About 160 soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team are taking part in a gender-integration study for the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.
The five-week long Physical Demand Study began three weeks ago, said Lt. Col. Mark Olsen, commander of 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment.
“Our goal is to provide useful scientific data that can be used to determine how much upper-body strength is required to do the job of an infantryman, mortar man, tanker and scout,” said Olsen, whose unit is conducting the training. “We have 58 female soldiers who’ve volunteered to participate in the study.”
Company D commander, Capt. Jamal Kahn, said they put together four gender-integrated platoons, each consisting of 15 females and 25 males — one infantry platoon, one mortar platoon, one tank platoon and one scout platoon.
Staff Sgt. Terry Kemp, the scout platoon sergeant, said the experience level of the male and female soldiers was about the same, noting that the male volunteers were not infantrymen.
Company D 1st Sgt. Jason Hall said the focus of the training and later testing will be on the female soldiers; however, the male soldiers go through the same training and testing.
According to a TRADOC video called “Soldier 2020: Standard for the Army Professional,” data from gender-integration studies conducted at five Army installations will be used to determine the physical exertion required to perform specific tasks.
The Army’s Infantry School and Armor School said these tasks are required in order to be an infantryman or tanker — military occupational specialties historically denied to female soldiers.
The video said the data from the studies will be used to develop a physical-fitness assessment that would be used by recruiters to determine if a potential recruit physically is capable of being an infantryman.
One researcher in the video said the data might help the Army by revealing that some soldiers already in the infantry are not physically capable of doing the job. This information may help prevent some of the injuries common to the military occupation specialties, she said.
According to www.benning.army.mil/infantry/infantry.htm, Army recruits who enlist for the infantry are sent to a one-station basic and advanced individual training. As recruits are trained to become soldiers, they develop muscles many have not used in civilian life.
Those who complete basic training then begin advanced individual training where they continue to develop physically in order to perform the physically-demanding tasks required of an infantryman who must work as part of an infantry fire team, squad, platoon and company.
Read more in the March 1 edition of the News.