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Women strive in combat

All-male combat units couldn’t have made the message any clearer to women—“Stand aside little lady, and let the big boys handle this.” Even though women were welcomed into the army, they weren’t allowed to obtain jobs in infantry, artillery, armor, and other combat roles because of a 1994 Pentagon rule that excluded them from performing in those units.

From then on, women were not legitimately permitted to fight on front lines until Thursday, Jan. 24, when Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced his official decision to change that military policy.

When I first heard of this news, I thought, “Wow, this is a really cool thing.” And it is. Allowing women to operate in ground combat is a big change for the U.S. military. I believe this change will bring inspiration, not only to women who are dead-set on joining the army, but also to ordinary women because they know that they’ve just been handed another choice in life even if they’re never going to take it.

I thought all of America would praise women going into combat, but later I encountered the opinions of those who felt uncertain about women joining men in those roles.

Seniors Seled Galvan and Amber Jacques are both passionate about our country’s military and are both planning on joining the Air Force. Even though they’re dedicated to joining the military, they both feel reluctant about the idea of participating in direct combat themselves.

Galvan said that ground combat units aren’t the best positions for women to be a part of. She said, “Most women aren’t as physically strong as men… but if women who want to (fight in combat) can, they definitely should.”

Jacques said, “If a man can do it, a woman can do it,” Jacques said. “But this is something you dedicate your whole life to.” She also said that women who want to join ground combat should have the chance to, but she doesn’t recommend it because then, not only would we have male war veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder, but also have women suffering through the same post-war effects.

I do understand how people can feel hesitant about women joining men in combat. There have been debates about whether women will be strong enough to handle the heavy weaponry, gear, and equipment that men usually have to carry with them. There have also been concerns about a woman’s ability to carry injured service members out of harm’s way.

Despite the restless opinions shuffling around, I believe that women who absolutely want to be part of the action are well aware of the risks that come along with the job.This certainly does not mean that the requirements for being able to fight in ground combat should be lowered so women can slip by easier because that can prove to be disastrous on the battlefront. The standards should reasonably remain as they are now and women who can meet them should be allowed in.

Now that this inspiring change has been made, people should support women who want to join ground combat units. Having women and men serve side-by-side in combat strengthens the idea of equality amongst all people in America. It can prove that by collaborating together and giving all of their effort, people can plow through the toughest challenges for the good of our country.

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Women strive in combat