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Naval Academy Head Says School Could Produce Female SEALs

WASHINGTON (WJZ) -- Women as Navy SEALs? The head of the US Naval Academy says if the military changes its policy, there's no doubt they can produce female SEALs.

Christie Ileto spoke to a Naval Academy grad about this latest shift in breaking the military's glass ceiling.

It's another door that could be opening to women in the Navy---and Lauren Zapf says she wishes it was available to her when she was at the academy.

It is the Navy's most elite force and the SEALs---who are intensely trained for direct action warfare---could be opening its doors to women.

In a Monday board meeting, the superintendent of the Naval Academy said if the military changed its policy, he had "no doubt that our women will do very well in that program."

"I think it makes sense. I think it's about time," Zapf said.

Zapf is a 2003 Naval Academy grad and with Service Women Action Network. She spoke with us via Facetime.

"There's a focus on standards and not on gender and if women can meet those standards, the occupation should definitely be opened up to any women that can do that."

This comes a week after the Navy's Special Warfare Unit recommended SEALs and combat jobs be open to everyone---meaning women.

It was a historic milestone last month, when two women became the Army's first female rangers. It was preceded by a 2013 decision to overturn a rule that limited women's roles in combat.

"I think there's just an emphasis on equality. Women have the potential to do what men can do and we can make the armed services better as a whole with integrating us into the mix more," Zapf said.

Integrating the military's most storied unit could be another break in a decades-old glass ceiling for women serving.

Women make up 27% of the Naval Academy's student body. Vice Admiral Carter says he has 36 slots for Navy SEALs this year.

While the combat ban was rescinded for all military branches in 2013, each branch may file for exemptions by October 1 and the ultimate decision will be made in January 2017.

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