US Army approves first female officers for ground combat
Washington: The US Army has approved the first women to be commissioned as infantry and armor officers -- leadership roles that until now were open only to men.
The Army on Friday said that it approved requests from 22 women -- 13 as armor officers and nine into the infantry branch.
They will be graduating as second lieutenants from the U.S. Military Academy, as well as from Reserve Officer Training Corps programs and the Army's Officer Candidate School.
After commissioning, the women will have to complete infantry or armor-specific training before reporting for duty qualified to be platoon leaders.
Last month, in announcing how it will implement the full integration of women into infantry and armor units, the Army said it would start with officers, followed by enlisted soldiers.
Currently, women only account for about 15.6% of the 1.34 million active-duty personnel in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.
As the new rules kick in, 52 military occupations -- some 220,000 jobs -- will accept female applicants, who must still pass the same rigorous physical tests as men.