RHINELANDER, WI (WXPR) - The military is lifting its ban on women serving in combat roles, which will open about 230,000 posts, including those on the front lines. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made the announcement Thursday.
Pentagon policy restricting women from serving in combat on the ground was modified in 1994. Women cannot be assigned below the brigade level to fight on the ground. That has effectively barred women from infantry, artillery, armor, combat engineers and special operations units of battalion size -- about 700 troops -- or lower until this week's announcement.
Navy veteran Tammy Walters is Oneida County Veteran's Service Officer. She says the announcement gives her mixed emotions, but, she says, there are things to think about...long term....for any female recruit. "They have to think about, you know, is this something I really want to do because hand-to-hand combat is no joke, and trust me, I see it in my job. There are after effects. You don't just come home and live a normal life, and they need to think about that."
Walters says many combat veterans she talks to have some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. She says many women also want to be mothers and must decide if the combat stress could affect them raising children in the future.