Locals React To Open Combat Roles For Women

<p>Women Geared Up</p>

Women Geared Up

A U.S. Military policy set almost 20 years ago is elminated, opening up thousands of combat positions for women

For years, women have served in the military, including piloting warplanes and serving on ships in combat areas.

But none of those duties involved being deployed into ground combat.

Duane Ramacher served in the Vavy during the Vietnam War, and says we have come a long way with gender roles.

However, he admits, not all soldiers will welcome the women to the front lines with open arms

"[and] The other combat troops dont have to do anything special to try and carry the load that they're supposed to carry," said Ramacher, "If they do their job, great,. But I'm sure that some will accept it easily, and some won't."

Yesterday defense secretary Leon Panetta lifted the military's ban on women serving in combat.

This move opens up thousands if frontline positions for women, and potential elite commando units.

It also eliminates a policy put into place by the Pentagon back in 1994.

There were some vets at the VFW who say they disagree, but would not go on camera.

However, we did speak to people around town, who say they are concerned.

One resident says he is torn about the effects of having more women enlist for front line duties.

"I think that's a good idea to go back in the military; it offers a good line of learning, education," said Kevin Roybal, "but I wouldn't want my daughter to go over there and fight on the front line."

Duane Ramacher says only time will tell how Panetta's decision will play out -- for now, he see's it as an opportunity for women to prove themselves as worthy allies to those in the field.

"It would also help by having more troops available to the commanders to help fill platoons and regiments, and that sort of criteria," said Ramacher.

Pentagon officials say some jobs may open for women as soon as this year, however special operations forces may take longer.