Our View: Women hit the front lines in the U.S. military

DKS Editors

In the Civil War, women were allowed to serve in the war as nurses for wounded soldiers. By World War II, women were admitted into the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard to serve in auxiliary positions. And in 1976, women were finally admitted to military academies such as West Point, the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy.

Just this Wednesday, women made further advances in the U.S. military as they are now going to be allowed to serve in combat positions.

Last May, Jane Baldwin and Ellen Haring, both U.S. Army reservists, filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Army Secretary John McHugh to end the U.S. military ban on women serving in combat roles.

According to the Washington Post, women make up 14 percent of active-duty military, and 152 female troops have been killed in the Iraq and Afghan wars.

Baldwin and Haring were bold to file the lawsuit to the U.S. government because this is one of the few restrictions still placed on women’s rights in the U.S.

Panetta responded to their suit Wednesday and lifted the ban on women serving in combat. The Pentagon announced it is opening 14,000 combat-related positions to female troops. However, 238,000 other positions were kept off-limits to women, most of them being in the Army and Marine Corps.

Although not all combat jobs are opened to women, it’s a step forward for women in the military. Women might not all go rushing to serve in combat immediately after this is legal in February, but it is relieving to know it’s finally an option.

It’s about time the U.S. military got with the 21st century and granted equality to serve for both sexes. Because women are now going to be able to serve in combat, more women might get promoted to higher military ranks. As long as a woman is in physical and mental shape to serve in combat, and has some expertise on how the battlefield works, she could be just as important as men on the front lines.

This was one of Panetta’s final decisions before he leaves his position as Secretary of Defense in mid-February. The Daily Kent Stater supports Panetta’s response to Baldwin and Haring’s lawsuit.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.