12B Combat Engineer Officially Opens To Women

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The Army Combat Engineer School sets the example, by officially opening training seats for women.

Combat engineers now open to females, adding more than 20,000 additional positions open to women!

In accordance with the The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); Available Combat Arms (CA) Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) for Female Soldiers, the Army officially opened MOS 12B, and seven associated skill identifiers to women.

“This is part of the ongoing effort to integrate women into closed jobs. We’ve just approved opening up all positions in engineer to females, we’re very close to approving all positions in field artillery for females,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said during a virtual town hall with troops.

He expects a decision about armor and infantry will be made “sometime in October” once the Army completes it tests and analysis.

Within the Engineer Career Management field, MOS 12B was the only remaining specialty that was restricted to women.

Odierno explained that the decision to open Combat MOSs to women was made by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, back in January 2013.

Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey announced the end of the ban on women in combat roles, with the goal of opening about 237,000 positions to women by 2016.

“What I would have to do is if I decide I want an exception, I would have to say why I believe we shouldn’t open armor and infantry to females, and I would have to demonstrate why that’s important,” he said. “If I don’t make any recommendations, everything will be open as of January 1st, 2016.”

7 Skill Identifiers Now Open

  • B6 (Combat Engineer Heavy Truck)
  • B9 (Bradley M2A3/M3A3 System Maintainer)
  • D3 (Bradley Fighting Vehicle Operations and Maintenance)
  • J3 (Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle System Master Gunner)
  • K9 (Combat Engineer Mine Detection Dog Handler)
  • R7 (Army Reconnaissance)
  • S4 (Sapper Leader).

The opening of 12B and the associated skill identifiers is part of the Soldier 2020 initiative. The standards-based mission is to match the right Soldiers — regardless of whether they are men or women — to jobs that best correspond to their abilities. This makes for a stronger Army and allows all Soldiers to best reach their full potential.

Qualifications For 12B Combat Engineer

Effective immediately the following MOS is open to Female Soldiers enlisting/accessing for Regular Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard: 12B Combat Engineer.

  • 87 CO
  • Normal color vision
  • PULHES 111221.
  • Physical demands rating of very heavy. (See DA PAM 611-21.)
  • MOS is OSUT and is a VEL MOS (variable enlistment length); 36 months and 14 weeks.


Training seats are available for the Regular Army as early as 14 September 2015.


ALARACT 097/2015

Army Directive 2015-27 (Expanding Positions for the assignment of enlisted female Combat Engineer Soldiers) is applicable to all components. ALARACT 097/2015 is a correction to ALARACT 096/2015, which is rescinded.

See the message and AD 2015-27 for more information.

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