Women in Combat

A nearly 20-year ban has been lifted on women serving in military combat. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has announced the monumental change, which will make thousands of roles in infantry, armor and other previously male-only units available to women.

“For the first time, you actually as a woman in uniform could dream or aspire to be the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, much in the same way we encourage little girls to be the president of the United States one day,” said Erica Borggren, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “That’s something that no woman in uniform before you plausibly dream of.”

There are now than 214,000 women serving in active duty, or about 15% of the armed forces.

Having spent 20 years in the Army National Guard, Naperville resident Tracey Collins knows first-hand the significance of this break through.

“This will even the playing field so when there are promotions or things in the future, female soldiers will be able to compete equally with their counterparts,” said Collins.

Panetta is asking each branch of the military to study which specific jobs should be open to women and they must come back with their plans and recommendations by May 15th.

All changes are to be in place and women serving in new roles by January 1st, 2016.

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