The Pentagon's decision to lift the ban on women in combat is historic, but many people told CBS Atlanta the decision was long overdue.
Edward Draper is a colonel in the Air National Guard who just returned to the states after serving in Afghanistan.
He said although the ban has been in place for nearly 20 years, women have been risking their lives in combat situations for a long time.
"In my unit, three out of my five medics are female and they are very good medics, so when the mortar rounds would come in, we would have to respond. So essentially that is combat," said Draper.
In a statement released by the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Penetta said, "The department's goal in rescinding the rule is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender."
Lifting the ban could open up more than 200,000 combat positions. Some critics of the new policy question whether women are physically and or mentally qualified to fight on the front lines. But Draper said he doesn't share that concern.
"The medics we had were very combat tested, very capable of performing just as good as males," said Draper.
Although fully integrating women into front-line combat units will require some adjustments, many believe it's not anything America's heroes can't handle.
"I think the military adjusts to all kinds of new policies and procedures and we always adapt and overcome. I think it is a good situation for everybody," said Lt. Col Michael Sorna, with the Air National Guard.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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