Female veterans have conflicting views about women in combat - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Female veterans have conflicting views about women in combat

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

"I was in the Army Air Corps during World War II" said Dorothy Malone.

"I was in the Navy, I joined in 1967," said Heather Baird.

"I was in the Navy, enlisted in '42," said Bettylu Dennis.

"I joined the military in 1982," said Diana Dopp.

In one room sat four female veterans, all sisters in military service. So when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the US military will lift its ban on women serving in combat roles, these women had conflicting views.

"I'm definitely opposed," said Dennis.

Dennis is almost 90 years old. She was recruiter in the Navy for decades.

"I do not think that women are physically and mentally adjusted to serve in combat," said Dennis.

"I think it's the best thing he's ever done. Women have been in combat since the Civil War. We had women dressing up like men during the Civil War to go out and fight," said Diana Dopp.

Dopp is 63 years old and did joint service with the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

"You just hear about the men and its macho thing to be a prisoner of war and survive, but the women were prisoners of war and they survived," said Dopp.

"All it does is allow them to get the recognition they need that they've had since the Civil War," said Dopp.

At 90, Dorothy Malone says some of her friends could have easily been on the front line during World War II.

"A few that I know would have been capable of it, but not me," said Malone.

Heather Baird said this move is long overdue.

"Oh they could have lifted this ban in the 70s and 80s," said Baird.

There were disagreements.

"If you're in a fox hole with a man, he's going to want to protect you," said Dennis.

"That's not, we don't have fox holes anymore," responded Dopp.

But in the end, they agreed to disagree because beneath the details are courageous hearts fighting for the same thing.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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