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Fort Sill female soldiers, first to complete special training

[Source KSWO] [Source KSWO]

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -On February 2nd there was a first for female soldiers at Fort Sill.  The first three women to complete the Fire Support Specialist training went through their graduation ceremony.

This was the final step for Bailey Hendrix, Holly Morrison and Emily Buffington as they completed their entry-level training.  It's the last military occupation specialty in the Field Artillery to be opened to females.  

Private Emily Buffington said she always wanted to do something different and joining a military occupation specialty was her way of doing that.

"I'm feeling accomplished today,” said Buffington. “Relieved to be done with training and move on to the next step of my career in the military."

She said being one of few females was awkward at first but now she recognizes the significance of being one of those special women honored by her family and colleagues.

However, on this day, she felt no different.

"I think all my battle buddies here male or female did the same thing as I did,” said Buffington. “We accomplished the same things and went through the same training as I did."

Buffington and the other two women's training will prepare them for their next duties in their careers.
Those duties will range from preparing fire support plans to finding and marking enemy targets.

Battery Commander, Captain Steve Degeracia, said he believes the women are more than prepared.

"I think we put the systems in place and regardless there was one standard,” said Degeracia. “And the females passed the exact same standards as our males."

Buffington said although she received no special treatment for being a woman, her parents were a bit skeptical about her going into a combat military occupation.

"My mom was a little concerned,” said Buffington. “As well as my dad but, ultimately they are proud of me and they're excited to see what I can do."

Degeracia said he is equally excited for the women and all graduates of the program.

"I believe that regardless of your sex that you should have the opportunity to serve in any MOS in the army," said Degeracia.

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