January 24, 2013
Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky. in this May 9, 2012 file photo. The Pentagon is lifting its ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after generations of limits on their service, defense officials said Jan. 23. AP Photo/Kristin M. Hall, File
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WASHINGTON — Allowing women to serve in combat roles will strengthen the U.S. military’s ability to win wars, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday, shortly before his official announcement of the landmark change.