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Vermont becomes first state to allow women to enlist for combat in its National Guard

Vermont becomes first state to allow women to enlist for combat in its National Guard
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Vermont's National Guard announced this week that it will now allow women to fill roles in its combat arms units, making it the first state in the country to do so.

The announcement came in a press release on Wednesday, with officials hailing the move as creating a more "effective fighting force."

“This is a momentous achievement for the Vermont Army National Guard,” Brig. Gen. James Pabis said in the release. “From the state staff to unit leaders, earning the ability to recruit women into all of our units required laser focus over several years.”

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Previously, women were able to transfer into combat roles, but not enlist in them directly. Since 2016, combat roles have been open to women in all branches of the military.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the inclusion of women in our units makes us a more effective fighting force,” Col. Brey Hopkins, the commander of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, said in the release. “We will make every effort to recruit women into all units and mentor them to contribute as the leaders of tomorrow.”  

In order for women to secure combat positions in the state in the past, they were required to first be placed in leadership roles and undergo "gender integration" training and prove that they could demonstrate a "healthy unit culture," the release noted.

Vermont's National Guard says is hopeful that with the new guidelines it can "continue efforts to cultivate diversity and inclusion throughout the organization."