The Bugler

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Women in the Military

On January 24, 2013, then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the U.S. military was lifting the official ban on women serving in combat roles. Panetta's full account can be read at Military.com. He stated that "removing gender barriers within the U.S. military will improve the fighting force as a whole." In his announcement Panetta went on to say that "It's clear to all of us that women are contributing in unprecedented ways to the military's mission of defending the nation. Female service members have faced the reality of combat, proven their willingness to fight and, yes, to die to defend their fellow Americans."

"We are eliminating the direct ground combat exclusion rule" that barred women from front-line infantry, armor, artillery units and Special Operations, Panetta said. In the future, "if members of the military meet the qualifications for the job - not reduced qualifications - then they should have the right to serve" in whatever MOs they choose, Panetta said.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who heads the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, called the decision "historic." NBC News reported in an interview with Murray that she stated, "In fact, it's important to remember that in recent wars that lacked any true front lines, thousands of women already spent their days in combat situations serving side-by-side with their fellow male service members." The entire article can be read on NBCNews.com.

Another First for Women

Michelle JohnsonFrom a press release on Friday, March 1, 2013 from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the President of the United States nominated Maj. Gen. Michelle Johnson for the appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment to serve as Air Force Academy's 19th superintendent. If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson would become the first woman to hold the position.

Currently serving as NATO's deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence, Johnson is a 1981 distinguished graduate from the Academy where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in operations research. She was the first female cadet wing commander and the first female Rhodes Scholar from the Academy. She is also the second all time leading scorer on the Air Force

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