HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) — Just five years ago, all positions in traditional combat arms branches were opened to women in the Army.
Soldiers at Fort Stewart commemorated the anniversary Wednesday with a round table discussion about what it means to them.
There have been multiple milestones for women in the army during the last few years — including the first female infantry basic course graduates, basic armor course graduates and ranger school graduates.
“It’s honorable to be a part of something so new. When I first joined, signing in as a tanker, I didn’t realize how new it was,” Spc. Trinity Turner, 19K-Tank Crewman at Fort Stewart, said.
In April 2016, all combat positions opened to women in the Army. Over the course of the last five years, the 3rd Infantry Division has taken pride in the integration of female soldiers into these specialties and currently has over 70 female soldiers employed in combat arms.
“It’s very nice to try to inspire younger female soldiers to join a MOS like this,” Turner said.
Turner was deployed with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team to Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve and participated in Europe’s U.S.-led multinational exercise Defender 2020.
She has also qualified “distinguished” and noted by her company first sergeant as “one of his best gunners.”
Turner says each soldier who has joined combat forces has experienced unique challenges, but it has nothing to do with gender.
“We see ourselves as soldiers,” she said. “In combat, we are seen as soldiers by enemies and by everyone. Especially out in the civilian world, we are seen as soldiers. Not as female, not as male.”
The soldiers gathered to discuss how opening combat positions to women has affected their professional careers for the better.
“As we go through it, we gain strength and we do work out with the males so we can build our strength. We’re able to pick up more than some of the males,” Turner said.
“Eliminating the female or the male role would honestly help the transition a lot more. There are differences, but differences can be overcome,” she added.
Turner says ever since women have had the chance to serve these combat roles, she’s seen an increase of women climbing the ranks.
“Females in the army are now trying combat because they know we can do it.”