Impact of new rule on woman in combat uncertain

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

“The Commander-in-Chief should be focused on maintaining our military as the best fighting force in the world, not using it to advance his social agenda,” said Jones in the release. “Having had the privilege of representing one of the largest military districts in the country for many years, I have spoken with numerous Marine officers about this topic. They have all voiced their concern.  These are men who have been on the front lines and know the horrors of war. When they have reservations, I listen.”

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., released a statement supporting the change.

“The Pentagon’s decision to allow women to serve in combat roles is a positive step,” Hagan said. “Women will now be able to serve our country in new capacities, and they will be afforded more opportunities for the same career advancement as their male counterparts.

“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a senator from the state with the third largest military presence in the nation, “I thank all of our service members —male and female, and I am committed to working with the Pentagon to implement this policy.”

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had the endorsement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the change, which many say simply makes official practices already in place for women in thousands of military jobs and gives them the title and combat pay attached.

Hank Gotard, retired 30-year Marine Corps pilot and now Veteran Services Officer in Carteret County, said lifting the ban “is the right thing to do and long overdue. Women have done a fine job of what they are doing and have served with distinction.”

“In the Navy, they have been out there at sea flying EA-6B Prowlers a long time, then got into single seat tactical jets,” he said. There is now a leadership team aboard a carrier led by a woman, and women have been flying helicopters in combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan.



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