High-ranking woman at Ft. Knox says combat roles mean new opport - WDRB 41 Louisville News

High-ranking woman at Ft. Knox says combat roles mean new opportunities for female soldiers

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FT. KNOX, Ky. (WDRB) -- New U.S. Army rules are making it possible for women to serve in combat units, and a top-ranking woman at Ft. Knox will play a key role in making that historic change happen

It's a change some compare to the racial integration of the army back in 1948. As of April 1, combat positions are now officially open to female soldiers for the first time.

While there are no more combat units at Ft. Knox, it is home to the U.S. Army Recruiting command, responsible for signing up 80,000 new soldiers every year.

The Deputy Commander, Brig. General Donna Martin, is pleased that she can now offer female recruits the opportunity she never had.

“No one wants someone to tell their daughter what they can't dream about, what they can't achieve,” Martin told WDRB News.

While women can now officially serve in combat units, Martin says female soldiers on the front lines are not new.

“Women have been proving themselves over and over in combat for many, many years. So, now, when we officially open the combat roles, it's just another step in the full integration of our Army,” she said.

Martin says infrastructure of combat units, such as barracks, will change to accommodate women. But one thing will not change.

“The training doesn't change. The standards don't change,” said Martin.

But Martin admits, for some, this historic change in the Army's core culture will be a very hard sell.

“What I typically hear is men are raised to protect women. When we put women in the same training, when we raise you together with the same training, the same ability, the same resources, they can do the exact same mission,” she said.

To help make that case, Martin aims to increase the number of female recruiters.

“We used to be segregated. We are no longer that. So, we've overcome the challenges our society has had. That's what makes the Army one of the greatest organizations in the world,” said Martin.

Gen. Martin does not expect a flood right away of women signing up for combat units. But over time, she believes the numbers will grow.

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