Tank mechanics

Pfc. Evelyn Gomez, left, and Pfc. Kelley McKeon, are both mechanics with 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. The are shown working March 29, 2016, at the 2-12 CAV motor pool at Camp Casey, South Korea.

You may have noticed that we highlighted a few female soldiers in this week’s edition of the Fort Hood Herald.

Officially, we wanted to honor female soldiers as part of Women’s History Month, celebrated in March. For the past few weeks, we’ve been accumulating these articles and decided to run them as part of nice, memorable package in today’s edition.

Dig deeper, however, and the reason we are celebrating women isn’t solely because of their gender, per se, but rather what women have overcome in the past few decades.

Not too long ago, I spoke with one woman in the Army whose job in the 1950s was to serve ice cream.

When she got pregnant, the Army booted her out.

Today, that might seem like an outrage, but 60 or 70 years ago, it was normal.

Now, a new “normal” is taking shape.

There are women who are battalion commanders. There are women who repair Army battle tanks. There are women who are combat engineers and blow stuff up.

And soon, perhaps later this year, there will be women infantrymen, women tankers and even women special forces, whose job it will be to attack and kill the enemy.

It’s all part of the modern Army, and a long way away from serving ice cream.

There’s still a lot of talk about how the Army and other military branches will evolve with women now allowed to do any military job.

However, I think the answer is already out there — and it’s in the women who are already in uniform.

On Monday night, via Skype, I spoke with four Fort Hood female tank mechanics who are all in South Korea right now serving with 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Brigade.

Twenty years ago, when I was a tanker stationed at Fort Hood, female tank mechanics were unheard of. However, since the Army opened up the job to women in 2013, they have slowly begun to join tank units across the Army.

And guess what?

They seem and sound just like the tank mechanics I used to work with at Fort Hood in the mid-1990s: eager to find out what kind of problem a tank is having, get it fixed, and get the tank back rolling again, no matter the time of night, no matter the temperature outside.

I really don’t have any doubt that women can do any military job just as well as their male counterparts. However the real question is this: Will men be able to accept that?

That’s where the problems will come up.

Contact Jacob Brooks jbrooks@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468

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