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Fort Drum to participate in study of female soldiers in male roles

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FORT DRUM — The post will become one of six that will take part in a six-month test of new rules allowing women to take jobs closer to the front line.

Lt. Col. Webster M. Wright, public affairs officer for the 10th Mountain Division, said the division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team will participate in the test.

“With the right training that’s already been laid out and will be implemented shortly, it should work pretty seamlessly,” Col. Wright said.

He said work to accommodate the test, such as training for male-only units that might add women and logistical changes such as the addition of female restrooms to certain facilities, either is under way or will be within the next few weeks.

He said the test period would allow female soldiers in jobs such as intelligence officer to perform those roles in infantry units, and stressed that women would not move to combat roles within those infantry units during the test period. Other jobs on the post that will become available to women include field artillery radar technicians and cannon mechanics.

He said the test’s results would be evaluated during the six-month trial period.

The test is a product of a Pentagon policy change driven by the experiences of recent wars and intended to give women opportunities to compete for positions they previously were forbidden from filling because they were considered too dangerous.

In addition to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team on the post, units at Fort Collins, Colo.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Campbell, Ky., and in Hawaii will take part in the test.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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