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Panetta says women in combat is a strength

Published: Thu, January 24, 2013 @ 10:40 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Allowing women to serve in combat roles will strengthen the U.S. military's ability to win wars, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today, shortly before his official announcement of the landmark change.

"Our military is more capable, and our force is more powerful, when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people," Panetta said at a Pentagon ceremony in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.

"Every person in today's military has made a solemn commitment to fight and, if necessary, to die, for our nation's defense," he said. "We owe it to them to allow them to pursue every avenue of military service for which they are fully prepared and qualified. Their career success and their specific opportunities should be based solely on their ability to successfully carry out an assigned mission. Everyone deserves that chance."

The decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat presents a daunting challenge to top military leaders who now will have to decide which, if any, jobs they believe should be open only to men.

Panetta planned to announce at a Pentagon news conference that more than 230,000 battlefront posts — many in Army and Marine infantry units and in potentially elite commando jobs — are now open to women. It will be up to the military service chiefs to recommend and defend whether women should be excluded from any of those more demanding and deadly positions, such as Navy SEALs or the Army's Delta Force.

The historic change, which was recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.


1Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

What???? You mean females are going to have to do the same work as men in the military??? I want to see the first female complete the Manchu 25 mile ruck march with 49.5 pound ruck + personal gear worn. A few with a lrs unit would be fun to watch also.

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2redeye1(5662 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Finally they are getting what they deserve , if they want equal rights like a man. Then they should have to fight to keep them. Other countries have military women fighting on the front . It's about time!!!!!!!!

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3Silence_Dogood(1675 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Ytownnative women have already been there and done that.
Lt. Col. Paula Schasberger, the 2nd Infantry Division Staff Judge Advocate, and 14 members of her staff completed the event, all earning the famed Manchu belt buckle, which has its roots anchored in military history.

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4Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

That's 1. What about the other 214,000.

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