Veterans react to policy of allowing women in combat

TULSA - The Pentagon's decision to let women serve in combat roles drew praise from some, criticism from others.

Katrina Fisher, a Tulsa area resident, spent 16 months in Iraq. Part of her job was to protect convoys.

"What we did was support safety for anybody going base-to-base to ensure any insurgents wouldn't come intruding into our convoy," said Fisher.

Fisher said the job was so dangerous it felt like being on the front line.

"Combat to me isn't just breaking down a door and clearing a room," said Fisher.

Fisher said the Pentagon's plan to open more units to women will mean big changes.

"I think that takes a very special female and I also think it takes a very special male," said Fisher. "I mean you're running into insurgents that I mean they're killing their own women and children so they're going to kill any soldier, male or female."

Fisher said if women meet the same physical standards as men, she supports them moving to new roles, but says there are things to consider.

"She's going to have to understand there are standards she's going to be held to. She's probably going to come across some sexual harassment, sexual assault," said Fisher.

Gulf War veteran Douglas Bagby shares Fisher's concern.

"They have the right to join. They have the right to go to combat if they want to, but they also need to think about the consequences of being in combat," said Bagby.

Sexual harassment and assault are a big problem in the military. According to the defense department, more than 6,000 cases were reported in the last three years alone.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said military branches have three months to submit recommendations on whether there are certain jobs in which women will still be excluded.

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