First female Army infantry recruits arrive at Fort Benning for basic training

Takiyah Carroll uses warmup weights for deadlifting, which is one of the requirements of the Occupational Physical Assessment Test required that all Future Soldiers take prior to shipping to boot camp Carroll, who is now 19 years old, left February 1, 2017. (Photo Credit: David Vergun)

The US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia is starting to see its first female recruits enter basic training, with 145 women to date that are scheduled to enter training between now and September.

At least one of the new recruits -19-year-old Marylander Takiyah Carroll- has already passed the new Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT), which pairs one’s physical fitness with suitable jobs in the military. According to a release from the US Army, Carroll exceeded the required deadlift of 160 lbs with an astonishing 225 lb lift.

The Infantry is one of the occupational specialties the most demanding physical fitness requirements, standards that potential recruits must meet if they wish to find themselves at the birthplace of infantrymen, Sand Hill.

As of January 31, the number of women shipping out to become Infantrymen was only eclipsed by the number of women wishing to become Combat Engineers, which currently sits at 164 personnel.

Other female recruits who signed up for infantry jobs include Texans Hannah Carpenter and Shelby Sparkman, the latter of which generated mild controversy last year when she said that deploying to a combat zone would be “fun.” In Wisconsin, two other recruits -Tristan Guzman and Deja Evans- raised their right hands in june of last year.

On the officer side of the house, several women have been approved to be Infantry officers, including Captain Kristen Greist, who passed Ranger school in 2015. In September of last year, Sergeant Shelby Atkins of the Wyoming National Guard became the first female Non-Commissioned Officer to receive the coveted blue Infantry cord.

While Officers and NCOs have currently filled the ranks, no new recruits have filtered in and the results remain to be seen. This, however, could be a different story as soon as May of this year, when recruits such as Carroll are scheduled to graduate from Infantry One Station Unit Training (OSUT).

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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