Women serve on the front lines of combat

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by CHRISTIE JOHNSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 18 at 12:57 PM

Seattle's Sergeant Jessica Pedro serves at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California, working on F-18 fighter jets.

"I am an aviation electronics technician, so I work on the radar, navigation and weapons delivery systems," said Sergeant Jessica Pedro.

She does not load the bombs, but it is her job to make them drop.

"It is pretty cool. It’s actually a really cool job, cool to be able to say I can do that," said Pedro. 

Now Pedro can say that she has the chance to fight on the front lines thanks to the Pentagon's new policy allowing women to get closer to combat.

"I personally think it’s really cool. I like the way the Marine Corps is going about it, they’re not just going to try it. They’re making sure everything’s qualified and the best people are out there," said Pedro.

The Marines recently allowed two females to go through Infantry Officer School, a demanding three month course where Marines are taught how to make command decisions while fatigued and under extreme duress. One of the women dropped out on the first day, the other passed the course only to drop out later.

The male dominated branch of the military is not taking the decision to integrate women lighty.

"The approach that is being taken is not a rushed one, it’s going to be done in phases," said Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Kazmier. 

Female Marines are expected to be fully integrated into combat by 2016.

The goal remains the same. To put the most qualified marines on the front lines no matter what their gender.

"If you've got the mindset for it, I mean go for it. The Marine Corps has been the best thing that's every happened to me," said Pedro.

One team. One fight.

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