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U.S. Army convoys are given a thumbs up from a female soldier after crossing into Kuwait during the last convoy out of Iraq in this December 18, 2011 file photograph. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided to lift the military's ban on women serving in combat, a move that could open thousands of front-line warfighting jobs to female service members, a senior U.S. defense official said.

( Shannon Stapleton, Reuters )

U.S. Army convoys are given a thumbs up from a female soldier after crossing into Kuwait during the last convoy out of Iraq in this December 18, 2011 file photograph. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided to lift the military's ban on women serving in combat, a move that could open thousands of front-line warfighting jobs to female service members, a senior U.S. defense official said.

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