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In the 1970s the services traditional attitude toward women was challenged change was forced upon a reluctant establishment Holm 198 The decision to end the draft was the catalyst to such change This decision allowed for womens participation in the armed forces in unprecedented numbers The United States Armed Forces have more female numbers than any other nation in the world both in actual numbers and in percentages Holm 1982 The drive for an all-volunteer force along with an aggressive tide of feminism and congressional passage of the equal rights Amendments led to a gradual shift in the role and status of women in the military Holm 1982 In todays military women were no longer confined to traditional roles in the medical and administrative fields Almost all military job categories and military occupational specialties MOS have been opened to women They now repair tanks warplanes and intercontinental ballistic missiles ICBMs They serve on naval vessels that deploy to service ships and submarines of the operational fleet and on Coast Guard cutters operating off United States shores They serve on missile crews operate heavy equipment and direct air traffic They also provide essential support to combat troops in the field Holm 1982 It appears that women have been integrated into practically every aspect of the military yet there are some jobs that remain closed to them namely-direct combat specialties Holm 1982 Goldman 1982 It is over these residual exclusions that controversy ragesTechnically women are barred by low or policy from what is defined in narrow terms as combat Each of the United States Armed Services excludes females from active Combat The nature and extent of the exclusion varies with each service Yet many argue that the distinction between combat and non-combat becomes blurred in the context of women warfare Gilder 1979 Holm 1982 Goldman 1982 In actually many women are assigned to jabs that will expose them to enemy attack and this has been openly acknowledged
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