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Iowa Guardswomen Enlist for Combat Roles

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Staff Sergeant Chad D. Nelson, Iowa National Guard
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Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Timothy Orr

Hundreds of positions in the Iowa National Guard have opened to women for the first time in the Guard’s history, and women have already begun to enlist in combat roles.   

That’s according to Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, Major General Timothy Orr, who delivered his annual Condition of the Guard address to a joint session of the Iowa House and Senate.

Orr says last month’s announcement from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter opening up combat roles to women is having an effect in Iowa.

“Nearly 17-hundred positions in the Iowa National Guard have opened to Iowa women this year for the first time in our nearly 180-year history,” Orr said.

Orr says the state’s best-qualified citizens, regardless of gender, will now be afforded the opportunity to serve in any duty position across the Iowa National Guard.

“And we didn’t waste time turning Secretary Carter’s words into action,” Orr says.

Orr says high school students Cheney Spaulding of Fort Dodge and Dakota Doocy of Lone Rock have enlisted into artillery positions as females for the first time in the Guard’s history with the 1st Battalion, 194th Field Artillery.    Also University of Iowa sophomore Megan Reaska became Iowa’s first female combat engineer in December.

Orr says the Guard is proud of what he calls the groundbreaking young women.