Just a week after the first female officer completed the selection process to join the Army’s Ranger regiment, the Army has officially opened Special Forces to women willing to enlist.
The US Army recruiting command (USAREC) informed its recruiters, via email, that the 18x (Special Forces) military occupation specialty (MOS) has been opened to females this morning.
Unlike the first females to sign up for combat arms jobs, whose stories were publicized, new Special Forces recruits will likely remain anonymous because of the Army’s Special Operations policy.
“The identity, career fields and backgrounds of our Rangers are not provided in accordance with our current security policy,” said US Army Special Operations command spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt when referring to the first female to be assigned to the Ranger Regiment.
“It’s not based solely on them being a female,” Bockholt said. “We protect all of our special operations forces.”
The decision to open combat jobs, including special operations, was made by former Secretary of Defense Aston Carter in late 2015 and faced objections from the Marine Corps.
Retired Marine General Mattis had been retired for almost three years when the decision was made but many suspected he may reverse the decision in his new role as Secretary of Defense.
“The idea of putting women in there is not setting them up for success,” he said in a speech at San Francisco’s Marines’ Memorial Club in 2014. “It would only be someone who never crossed the line of departure into close quarters fighting that would ever even promote such an idea.”
Despite his previous statements, Mattis made it very clear, during his Senate confirmation hearing, that he would not oppose or reverse the decision to allow females in combat jobs.
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