Pfc. Shavona Thomas, assigned to 95th Chemical Company, covers her sector of fire during training. (Justin Connaher / Defense Department)
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The 17 BCTs that received authorization in June to assign women to their maneuver battalions are:
■2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
■3rd SBCT, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord
■1st BCT, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
■2nd BCT, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.
■1st BCT, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
■2nd BCT, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas
■3rd BCT, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss
■3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.
Army National Guard
■39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Arkansas
■48th IBCT, Georgia
■2nd BCT, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa
■256th IBCT, Louisiana
■1st BCT, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota
■27th IBCT, New York
■41st IBCT, Oregon
■56th SBCT, Pennsylvania
■86th IBCT, Vermont
Jobs at battalion
The specialties open to women at the battalion level are:
Battalion S1 or human resources officer 42B
Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear officer 74A
Fire Support Officer, Assistant Effects Coordinator, or Fire Support Team Chief 13A
Multifunctional Logistician 90A
Field Surgeon or Medical Platoon Leader 62B
Battalion S2 or Assistant Battalion S2 or intelligence officer 35D
Medical Operations Officer 70B
Battalion S6 or signal/communications officer 25A
Physician Assistant 65D
Senior Human Resources Sergeant 42A4O
Human Resources Sergeant 42A3O
CBRN NCO 74D3O
Senior Supply Sergeant 92Y4O
Supply Sergeant 92Y3O
Intelligence Sergeant 35F3O
Intelligence Sergeant 35F4O
Health Care Platoon Sergeant 68W4O
Health Care Sergeant 68W3O
Radio Retransmission Supervisor 25 U30
Communications Section Chief 25 U40
Chaplain Assistant noncommissioned officer 56M2O
Nine BCTs began assigning women to their maneuver battalions last year. Now they are opening an additional 4,685 positions to female warrant officers and enlisted soldiers.
The BCTs are:
■2nd BCT, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
■2nd BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
■3rd BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood
■3rd Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood
■3rd BCT, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, Ky.
■3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
■4th BCT, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.
■2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
■3rd BCT, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks
The newly opened jobs are:
■Field Artillery Targeting Technician 131A
■All Source Intelligence Technician 350F
■Engineer Team Leader 12N3O
■Field Artillery Firefinder 13R3O
■Field Artillery Firefinder 13R4O
■Field Artillery Surveyor/Meteorological Crew Member 13T3O
■Field Artillery Senior Sergeant 13Z5O
■Signal Support Systems Specialist 25U1O
■Signal Support Systems Specialist 25U2O
■Paralegal Specialist 27D2O
■Electronic Warfare Specialist 29E3O
■Electronic Warfare Specialist 29E4O
■Intelligence Analyst 35F1O
■Intelligence Analyst 35F2O
■Human Resources Specialist 42A1O
■Human Resources Specialist 42A2O
■Health Care Specialist 68W1O
■Health Care Specialist 68W2O
■Chemical Operations Specialist 74D1O
■Chemical Operations Specialist 74D2O
■Unit Supply Specialist 92Y1O
■Unit Supply Specialist 92Y2O
Seventeen brigade combat teams are placing women in combat-related jobs as part of the Defense Department’s ongoing effort to open all military jobs to women.
The BCTs — eight in the active Army and nine in the Army National Guard — will assign female soldiers to their maneuver battalions’ headquarters in military occupational specialties that are already open to women.
Women didn’t previously serve in these units — an infantry battalion, for example — because, regardless of the MOS, they were barred from being assigned to combat units below the brigade level. The Defense Department has since eliminated that rule, the Direct Ground Combat Assignment Rule, which was put in place in 1994.
These 17 BCTs received approval June 19 to assign women to their battalions, and they are the latest units to do so.
Nine active-duty BCTs began assigning women to their maneuver battalions’ headquarters in May 2012.
The 17 newly added BCTs will seek female company-grade officers and noncommissioned officers in the grades of sergeant through sergeant first class for as many as 1,700 positions.
The original nine BCTs, who have about 280 women assigned to the 750 positions that were opened, will begin assigning warrant officers and some junior female soldiers to their units, as well.
“We are utilizing a stair-stepped method to assign midgrade officers and NCOs as a cadre who are put in place first to serve as mentors and set the standard for the new Skill Level 1 and 2 positions which open second,” said Henry Minitrez, a spokesman for the Army G-1 (personnel).
The nine Army National Guard BCTs volunteered to participate, said Lt. Col. Sonja Lucas, division chief for personnel policy at the Army National Guard.
The Guard has 28 BCTs, and more BCTs will be added as the Army opens positions across the force, Lucas said.
The first report from the BCTs is due in mid-September, she said.
Once women are assigned, units will have mandatory training including equal opportunity and sexual harassment and assault prevention training.
The Guard, like the Army, does not have a quota for how many of the newly open jobs will be assigned to women, Lucas said.
“We do hope to have more than one female assigned to any type of formation,” she said. “The [Army Guard] director’s philosophy is to ensure there is no isolation. ... We’ll see how that works in the next 90 days.”
The goal is to initially assign female captains and staff sergeants and sergeants first class to these units, Lucas said. Sergeants may be considered for chaplain assistant jobs.
“The reason is level of maturity and level of experience in the Army,” she said.
Junior soldiers may be added in the future, once these more senior soldiers are in place, she said.
As women start arriving at their new units, Lucas said the Army Guard will receive a report every 90 days. The Guard also will conduct a number of surveys for feedback on the integration, how male soldiers feel about having female soldiers in their unit, how the women feel about being in those units, and how the process is working, she said.
“We want to put the best soldier forward, be it male or female,” she said.
Similar surveys also are being conducted with the active-duty BCTs, Minitrez said. The Army’s senior leaders also are speaking with commanders and soldiers during visits to these brigades to get firsthand feedback, he said.
Additional BCTs likely will be added to this effort in 2014, Minitrez said.