A quote by a certain soldier really caught my attention in the March 11 issue of the Fort Hood Herald.
“I’m new at my job, so I’d definitely like to take advantage of it and learn everything I possibly can at this point,” said Pfc. Alissa Jacobs, a crewman on a multiple-launch rocket system.
Jacobs, a young soldier with 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade, was talking about the field training she was doing with her unit, which in April will inactivate.
The brigade will essentially become the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery, set to activate at the same time.
But it wasn’t Jacobs’ quote that really got my attention, or even the news that the 41st will be inactivated.
No, what really got my attention was her name — Allisa Jacobs, a woman.
Her quote was not necessarily striking, but the fact that she can say it, was.
Less than three years ago, it would have been impossible to see such a quote from a female crew member in an MLRS battalion, because there were no female crew members in MLRS battalions.
In late 2012, the Army opened up more jobs to women, including Bradley and Abrams tank mechanics, artillery radar specialists and crew members for the highly destructive MLRS.
Now, Jacobs and other female soldiers are crucial parts of MLRS units
As seamless as Jacobs’ quote was in the article, I got the feeling that she is doing her job just as seamlessly, and probably as well as any of her male co-workers.
Also apparently seamless: The Army’s integration of female soldiers into jobs, such as MLRS crew members, and others that were once exclusive to males.
The Army can change and adapt quickly in that regard.
And that’s a good thing.
As National Women’s History Month comes to a close, I say cheers to Jacobs and to all of the other female soldiers doing the jobs that were previously closed off to women. However, some jobs are still off limits.
Due to continuing Army policy barring women from direct-fire combat jobs, the first U.S. female tanker isn’t here yet.
However, when she does come on to the scene, I’d be honored to shake her hand.
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the metro editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at email@example.com or (254) 501-7468.