Mixed opinions on woman having combat positions in U.S. military
(WRCB) -- For the past 10 years U.S. military women have served at the frontlines in both Iraq and Afghanistan but were never allowed in direct ground combat roles. Now that the Pentagon has lifted the ban, it leaves mixed opinions among military, ex-military and the average citizen.
Now that the 20-year ban on women in combat has been lifted, it opens the door for some 237,000 combat-related positions.
The move has garnered mixed reaction.
"I think it shows great progression of equal rights," says Pamela Block.
Block says it is a step in the right direction.
"I think women should be able to fight for their country as well. I think it's also an opportunity for women to have, to be able to show their patriotism. And if they're willing to fight on the front lines, I don't think we should be able to stop them," says Block.
Veteran and organizing director, Maggie Martin, with Iraq Veterans Against the War tells Channel 3: "I think that we don't want to see any more men or women die in this war but we do want to see an end to systematic discrimination, patriarchy, and gender-based violence in the military so we have to recognize this as a huge and much needed step for equality."
Others shared their opinions on the Channel 3 Facebook page.
Gina Blyler writes, "This is just a bad judgement call on Panetta's part. There is a reason women have not been allowed in combat. I'm sure there are woman who could do the job, but tactically it's not smart."
Ashley Dixson writes, "I see nothing wrong with a woman being in the military. To every person their own."
"I'd say it's about time, honestly. It's something that's always kind of puzzled me as to why they couldn't," says Nick Moates.
Women still have to meet the same requirements as men to be on the frontlines, Even so, they would have to work their way closer to battle as medics or manning artillery before they become combat infantry troops.
Still, congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs as an army combat helicopter pilot in Iraq, says it creates more opportunities for women in uniform.
"It's hard to make it to general for example without a combat arms command at the brigade or battalion level, and this will now allow women some of that command time," says Democratic Representative Tammy Duckworth, from Illinois' 8th District.
Despite the previous combat ban, women have paid the ultimate price of war. One hundred and fifty-two U.S. military women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.