Women in Combat: Fair fight or wrong move? - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Women in Combat: Fair fight or wrong move?

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(CBS 8) - The Pentagon made it clear, women in the military must have the same opportunities as men to take on grueling and dangerous combat jobs.

Thursday's announcement comes two months after a group of military women filed this lawsuit.

According to one plaintiff: "The ability to serve has very little to do with gender. It has everything to do with heart, character, ability, determination and dedication. This policy is a disservice to those women who put their lives on the line for their country."

Having served a 17 month tour in Iraq, former Army Interrogator Julia Thompson says she knows what it takes to make it in the military.

While she's happy about the new policy, which officially allows women to fight along the front lines, she hopes it will bring about some needed change.

"There's a role for women in the Marines, but not in the infantry."

Retired Marine General Michael Neil says his opinion about women along the front lines is based on his experiences in Vietnam.

He's concerned the combat requirements would too much for them to handle.

"The average weight carried by a Marine infantryman in Iraq and Afghanistan vary between 70 to 100 pounds," said Neil.

Not a problem say women like Amanda Bell. The MMA fighter has fought gender roles for years and has proven herself to be just as capable as anyone else.

"I was lifting and moving heavy treadmills that are 200, 300 plus pounds and moving them on my own. It's all in technique, it's all in what you know and how you work," explained Bell.

Former Marine Liz Carmouche, who served three tours in Iraq, says she understands how people are divided on this issue, but also supports women.

"I, in part feel, women are just as strong as men and they are able to push through difficult situations. So, they definitely have the ability to be on the front line," Carmouche continued. "But I have seen from personal experience what happens when you put women in compromising situations, their male counterparts feel like they have to protect them and sometimes it costs the mission."

Women make up about 14 percent of the military's 1.4 million active duty personnel.

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