Four female service members filed a lawsuit today challenging the Pentagon's ban on women serving in combat, hoping the move will add pressure to drop the policy just as officials are gauging the effect that lifting the prohibition will have on morale. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, is the second one this year over the 1994 rule that bars women from being assigned to ground combat units.
"I'm trying to get rid of the ban with a sharp poke," said Army Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hunt, who was among the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit and was injured in 2007 when her Humvee ran over an improvised explosive device in Iraq. Hunt and the other three women said the policy unfairly blocks them from promotions and other advancements open to men in combat. A Pentagon spokesman said the Defense Department was making strides, noting that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has opened about 14,500 combat positions to women. "Not enough," said the ACLU lawyer handling the case.