Women to assume combat roles in U.S. military

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 15:25 EDT
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Cpl. Kristine Tejeda in Iraq. Photo: Flickr user DVIDSHUB, creative commons licensed.
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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta issued an order on Wednesday removing the military’s ban on women in combat roles, according to The Associated Press.

Panetta’s order overturns a 1994 rule barring women from combat roles in the military and directs military officials to begin crafting a plan to fully integrate all of the jobs currently available.

The military loosened some rules on women in combat last February, saying an additional 14,000 jobs in the Army and Marine Corps were being opened up to women, but not all.

Wednesday’s order should do exactly that, the AP noted, opening an additional 230,000 jobs — including special forces roles — that were not previously available to women. Some of the jobs could be available later this year.

“We are thrilled to hear Secretary Panetta’s announcement today recognizing that qualified women will have the same chance to distinguish themselves in combat as their brothers-in-arms, which they actually already have been doing with valor and distinction,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ariela Migdal said in prepared text. “But we welcome this statement with cautious optimism, as we hope that it will be implemented fairly and quickly so that servicewomen can receive the same recognition for their service as their male counterparts.”

The Department of Defense says that over 214,000 women — about about 14.6 percent of America’s soldiers — are currently serving across all branches of the military.

Photo: Photo: Flickr user DVIDSHUB, creative commons licensed.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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