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Army Spc. Monica Brown, a medic from the 82nd Airborne Division, who earned a Silver Star in 2008, is the second female since World War II to earn the Silver Star award for her actions while in combat.

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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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