Idaho Guard Home To First Enlisted Female Army Tanker

Jun 28, 2016

Sergeant First Class Erin Smith maneuvers an Abrams M1A2 tank south of Boise.
Credit Major Chris Borders / Idaho National Guard

A soldier from the Idaho Army National Guard is the nation’s first female enlisted soldier to graduate from M1 tanker school.

Sergeant First Class Erin Smith enlisted in Idaho’s Guard in 2001 as a combat medic. She's been deployed to Bosnia and Iraq. She had wanted to try being an Army tanker and last year, when the military opened up all positions to women, she got the chance.

Smith enrolled in the Army's “19 Kilo” school to learn how to operate the M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams tank. The Guard says she learned to load and fire the tank’s weapons, use hi-tech communications equipment, and operate the targeting acquisition system.

Smith says she was accepted and treated no differently than her male counterparts during training.

The Idaho Army National Guard has a force of nearly 3,000. About 400 are women.

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