Iowans Say Woman Have Been In Combat "For Years"

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Eastern Iowa veterans say they're pleased that the military has lifted its ban on women serving in combat roles. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made the announcement Thursday morning, which is expected to open positions on the front lines.

"It's not about equality, it's about the right person for the right job," said Alicia Dill, a University of Iowa graduate who served six years in the National Guard. "I honestly don't think this is a big change, I think this is the military catching up to the reality of the situation and finally recognizing women for what we're capable of."

Woman serving in Afghanistan and Iraq have already been in combat roles for years, Dill said.

"In the units I've served with over my career, there were women capable of doing every job," said John Mikelson, UI Veterans Center coordinator. "Put the best people in the positions where they can do best."

Thursday afternoon Col. Greg Hapgood, public relations officer with the Iowa National Guard, said the change would have "minimal impact" on state guard operations. "In today's combat there really are no front lines. Anyone or any unit is a target. We have women in units as medics and administrative roles that are targets not limited by geography," he said.
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