G.I. Jane Breaks the Combat Barrier – U.S. – Women at Arms – By Lizette Alvarez – August 15, 2009 – nytimes.com

G.I. Jane Breaks the Combat Barrier – Women at Arms – U.S. – By Lizette Alvarez – August 15, 2009 – nytimes.com

As the convoy rumbled up the road in Iraq, Specialist Veronica Alfaro was struck by the beauty of fireflies dancing in the night. Then she heard the unmistakable pinging of tracer rounds and, in a Baghdad moment, realized the insects were illuminated bullets.

She jumped from behind the wheel of her gun truck, grabbed her medical bag and sprinted 50 yards to a stalled civilian truck. On the way, bullets kicked up dust near her feet. She pulled the badly wounded driver to the ground and got to work.

Despite her best efforts, the driver died, but her heroism that January night last year earned Specialist Alfaro a Bronze Star for valor. She had already received a combat action badge for fending off insurgents as a machine gunner…


Lisa Bodenburg, shown in Iraq in 2008, is a Marine sergeant who is one of the few women to be a crew chief on a Huey helicopter – Courtesy of Cheryl Bodenburg

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The Risk Rule – August 15, 2009 – nyimes.com

1988 The rule “excluded women from noncombat units or missions if the risks of exposure to direct combat, hostile fire or capture were equal to or greater than the risk in the units they supported.”

1994 Defense Secretary Les Aspin rescinded the Risk Rule, saying, “Service members are eligible to be assigned to all positions for which they are qualified except that women shall be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground.”

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