- (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch has said she is pleased with the news that women will be allowed to serve in combat roles. The policy change came earlier this week, with an announcement by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Lynch told the Associated Press it was "good news for the U.S. Military," and hopes that America will continue to support men and women in uniform.
"For years women have been fighting for our freedom. They've been put in those roles anyway. Whether they are designed for a front line mission, they're being put in those kinds of roles and paths anyway. I had the training and did everything just like the men had done," Lynch told WSET-ABC.
She has been a staunch supporter of her brothers and sisters in arms since 2003, when she was rescued after her unit came under attack in Iraq. The world waited and watched as a rescue mission successfully brought the 19-year-old woman home. Lynch has also spoken out about the needs of military personnel and has urged Congress to provide proper training and equipment to those fighting abroad.
President Obama has also expressed his support for the change.
"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," he said in a written statement.
The decision has not been welcomed by everyone, including current members of the armed forces. Captain Katie Petronio, a Marine Corps officer, wrote an article for the Marine Corps Gazette expressing her doubt about the success of the integration.
"As a combat-experienced Marine officer, and a female, I am here to tell you that we are not all created equal, and attempting to place females in the infantry will not improve the Marine Corps as the Nation's force-in-readiness or improve our national security," Petronio wrote.
The Pentagon, and Joint Chiefs of Staff have all expressed their support for the integration, which is to begin immediately.