FAYETTEVILLE -- Saundra Clagett and Gloria Ferrell are now retired from the U.S. Army. They said with more combat-related jobs now open to women in the military, it's proof the times are changing.
"Women have been truck drivers, women have been ditch diggers, women have been farmers, and now women are fighters,” said Clagett.
A new Defense Department policy was implemented that will open up six military occupational specialties and place women in 37 battalions across nine brigade combat teams.
"Today in combat, you have a lot more women that are more versatile in their tasking and it would require maneuvers that are not normal and you have to do what you have to do,” said Clagett.
The policy will restrict women from serving in infantry, armor, and special operations forces, but will allow them to serve at the battalion level, which in the past has been considered too close to combat.
Ferrell said if women are eventually on the front lines, they can do it.
"I feel like they can be in a combat environment and especially if they chose to be, if they think they can handle it, then yes, they should be in the combat environment, front lines if need be,” said Ferrell.
And for Thomas Person, who served in the army alongside women for years, he said they should be respected.
"We cannot pick and choose, we need numbers, women have served side by side with us regardless of the situation, and they have worked in positions that they probably should not have, but we needed them at the time,” said Person.