated that—just two short years after graduating—she would be leading from the front in true Norwich fashion: blazing a historical trail as one of the first women to serve in an Army combat unit.
“I hadn’t planned it; it was a completely spontaneous thing,” Pam recalls, referring to her decision to go for it. “I saw an opportunity to expand my leadership skills and experiences, and I seized it.”
But getting in was far from a given. After April 15, 2016, when the Army announced that female officers would be eligible for all combat specialties in infantry and armor branches, “Many women applied, but only a few were selected,” according to the Fort Leavenworth Lamp . Twenty-two, to be exact. On July 26, Pam received her official acceptance into the Armor branch. On the last day of September, she left her MP assignment at Fort Leavenworth and headed back to Fort Benning, Georgia.
That Pam is among the first wave of female Army combat officers is no surprise to Norwich. As a cadet, she was already out front: first-year captain of the varsity softball team, three-year co-president of the club field hockey team, student manager of the Wise Campus Center’s work-study students (not to mention buildings and grounds), and company commander in the Corps of Cadets. Pam graduated at the top of her basic training class at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and pushed through a broken ankle to finish third in her class at officer candidate school at Fort Benning, Georgia. Since then, she has consistently achieved the highest possible score on her annual Army physical fitness test.
This resilience will serve her, and the soldiers she will ultimately command, well.
She is aware of the scrutiny; many eyes are on this first wave. “But I’m approaching this training with the philosophy I learned on the Hill.” Pam credits Norwich for her ability to harness her drive, and to focus.
“Every experience I had as an undergraduate, and every role I held, taught me how to perform to the best of my ability,” she says. “That’s my number-one goal in any situation. And, to lead by that example. If I can inspire just one other woman to pursue her dreams—to bust through any barriers that stand in her way— I consider that a success.”
As for her own dreams?
“Army Ranger school,” Pam says, not missing a beat. “You will see me there.”
WHEN A DOOR OPENS …
In November, 2nd Lt. Gabriella Katz ’15 transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia, and joined her fellow Norwich alumna, 2nd Lt. Pam Dubey ’14, as an Armor combat officer. Are you a Norwich alumna currently serving, or who has served in a combat unit in the past, in any branch? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.