FORT LEE, Va. - History was made July 16 as the first women to attend the U.S. Army Ordnance School's Artillery Mechanic (91P), course graduated during a ceremony here. The 15-week military occupational specialty has, until the beginning of this class, been restricted to male students. "Today is a historic occasion as we are graduating the first two female 91P Ordnance Soldiers," said Lt. Col. Steven N. Carozza, 16th Ordnance Battalion commander.
Pfc. Jessica Jones and Pfc. Angelika Jansen are the first females to hold the MOS. The course is one of six the Army opened to women as part of an effort to loosen the combat exclusion provisions under the Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule. Jones was also recognized as her company's honor graduate. "It is pretty exciting. At first, I didn't want to think too much about it, I just wanted to make it through the course," Jones said. "Now that I have completed it, I'm very excited to be one of the first to make history." "The course was really exciting and informative," Jansen said. "The instructors made it interesting, and there was lots of hands-on training, which I really liked."
Integration efforts on behalf of the Army are part of a larger Department of Defense plan that will open all jobs to women by 2016. To date, 14,000 positions that were previously restricted to males have been opened. Artillery mechanics are responsible for supervising and performing maintenance and recovery operations of all self-propelled field artillery cannon weapon systems, including automotive, turret, fire control and chemical protection subsystems. Jones and Jansen have both been assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, and will be reporting there shortly. Integration initiatives continue as another four females are currently attending the 91P course. The Ordnance School, which is part of the Combined Arms Support Command, instructs students in 33 enlisted career fields, nine warrant officer specialties and two officer areas of concentration. Training areas include munitions, explosive ordnance disposal and mechanical and electronic maintenance.