Local female Marine speaks about lifting of ban on women serving in combat

SAN DIEGO - 10News on Wednesday spoke to one of the female Camp Pendleton Marines whose fight to be on the front lines resulted in the ban on women in combat to be lifted.

Last November, four women sued U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for the right to fight in combat. Two of them were from Camp Pendleton, including Marine 1st Lt. Colleen Farrell.

"Women have already proven that they're up to the challenge and they've already proven themselves in combat," she said. 

10News spoke with Farrell hours after news that the ban would be lifted was reported. She has been to both Iraq and Afghanistan and fought without recognition in both places, a testament to the blurry definition of the "front lines" in a war zone stricken with ambushes and car bombings, just like Sgt. Leann Hester.

"Just remember hearing the pings of the bullets going by me and hitting the ground beside me," said Hester.

She returned fire during an ambush and became the first woman since World War II to earn a Silver Star in combat.

Helicopter pilot Tammy Duckworth lost both of her legs after being shot down in Iraq. Now, she represents Illinois's 8th district in Congress.

"I think that America's daughters are just as capable to defend liberty and freedom as her sons are," said Duckworth.

While women may now be recognized for a fight they have long been fighting, Marines like Farrell said the struggle back home has just started.

"While this is exactly what our lawsuit was fighting for... there are still ways for those who oppose us to keep women out of certain fields," she said.

This change however will not happen overnight. In fact, the services have until January 2016 to make their case why some positions, in their opinion, still need to be off-limits to women.

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