Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Ward here from the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence. A few weeks ago, we had the honor and pleasure of hosting Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport during a site visit to Fort Leonard Wood.
During his visit, he observed our Occupational Physical Assessment Test validation testing and received several updates regarding Initial Entry Training. As a result, he invited me to share a couple of highlights with you.
First, some background. Last fall, after diligent assessments, pilot programs and evaluation of performance criteria, the Secretary of the Army directed the integration of females into the 12B, combat engineer military occupational specialty, or MOS.
The ensuing efforts have been an integral part of the Army’s Soldier 2020 initiative, which focuses on applying standards to ensure the right person is selected for the right job to increase the readiness and capability of our forces.
Female Soldiers have trained at Fort Leonard Wood for decades in gender-integrated basic combat training, Advanced Individual Training, One Station Unit Training and in functional courses within the Engineer, Chemical, and Military Police Regiments.
When the 12B MOS opened to females, we leveraged our existing practices to integrate them into the already gender-integrated 12B/12C (Bridge Crewmember) OSUT. Thus far, our integration of additional females into the training has been extremely successful.
The first 12B female arrived at here on August 7, 2015, and, as of the first week of May, approximately 110 female 12Bs graduated from OSUT. Of note, males and females are generally passing 12B AIT graded tasks at the same rate, and the female graduation rate for the 12B MOS is very similar to the historical female graduation rate for the 12C MOS, which has been gender-integrated for over 20 years.
The female Soldiers who successfully completed 12B training departed for assignments in brigade engineer battalions located at forts Bliss, Bragg, Campbell, Carson, Hood, Lewis and Riley.
It is too early to assess the overall performance of female 12Bs at their first units of assignment; however, initial insights from unit leaders indicate they are doing very well. Some of these Soldiers are also pursuing additional skills. Nine female 12Bs graduated from Airborne School and four graduated from the Combat Engineer Heavy Track Course.
Another MSCoE highlight is that each of our training brigades – Engineer, Chemical, and Military Police – are implementing MOS-specific High Physical Demands Tasks as an AIT/OSUT graduation requirement.
And, like other IET sites across the Army, MSCoE is partnering with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine to collect data on the performance of Soldiers in training during the OPAT and HPDT to assist in further refining Army entry standards for all MOSs.
We are very proud of the progress our team has made and of their on-going efforts to ensure units receive the best-qualified Soldiers through continued support of the Soldier 2020 initiative. We look forward to seeing the many benefits that will result from matching the right person with the right job solely based on capability.
Learn more by checking out these videos:
Victory Starts Here…Victory Through Skill!
– CSM Ward