One 21-year-old recruit is about to crack the glass engine block.
The Army has announced Cicely Verstein, of West Virginia, is the first woman to enlist into one of the six Army combat-arms support jobs opened to women in May.
She starts basic training in November to become a 91M, Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer.
Local newspaper, the Tribune-Review, reports Verstein raced go-karts as a teenager, and the Army job looked like fun.
Verstein, originally from Pennsylvania, first thought about joining five years ago, before the troop drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her family, at least initially, was not convinced.
“They’re a lot more behind me now than they were then,” she said in an Army news release. “They realize I have a better view of what I want to do with my life and what will make me happy.”
On May 14, the Army opened six combat arms support Military Occupational Specialties to women following the Women in Services Review, requested by Congress and directed by the Secretary of Defense in 2011.
Each of the services reviewed laws, policies and regulations regarding the service of women members of the Armed Forces to determine if any revisions were needed to ensure women service members have an equitable opportunity to compete and excel in the Armed Forces.
The six Army MOSes that women can now enlist for are:
* Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Crewmember, 13M
* MLRS Operations Fire Detection Specialist, 13P
* Field Artillery Firefinder Radar Operator, 13R
* M1 Abrams Tank System Maintainer, 91A
* Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer, 91M
* Artillery Mechanic, 91P
Not only will Verstein be breaking ground, she will be breaking sterotypes in a field where women are rare. Only about 1 percent of auto mechanics in the civilian world are women, according to federal stats.
“It’s been a month and a half, and we’ve got one qualified,” Brian Lepley, a spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command told the Trib. “She went into the recruiting office and said, ‘That job is good. I want it.”
The Army plans a news conference on Tuesday in Morgantown, W. Va., to make a formal announcement.
Ed. Note: An earlier version of this contained an inappropriate headline, offending some people. We apologize.[via Tribune-Review]