Female Veteran On Women In Combat - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Female Veteran On Women In Combat

Last week's lift of a ban on women in combat by the Pentagon has veterans, civilians, and people of both genders reacting to the decision. The lift changes a ban that was in effect 19 years.  Exactly when women will go on the front lines is not set in stone.

Gwyneth Saunders is a print journalist in the Lowcountry but talk to her for a few minutes and you'll learn her heart is writing in a different field, one she spent 26 years in.

 

"This is from my duties in Antarctica and my duties there. This is from Milwaukee," Saunders said while pointing to what she calls her "I love me wall," plaques and reminders of her 26 years in the United States Navy.  From the start, she carried an energy and drive that still shines today.

 

"I had to drive a desk," Saunders said.  "It was maddening because I wanted to go. I was willing to go, do whatever I could do public affairs-wise or anything else that was needed."

 

As changes are coming, allowing women on the front lines, Gwyneth has emotions of happiness and maybe a little envy, wishing her time in duty wasn't over.

 

"If I were able to do that and carry out that responsibility, I would carry a gun myself," she said.  "It's a little militant, I guess, for a woman to say something like that but I think it's my job as well as my brothers' to protect and serve my country. I don't see why they should have their lives risked any more than mine."

 

Saunders says the ban was not a blanket of protection for women.  They've been in harm's way for years.

 

"When you're a woman and you're over there, you're not necessarily safe because you're in the back lines.  Between 2002-2008 there were 113 women killed. If there's a gun aimed at you, you're in combat. Why not be able to protect yourself?"

 

Some question whether women can emotionally handle the sights, sounds, and results of combat.

 

"It's not a matter of having weaker emotions. Have a baby. Go through that trauma. I'm thinking it's not an emotional thing, it's a physical thing," Saunders said.

 

Saunders retired from the US Navy back in 1998. She's now active in the veterans group at Sun City.

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