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Fort Sill trains women for combat positions

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FORT SILL, Okla._Women in the military have made history, they're now doing jobs that they were unable to a year ago.

Last June, the U.S. Military announced its plan to put women where they've never been, on the front lines. This opened up hundreds of thousands of jobs for women and they've been training for these combat positions ever since.

Any soldier who wants to learn how to shoot rockets or cannons will have to come to Fort Sill for training, which means they are now seeing more women in advanced individual training or AIT. Private Lorraine Walsh is one of the women who want to be in the combat zone. She's fresh out of basic training and came to Fort Sill to learn how to operate a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System also know as HIMARS. Walsh says she didn't want to end up behind a desk.

"I wanted to be in the action and I thought that if the Army is opening up for women combat positions, I definitely want to be one of the first to get in on it," said Pvt. Walsh.

Walsh says being on the front lines was something she knew she wanted to do but at first her family wasn't so happy with her decision.

"My mom cried. My dad wasn't very supportive. They both thought I would regret it but now they realize this is something that I'm fitting quite well," said Pvt. Walsh.

Since women started these training programs last year, Fort Sill has graduated about 60 enlisted women. Schoolhouse Director, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Castignan, says there is really no difference between the work ethic of the women and the men training in his program.

"I wouldn't say the females are outperforming the males superbly but I would say there is a little bit more pride that they are in an MOS they weren't allowed to be in approximately a year ago," said Sgt. 1st Class Castignan.

He says it makes women feel good to be part of something new.

"I continuously tell our females that they are on the cutting edge of the Army in their generation," explained Sgt. 1st Class Castignan.

Walsh says at first she thought she might receive some criticism from the men but luckily they treat her like one of them.

"I expected to be treated like crap. I thought that they would think, I'm a girl, I'm weaker, I can't do as much," said Pvt. Walsh.

Walsh is working hard to max out her physical training scores, so if anyone tries to tell her she's weaker than them because she's a woman she ask them their score. Hers is already 290 out of 300.

The Army must open all combat jobs to women by January 2016 or explain why the job must remain closed.

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