Local female veteran speaks out about women in combat decision - FOX 35 News Orlando

Local female veteran speaks out about women in combat decision

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta plans to lift the ban on women in combat.  It's a historic decision that could mean more jobs and higher pay for women. Secretary Panetta is expected to announce the details of the plan on Thursday.

It's historic news to female veterans such as Orlando-native Jackie Taylor.  She served during Vietnam. Taylor told FOX 35 she still remembers a disheartening conversation that she had with her recruiter.

"I wanted to be a paratrooper," said Taylor. "And of course, he said women weren't allowed in those fields so I was assigned to the medical corp."

The move will take time.

The Department of Defense will first have an assessment phase, and then come up with a timetable for integrating units. A deadline of January 2016 has been set.

"It really doesn't make any sense," said Taylor. "We either are going to have equal pay, equal job opportunities in all areas or we're not. There's no 'we gotta get ready for it.'"

This new directive will open more than 230,000 jobs to women in the Army and Marines. Taylor said it could also mean higher pay for many of the female heads of households.

"They'll probably get higher duty pay because if you're in combat you get combat pay," said Taylor.

On the flip side, critics such as Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness warned against the move.

"To summarize thirty years of studies and reports, women do not have an equal opportunity to survive or to help fellow soldiers survive in a direct ground combat environment," said Donnelly.

The Pentagon released a statement on Wednesday saying Secretary Panetta strongly supports these changes.


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