Pentagon to Allow Women in Combat

Pentagon to Allow Women in Combat

Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta will remove the military's ban on women serving in combat.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta plans to lift a ban on women serving in combat.

April Shepherd is one proud veteran. "I feel that it's great to go and do that but I also feel strongly that there should be no provisions made for females in training and on the front line just because they are female," she said.

Changes could go into effect as early as May, according to the Defense Department.

Women fighting on the front line doesn't sit to well with all veterans.

"I don't think a woman ought to be in the service, her place is at home. She's not a man. I wouldn't want her to be behind my back in combat," said Veteran Tommy Bellew, who spent 3 years in the Army, two of them in Vietnam, and is thankful women did not serve with him.

The groundbreaking decision overturns a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry and other such combat roles.

"They're in the military because they want to help protect our country. If they want to be there I think they should be allowed to be there," said VFW's Belinda Bryant.

Military service branches will have until January 2016 to implement the changes or get waivers to prevent women from taking certain jobs.

"I wouldn't want one to take care of my back. I don't think a woman could hold up stuff like a man can. I think she'd get scared and run off," said Bellew.

"There are a lot of females out there who are strong enough to do those jobs and who do want to do it," said Shepherd.
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