(Memphis) – Carey Lohrenz was one of the first female fighter pilots to fly F-14s in the U.S. Navy.
“So I was on the front and from that you have to be able to be fearless about things,” she said.
Lohrenz said women have been fearless in the air and on the ground for years.
“Like it or not, the reality of it is women have been on the ground and in combat they just haven’t been getting the on paper credit for it and haven’t been promoted,” she said.
Lohrenz said 250,000 women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 800 women were wounded and at least 130 have died.
But many of those servicewomen were serving under a temporary billet, which means while they were fighting on the ground they didn’t get the credit on paper.
“So you have women that are out there doing the job serving professionally, but when it comes time to be promoted into those leadership positions they’re out of the running for it because they don’t have the technical designation.”
Back in November, four servicewomen along with the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Pentagon over the combat exclusion policy.
Now that policy will be lifted opening front-line positions to women.
“I think its fantastic and I think it’s a long time coming,” she said. “We’ve set aside this whole pool of very capable candidates, but because they showed up as women we weren’t able to promote them to the leadership positions where we need them to be leading.”
Most of the 200,000 jobs that will open to woman are primarily in the army and marines. The military will have until May to draw up a plan for opening all units to women and until the end of 2015 to actually implement it.