Florida National Guard's First Female 12B NCO Combat Engineer
CAMP BLANDING, FL, UNITED STATES
Story by Sgt. Christopher Vann
107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP BLANDING, Fla. - Braving the January wintry conditions and hectic pace, a Soldier from the Florida National Guard’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team led the charge in a new wave of females into what has historically been an all-male combat arms environment. That Soldier was Army Sgt. Chelsea Peebles.
As soon as Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter opened up all combat arms to females in Dec. 2015, Peebles jumped at the opportunity to change her military occupational specialty from military police to combat engineer or military classification of 12B.
“I’ve always wanted to be able to have a combat MOS, which is why I enlisted in the FLNG’s MP unit,” said Peebles. “Once it became available to be a 12B, that’s when I decided to go ahead, take that step and go to school for it.”
With her unit’s restructuring, Peebles, who maintains peak physical readiness, seized the chance to give her maximum effort while fulfilling her dream and proving her mettle.
During her combat engineer training, Peebles tackled numerous hazardous and demanding tasks. One of those tasks was route clearance that included mine detection and live improvised explosive device removal.
Lt. Col. Elizabeth Evans, who recently became the first female 53rd Brigade Special Troops commander, praised Sgt. Peebles’ achievements and recalled when combat arms opportunities were more restrictive for female Soldiers.
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