Metro Vets React to Decision to Let Women On the Front Lines

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo - You might soon see woman fighting on the front lines, that's what senior defense official source is saying.  It is reported Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is set to make the announcement Thursday.

Women who have served are weighing in on the decision. Billie Gammill and Monica Whitman are both officers for an all women's American Legion post in Independence - just the third in the nation.

Gammill and Whitman are preparing to officially install officers to their post Thursday.  They said if a woman wanted to serve in the military decades ago, they usually knew where they would end up.

"When we joined we knew that we were just going to kind of be put in the offices or in the back or behind," Whitman said.

But not so anymore.  Panetta will reportedly not only announce he is lifting the military's ban on women serving in combat, but also opening the possibility that they could serve in elite units.

"I feel if a woman is strong enough to stand up and get the oath of enlistment, then she's strong enough to be right there next to her other soldiers," Whitman said.

Gammill said women are just as effective as men in combat areas because of the technology these days.

"It's no longer hand-to-hand combat.  I mean we're not talking Vietnam," Gammill said.

"I threw hand grenades and set claymore mines and fired my M16, so I was ready for it and that was in the early 80's. So I'm sure they're much more prepared now," Whitman said.

Not all of the women veterans we spoke with feel that way.  One, who asked to remain anonymous, said a woman's body is built differently and she believes it is not physically ready for combat.

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