Combat positions open for women

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Photo by the Associated Press/ Sakchai Lalit -- An unidentified female soldier patrols on foot in Basra, Iraq.
Photo by the Associated Press/ Sakchai Lalit — An unidentified female soldier patrols on foot in Basra, Iraq.

History was made Jan. 24 when U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted a 19-year-old ban on women serving on the front lines in the military.

According to foxnews.com, it is possible that up to 230,000 jobs will now be available to women, with most of these being in Army and Marine infantry units.

The former ban restricted women from roles of combat such as artillery, armor and infantry.

With 14 percent of the current 1.4 million active service members being women, some believe this is a positive step forward.

“As a woman interested in the military, I understand that there are physical standards that are necessary to meet,” said Lorelyn Lucas, senior civil engineering major and Reserve Officers’ Training Corp Cadet.

“However, I also understand that women are biologically created differently than men. Apparently, there are few, not a lot, but few women in the military who want to be treated wholly equal when it comes to being able to be in such physically demanding areas of the military.”

Panetta said, “It’s clear to all of us that women are contributing in unprecedented ways to the military’s mission of defending the nation.”

Controversy has risen about whether this is a good idea. While some say it is a progressive step, others say women are not fit for the front line.

Despite whether women are fit for the position, some believe the option should still be available.

“Personally, I just don’t see most women, including myself, joining such areas of the military,” Lucas said. “But to the few women who are going for it, I congratulate them.”

The branches of the military are also now presented with the task of making a plan on how to implement this new rule. It will be very different trying to change the way that the military has operated for the past 19 years.

Branches have until 2016 to make and submit their assessments for whether or not they think certain positions are fitting for women.

It is clear that it will be a slow-moving process, but a necessary one.

About Bradlee Locke

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