Story By: 1st Lt. Jolene Hinojosa
Posted on: July 22, 2016
AUSTIN, Texas – Spc. Rachel Mayhew, 26, native of Fort Worth, became the first female in the Texas Army National Guard awarded the 12B combat engineer military occupational specialty (MOS).
“It was an absolute honor to serve with the Engineers,” said Mayhew. “The guidance and mentoring I received helped prepare me for a change.
I wanted a career path with progression, promotion and growth. That is exactly what I found in becoming a combat engineer.”
Mayhew graduated on June 17, 2016, from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, during a rigorous two-week MOS transition course that included the High Physical Demands Tests (HPDT) and include a series of tasks geared toward combat engineers to ensure force capability and readiness.
Prior to attending the reclassification course Mayhew served in the Texas National Guard for seven years as a 74D chemical biological radiological nuclear specialist. In 2011, she deployed to Afghanistan with the 236th Engineer Company.
Since the push to integrate the military into a gender neutral standard, the military has used HPDTs to collect data on newly-proposed MOS-specific standards.
“I've never been treated any differently for being a female in uniform or encountered a lower standard,” said Mayhew. The instructors worked very hard to keep things fair across the board. Every soldier was treated the same and we all knew what we had to do to accomplish the mission.”
Mayhew successfully completed a 12-mile tactical foot march, prepared a fighting position, employed hand grenades and transported a casualty to immediate safety. All four tasks, plus eight others, are designed to paint a picture of the real-life conditions that could be encountered on the battlefield.
“The timed road march is the most challenging task I've endured in my career. However, I've never been more proud of myself than when I reached that finish line,” said Mayhew.
Among the 25 students that attended the course, four fellow Texas Guardsmen attended the course alongside Mayhew. Read More...