Posts tagged ‘women in combat roles’

SHAKO: Women’s History Month 2019, Part IV

Women in the Army.

This is the fourth and last installment of 4GWAR’s tribute to Women’s History Month featuring  photos illustrating the contributions of women in the four armed services. With the exception of one historic first or trailblazer for each service, these pictures focus on women doing their jobs — some dirty, difficult or dangerous — but all essential to keeping the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps ready to defend the United States of America. This week we look at women Soldiers.


(Army photo by Timothy Hale)

Army officers and non-coms — male and female — participated in a combat fitness test at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on March 15, 2019, to familiarize themselves with the new age- and gender-neutral  Combat Fitness Test.  Army senior leaders approved the new six-event fitness test to better prepare soldiers for combat tasks and reduce injuries across the three Army components (active, Reserve and National Guard) beginning in October 2020.

Joint training strengthens Air Force, Army collaboration

(Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Christopher Hubenthal)

Army Private First Class Diamond Her leads the way in a ground survey during a decontamination training exercise at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on February 22, 2019. Her is a unit supply specialist with the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery (ADA) regiment of the Army’s 11th ADA Brigade. Air Force and Army participants from the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and the 1-43rd ADA, shared Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield explosives (CBRNE) best practices, and tested their response proficiency during the training.

Airborne Operation 21 Feb. 2019

(Army photo by Paolo Bovo)

Army 1st Lieutenant Ashley Rae Selfridge, a paratrooper assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, puts the finishing touches on face paint camouflage before airborne operations onto Juliet drop zone in Pordenone, Italy, Feb. 21, 2019.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of projecting ready forces anywhere in the U.S. Europe, Africa or Central Commands’ areas of responsibility.


Washington National Guard participates in Exercise Bersama Warrior

(Army photo by Sergeant 1st Class Jason Kriess)

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Angela Gentry of the Washington Army National Guard, discusses battle drills with her Malaysian army counterpart, Major Nurkhairunisa, during Exercise Bersama Warrior in Malaysia. Bersama Warrior is a joint bilateral exercise between the Malaysian Armed Forces and the United States military. The exercise focuses on planning and conducting joint and coalition peace enforcement operations and was held in Kuala Lumpur from March 7-15, 2019.

Ready to deploy whenever, wherever required

(U.S. Army Reserve photo by Master Sergeant Michel Sauret)

Standing at the front of formation, Army Private First Class Keylin Perez bears the unit guidon during a field training exercise at Fort Meade, Maryland on January 13, 2019. Perez is a reservist assigned to the 200th Military Police Command’s Headquarters Company.


(Army photo by T. Anthony Bell)

Culinary arts Specialist Adriana Elliot, a member of the Fort Bragg, North Carolina culinary team, plates her main dish in Chef of the Year event March 8 during the Joint Culinary Training Exercise (JCTE) at Fort Lee, Virginia. With teams from every branch of the Armed Forces, the JCTE is the largest military culinary competition in the United States.

Roger Ma’am

(Army photo by Captain Justin Wright)

Army 1st Lieutenant Victoria Oliver,  a platoon leader assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division‘s 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team addresses her soldiers during a training exercise at Fort Polk, Louisiana on March 21, 2019. Her unit in the Air Assault division was going through a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana.


(Courtesy photo)

TRAIL BLAZER: Captain Delana Small is the only woman (so far) to serve as an Army Special Forces chaplain. Between May 2015 and December 2017, Captain Small — a Protestant minister — was deployed with the 5th Special Forces Group to Turkey and Jordan.  That’s not the only milestone the captain achieved. Earlier in March, she was inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame for being the first female chaplain to serve in a combat-arms battalion with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). That historic first occurred in June 2012, when she reported to the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 101st at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as chaplain for the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery. She graduated from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri just about six months before she reported for duty as an Army chaplain. She was the first of some 10 female chaplains sent to combat units. She deployed with the 4-320th Field Artillery to Afghanistan and later went to Airborne School, which led to her assignment with the Green Berets.


(Photo by Stephen Standifird, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs)

TRAIL BLAZER: Sergeant Hailey Falk, a combat engineer with 39th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, is the Army’s first female enlisted Soldier to graduate the school and earn the Sapper shoulder tab. Sapper is an ancient term for military engineers. In olden days they designed and dug the trenches, built the forts and figured out how to break into castles. The photo shows her receiving the coveted Sapper tab from Captain Timothy Smith, Sapper Training company commander at the U.S. Army Engineering School in December 2018, where Falk completed the demanding 28-day Sapper Leader Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Brazilian Minister of Defense Fernando Azevedo e Silva Visits Arlington National Cemetery

(Defense Department photo)

A member of the U.S. Army Band takes part in an Armed Forces Full Honors wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia on March 26, 2019. In addition to the U.S. Army Band, there are 29 active duty Army bands around the country and overseas, as well as 18 bands in the Reserves and more than 50 National Guard bands. The U.S. Army School of Music is located at Joint Base Little Creek-Fort Story, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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SHAKO-West Point cadets

SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.





March 31, 2019 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

WASHINGTON: Pentagon Opens All Combat Roles to Women in All Services

Historic Decision.

Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police officer and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot at their Army Ranger course graduation. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright)

Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police officer and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot at their Army Ranger course graduation.
(U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright)

Back in August we wrote about two female soldiers who were the first women to graduate from the Army’s grueling Ranger course. At the same time, we noted that Army Captain Kristen Griest and 1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver could not apply for a job with the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. The elite unit has a separate selection process, which wasn’t open to women.

Well, on Thursday (December 3) that all changed.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that he is opening all jobs in U.S. combat units from the infantry to Special Operations Forces to all “who can meet operationally relevant and gender neutral standards.” That policy change will open all jobs to female soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen — including positions in elite units like the Army Rangers and Navy SEALS — if they meet physical and other standards.

Carter’s decision caps of trend that began in 2013 when then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced he was dropping a longtime ban on women serving directly in ground combat units. Since then the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps launched studies of the potential impact of gender integrated combat units. “Both the Army and Marine Corps studies found that women participating in ground combat training sustained injuries in higher  rates than men, particularly in occupational fields requiring load-bearing,” said Carter’s guidance memorandum on implementing the change.

The Marine Corps was the only service to seek exemptions from the rule change, asking to continue excluding women from certain combat jobs. But that idea was strongly criticized by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who has authority over the Marine Corps. And Carter’s decision negated the Marines request for exemptions. The top Marine officer who sought the exemptions was General Joseph Dunford, who is now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the Washington Post. Dunford did not attend the Pentagon press conference where Carter revealed and explained the new policy. But in a statement issued by his office, the Post reported, Dunford said. “In the wake of the Secretary’s decision, my responsibility is to ensure his decision is properly implemented. Moving forward my focus is to lead the full integration of women in a manner that maintains our joint warfighting capability, ensures the health and welfare of our people, and optimizes how we leverage talent across the Joint Force.”

Members of the female engagement team assigned to 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment teach a hygiene class to children at a village medical outreach in Boldak, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2010.   (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Marionne T. Mangrum)

Members of the female engagement team assigned to 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, teach a hygiene class to children at a village medical outreach in Boldak, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2010.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Marionne T. Mangrum)

The services and Special Operations Command have until January 1 to submit their final, detailed implementation plans to Pentagon officials. They are all required to begin executing their individual plans no later than April 1, 2016.

December 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

SPECIAL OPERATIONS: Ranger School Now Open to Women

Skill, Not Gender.

The U.S. Army announced earlier this month that its elite Ranger School will be open to any female soldiers who meet the criteria.

Army Capt. Kristen Griest was one of he first two women to complete the Army Ranger course and earn the coveted RANGER shoulder tab. (U.S. Army photo)

Army Capt. Kristen Griest was one of the first two women to complete the Army Ranger course and earn the coveted RANGER shoulder tab.
(U.S. Army photo)

That announcement came less than a month after two female West Point graduates passed the grueling 61-day program and became the first women awarded the RANGER shoulder tab.

“We must ensure that this training opportunity is available to all soldiers who are qualified and capable and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best soldiers to meet our nation’s needs,” Army Secretary John McHugh said September 2.

“Giving every qualified Soldier the opportunity to attend the Ranger course, the Army’s premier small unit leadership school, ensures we are maintaining our combat readiness today, tomorrow and for future generations,” Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley added.

And now, two U.S. senators are pushing for a resolution honoring the first two women to earn the Ranger tab, according to POLITICO’s Morning Defense. The resolution, honors Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver for “proving that skill, not gender, determines military aptitude and success.” The resolution offered by Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, is backed by 16 other women senators.

Army 1st Lt. Shaye Haver was one of the first two women to complete the Army Ranger course and earn the coveted RANGER shoulder tab. (U.S. Army photo)

Army 1st Lt. Shaye Haver was one of the first two women to complete the Army Ranger course and earn the coveted RANGER shoulder tab.
(U.S. Army photo)

In a statement to Morning Defense published Thursday (September 10) Mikulski said “Capt. Griest and First Lt. Haver have shown that women can compete on a level-playing field with men to serve in the defense of our nation. The Army’s recent announcement to permanently open Ranger School for women marks another important step in expanding roles for women in the military. Continued gender integration will improve readiness and help our Armed Forces to recruit the best talent we can throughout all of our services.”

In January, the Army announced that as an experiment, it would open Ranger School for the first time to women, as part of a “Ranger Course Assessment.” That assessment kicked off in April, as part of Ranger Course 06-15. Haver and Griest, who were part of that Ranger School class, eventually graduated the school August 21.

That class started at Fort Benning, Georgia with 381 men and 19 women. The students had to train with minimal food and little sleep while learning how to operate in the woods and mountains of Georgia and coastal swamps of Florida.

Students also had to undergo a physical fitness test that included completing 49 pushups, 59 situps, a 5-mile run in 40 minutes; a swim test; a land navigation test; a 12-mile foot march in three hours, several obstacle courses, four days of military mountaineering, three parachute jumps, four air assaults from helicopters and 27 days of mock combat patrols, according to CNN.

September 11, 2015 at 12:01 am Leave a comment


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