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AWOL female combat engineer recruit has turned herself in

Pvt. Erika Lopez, who went AWOL after being one of the first women to sign up to become an Army combat engineer, has turned herself in.

Lopez "turned herself in to proper military authorities" Thursday night, said Tiffany Wood, a spokeswoman for Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

"Pvt. Lopez's unit will look at all the facts and circumstances surrounding the situation and take appropriate action," Wood said in a statement. She declined to provide further details.

Lopez was supposed to report to Fort Leonard Wood on Jan. 4 after convalescent leave. She was considered absent without leave on Jan. 5 when she didn't show. Lopez was dropped from the rolls Thursday, which means she was considered a deserter before she turned herself in.

Lopez arrived at Fort Leonard Wood Sept. 22, Wood said. She started training on Oct. 5 and was on week 11 of training when she was sent home on convalescent leave.

Engineer soldiers conduct one station unit training at Fort Leonard Wood, which includes the 10-week basic training followed by advanced individual training. In all, the training is almost 15 weeks long.

The Army opened to women the 12B combat engineer military occupational specialty in June.

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