Applause for Pentagon's Lifting the Ban on Women in Combat

It's Good News for Military Women

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Pentagon is lifting its ban on women officially serving in combat. Yahoo News asked female military veterans to react to the decision. Here's one perspective.

COMMENTARY | I applaud the decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat positions. When I joined the Army in 1984, during my senior year in high school, I originally wanted to go through airborne training, and was told that I could not because of my gender.

I ultimately joined as a combat medic because it was the only position that I could take and still be near the front if we went to war. My grandfather was 82nd Airborne during World War II and my mother was in the Navy during Vietnam. My mother had to get out of the Navy when she found out that she was pregnant with me.

I wonder: What kind of career could she have had if she had been allowed to stay in?

Ultimately, what I considered to be most unfair was that we could still be in combat situations and could be wounded or die for our country, but we did not get credit for being there. What this ban did was to prevent women from proving themselves just as capable as men and to feed into a persistent and damaging perception of women in the military being only support personnel for the men who did the real work.

The first day at my new duty station in 1987, I was told by my new squad leader that he was angry that I had been assigned to his squad because he didn't want to carry my weight too. He needed a man on his squad who could do the work without worrying about "breaking a nail." My hope is that this will finally allow women to take the next step and crash through this glass ceiling and end the persistent discrimination.

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