Last Week Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that, for the first time, women would be allowed to serve in ground combat situations. Secretary Panetta said not everyone can meet the qualifications to be a combat soldier but, everyone is entitled to the chance and he believes women have become a vital part of the military's ability to succeed.
Many folks think that women should not be allowed in combat but what a lot of us don't realize is that ship has already sailed...literally. The Navy and the Air Force lifted most prohibitions on women in combat long ago, allowing them to fly fighter jets and fire weapons on warships. Over 800 women have been wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, 120 of them have paid the ultimate price. Women currently represent almost 15% of our active duty military.
Folks, we need to realize the military is the great equalizer. It is not going to relax the tough standards for physical strength and battle readiness for anyone. In this day of gender neutrality, many of us scratch our heads and wonder. But know this: Valor knows no gender. Whether man or woman, we support putting the best qualified and most capable people on the field of battle. The brave women that choose to put on a uniform, don a rifle, and step forward to serve our country in combat deserve our thanks and our praise.
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