• Washington state's first woman in combat role: 'I always wanted to serve.'

    By: Natasha Chen

    Updated:

    BURLINGTON, Wash. - Tianna Langdon has become the first woman in Washington state to enlist as a cannon crew member, one of the military roles recently opened to women.

    Langdon, a graduate of Sedro-Woolley High School, describes herself as a tomboy who had always wanted to be in combat.

    “I sat down with my recruiter. He just kind of asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him. And he told me it was limited. And then he got on the phone, and then that job had literally just opened up. So it was really good timing,” Langdon said.

    She said she had always wanted to serve and make a difference, but she didn’t realize she’d also be making history.

    “My family’s still in shock. They don’t really want to accept it, but they’re supportive,” she said.

    Langdon said some men training with her and men among her acquaintance sometimes give her quizzical looks, doubting that she could make it.

    She said the news story of women in combat circulated Facebook: “I had a guy on my feed screenshot it, and he posted it. And he was just bashing on it. So I commented, and I told him like, my current situation. And he commented back, ‘good luck!’ like in a sarcastic way.”

    Sgt. Kevin Taylor, who recruits at the Burlington center, said he had a woman come in as recently as three months ago wanting to join the infantry. At the time, that wasn’t possible.

    Now, Taylor said he’s glad to see the change. He said cannon crew members like Langdon will “learn how to handle ammunition, fire howitzer rounds, (and) radio communications.”

    He said they’re not directly front line, but calls them the “king of the battle.”

    Langdon said she would tell any woman thinking of going into combat to do it, and not let anything – or anyone – stop them.

    An army representative told KIRO 7 the following jobs are now open to women, but there has not yet been guidance on how to recruit for them.

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    OFFICER               11A        INFANTRY

    OFFICER               18A        SPECIAL FORCES

    OFFICER               19A        ARMOR, GENERAL

    OFFICER               19B         ARMOR

    OFFICER               19C         CAVALRY

    WARRANT OFFICER         180A      SPECIAL FORCES WARRANT OFFICER

    ENLISTED             11B         INFANTRYMAN

    ENLISTED             11C         INDRECT FIRE INFANTRYMAN

    ENLISTED             11Z         INFANTRY SENIOR SERGEANT

    ENLISTED             13F         FIRE SUPPORT SPECIALIST

    ENLISTED             18B         SPECIAL FORCES WEAPONS SERGEANT

    ENLISTED             18C         SPECIAL FORCES ENGINEER SERGEANT

    ENLISTED             18D        SPECIAL FORCES MEDICAL SERGEANT

    ENLISTED             18E         SPECIAL FORCES COMMUNICATIONS SERGEANT

    ENLISTED             18F         SPECIAL FORCES ASSISTANT OPERATIONS AND INTELLIGENCE SERGEANT

    ENLISTED             18Z         SPECIAL FORCES SENIOR SERGEANT

    ENLISTED             19D        CAVALRY SCOUT

    ENLISTED             19K         M1 ARMOR CREWMAN

    ENLISTED             19Z         ARMOR SENIOR SERGEANT

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