Commander of the 293rd Embraces Women in Combat Roles (VIDEO)

By Stephanie Parkinson

June 19, 2013 Updated Jun 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - In a few years women could be training to be Army Rangers and Navy SEALs. And the commander of the 1st Battalion 293rd Infantry in Fort Wayne embraces the concept.

Tuesday The Department of Defense announced their plans to integrate women into most combat roles by 2016. This comes after former Defense Secretary Leon Panettea lifted the 1994 Combat Exclusion Rule, that had stopped women from serving in the front lines and in special operations units.

Defense officials announced their plan to have women entering Army Ranger School by the Spring of 2015 and in Navy SEALs training by early 2016.

Lt. Col. Jeff Hackett, commander at the 1st Battalion 293rd Infantry, says in the years he's served in the military he has seen women being put in combat positions.

"They may be an intelligence officer, but yet to get from point A to point B you have to take a convoy, and they have to ride in a convoy. And if the convoy is hit, they fall under the same circumstances as the men, and they fight right along side the men. So they've been doing it for quite some time and now they'll just get the credit that they deserve," said Lt. Col. Jeff Hackett, Commander, 1st Battalion 293rd Infantry.

Officials with the DOD say the process will take a few years because they have to develop new job specific standards that are gender neutral. But DOD officials also say those modifications will not change the physical and psychological standards for Elite Special Operation Forces.

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