Former troops say time has come for women in combat units
Marines Sgt. Sheena Adams, Lance Cpl. Kristi Baker and Navy Hospital Corpsman Shannon Crowley in Afghanistan in 2010.
January 24th, 2013
12:25 PM ET

Former troops say time has come for women in combat units

By Chelsea J. Carter and Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) - For women who have already seen combat, it is a decision that is well overdue. But for the skeptics, it is a setback that will damage the military.

The Pentagon's reported decision to lift the ban on women in combat units will take time to put into effect, but many former service members are lauding reports that the Defense Department will make the change soon.

"We have an all-volunteer force, and I think that this opens up a pool of folks who could serve in these positions," said Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who lost both legs and the use of one arm when her helicopter crew was shot down in 2004. "Any time that we've opened up our military to performance-based service ... we've benefited as a military. This is good for the nation."

The new policy will be implemented over the next three years, and some units may apply for exemptions, a senior defense official told CNN.