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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch calls it good news for the U.S. military that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says women can serve in combat roles.

The West Virginia resident says women have long been integral to victories in the fight for freedom.

Lynch was 19 when she was captured after her Army unit took a wrong turn and came under attack in Iraq in 2003. She was rescued after nine days in captivity.

Lynch urges Americans to support military men and women, and to push U.S. officials to ensure they have proper training and equipment.

Panetta says allowing women to fill combat roles will strengthen the U.S. military's ability to win wars.

But military leaders must decide which, if any, jobs will still be open only to men.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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