Ex-POW Jessica Lynch: Rule on women in combat 'good news' - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Ex-POW Jessica Lynch: Rule on women in combat 'good news'

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch calls Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's announcement allowing women in combat roles good news for the U.S. military.

The West Virginia resident says women have long been integral to victories in the fight for freedom.

She issued the following statement on Thursday.

"The announcement by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to allow women to enter combat roles is good news for our military. For years, women have been integral to our successes in the fight for freedom throughout the world. We as Americans must continue to not only support our men and women in the military but also become their advocates,  pushing our leaders to ensure those individuals have proper training and equipment.  The total support of our military - those in combat and those here at home -protects every American."

Lynch was 19 when she was captured after her Army unit took a wrong turn and came under attack in Iraq in 2003. She was rescued after nine days in captivity.

Lynch urges Americans to support military men and women, and to push U.S. officials to ensure they have proper training and equipment.

Panetta says allowing women to fill combat roles will strengthen the U.S. military's ability to win wars.

But military leaders must decide which, if any, jobs will still be open only to men.