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National News

January 27, 2013

Women in combat? Already there, Old Guard says

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

"Military police, you're kind of out there," she said. "You don't need an escort to leave the gates. . . . Yeah, you'll get into some firefights. You'll have IEDs, and stuff like that. But . . . your jobs are different" from combat assignments.

"Your job isn't really to be the front lines, even though it's kind of changed since Afghanistan. There really isn't a front line. The road pretty much is the front lines, when you're out there driving.

"But when you're with units that are actually getting into combat, it's a totally different world. . . . What's different is, you're not going into close-quarter combat. . . . You're not going into a home and looking through rooms looking for targeted individuals. You're not doing that as a female."

Capt. Niki Marin, 26, of Naples, Fla., a logistician with the Old Guard who was recently deployed to Afghanistan for a year, expressed caution about the Pentagon's changes.

"It's still in the beginning stages," she said of the decision Thursday.

"It's a step in the right direction," she said. "It's definitely something that was a long time coming, and definitely something that's essential for our military to be successful. . . . We still have a long way to go."

Asked whether she felt that she had been barred from something before the announcement, she said, "No, I did not, necessarily."

Capt. Barron Moffitt, 31, of Corpus Christi, Tex., a company commander who served two tours in Iraq, said of the decision: "It just affords more members of the military more options. . . . As long as standards stay the same in those units, then there shouldn't be an issue."

Last week, all three soldiers were involved in presidential inauguration duty, although Dentino had an important, gender-specific task.

At the Commander in Chief's Ball, "I danced with the vice president of the United States," she said, laughing. Representing the Army, she was the service member selected to dance with Vice President Joe Biden, who she said was "awesome."

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