West Virginia resident is first to enlist for combat-arms support jobs newly opened to women [UPDATED]


Photo via Army

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]

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  1. Joe,
    This is the most offensive headline I’ve seen in a long time. What the hell are you guys thinking treating this poor girl like this? What is this 1943? You need to take this story down completely and re-write it editing all the talk about her glamor and blonde hair! You think this helps us get equal rights for women in the military? On the same note I don’t ever remember the Army releasing a glamor shot of a male recruit in my life. If she was a guy we would get the skin head, deer in the headlights picture in front of a flag like every other recruit. Both the Army and Army Times are out of step with the times and the way we treat our fellow soldiers in 2012 with this crap starting with “Glamorous Grease Monkey…”

  2. can you please knock it off with references to her looks? if this was a guy, would you write “handsome fella off to fix tanks…”

  3. Becky Yacone on

    I wish her well. She will have to work in a culture that may not be very supportive of her career choice.
    You do Cicely Verstein, her skill set and her future career a huge disservice by emphasizing her looks in your title. Shame on you.

  4. Well she’s not a grease monkey yet as she hasn’t gone to training yet. But it’s not a surprise that women are ascribed talents they haven’t earned in the military.

    Furthermore, what she is doing is not terribly ground-breaking. She’ll simply be doing a job on a vehicle on which males exclusively use.

  5. Jeff Godines on

    This is an offensive way to promote the fact that the army has bowed to the PC pressure and opened up some MOS’s to women.

  6. STOP THE PRESSES! An attractive female signed her enlistment contract. She doesn’t even start basic until November and you are already praising her as if she’s graduated and headed to her unit. How about more pictures and bio’s of our fallen hero’s making the ultimate sacrifice here in Afghanistan. There are ISAF SM’s putting it all on the line every day with little to no recognition. The HERO’S we are sending home to their families need to be recognized more than they are, and their accomplishments highlighted. Signing a piece of paper with your intent, is not praiseworthy. Highlight her accomplishments after she’s done something more stressful than risking a papercut.

  7. Actually, no. That’s the difference between you and me, Larry. If this had been a male, there would have been no comments on his looks.

  8. I’m retired A.F., when she gets greese under her nails, hands stained black, she, like all of the cute and not so cute, cry for another job.

    Oh, your right about the comments on looks if guy, don’t know if any would comment about a guy, unless they are a little light in his lofers. :):)

  9. I feel sorry for her, really. I worked in Forestry for a few years, and I learned what it is like to work as the only woman in the group, and it’s not fun. They don’t treat you like a princess, you do get all the attention, but it’s not the kind you want, they are aggressive, crude, and there is always sexual harassment, even if it they might be able to keep it very covert, which they usually don’t manage to do. It’s no fun working in a male-dominated field.

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