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Vegas women reflect on change in military

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Updated: 1/24/2013 7:07 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Women are reflecting on changes in the military officially opening doors for more women in combat. The Pentagon officially announced women are allowed on the front lines.

Retired Air Force Major Theresa Price spent two decades in the military, and was deployed across the globe. She’s earned several medals and commendations.

“As far back as I could recall the first gulf war there were women loading bombs on planes. They were flying refueling missions for the fighters and just a multitude of capacities,” Price said.

While Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is lifting a ban on women in combat that would bring hundreds of thousands of women to the front lines, Price says women have already been on the front lines.
“Women do already serve in these roles. They really do, but they're not given the recognition for it because officially they're not allowed to,” Price said.

“I retired as the highest ranking Asian-American female ranking firefighter in the United States. I didn't ask for that. I just wanted to serve,” said Cherina Kleven.

She retired from Las Vegas Fire and Rescue after two decades. She was an Assistant Fire Chief. Now she runs a café, and is thrilled to hear the announcement about women in combat. She says women can physically do the job. She carried a lot of weight on her back while holding a heavy fire hose shooting out water.

“When you have that much force coming with that nozzle and kickback force from that plus what you have on we did the work. It’s no big deal,” Kleven said.

President Obama says this is a step toward fairness and equality. While women like Price have served, do serve and will serve, the president also says “valor knows no gender. Of the women sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 1,000 were wounded, and 150 died.

It might be next year before specifics are figured out, and then women would be able to start applying for newly opened positions.

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