By Maj. J. Scott Detweiler
Vermont National Guard Public Affairs
Women may now join any combat arms unit in the Vermont Army National Guard, following authorization by National Guard Bureau issued today.
The Vermont Army National Guard is the first in the nation to open all combat arms units within its organization to the recruitment of women.
“This is a momentous achievement for the Vermont Army National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. James Pabis, assistant adjutant general-Army, Vermont Army National Guard. “From the state staff to unit leaders, earning the ability to recruit women into all of our units required laser focus over several years.”
In January, National Guard Bureau authorized the 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Infantry) to recruit women, a first for a battalion sized combat arms unit in the Army National Guard.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the inclusion of women in our units makes us a more effective fighting force,” said Col. Brey Hopkins, commander, 86th IBCT (MTN). “We will make every effort to recruit women into all units and mentor them to contribute as the leaders of tomorrow.”
Since the Department of the Army opened combat roles to women in 2016, they could transfer but not enlist into combat units until specific conditions were met. Requirements included installing women into leadership roles throughout the units, completing Gender Integration Training and demonstrating a healthy unit culture through Organizational Climate Surveys.
Now that all units can recruit women, the Vermont National Guard will continue efforts to cultivate diversity and inclusion throughout the organization.