Washington (AFP) – The US Army is commissioning 22 women as infantry and armor officers under historic new rules allowing females to serve in ground combat roles, USA Today reported Friday.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter in December announced a sweeping directive to open all military occupations to women this year, including frontline combat roles.
The 22 women have almost finished their officer training and must then complete their specialty schools and meet certain physical requirements before they are fully qualified to start, USA Today reported.
Armor officers are responsible for tank and cavalry operations. Infantry officers lead infantry troops and other armed forces during land combat.
The Army did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.
Though women warriors have frequently found themselves in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, they had previously been barred from joining frontline combat roles, including the infantry and Special Forces.
Currently, women only account for about 15.6 percent of the 1.34 million active-duty personnel in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.
As the new rules kick in, 52 military occupations — some 220,000 jobs — will accept female applicants, who must still pass the same rigorous physical tests as men.