Panetta: Women Are Integral To Military's Success
WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in announcing he is lifting a ban on women serving in combat, said he believes women have become an integral part of the military's ability to succeed.
Panetta made his announcement with the Joint Chiefs chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, at a Pentagon news conference.
Panetta said that not everyone can meet the qualifications to be a combat soldier. But, he said, everyone is entitled to the chance.
He said the qualifications will not be reduced, and with women playing a broader role, the military will be strengthened.
Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch calls it good news for the U.S. military that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says women can serve in combat roles.
The West Virginia resident says women have long been integral to victories in the fight for freedom.
Lynch was 19 when she was captured after her Army unit took a wrong turn and came under attack in Iraq in 2003. She was rescued after nine days in captivity.
Lynch urges Americans to support military men and women, and to push U.S. officials to ensure they have proper training and equipment.
Panetta says allowing women to fill combat roles will strengthen the U.S. military's ability to win wars.
But military leaders must decide which, if any, jobs will still be open only to men.