Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to allow women in combat jobs is “long overdue,” Democratic Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth said on Wednesday.
“This is a win for our nation,” Duckworth, a former Army helicopter pilot who lost both of her legs fighting in Iraq, told Politico. “This is a win for our military — that the talents of all of these women are going to be able to be used by our nation to protect and defend this great democracy.
“Bottom line, women have seen combat,” added Duckworth, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “This just allows us to formally take advantage of the talent pool that is out there.”
Duckworth is one of two female veterans serving in Congress, the other being Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Duckworth served in aviation, the only Army job classified as a combat position that was available for women, Politico reports.
“Anytime that we as a nation have lifted restrictions and allowed people to serve based on their performance, our military and our nation has benefited from it,” she told Politico. “You had the same argument with gays in the military. I don’t think that we’ve seen a degradation of our military readiness.”
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