First Army Responds To Women In Combat - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

First Army Responds To Women In Combat

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"I will say that I have come across females in my military career that are tough as nails." First Army Maj. Maya Best knows there are plenty of women in the military who are ready for change --

"They can out push-up, out sit-up a lot of guys. They could go toe to toe with a lot of these other army infantry guys any day."

Best has come face-to-face with bullets, snipers, bombs, mortars and death. She's been deployed overseas twice. During one deployment she had to crawl everywhere she went.

"We had to have our weapons, our ammo, we had to be fully combat ready."

Maj. Best wasn't technically allowed to serve in combat but, like so many other women in the military, she couldn't avoid it. First Army Maj. Gen. Michael Smith said this reality is a major proponent for the policy change --

"Once you go outside the protection of a base, you are subject to attack. The enemy doesn't care whether you're male or female or anything else," Smith said. He said the way wars are fought, is evolving. There's isn't a specific battlefield.

"That doesn't exist anymore, that's not how wars are fought."

Smith said the conditions are right, and the timing is right, for change. Maj. Best agrees --

"If a female wants to do it and she can meet the standard and do the job, there's no reason she shouldn't be allowed to do it," she said. "This is the army. This is what we do. We are trained to defend our country and the end, the bottom line is, we have to work together as a team."

First Army soldier living on Arsenal Island are in support of women who want to pursue military careers in combat arms. "This is a great day for the army, both male and female, for all soldiers," Smith said. "It's a great day for our nation as we go forward."

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