Lift of Ban on Women Serving in Combat Brings Mixed Reaction
Some say it was a long time coming, others are wondering just exactly what it will mean
ANCHORAGE - Some would say it was a long time coming, others are wondering just exactly what it will mean. Today the formal ban on women serving in combat was lifted, and in some spots, that was the talk of the town.
The Qdoba restaurant in Muldoon is a busy lunch spot, catering to service members from the nearby base. On the menu today, a hot topic: lifting the ban on female fighters in the military.
“We don't look at ourselves like females in the army,” said Sergeant Celene Connell, who was enjoying her lunch with a friend. “We've always been told through basic and all of our training that we are soldiers, we're not females.”
Now, some are soldiers who want to be considered for some of the toughest jobs in the military. But if women like the idea, what about the men they’ll fight beside? Some women soldiers say they’ve already heard opposition.
Specialist Jason Givinski has heard it too, but said a recent attack in Afghanistan changed his mind.
“I looked over and I saw someone on a machine gun just pounding this hill. It turns out a few days later we were talking about it and it was her,” said Givinski, pointing to his lunch companion, Specialist Sydney Miles.
“I carried a big machine gun all over Afghanistan and it's hard, it’s hard for a female to do something like that,” said Miles. “So I think if they want to be Infantry or they want to go Rangers they are going to have to pass at the same standard as the men.”
Miles thinks some women will be up for the job but all of them should be given the opportunity to try. And some already have. Women have been fighting alongside men on recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, but today’s change would open up hundreds of thousands of new frontline positions. Military leaders are being asked to report by mid-May on how some of these changes might take place. They have until 2015 to fully implement them.