Wendy York of Otego served in the Air Force from 1974 to 2008. Her longest held position was as a combat medic flying into several war zones, including Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
York described the change as "long overdue," adding that, "We've been in combat for many years."
When asked if she would have taken the opportunity, she declined, saying, “ I never felt I couldn’t do anything I wanted to do.”
York did say that it’s important that women looking for a career in the military know there are no restrictions. Not every job is for every person, but it should not be based on gender, she said.
State Division of Military & Naval Affairs director of public affairs Eric Durr said the state National Guard will serve as one of the test beds for the new policy. The change does not apply to the National Guard 204th Engineer Battalion, which has a company in Walton, because that is not a frontline unit.
The retired National Guard lieutenant colonel said while the military will make a final determination about the issue, it was his feeling that “our female soldiers and officers are incredibly capable and can do the job well. We’ll see how it works when they are integrated into the job.”