General: Boise woman is one of nation’s first female tank crew members
A member of the Idaho Army National Guard last week became the nation’s first female enlisted soldier to graduate from the U.S. Army’s M1 Armor Crewman School.
Sgt. 1st Class Erin Smith joined the Guard as a combat medic in 2001 and has served overseas tours in Bosnia in 2002 and in Iraq in 2004. Most recently, she took advantage of a loosening of regulations that previously prohibited women from serving in combat roles.
An M1 armor crewman is responsible for operating armored equipment such as the M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams tanks.
Last December, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the the U.S. military would open all positions to women, without exception.
“I was interested in the idea of being an Army tanker long before talk about integration so when the opportunity came up I decided to go for it,” Smith said in a written release. “It was intimidating at first — the fear of failure or not being good enough — but it’s been an awesome experience.”