By Dorothy Tucker

(CBS) — Women will now be able to officially serve in combat, under a policy change the U.S. Defense Department announced Thursday.

Reaction was mostly positive here in Chicago, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.

Meosha Thomas works in the veterans service department at Kennedy King College. But just a few years ago, she was a communications specialist for the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan.

Thomas, like thousands of other women in the military, never served on the front line. But given the chance, she thinks many would sign up.

“I went to basic training with men and women. If they’re able to pass the training, you deserve to be there,” Thomas says.

Lifting the ban on women serving in combat means they would be offered even more training to prepare them for the traditional all-male units and special operations.

“I would be comfortable with a female soldier on the front line with me,” says veteran Carlos Ramos, who ended his tour in the Army two years ago.

He says serving on the front lines bring benefits women deserve.

“You get promoted quicker,” he says.

You won’t see women assigned to combat duty immediately.  The new policy will be phased in over the next three years.

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