In the two years since the Army lifted its ban on women serving in infantry and armor jobs, more than 150 have joined formations on two of the service’s largest installations.

Now, the Army is opening up three more posts for potential assignment.

They are the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, and the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, an Army Forces Command spokesman confirmed to Army Times.

“Forts Bliss, Campbell and Carson also are among the Army posts with large soldier-population densities,” spokesman Paul Boyce said of the decision to expand to those locations. “As the integration plan continues, the potential number of assignment opportunities is among the factors to determine locations and timing.”

The same decision-making went into choosing Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Hood, Texas, as the first installations to accept female infantry and armor soldiers. The posts are home to the 82nd Airborne Division and the 1st Cavalry Division, respectively.

Since women began arriving in late 2017, the Army has expanded its number of fully integrated brigade combat teams.

Those BCTs are 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division; the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams; and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, which is also on Fort Hood.

A total of 160 officers, noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted women are in these units, officials said.

“There are female infantry and armor soldiers, in training now, with assignments to Fort Carson, Fort Campbell and Fort Bliss,” Boyce said. “These soldiers will start arriving at the additional installations as soon as April 2018.”

Members of the Army's first gender-integrated infantry one-station unit training class don their blue infantry cords for the first time. (Photo credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright)
Members of the Army's first gender-integrated infantry one-station unit training class don their blue infantry cords for the first time. (Photo credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright)

The process of placing women in combat arms jobs at these locations will start with officers and NCOs before the junior enlisted arrive, he added.

“Using a deliberate, phased approach, factoring in the number of leader volunteers to infantry or armor branches and the number of contracted accessions, Army senior leaders developed a plan that will nest integration plans with operational requirements to determine locations and timing,” Boyce said.

After the ban on combat arms jobs was lifted, noncommissioned officers re-classed into the 11 series from around the Army, and the first class of female infantry officers graduated from training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in fall 2016.

They were followed in spring 2017 by the first 18 women to complete infantry basic training.

As more women spread into infantry jobs, six of them hit a major milestone in every ground pounder’s career back in November, when they earned their Expert Infantrymen Badges at Fort Bragg.

The women were among 287 successful soldiers out of 1,007 who began the testing on Nov. 14, 82nd Airborne Division spokesman Lt. Col. Joe Buccino told Army Times.

“Within the crucible of ground combat, the most disciplined, the most practiced, the best trained will be successful,” he said. “Those basic warfighter skills are really what we test through the EIB program.”

The EIB test includes 30 basic infantry skills and tasks that must be completed with fewer than three errors.

Those include weapons proficiency, movement under fire, response to chemical attacks, and treating injuries from overheating to open head wounds and broken bones.

“This historic achievement is a reminder of the great things we can achieve when women are seen and treated as equals and given the same chance to contribute to their country,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, a combat veteran, said in a statement to Army Times.