Local Army officials weigh in on lifting on women combat ban
By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA – For the past ten years, US military women have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but never as ground combat troops.
Lifting the 20-year ban against women in combat will ultimately put them directly into the heat of battle.
“I'm really proud, there were always a lot of questions as to why we couldn't go overseas and fight in the same war we had been helping with the whole entire time,” Former Navy Sailor Tahara Roundtree says.
Retired General Jerry White is no stranger to gender integration in the army. He was sent to West Point in the 1970's to study integration when women were first allowed into service academies.
“There was a lot of emotion that was involved with that decision. There was a lot of West Point graduated who thought it was absolutely the wrong decision and probably some that still do,” White says.
White says the challenge with women on the front lines today is how to measure standards taking into consideration the physiological differences between the genders.
“We need to be careful that we know exactly what the requirements are for combat,” White says.
When it comes to special forces, Retired General Ken Leuer says he welcomes women, but says women shouldn't be treated differently.
“The standards we use to level success or failure should be the same standards,” Leuer says.
While Leuer says he is confident there are many women serving our country who are capable of meeting current standards, White says some changes may need to be made to accommodate women.
“It's not if, it's not when, it's how. And we need to give this some serious thought and we can't do this with our heads in the sand like an ostrich,” White says.