Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk: Combat women essential

January 29, 2013 

Combat women essential

Trained, motivated and professional women make up 17 percent of the N.C. National Guard’s nearly 12,000 soldiers and airmen.

The Defense Department’s decision to lift restrictions on women serving in combat roles (“Women-in-combat ban set to fall,” Jan. 24) amounts to validation of a reality that those who have deployed in harm’s way already understood: Regardless of military occupational specialty, women have served in combat for many years and have done so with distinction.

This announcement allows them to maximize their career opportunities without gender-based barriers to service, something that can only strengthen our team of citizen soldiers and airmen.

In Southwest Asia, women patrol villages on foot, protect airfields and combat outposts, drive trucks, engage with the indigenous population and employ heavy weapons atop armored vehicles. Women have repeatedly performed these types of tasks and, just as often, been on the receiving end of enemy fire. Many have been wounded, and some have given their lives for our nation, two from the N.C. National Guard.

In short, they’ve been in the military’s vanguard for many years. I look forward to implementing the new policy and making an already-outstanding team even better.

Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk

N.C. adjutant general

Raleigh

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