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Many JBLM soldiers cheer decision to allow women in combat

photoJOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD — They wear the same uniform and take the same oath.

Soon, they will be able serve in the same positions.

Many women serving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington applauded the Defense Secretary Leon Panett’s decision Wednesday to lift a ban on women serving in into combat roles.

Heidi Olson, an enlisted soldier stationed at JBLM, said many women have already served in combat, fighting right alongside their male counterparts  But It was just never official.

Now, women who want to serve in combat will finally get the chance officially.

“We don’t have to do the backdoor way of getting into combat zones,” Olson said. “Now it’s official that we can go in and attempt to do infantry if we meet the physical requirements, and I think for me personally, I’m thoroughly excited for the opportunity.”

Olsen, a Purple Heart award recipient, is already dreaming of serving in the Army Special Forces.

“It’s a chance to break down barriers and to start chipping away at a path for future generations for females in the military,” she said.

Other soldiers agreed the decision to allow women in combat was a step forward.

“I think it’s just recognition of what you’ve been doing,” 1st Sgt. Marcia McGee said. “Women are already out there on the front doing everything the males are doing.”

There are more than 4,000 female soldiers stationed at JBLM. The changes will not be enacted until 2016. The details of the plan are expected to be released in May.

4 comments

  • Joshua

    I thinks it’s good women serve in the armed forces. I deployed twice to Iraq myself and saw woman doing the same jobs as men. My problem with this story is how the combat infantry badge was reported on. The young woman was awarded a combat medic badge which was created to give front line medics a badge showing they had been in direct combat. The Army even recently created the Combat Action Badge for military occupations that are not infantry or medics to include women that date back to the beginning of the War on Terror. In the the future it would be better to get all the facts before just saying she didn’t get the Combat Infantry Badge because she is a female. She revieved the same badge any male medic in the same situation would have been awarded. The infantry are the experts in ground combat and deserve the respect for commiting to be ground forces.

  • R Smith

    Isn't that wonderful. Now they can get killed just like their male counterpart? So exciting! What a bunch of crap. When are they going to start drafting women? They want to be just like men? Let them start carring 80lb packs and humping the field like the men do. They are unable to carry their own gear what if they have to carry motars and base plates and the gear that men carry. You can bet that they will ask the men to carry the heavy loads for them.

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