Women in uniform are now making new plans thanks to an announcement from U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter this week. Combat positions that had previously been closed to women will now be open.
The Pentagon’s announcement comes after a three-year review.
Carter says the top leaders of the Navy, Army, Air Force and Special Operations Command all recommended the jobs be opened to women.
"This means that as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before. They'll be able to drive tanks, fire mortars, lead infantry soldiers into combat. They'll be able to serve as Army Rangers, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Green Corps Infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men."
Destiny Cromwell is a freshman at Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University and in the ROTC program. She has high hopes that one day she’ll be able to serve in Special Forces.
“Ultimately, I do want to focus on combat. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve just always been told that I couldn’t do that,” she says.
But now Destiny can. One day before her father died, she pledged to him that she would follow in his footsteps and join the Army. Now she can do any job the Army has. But she knows she may have to overcome some resistance.
“I think some people may be opposed to it. Some people may look down on it, may feel like women aren’t capable. But I think it’s going to be a great change for America,” she says.
The Pentagon has steadily been opening doors to women. Since 2013, more than 110,000 positions opened up for women in uniform. But until Thursday’s announcement, about 10 percent of military positions, nearly 220,000, were still closed to them.
The services all now have 30 days to come up with plans on how to put the new policies allowing women into the positions in place. By law, Congress has to be notified. So that means skeptics will have at least one more chance to have their voices heard.