6 women earn expert infantry certificate at Fort Bragg

Earning the EIB proves the U.S. Army infantryman is an expert in their field capable of handling a variety of weapons and quickly responding to combat situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Maysonet)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) -- Six women have become the first in the U.S. Army to earn the Expert Infantryman Badge at Fort Bragg.

The Fayetteville Observer reported the opportunity to earn the badge was opened when the Defense Department opened more combat jobs to women.

The newspaper reported Tuesday that the women earned the badge during testing with hundreds of male candidates in November -- about two years after infantry jobs opened to women.

A spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division said all six women who earned the badge declined to talk about their achievement. The division has not released their names.

Division leaders would not comment to the newspaper.

Less than one third of the soldiers who took the test in November earned the badge.