Jessica Lynch happy women eligible for combat roles
Jessica Lynch, who shot to fame as a POW during the Iraq war in 2003, is featured in the South Charleston, W.Va. Christmas Parade on Dec. 10, 2011. / AP Photo/Bob Bird
MORGANTOWN, West Virginia Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch says it's good news that the U.S. military will now allow women to serve in combat roles.
Lynch was 19 when she was captured in Iraq after her Army unit took a wrong turn and came under attack in 2003. She was rescued after nine days.
Lynch urges Americans to push U.S. officials to ensure both male and female soldiers have proper training and equipment.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday announced the change, saying that allowing women to fill combat roles will strengthen the U.S. military's ability to win wars. It overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.
CBS News correspondent David Martin reports the order will open 200,000 more jobs to women, primarily in the Army and Marines. The services have until May to draw up a plan for opening all units to women and until the end of 2015 to actually implement it.
Military leaders must decide which, if any, jobs will still be open only to men. Retired Gen. Richard Myers, a CBS News senior military security analyst, said on "CBS This Morning" Thursday that the requirements to reach such positions likely won't change.
"As the services look at this, I think the one thing that they'll probably look at is not changing training standards to accommodate women," said Myers, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "When we brought women fighter pilots into the Air Force, we didn't change our training standards, and women are totally accepted as part of the crew force in bombers and fighters and so forth."
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