A 21-year-old from Pittsburgh has become the first woman to enlist in one of the Army's six new combat support jobs that opened to women in May, as part of the service's efforts to integrate more women into its ranks.
Cicely Verstein was sworn in Friday at the Beckley Military Entrance Processing Station in Beckley, W.Va. She will be a Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer, responsible for the repair and upkeep of the 33-ton tank-like troop transport.
Ms. Verstein said she first became interested in cars when she was 16 after a friend in the Army who worked on racecars showed her how to change an engine. She has been hooked on cars since then.
"It just seemed really interesting, and I've always been interested in working on motors," she said in a phone interview.
Other combat support jobs the Army has opened to women:
• Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Crewmember.
• MLRS Operations Fire Detection Specialist.
• Field Artillery Firefinder Radar Operator.
•Abrams Tank System Maintainer.
• Artillery Mechanic.
Female soldiers serve in about 78 percent of the Army's occupations and 15.7 percent of the service's soldiers are women, said Sean Marshall, chief of public affairs in the Army's 1st Recruiting Brigade.
"We do expect there to be a lot more interest for women due to the fact that these six jobs have opened up, and women like Cicely are joining, we expect a lot more interest to grow," he said.
Female soldiers still cannot serve in the infantry, but Mr. Marshall said the Army is continuing to look at ways to bring more women into the service.
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Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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