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Soldiers weigh in on women in combat

FILE - In a May 9, 2012 file photo, Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky. The Pentagon is lifting its ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs. (AP Photo/Kristin M. Hall, File)

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says not everyone can meet the qualifications to be a combat soldier, but everyone deserves a chance as he announced Thursday the Pentagon was lifting its ban on women in combat.

Panetta says he believes women have become an integral part of the military’s ability to succeed.

But the decision is sparking mixed reactions among local service members who called in to the Luke Burbank Show Thursday.

While none doubted the qualifications of some women to fully perform in combat, many questioned their effect on service men, arguing the presence of women is a strong distraction physically and emotionally.

Listen: Service members react to news of Pentagon lifting ban on women in combat

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