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Tsongas: Allowing Women In Combat Recognizes 'New Reality'03:59


After visiting U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas began pushing for a reversal of the ban on women serving in military combat roles.

So she was feeling celebratory Thursday as U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta officially lifted that ban, overturning a 1994 rule issued by the Pentagon that allowed women to serve in ground support roles but barred them from direct combat.

WBUR's All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke about the decision with Tsongas, who said it recognizes what many women are already doing on the front lines.

This program aired on January 24, 2013.

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