Changing Wars Put GI Jane on Front Lines

By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2009 12:01 PM CDT
Spc. Monica Lin Brown stands guard at a forwarded operating base in Khost, Afghanistan. She was the second female soldier awarded the Silver Star since World War II.    (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

(Newser) – Officially, US women soldiers aren't supposed to engage in the same bloody combat as their male counterparts. But as Iraq and Afghanistan force war to evolve, the military increasingly depends on female machine gunners and truck commanders, reports the New York Times. And female soldiers' mettle under fire has led to more high-ranking women and women commanding all-male units.

Women are picking up jobs men can't perform, such as searching potential female enemy combatants for weapons, often in combat zones. To get around rules barring women from combat roles, female soldiers are "attached" to various units, not "assigned." Even the overwhelmingly male Marine Corps has expanded its roles for women, creating revolving "lioness" units.