TAMPA, Florida - Recruiting offices all over the country got the big news today via email; the front lines are now open, and the ban on women in combat is over.
Recruiters say they are thrilled with the news. At one Army recruiting office, 10 News was told, "This is very exciting news for us. We are so happy to hear it."
Women serving in the military right now say they realize the decision is big, bold, and will not happen overnight.
Lt. Marquette Leveque is serving in the Navy. "People are usually adverse to change. But, I am going to continue to do what I always do, my job," she said.
This move announced by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta opens up 200,000 positions for women on the front lines and has an implementation date by 2015.
However, the process will be lengthy.
Each branch of service will carefully assess each job to see what it entails and how quickly women could be integrated. Right now, countless women are seen in various roles from infiltrating villages in Afghanistan to gaining intelligence from Afghan females, to the job of K9 officer in search of bombs.
When it comes to special forces, units will be able to ask for an exemption.
Local mothers like Symone Forrester, who has a 5-month-old little girl, are thrilled with the news. "She can be whatever she wants," said Symone with her daughter in her arms.
"Why not?" she added. "If men can do it, so can women."
Symone's mother disagrees vehemently, as she reflects on three generations in her family of mother, daughter and granddaughter. "I do not want to see my daughter or granddaughter go into combat. I don't think women can handle it as much. It's too dangerous."
However, veterans like William Reischmann, who served in Korea, say the more women the better. He likes the idea. "Yes, is the answer to your question. Why shouldn't they be there? They do everything men do. When I was in law school, there were two women. Now, it's 50 percent women. They should be in combat if they want to."
Leon Panetta will make the official announcement on Thursday.