Acting Army Secretary: It’s “pretty historic”
Here at LI, we’ve been covering the move to place women in combat positions within the military. Despite studies that have concluded that this is a bad idea, the military is moving forward. To that end, the Army has approved 22 female officers for combat training.
The Army announced Friday the first 22 women to be commissioned as infantry and armor officers under new rules that open all ground combat jobs to females this year.
The move is a major step toward integrating women into so-called ground combat jobs, placing them in leadership roles in occupations that were never open to them.
In a move called “pretty historic” by acting Army Secretary Patrick Murphy, the women will eventually serve as infantry or armor officers.
Seven of the women will commission through West Point when they graduate May 17. Another 14 will come through ROTC programs at several universities across the nation. One will commission through Officer Candidate School, according to Army officials. Nine of the women will join the infantry and 13 will serve as armor officers, according to an Army statement.
Despite the stated goal of treating women in combat the same as male combat forces, the Stars and Stripes seems to imply that these positions will be focused on “mentoring”—or as USA Today puts it, serving as “role models” for—other women who eventually join the enlisted ranks as combat troops.
The Army has established a “leaders-first” approach to integrating women into the infantry and armor branches, according to the gender-integration plan submitted last month to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Army leadership believes having several female officers in place to serve as mentors to enlisted female soldiers will help smooth the transition process.
The number of women applying for enlisted combat roles is three, and it will take over a year before any of them, should they meet the standards, join an infantry or armor unit.
The Stars and Stripes continues:
The Army does not expect to see large numbers of women interested in serving in the infantry or armor. Since it officially opened the fields to women on April 1, only three female recruits have enlisted with the intention to serve in infantry or armor military occupational specialities, said Kelli Bland, spokeswoman for Army Recruiting Command. Two women enlisted with the intentions of serving in the infantry and one intends to serve on a tank crew.
It will take longer than one year before enlisted women reach an infantry or armor unit. Female recruits intending to serve in armor jobs must attend initial entrance training in May 2017 and female infantry recruits will ship off to basic training in June 2017. They will attend one-station basic and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Ga. alongside male recruits.
Acting Army Secretary Murphy has been praised by Nancy Pelosi for “opening the discussion” for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). Watch him do so as he introduces the bill to repeal DADT in 2010:
[Featured image via Stars and Stripes]DONATE
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