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Sen. John McCain released the following statement on Wednesday after it was announced that women would be permitted to serve on the front lines of America's military.

It has not been altered in any way.

"I respect and support Secretary Panetta's decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat. The fact is that American women are already serving in harm's way today all over the world and in every branch of our armed forces. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, and our nation owes them a deep debt of gratitude. As this new rule is implemented, it is critical that we maintain the same high standards that have made the American military the most feared and admired fighting force in the world - particularly the rigorous physical standards for our elite special forces units."

KTAR Newsroom,

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