In this Aug. 21, 2015, file photo, Army 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, center, and Capt. Kristen Griest, right, pose for photos with other female West Point alumni after an Army Ranger school graduation ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga.
Photo by John Bazemore/AP

Army approves 22 female officer candidates for possible combat units

Twenty-two women are among the first class of female members of that branch to be commissioned as infantry and armor officers — leadership roles that until now were open only to men, military officials announced Friday.

The move is part of a historic shift in policy as the Pentagon continues to open all combat jobs to women.

The Army said Friday it approved requests from 22 women — 13 as armor officers and nine into the infantry branch. They will be graduating as second lieutenants from the U.S. Military Academy, as well as from Reserve Officer Training Corps programs and the Army’s Officer Candidate School.

After commissioning, the women will have to complete infantry or armor-specific training before reporting for duty qualified to be platoon leaders.

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Last month, in announcing how it will implement the full integration of women into infantry and armor units, the Army said it would start with officers, followed by enlisted soldiers. Women are now be able to help fill some of the 220,000 roles that previously were open only to their male counterparts — positions that include some special operations units and infantry — among other roles.

“Our force of the future must continue to benefit from the best America has to offer,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters in December during a Pentagon press conference. “This includes women.”

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Army approves 22 female officer candidates for possible combat units