Impact of new rule on woman in combat uncertain

Published: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM.

Pentagon officials lifted a ban this week on women in combat, prompting some quiet “Ooh-rahs” from women Marines while raising questions about what it really means. 

There are more than 200,000 U.S. women in uniform at present.

“Women are fighting now; there are a lot of women willing to fight and die for their country,” said U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-Farmville, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee and still sees the need for hearings on the policy change before it is fully implemented.

His district includes Cherry Point and other military bases.

The Marine Corps and Army, which has the largest infantry, are supposed to determine most of the changes by mid-May but have until 2016 for some changes to take effect.

“I think this ban came after Desert Storm when a captured woman pilot was treated differently because she was a woman,” Jones said in a phone interview. He said he has visited military hospitals and has seen women soldiers “trying to put a prosthesis on a blown-off leg. I’m not saying I’m opposed to it, just that I want to hear from the participants.”

A news release from his office later in the day, however, said “Jones expressed opposition to the Obama administration’s decision.” 

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