A federal warrant has been issued for Pvt. Erika Lopez after she failed to return from leave on Jan. 5 and has been absent for over a month.
Lopez, a mother of two who had her first child at age 16, last summer was the first woman from Tennessee and the fourth in the nation to be approved to select a combat role formerly only allowed for men. Choosing a combat engineer specialty, she left for Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for combined one station training but failed to return after she was given convalescent leave.
“After 30 days in an AWOL status, a Soldier is considered a deserter and a federal warrant is issued for his or her arrest,” said Army spokeswoman Tiffany Wood.
With Defense Secretary Ash Carter throwing open combat roles such as infantry and special operations units positions to women last year, prospects for a wider role for females in the military, to include mandatory registration for the draft, have been discussed.
Below is the video from last July in which Lopez spoke of her decision to join the military and pursue the combat engineer field so as to be an inspiration for her children.