Posted: Jan 28, 2013 7:37 PM by MTN News
GREAT FALLS - Women in the military now have the green light to serve in units with direct combat.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta removed the 1994 decision that excluded women from combat positions last week.
Officials say this is the next logical step in the department's effort to eliminate gender-based restrictions, and hope to open more than 200,000 positions to women by 2016.
Each service is now required to submit a detailed plan for implementation to the Panetta in the next 90 days.
But the Montana Air National Guard says the U.S. Air Force has been ahead of the curve, and don't expect to see many changes.
"We went through our integration back in the early 90s when they allowed women back into the flying combat missions and tactical combat. Like the F15s we have," explained Cody Smith with the 120th Fighter Wing.
Major Smith says the transition will still take a while after plans have been approved to make modifications to infrastructure that was once men-only.