Vermont

Vermont National Guard soldier is 1st woman in US Army to graduate as a combat engineer

  • In this Dec. 3, 2015, photo, Vermont National Guard Spc. Skylar Anderson, the first female in the Army to qualify as a combat engineer, poses at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Vt. Anderson said she didn't know when she started the training course to become a combat engineer that she would be the first female to graduate. The military has opened up a number of combat jobs to women that were once reserved for men only. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

    In this Dec. 3, 2015, photo, Vermont National Guard Spc. Skylar Anderson, the first female in the Army to qualify as a combat engineer, poses at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Vt. Anderson said she didn't know when she started the training course to become a combat engineer that she would be the first female to graduate. The military has opened up a number of combat jobs to women that were once reserved for men only. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Dec. 3, 2015, photo, Vermont National Guard Spc. Skylar Anderson, the first female in the Army to qualify as a combat engineer, poses at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Vt. Anderson said she didn't know when she started the training course to become a combat engineer that she would be the first female to graduate. The military has opened up a number of combat jobs to women that were once reserved for men only. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

    In this Dec. 3, 2015, photo, Vermont National Guard Spc. Skylar Anderson, the first female in the Army to qualify as a combat engineer, poses at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Vt. Anderson said she didn't know when she started the training course to become a combat engineer that she would be the first female to graduate. The military has opened up a number of combat jobs to women that were once reserved for men only. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)  (The Associated Press)

A Vermont National Guard soldier is the first woman in the U.S. Army to qualify as a combat engineer.

Spc. Skylar Anderson, of Derry, New Hampshire, says it was a "big eye-opener" when her instructors told her over the summer that she was the first woman to complete the course allowing her to work alongside combat troops. The job can include clearing mine fields, defusing or detonating roadside bombs and building or destroying bridges.

Anderson, a 20-year-old University of Vermont junior, says she hopes she can be a role model for other women in the military.

The U.S. military has been grappling for years with how best to integrate women in the services into combat. On Thursday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the services to open all combat jobs to women.