Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot who lost both her legs and part of her right arm in Iraq, is all in favor of Wednesday's decision by the Pentagon allowing women to serve in combat:
I applaud the decision by Secretary Panetta to begin the process of lifting combat restrictions on women in the military. Throughout American history and in the last decade in particular women have served in combat zones with distinction and honor. In fact the Army has adopted the Combat Action Badge to all troops who engage in combat, including women.
This decision to allow women to serve in combat will allow the best man or woman on the frontline to keep America safe. There has always been some level of opposition to increasing the diversity in our military whether it has been minorities or women. It is clear that the inclusion of groups like African Americans and Asians has made our military stronger. As a combat Veteran I know the inclusion of women in combat roles will make America safer and provide inspiration to women throughout our country.
Duckworth, one of two female veterans serving in Congress, defeated incumbent tea party Joe Walsh last November, who dismissed Duckworth's military service many times during the campaign, saying “true heroes” don’t talk about their military service.