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      Pentagon's decision allows women to move forward

      The Pentagon's decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat presents a daunting challenge to top military leaders who now will have to decide which, if any, jobs they believe should be open only to men.

      The decision was announced by Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday during a conference at the Pentagon.

      During the announcement, Panetta addressed the ban which restricted women from serving in combat roles.

      If they can meet the standards, there is no reason why they shouldn TMt have the chance, said Panetta.

      Southwest Georgians agree with the decision. Harry Calloway, a disabled veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm, said as a Veteran and a citizen, he supports the move.

      "Women are tough, they have proven that throughout the years and I think that they'll be a real asset on the front line.

      Cassandra Goode, a former employee of the state says she believes the change was long overdue.

      "It's giving us empowerment that we always seek. It's a lot of women that wanted to go into the military and they never got the credit due. Purple hearts were given out left and right to the male counterparts but I'm sure just with the nurses that started in the beginning in the military, they've saved lives just as well."

      Fox 31 reached out to the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, who expressed their support for the decision in the following statement:

      "The Commandant and the entire Marine Corps are dedicated to maintaining the highest levels of combat readiness and capitalizing upon every opportunity to enhance our war fighting capabilities and the contributions of every Marine; it's simply the right thing to do. Our ongoing deliberate, measured and responsible approach to validate occupational performance standards for all Marines is consistent with the Secretary of Defense's decision to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women. As our Corps moves forward with the process, our focus will remain on combat readiness and generating combat-ready units while simultaneously ensuring maximum success for every Marine. The talent pool from which we select our finest war fighters will consist of all qualified individuals, regardless of gender."

      Though critics are weary of what the change would mean for any possible future drafts, those who are in support of the change say it TMs a step towards equal rights.

      When asked if the move made Calloway proud of the country he once served for, he had an immediate response.

      Yes. It does.

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