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Female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division train on a firing range while testing new body armor in Sept. 2012 at Fort Campbell, Ky., in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.

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Equally strong: Women in combat good to go if they meet standards

Women in the military must have the same opportunities as men to take on grueling and dangerous combat jobs, whether loading 50-pound artillery shells or joining commando raids to take out terrorists, defense leaders declared Thursday as they ordered a quarter-million positions open to service members regardless of gender.

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