Thursday, May 23 2013 10:52 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:52:35 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Women in the military will now be able to serve on the front lines.
Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military's ban on women serving in combat.
The move overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.
But for some time, women have already been attached to combat units just not officially assigned. Lawmakers are recognizing the reality of the battlefield.
"You're not looking whether the person next to you is male or female. You're looking for somebody with a rifle that's putting rounds down range that's trying to keep you alive, trying to keep yourself alive," said John Wingfield, VFW Post Commander.
Some women are in favor of lifting the ban, because it will help them advance through the ranks.
Others believe our society is taking a step in the wrong direction.
"I just don't think at the end of the day there's gonna be anything they can do to erase the gender divide and the tensions that it's going to bring into the units," said Denny Burk, an Associate Professor of Biblical Studies.
Panetta's decision gives the military services until January 2016 to find special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.