Soldier is first female in Alaska National Guard to complete combat arms branch training

Only two years ago, National Guard combat arms branch training still excluded women, but Capt. Amanda Plachek recently shattered that barrier, becoming the first female Alaska Army National Guard member to master the course.

Plachek completed the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning, located on the Alabama-Georgia border, earlier this year, an Army release said. She signed up for the course after learning that other women on her rugby team had done so. She not only was the only woman in her class, but she also ranked extremely well, placing third out of 25 participants.

"I decided to attend the maneuver course to broaden my military education," Plachek, who first joined the armed forces as a transportation officer, said in the release. "It was definitely a steep learning curve for someone like me who didn't have an infantry, armor or field artillery background. Machine gun theories and creating battalion-level fire plans were all brand new to me and it made me appreciate everything that goes into planning and executing a combat mission from the ground up."

The training became available to women members of the armed forces in December 2015, according to U.S. Army spokespersons.

Plachek said solid support from her colleagues went a long way in bolstering her confidence.

"Someone once told me that the only way women are going to succeed in integrating into the infantry is if they have the support of their leadership and male counterparts," Plachek said in the release.  "I had an immense amount of support from my chain of command, fellow officers, classmates and instructors. That made me more proud that anything, the fact that my decision was supported and accepted by so many."

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