Special ops open to female troops
In what some are calling a first step toward integrating women into the Army's most elite ranks, the service's special operations force is recruiting women soldiers to join "cultural support teams" to serve in combat theaters. The Army's special operations recruiting battalion has put out the call for women troops to join "Female Engagement Teams," which will work in medical missions, humanitarian assistance, searches and seizures, and civil-military operations in war zones such as Afghanistan and parts of Iraq, where most male interaction with females is culturally problematic. The women soldiers won't go through the full special operations or infantry training, but they will undergo four to six weeks of field and classroom exercises at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. They must be able to carry 35 pounds of gear for six miles in just under two hours, and be familiar with the M4 assault rifles and M9 pistols they will be issued. Training is to start in June, with deployments to follow in August.