Heard on the Hill

‘Embrace the suck,’ Ernst and McSally tell young women considering military

Republican senators reflect on their ‘boot camp’ experience

Republican senators Martha McSally and Joni Ernst share a message for young women considering entering the military. (Sen. Joni Ernst’s Twitter)

Veterans Day is a significant time to honor those who have fought to serve the country. And while Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Martha McSally of Arizona did just that, the two military veterans also took time to address future generations of servicemembers, particularly young women.

In a video posted to Twitter Monday evening, the Republican senators gave advice to young women considering entering basic training, or “boot camp,” which is known to require significant physical and psychological stamina.

“Embrace the suck,” Ernst began. “It is going to be very difficult. It is going to be physically taxing. You’re going to be awake at hours you never ever thought you’d be awake at and life is going to be miserable.”

McSally stressed the importance of being “in shape.”

“Keep your sense of humor and know that you’ll get through it,” she said.

Ernst served for more than two decades in the Army Reserve and the Iowa National Guard, was a company commander in Iraq and earned the rank of lieutenant colonel. McSally served in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years, retiring in 2010 as a full colonel.

The Arizonan recently shared a video of her driving in Saudi Arabia during a congressional delegation trip to the Middle East.

“When I was deployed here over 16 years ago, women — including U.S. servicewomen — couldn’t even sit in the front seat,” she tweeted. “Because of my lawsuit against the DoD, all restrictions were lifted off servicewomen except for the driving ban.”

The Veterans Day message concluded with an emotional Ernst reflecting on the big picture.

“You’re joining the many many generations of men and women that laid down their lives for the rest of America,” she said. “It’s so worth it.”

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