H-SANTA MARIA

Jan 24, 2013 9:38 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Local soldier reacts to new decision allowing women to serve in combat

The Pentagon's announcement on Thursday has local women, who currently serve in the military, talking about what the move means for them and future recruits.

Staff Sergeant Juani Rocha Martinez told KSBY's Nikki Ibarra this is a huge step. Although Staff Sergeant Rocha Martinez has no interest in going into combat, she said, she respects those soldiers who want to go into combat.

Women in the military make up about 14% of the 1.4 million people active in the military.

Staff Sergeant Rocha Martinez enlisted in the army when she was 17 years-old and it was to get an education and to serve her adopted country.

Staff Sergeant Rocha Martinez told KSBY if a woman is capable to serve in combat, then she should go for it. "They're going to be excited about it. They're going to want to do it. They're going to go for it and try it. I mean, now that you have the opportunity to try," stated Staff Sergeant Rocha Martinez.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the requirements to be a combat soldier will not change, but everyone should get a chance.

The majority of women in the military serve as medics, military police and intelligence officers.

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