A Wyoming National Guard NCO has graduated from a two-week infantry transition and qualification course to become the Army’s first female enlisted infantry soldier, Army Times reports.
sergeant. Shelby Atkins, who served as a construction engineer before switching military occupations and deployed to Bahrain, was not the only woman to take the course, but the only one to graduate, a spokeswoman for the Wyoming Guard to Army Times.
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The graduation ceremony took place on May 26.
Atkins and his 32 fellow graduates, all men, will be assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment – Wyoming’s first Guards infantry unit in more than 100 years.
According to the Wyoming Guard spokeswoman, the purpose of the two-week course was to train personnel for that specific unit, which replaces the 1041st Multi-Role Bridge Company and is scheduled to be activated in July.
Although Atkins is the first woman to earn the MOS 11b, she is not the first to don the infantry’s signature cordon bleu. That honor belongs to Captain Kristen Greist, a Ranger School graduate who became the Army’s first female infantry officer in April.
In December, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made the controversial announcement that women will no longer be barred from serving in combat arms units, including infantry, armor, special forces and military. Ranger regiment.
So far, 22 female army cadets have been approved for assignment to the infantry and armor branches as second lieutenants, and a number of female enlisted recruits are expected to begin their combat trades training at beginning of 2017.
“[Atkins] is the first female Army NCO in the entire Army to be awarded the Infantry MOS,” a National Guard Bureau spokesperson told Army Times.