"The Pentagon has been debating the role of women in combat for generations. Women began serving in the military in support positions, far from the actual fighting. But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan essentially erased ideas of front lines — and even if women weren't allowed in combat, technically, they were anyway," NPR reports.
Last week, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made the shift official .
Said Carter: "Women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before. They'll be able to drive tanks, fire mortars, lead infantry soldiers into combat. They'll be able to serve as army rangers, green berets, navy seals, marine corp infantry, air force parajumpers — and everything else that was previously open only to men."