By David VergunAugust 21, 2015
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 24, 2015) -- Army leadership has recommended that field artillery military occupational specialties, or MOSs, 13B (cannon crewmember) and 13D (automated tactical data systems specialist) be open to women, the Army's chief of field artillery said.
"We are waiting on a Department of the Army decision in reference to Field Artillery MOS 13F [fire support specialist], which is specifically tied to the Infantry Career Management
Field [CMF] 11 and Armor CMF 19, which currently remain closed," said Brig. Gen. William A. Turner, chief of field artillery and commandant of the U.S. Army Field Artillery School on Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
The Army's chief of staff recently stated that the Army will not ask for a waiver to keep cannon MOSs closed to female Soldiers, said Lt. Col. Donald S. Potoczny, branch chief, Field Artillery Enlisted at Human Resources Command on Fort Knox, Kentucky.
"This continues the effort of the field artillery branch toward full gender integration," Potoczny said.
Last year, all operational assignments were opened for female FA officers, he said. "In short time, women have served in every possible assignment including as fire support officers in combat in Afghanistan."
Two years ago, the Army opened rockets artillery units to women, Potoczny said. Both multiple launch rocket system, or MLRS, crew member (13M) and MLRS operations fire direction specialist (13P) were fully integrated.
The Fires Center of Excellence on Fort Sill presently trains female Soldiers for these MOSs, he said. Drill sergeants and instructors will soon be prepared to train the cannon MOSs. Female platoon sergeants are serving, and are "postured to provide mentorship."
Currently-serving Soldiers may be able to reclassify into 13B and 13D if their MOSs are over-strength, he said.
"Opening these positions ensures the Army is properly managing talent of all our service members, balancing readiness and the needs of a smaller force, and positioning all Soldiers for success with viable career paths. Human Resources Command is prepared to continue to assist the recruiting, training, and assigning of all our Soldiers to meet future challenges," Potoczny said.
"Each of our Soldiers makes tremendous contributions to our Army and the nation's defense, regardless of gender or ethnicity. This is about increasing opportunities for all. If the Soldier possesses the necessary qualifications, they will be given the opportunity to perform that job. This will only make our Army stronger," Turner said.
"We are in the business of recruiting the best Soldiers for the job," he said.
Serving in the Army's field artillery is nothing new for American women, Potoczny said. Women have been in the artillery since before the nation earned independence from Great Britain. Mary Ludwig, also known as Molly Pitcher, fought at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778.
When her husband fell, she continued operating his cannon through the battle, Potoczny said. In the 1970s and 1980s, women served in Pershing and Lance missile units. Over the past few decades, they filled supporting roles in artillery units. As field artillery surveyors, they provided accurate unit locations and they gave accurate weather data as meteorological specialists.