First Female Active Duty Soldier Becomes Master Gunner
by U.S. Army Pfc. David Dumas
January 3, 2023
The first female active duty soldier
graduated from The M1A2 Abrams Master Gunner Course at Ft. Benning,
U.S. Army Sgt. Cinthia Ramirez, assigned to Avenger Company,
1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, pushed
through the course to motivate other soldiers to set goals and
standards for themselves and achieve them.
December 28, 2022 - U.S. Army Sgt. Cinthia Ramirez, assigned to Avenger Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division,
stands in front of an M1A2 Abrams tank after earning the title of Master Gunner. Sgt. Ramirez became the first active duty female ever to earn the title. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. David Dumas)
“I was always getting in trouble as a
private because I never really had a goal for myself other than ‘get
through this contract’. But once I got promoted and became a
non-commissioned officer, everything changed,” said Ramirez. “In the
past, I had some examples of pretty bad leadership, and I told
myself I did not want to be that type of leader. So I knew I needed
to start setting standards and goals for myself to progress in my
To further improve herself as a soldier and NCO,
Ramirez knew that her next step was to set the goal of graduating
from the M1A2 Abrams Master Gunner Course.
“Getting into Master Gunner school was so hard, but that just
made me even more determined to get in. Everyone kept telling me how
hard it was, and I wanted to see for myself just how hard it was -
and they were not wrong. I just want people to realize that just
because you were never the best soldier or you’ve been in trouble -
you can change and turn things around. The mistakes I made as a
private will not define who I am as an NCO and a leader.” said
Being tested during the course on weapons system
platforms, the Master Gunner has the duty of advising commanders and
being a part of the planning, development, execution, and evaluation
of all combat and gunnery-related training.
course, I was bombarded with information, which was overwhelming.
There was a lot of new information I learned. As a tanker for 4 1/2
years already, a lot of what they taught us were things I would
never really think about. It was a whole other level of knowledge,”
Course participants are tested on a multitude
of curriculums, including Individual, Maintenance, Gunnery, and
Gunnery Training. The required amount of skills and intellect to
pass the Master Gunner Course has proven to be difficult, resulting
in a very low graduation rate.
“I didn’t pass the first
time, and I got down on myself. I didn’t want to go back.
Thankfully, I had some amazing people on my side that believed in me
and reminded me of my potential,” said Ramirez.
graduate from the course, Ramirez returned with the knowledge she
gained from her last attempt and used her past experiences to her
“When I went back to the course a second time, it
was a much better experience because I had a better grasp of what
was being explained. The instructors were great at helping me
understand the process behind things,” said Ramirez.
going back to the course for a second time, Ramirez graduated from
the course and became the first active duty female soldier to
graduate from The M1A2 Abrams Master Gunner Course.
shouldn’t stop you from wanting to be a better person. So, just
because we as females might fail the first time we try, it doesn’t
mean we stop. We have to keep going and pushing,” said Ramirez.
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