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Rachel Belle

It's That time of the Month: That Females Are Finally Permitted to Fight in Combat Zones

A big announcement this morning from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta regarding women serving in the military.

"I believe that we must open up service opportunities for women as fully as possible. Therefore, today General Dempsey and I are pleased to announce that we are eliminating the direct ground combat exclusion rule for women. We are moving forward with a plan to eliminate all unnecessary gender based barriers to service."

Panetta said they started chipping away at the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule early in 2012, and opened up 14,000 jobs to women, that they weren't allowed to have before.

This morning, on the Luke Burbank Show, Luke opened up the phones to talk to soldiers about how they think the military will be affected by having women in combat. At the start of the show, they played this sound bite from an anonymous woman.

"Women should not be on the frontlines. What are they going to do if they have cramps or other female concerns?"

Ummmm, really? Obviously it's a ridiculous thing to say, but you'd be surprised how many people have this opinion. To respond to that ridiculous question, a caller named Julie from Lake Stevens, who was serving during Operation Dessert Storm.

"You can be in a certain degree of discomfort, or even extreme pain, but if the circumstances are such that you're under a lot of stress, you all of a sudden don't notice that pain so much. It becomes a non issue. So every time I hear that woman say that, I just start howling with laughter."

Julie talks about what her fellow soldier, a man, told her in regards to why some men don't want to be in combat with women.

"Our male friend, that we were very close to, finally said, 'You know what, you guys don't get it. It's not about you. It's about us. The fact that you emasculate us. Every time you outrun me, every time you do more pushups than I do. The fact that you can actually carry more weight than a lot of the guys.' It's difficult for them to accept that."

She says not all men are up for the job of being on the front line.

"There are plenty of men who are not qualified to be in combat. They just couldn't handle it. I've witnessed it myself, personally. Funniest part of all is it came from a guy who actually said, 'I don't want women to be in combat because I need someone standing beside me who wouldn't mind taking a bullet for me.' He was the one who had the meltdown! The smallest female in our crew ended up dragging him from harms way. He outweighed her by, minimum, a hundred pounds. He was the one who couldn't handle it emotionally."

She says there is one good reason for all men to be happy that women are included.

"When I was in the Persian Gulf, I mean, we're in the Persian Gulf! We were not given combat pay aboard ship. Why? Because there were women aboard our ship and women can't be on combat ship. All the guys on our ship were just mad as hell about it. 'How can we not be getting combat pay when we're in a combat zone?' Well, there are women aboard your ship so, officially, you're not in a combat zone."

Eric, from University Place, is an active duty soldier who just returned from Afghanistan. He responded to Luke's prodding that women are going to distract men from doing their jobs in a war zone.

"People were trying to kill us all! I'm not looking at, oh, this chick right here, she's really hot so I'm thinking about trying to do something else. When I've got how many people trying to kill me? This is my number one focus right now. I'll worry about everything else when we get back home."

Fifteen percent of soldiers in the US military are women.

Rachel Belle, Ron and Don Show Reporter
Rachel Belle is a feature contributor and personality on The Ron & Don Show on KIRO Radio (weekdays 3-7pm), and host of Ring My Belle Weekends (Saturdays at 5pm and Sundays at 3pm).
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Ring My Belle on KIRO Radio
Tune in to KIRO Radio on Saturdays at 5pm and Sundays at 3pm for Ring my Belle with Rachel Belle.

Who is Rachel Belle?
Rachel Belle's "Ring My Belle" segment airs Monday-Friday on The Ron & Don Show at 4:37pm and 6:37pm. You can hear "Ring My Belle Weekends" Saturdays at 5:00pm Sundays at 3:00pm. Rachel is a northern California native who loves anything and everything culinary, playing Scrabble, petting cats and performing improv.

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