Women Soldiers Take Down Another Wall

EDITORIAL
The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Six women at Fort Bragg have earned the Army’s prestigious Expert Infantryman Badge — the first women in the Army to achieve that status.

The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

It was only a few years ago that there was still ferocious — and often sarcastic — debate about the presence of female soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division. Women, they said, have no place jumping out of airplanes, or performing any other military task formerly done by male soldiers only.

Not surprisingly, most of the protests came from veterans — those who had served well and honorably in a different time, when most soldiers were men.

Then the debate shifted. The furor over women in the airborne largely disappeared, but was replaced by scorn for the Army’s plan to allow women in combat positions. Never mind that women had been part of routine patrols in hostile territory in Iraq and Afghanistan since the early days of our wars in those countries. Making it official and allowing women just struck a raw nerve — again, mostly with veterans whose service had been completed years ago.

Then, last year, women passed the Army’s brutal Ranger qualification course, shattering the widely held belief that they women weren’t up to the challenge. Some of them are, it turns out.

And this week, we learned that six women at Fort Bragg have earned the Army’s prestigious Expert Infantryman Badge — the first women in the Army to achieve that status. It’s not an easy task: Of the 1,000 soldiers who took the qualifying test at Fort Bragg last November, only 287 passed. To earn the badge, soldiers must successfully complete 30 tasks that show they have mastered basic infantry skills. The testing includes weapons proficiency and medical and patrol skills.

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