Women's role in the military is changing

MARION, IL (KFVS) - The role of women in the U.S. Military took a sudden turn on Wednesday.

That's because Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that he was lifting the ban on women fighting on the front lines of combat.

Panetta's decision now overturns a decision made by the Pentagon back in 1994 to keep women out of ground combat units.

And now some who are currently serving do agree with the change in the military. They also agreed upon one  thing that woman must be able to meet before fighting shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts.

"The requirements have to be the same for a man and a woman," said Major Greg Settle Executive Officer, 2nd Battalion 130th Infantry in Marion, Illinois. "You don't want someone to your right or left in an organization that is unable to perform the duties the same and meet the same physical and mental requirements that is required by a male counterpart."

Some enlisted soldiers also feel that women must be prepared as well as men before serving on the front lines.

"We have to be able to live up to the standards of what the men can do," said Specialist Frances Sikorski with the 2nd Battalion 130th Infantry in Marion, Illinois. "And I think as along as women can live up to those standards, then I think it should definitely be allowed."

Some military recruiters say the move will give them many more options to enlist women into service.

"I've served right alongside females and males in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I've got 17 years experience," said Major Settle. "As long as that individual, either a male or female can do the job, carry the weight and perform their duties. I don't really think there should be a difference. I think this could be a good thing for the U.S. Military."