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      NY Army National Guard to start moving women into combat positions

      The 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team based in Syracuse is one of nine Army National Guard brigades in the country participating in the initial test program moving women into positions in combat battalions.

      A statement from the New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs says that women will be able to fill officer and non-commissioned officer (sergeant) positions in the New York Army National Guard's four combat battalions.

      The statement comes a day after Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta announced the removal of the military's ban on women serving in combat.

      Female officers and non-commissioned officers will now be allowed to serve in up to 350 positions. Those positions include medics, intelligence analysts, human resources specialists, and staff officer jobs such as battalion logistics, intelligence, personnel, chemical warfare, signal or fire support officers.

      Right now only male soldiers are authorized to fill those positions. Eligible female soldiers will begin being selected in May.

      "Our female Soldiers have distinguished themselves in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world, working side-by-side with their male counterparts," said Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York. "This change will open new opportunities for our female non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers and enable the New York Army National Guard to fill positions with the best qualified individual whether a male or female Soldier."

      The positions now open to women are in the enlisted grades of sergeant, staff sergeant, and sergeant first class. Female officers will be able to fill positions open to second and first lieutenants and captains. The jobs are in the headquarters elements of the battalion.