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Women in combat

It's been military policy for ten years, but now Congress is moving to give it the force of law. A US House committee approved a bill this week to ban women from taking part in direct ground combat.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg talked with Army National Guard members about this new development.

A training exercise at Camp Gruber Friday morning was designed to help soldiers spot a roadside bomb. But you won't spot any women in the group. So would women like to be there? "I would like the option." Tiffany Beasley doesn't personally think she's qualified for combat. But that's just her. "I know some women out there who are very qualified and deserve the chance as much as any male soldier to fight for their country."

David Knight also thinks women should be judged on a case-by-case basis. "I've know some women who would make great tankers, I have no doubts. They're usually easier to pick up hand-eye coordination, excellent gunners. But unless she could prove to me that she could load a 74 pound round in under four seconds, I don't know, but if she could then I'd have no problem."

But by taking what's been policy and trying to put it into law, it would seem at least that they're moving farther away from opening the gates to women. Tiffany Beasley: "And I don't have any control over that. I have my opinion of what I'd like to see, but they're not asking me."

Though he thinks women should be evaluated individually, Knight sees the rationale for a blanket law. "As we like to say in the military, there's always that 10 percent that somehow get through and screw it up for the rest of us 90 percent."

Like a lot of people though, Knight's not saying there aren't women out there who can do it. "Because I have known some women that I have no doubt could beat me in a fight."
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