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Minnesota's military females ready to fight

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The Pentagon has determined that females can officially serve in combat, although for almost 20 years, American women have trained for battles the military wouldn't let them fight.

KARE 11 reports that Minnesota's National Guard is more than 16 percent female, and its leaders appear ready for the change.

The Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota National Guard will be part of a pilot program to bring women into combat infantry units. The Guard's First Brigade, 34th Infantry Division Red Bulls will be one of nine Guard brigades to immediately assign women to positions at headquarters combat units.

MPR reports that the Minnesota National Guard will assign qualified women to vacant jobs in traditionally male-only units. Minnesota National Guard officials say the pilot phase of allowing women into combat is expected to last through the end of September. After that, personnel changes could go into effect by 2016.

Since 9/11, 152 women have died in the US war efforts, although barred from positions like infantry, field artillery and armor. Many women already serve in positions that put them in combat zones. The policy change allows women to be in line for top military leadership positions, which have historically required a combat background.

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