Military leaders lift ban on women in combat units - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Military leaders lift ban on women in combat units

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

As many as 230,000 jobs could open up for women in the military.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, "They're fighting and they're dying together, and the time has come for our policies to recognize that reality."

Army Major Kristy Rose of Cedar Falls was pleased with Thursday's policy change.

"I don't see gender, race, ethnicity or anything. I just see soldiers, and we all serve together," said Rose.

Rose has been in the Army for more than a decade. She served in Iraq from 2003 - 2004, and Afghanistan from 2010 - 2011.

She currently teaches an introductory course at the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

Rose said in World War II women were more protected because many of them were in hospitals hundreds of miles away from the front lines. But she says women have been immersed in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan because there are no longer any "front lines."

"Now that there is no front line, women are kind of already in a combat situation," she said. "They have proven that they can, that they are just as able, to be in combat as men are."

According to Rose, many women have already volunteered to work combat positions, but the policy change will allow women to be recognized for their roles.

The Department of Defense said it does not plan to change strength standards or qualifications for combat units.

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