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Women in Combat

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Thursday the Pentagon lifted its ban on women in combat.

At least 130 female troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 800 were wounded; even though they were not classified as combat soldiers at the time.

Deanie Johnson is a proud U.S. Navy Veteran.

Johnson says, "I was in the first class of officers the Navy every had."

Johnson says she has seen a lot of changes for females in the military over the years.

Thursday, the Pentagon has lifted its ban on women in combat, something Johnson says has been a long time coming.

She says, "I think a lot of combat has been taking place without making it obvious."

The joint chiefs of staff recommended the new policy.

It will open up more than 200,000 frontline jobs to women, mostly in the Army and Marines.

Lifting the ban, means more advancement, and higher pay for female officers.

U.S. Representative Rodney Alexander, says "I know there are some women out there, that are very capable of doing some of the things men do today, whether they're qualified and capable of being on the front lines will remain to be seen."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that not everyone can meet the qualifications to be a combat soldier. But, he said, everyone is entitled to the chance.

Johnson says, "I would be very upset and insulted today really if they were not allowed to go in combat because they've been dying in equal opportunities for years."

Johnson says she's proud she was able to serve in the military.

She says, "I feel that it was an honorable thing to do and that I'm proud to have served my country."

Johnson believes there will be even more opportunities for females in the military in the years to come.

Women will have to meet fitness requirements, which could keep them out of some units.

Many service women say just the chance is progress.

The new policy will be phased in over 3 years.

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