ROCKFORD - Many people scross the country are concerned women won't be physically able to serve hand in hand with men on the front line, and that their very presence could create distractions during life or death situations.
But those people might be surprised to learn, that's not really a concern amongst the enlisted.
"I believe a woman can physically fight in
combat, most definitely," said
Putting women on the front line has created passionate debate.
"In my opinion it's scary, I just can't see it,"
But for the troops it's just business as usual. PFC Smith just returned from basic training, where being physical was an everyday thing.
"If you messed up, then lots of push ups," said PFC Smith.
Smith ran, she shot weapons, she was forced to do everything the men did.
"There was no difference for me," said PFC Smith. "We just worked together as a team."
A cornerstone Sergeant Ben Frazier says is a long-standing military philosophy.
"If you cannot work as a team, you will not succeed," said Frazier.
And when it comes to handling a weapon, PFC Smith is well aquatinted with that too. "It's with you 24/7, you sleep with it, eat with it, just everything," said PFC Smith.
People we spoke with Monday weren't so much worried about women not being able to physically hold their own, but rather worried about what would happen should they get captured or mentally broken down.
"We're strong, but we can be very vulnerable, and that part scares me," said Harris.
One man we spoke with says he doesn't doubt that a women can fight successful in combat, but he fears for their safety and just doesn't want to put them in harms way.
"If I have a girlfriend or wife and she's in the military, I'm going to be really concerned about her being hurt or injured," said Hines.
SGT Frazier says he supports the decision to lift he ban on women fighting in combat. "A female can do whatever a male can do, so it's going to be a great opportunity," said Frazier.
And he believes their success in combat roles will be more mental than anything.
"That's how soldiers earn trust with other soldiers," said Frazier. "It's the mental aspects of it."
Depending on what the military chiefs propose for integrating women into combat roles this May, it could open up 230-thousand jobs to women across the country.