The Vermont National Guard has unveiled a policy change allowing for the recruitment of women in combat roles.
Jobs in combat positions that historically have been held only by men will now be open to women, the force recently announced.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Sgt. Maj. Andrea Metcalf of the Vermont National Guard, referring to the new recruitment stance on women in combat roles. “Our leadership, from the top down, has emphasized this — encouraged it.”
The 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) will now allow women to enlist directly into combat roles.
The Army’s been allowing women to hold combat roles since 2016, but they had to transfer into them from other positions after first working their way through a series of requirements.
The Vermont Army National Guard said its Cavalry Squadron is the first in the long history of the National Guard cleared to directly enlist women in combat roles.
“We’ve always had females serving, there were just certain jobs they weren’t allowed to serve in,” noted Col. Dana Tourangeau of the Vermont National Guard. “And now, those jobs are open.”
Cary Brown heads the Vermont Commission on Women, which works to advance opportunities for women and girls.
“It’s high time that doors everywhere are opened for women,” Brown said Tuesday in an interview with NECN.
Brown praised the Vermont National Guard for working to achieve the new recruitment milestone.
“I would also say, though, they need to be aware — and I know that they are — that it’s one thing to bring women in, it’s another thing to keep them,” Brown said. “You have to make sure that you have an environment that is welcoming, an environment where people are not going to be assaulted or harassed, and are not going to be made to feel unwelcome or undeserving.”
“I know as an organization, we treat females fairly,” Tourangeau said. “They all have opportunities. And now the opportunities are simply unlimited, and there’s no more barriers for them.”
The Vermont Army National Guard said it is now working toward having all combat units cleared to enlist women as soon as possible, adding that doing so will improve readiness and performance, while providing opportunities for everyone.