Tonawanda News

Local News

January 25, 2013

Women in combat to impact Falls base

Tonawanda News — The lifting of a ban on women serving in combat will have an immediate impact on female troops interested in officer and non-commissioned officer positions at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

The New York Army National Guard announced Thursday plans to begin moving women into positions in combat battalions following a proposal announced by the U.S. Department of Defense to change a long-standing policy that previously barred women from serving in ground combat units. 

According to officials at the National Guard, the Headquarters Troop of the 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry, located at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, will be involved in the initial test program. 

The changes announced Thursday will allow female officers and non-commissioned officers to serve in up to 350 positions that currently only male soldiers are authorized to fill. Selections of eligible female soldiers will begin as early as May.

In addition to the 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry, the change will impact the Headquarters Companies of the 1st Battalion 69th Infantry and the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery in New York City as well as the Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry in Utica.

The units are elements of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Syracuse, which just completed deploying 1,750 Soldiers to Kuwait and Afghanistan. The 27th IBCT is one of nine Army National Guard Brigades that will begin integrating women into battalion headquarters elements as part of this test program.

These include positions as medics, intelligence analysts, human resources specialists, and staff officer jobs such as battalion logistics, intelligence, personnel, chemical warfare, signal or fire support officers.

“I’m confident female soldiers are fully capable of performing critical skills in combat units,” said Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced plans to lift the ban on women serving in combat Thursday, saying women have become integral to the military’s success and have shown they are willing to fight alongside their male counterparts.

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