Women in Combat Roles

It is probably not news to you, newsies that you are, that SecDef Leon Panetta formally ended the military ban on women serving in front-line combat roles:

The decision by outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to be formally announced on Thursday and comes after 11 years of non-stop war that has seen dozens of women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Female soldiers train on the firing range wearing new body armor.

Female soldiers train on the firing range wearing new body armor.

They have represented around 2 percent of the casualties of those unpopular, costly wars, and some 12 percent of those deployed for the war effort, in which there were often no clearly defined front lines, and where deadly guerrilla tactics have included roadside bombs that kill and maim indiscriminately.

“This is an historic step for equality and for recognizing the role women have, and will continue to play, in the defense of our nation,” said Democratic Senator Patty Murray from Washington, the outgoing head of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

Capt. Sara Rodriguez of the 101st Airborne Division walks through the woods during the expert field medical badge testing at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Capt. Sara Rodriguez of the 101st Airborne Division walks through the woods during the expert field medical badge testing at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine captain and head of the Service Women’s Action Network, said her decision to leave the Marine Corps in 2004 owed partly to the combat exclusion policy.

“I know countless women whose careers have been stunted by combat exclusion in all the branches,” said Bhagwati, who called the decision an “historic moment.”

Of course, the ladies will have to meet certain requirements. Like Mikel Ruffinelli, aka the world’s largest hips, would not qualify.