Women in combat: Baton Rouge veterans respond
BATON ROUGE - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban on combat for women and said, "if they can meet the qualifications for the job, then they should have the right to serve."
With those words, roles are changed. A change that will open over 200,000 jobs including infantry, armor and all-male units from which women were barred from under a 1994 Pentagon rule.
Thousands of women have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, placed on the front lines unable to obtain the credentials needed to advance in combat.
Army veteran Tanya Whitney says women have always been in combat. She spent 28 years in aircraft maintenance, working on airplanes and helicopters.
"There is no front line," said Whitney. "Today's wars, operations, whatever you want to call them, there is no defined front line."
Whitley doesn't think a lot of women will jump at the gun to enter combat, but it will create an equal atmosphere.
"Those that are capable and want to do it, I think it's a great thing," said Whitney.
Service branches have until May 15 to come up with plans for integrating women into combat positions.