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Female Heroes in a New Kind of CombatSSG. Russell Lee Klika / U.S. Army
Female Heroes in a New Kind of Combat

Female Heroes in a New Kind of Combat


Jan 24 2013
Military women already serve and sacrifice in today's wars.

The Navy SEALs may have been the guys to get the job done, but the real story is about the female CIA agent—played in the movie by Jessica Chastain—who gathered the intelligence to find and kill bin Laden. In today's war environment,this is the new, symbolic "front line," and she's the hero.

I fear that when we celebrate opening combat positions to women, we forget that the definition of combat has shifted. Women already are risking their lives and playing crucial roles today's military. I can attest to this firsthand: In the Army, my husband serves alongside some of strongest women I've ever met, women who inspire me with their dedication and sacrifice.

The Army reports that 91 percent of its jobs are open to women, and that number has been on the rise long before Wednesday's announcement. Women are taking on once all-male specialties, like field artillery. In September 2012, a captain with the 101st Airborne Division became the first female chaplain assigned to a combat unit.

As the recent decision to expand women's roles in war unfolds, bigger issues will emerge over rules and resources; tactics and training; abilities and ethics. But the majority of Americans will debate this topic from the comfort of their own homes, far removed from the realities of a fundamentally changed battlefront.

There's a quote that goes, "Only two people have given their lives for you. The Savior died for your sins. The soldier died for your freedom."

A life is a life, and male or female, these soldiers have volunteered to risk theirs to fight for our country. As Christians and as Americans, we must recognize the sacrifice both men and women in the Armed Forces make—and have already made—on our behalf.

Kate Shellnutt is the new editor of Her.meneutics. She is also the wife of a U.S. Army soldier and the daughter of a retired Navy SEAL.

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