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Women under fire

The headlines and airwaves today are filled with Leon Panetta’s announcement repealing the combat ban on women in the U.S. Military. There’s no doubt that the decision is momentous — American women now enter a very select group of women worldwide who are able to serve in front-line combat positions.

The announcement sparked debates over the impact of women in combat roles: Will the men be too chivalrous? Can women keep up with the physical demands? Will this new designation within the military help women’s equality advance?

Moreover, will this latest development help respond to the ongoing problem of sexual violence in the armed services? That’s an issue getting more attention these days following the Oscar nomination of the film, “The Invisible War.”

If you saw the Oscar-nominated film “The Hurt Locker,” you may have been left with the impression that the military’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (E.O.D) team is a men’s only club. In 2010, Need to Know traveled to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio to meet two female E.O.D. specialists. In the video above, Air Force Staff Sergeant Amber Hanlon and Senior Airman Marie Martinson provide a new face for the elite bomb squad.

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