Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Women on the Front Lines: Yes We Can!

"We're So Strong"

As the US military prepares to lift the ban preventing women from serving on the front lines of military combat, we're inspired by the words of Ms. Violet Palmer, the first female NBA referee who had these words to say about being a female in her own male-dominated profession.

"I didn't know if they'd talk differently, look at me differently, or if they'd touch me", said Palmer who has been an NBA ref since 1997 of her fellow male referees.

While the NBA and military operations are quite different animals, both surely were met with oppositionary reactions initially, but said Palmer, "I knew if I did my job well, they cynics would be quiet."

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (who is slated to resign from his post this year) said in a statement yesterday, "The department's goal in rescinding the rule is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender."

In agreement is President Obama who showed his support to Panetta saying, "Today, every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love."   

A few front-line military roles may open to women as soon as this year. Other roles, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALS and the Army's Delta Force, may take longer to implement.

"This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, including more than 150 women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan—patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender", the president remarked. 

Stay tuned for more development on this important step in U.S. military history.

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