CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - The Pentagon is opening more than 14,000 combat-related roles to women in the Army.
Previously, female soldiers were excluded from those jobs because they were to close to or directly involved in combat.
Advocates say women already risk their lives by serving on the front lines in patrols and in military police and security units.
Some opponents say they know women are trained like men and don't doubt their abilities, but say the dynamic of combat will change.
"I absolutely believe that women can do any of the roles in the military," Ira Simmons of South Hadley said. "However, psychologically, front line fighting: when a woman has her guts splayed across the battlefield or an arm, everybody in the area is going to stop and help her instead of accomplishing their goal."
About 30% of Army jobs will remain restricted to men only. The Defense Department will assess the new policy in six months.