Women will be able to fill officer and non-commissioned officer (sergeant) positions in the New York Army National Guard’s four combat battalions under a proposal announced today by the Department of Defense and the Army to change the policy excluding women from ground combat units, according to a news release issued Thursday.
The changes will allow female officers and non-commissioned officers to serve in up to 350 positions that only male soldiers have been authorized to fill. Selections of eligible female Soldiers will begin as early as May.
The change will involve the Headquarters Troop of the 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry, located at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station; the Headquarters Companies of the 1st Battalion 69th Infantry and the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery in New York City; and the Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry in Utica.
The units are elements of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Syracuse, which has deployed 1,750 soldiers to Kuwait and Afghanistan. The 27th IBCT is one of nine Army National Guard Brigades that will begin integrating women into battalion headquarters elements as part of this test program.
These include positions as medics, intelligence analysts, human resources specialists, and staff officer jobs such as battalion logistics, intelligence, personnel, chemical warfare, signal or fire-support officers.
“I’m confident female soldiers are fully capable of performing critical skills in combat units,” said Major General Patrick Murphy, the adjutant general of New York. “Our female soldiers have distinguished themselves in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world, working side-by-side with their male counterparts. This change will open new opportunities for our female non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers and enable the New York Army National Guard to fill positions with the best-qualified individual whether a male or female soldier.”