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Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez

Representing the 46th District of California


May 25, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), senior female on the House Armed Services Committee and founder and chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women in the Military, today released the following statement in response to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by U.S. Army reservists Jane Baldwin and Ellen Haring against Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Secretary John McHugh that seeks to end the military's ban on women serving in combat roles.


“A repeal of the combat exclusion policy should have happened long ago,” said Sanchez.  “Considering the roles female soldiers are assigned to in today’s wars, I understand why Jane Baldwin and Ellen Haring feel the current policy is discriminatory.  In both Iraq and Afghanistan, female soldiers are expected to serve where they are needed regardless of whether it is in a combat role or not and they have done this valiantly.   Our wars no longer have front lines and so everywhere is a combat zone.  Our servicewomen fight in combat zones every day whether or not their assignment is technically classified as such.  Many servicewomen have gained combat experience on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, and are unable to have this experience properly recognized.  This prevents the promotion of female service members because combat experience is often required for career advancement.”


Last week, Rep. Sanchez introduced H.R. 5792, a bill to encourage the Department of Defense to repeal the Ground Combat Exclusion policy for female members. Last year, Sanchez introduced in the House the Women’s Fair and Equal Right to Military Service Act.  Every year Rep. Sanchez offers an amendment to the defense bill committee mark up to allow women to serve in combat roles in the military.