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Military personnel react to women in combat ban being lifted

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By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News


DETROIT (WJBK) -- They fight the same fight, and now that the ban on women in combat has been lifted, it will be on equal ground.

"I was really proud to see that come down, and I can't wait to see how my sisters in arms do," says Staff Sergeant Chandra Rogers with the Army National Guard.

She has been on three tours helping to protect the Pentagon after 9-11, and she ran mission operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Even though I wasn't on the front line, my job was just as important, and I appreciated being able to do that," Rogers says.

Would she have wanted the opportunity to be on the front line?

"Me, personally, when I first joined yes."

Now women like Rogers will get that change.  The policy will make women eligible to serve in ground combat and even special operations like the Navy Seals if they meet the physical qualifications.

"As long as they can do the job and they can meet the standards that men can meet, then they should be able to do what we do," says Major Skip Maynard.

But not all women in the military are ready to take on that position.

"What would hold me back is being a single mother.  Honestly, that's the only thing.  As far as me being able to actually do what's needed, then I can do that," says Mary Brown, who is enlisting.

"For women that actually want to do that, that's good for them.  It seems like this generation, more women, they're geared towards that.  They're built for that.  I'm not.  I'm old school," says Army National Guard Sergeant First Class Venus Sheposh.

Reportedly this announcement will open more than 200,000 jobs for women.  Those who work at the Army National Guard in Detroit hope the new policy will encourage more women to enlist.

"I believe that it will give females more confidence in order to come in and actually join the service and protect and defend this nation," says Rogers.

Serving in combat goes hand in hand with moving up the ranks in the military.  Rogers currently trains men to fight on the front lines.  Now she will be helping women take on that role she feels they are more than ready for.

"I'm so proud of this moment, and to all those soldiers out there that want to join, please go try.  Push yourself.  Do whatever it takes to accomplish the task that you want to do," she says.

In response to the expected announcement, Senator Carl Levin says, "I support it.  It reflects the reality of 21st century military operations."

Some jobs will open as soon as this year.  Others that need special assessments will take longer.

Military specialists have until 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions should remain closed to women.

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