The Army announced last week that the Army job of “combat engineer” is now open to female soldiers.

Also known as the MOS (military occupational specialty) of 12-Bravo, the combat engineer job can now be filled by “female enlisted soldiers of all components,” according to an Army News Service report.

“The June 16 directive from Army Secretary John M. McHugh makes available 20,563 additional positions for women and opens the last of the 16 engineer MOSs, which were closed to women. The only positions not open to women in engineering are in certain special operations units,” according to the report.

Fort Hood has thousands of combat engineers in a variety of battalions from 1st Cavalry Division to the 36 Engineer Brigade and others.

Female officers were previously allowed to be combat engineers “to provide a support network for junior female soldiers and to offer advice to the unit’s male leadership,” said McHugh, who signed the order for female officers to become combat engineers about a year ago.

The decision to open up the combat positions to female soldiers was made after the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command completed studies and tests on the issue, including some physical tests done at Fort Hood.

Women, as well as men, who do not meet the physical or other standards, will not be allowed into the job.

For many people, that seems to be the main issue when it comes to allowing women into traditional combat jobs: making sure the standards remain the same.

According to the Army, combat engineers “are expected to be proficient at a wide variety of tasks, including demolitions, route and mine clearing, constructing fighting positions, erecting fixed and floating bridges and operating heavy equipment.”

I really don’t see why a determined woman can’t perform any of these duties. The integration of more female combat engineers into Fort Hood and other Army units will take some adjustment, especially from grizzled male veterans, but hopefully, the transition goes smooth. A young private who wants to be a combat engineer deserves a chance to see if she can do the job.

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

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