An Indian-American woman in the U.S. Army has been promoted to Platoon Officer, a rare achievement within the community.
Kinjal Bhalodia, who has served in the U.S. armed forces since 2013, according to her LinkedIn profile, and is from New Jersey, was recently assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Fort Campbell, Kentucky where she will work for 3 years as a Fire Direction Officer, Platoon Leader, and Fire Support Officer, according to information provided by her parents to Desi Talk.
Bhalodia’s main responsibility will be to take care of, and train 30-40 soldiers under her supervision, eventually leading an entire company of troops of about 100 soldiers. While working, she aspires to attend other military schools such as Airborne School, Air Assault School, and Pathfinder School. She is already enrolled for her Master’s in Business Administration at Rutgers, her LinkedIn profile reveals.
A couple of other Indian-American women who have gained recognition while in the armed forces include Anuradha Bhagwati, a former Marine, who is now an activist for equal treatment and the end of sexual harassment in the armed forces; and Pratima Dharm, a former chaplain in the military.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Bhalodia is graduate of Rutgers University, Camden campus and was assigned to the 101st Division this September.
When she joined the army in December of 2013, Bhalodia went through basic combat training (or Boot Camp) at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. Beginning as a Private First Class (2013-2016), and a Cadet in the ROTC program, she underwent rigorous physical training including the tough combat water survival test, a daily physical training regimen, obstacle courses, and classroom instructions aimed at expanding her officer potential.
After completing her degree in biological sciences and public health, and undergoing the ROTC program at Rutgers, Bhalodia was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant Field Artillery Officer. From there she went to Fort Sill, Oklahoma to become a certified safety and FA officer. Kinjal graduated in the top 10 percent of her class. The U.S. began allowing women in the Field Artillery just a few years ago.
Once she completes her active duty obligation of 4 years, she plans to attend Medical School and earn her residency in Sports Medicine, her parents said. Bhalodia appears to have her plans well laid out, aiming to serve as a doctor in the United States Army in Medical Command. “Her goal is to become the Surgeon General of the Army she plans to continue to work toward that goal each day,” her parents say.
“If you have passion in a certain field of study or certain activity, follow it. Don’t let go of it just because your friends or family or instructors don’t approve of it or don’t think you can do it,” Bhalodia is quoted saying by her parents. Bhalodia wants to encourage women to enter male-dominated fields.