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More Women Are Signing Up For Military Service

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FORT BRAGG — The armed services used to be a "men only" club but not anymore. More and more women are signing up to serve.

Women have come a long way in their military careers. In fact, even with a downsized Army, there are more women in the Army than ever before.

Frances Hobbins' 40-yearNavycareer started with Pearl Harbor. The 73 year old says it is easy to remember the inequalities that existed between men and women.

"I went to Pearl Harbor as a seaman, and I came back as a seaman. That was frustrating because I was the only seaman over there," said Hobbins.

Today, things are much different. Women are saluted for their service. A North Carolina Council for Women luncheon was to remember the past and honor the present of female fighters.

"The opportunities are there whether you are male or female," said Pvt. Myung Kim.

The number of women in the military has grown from 1 percent in 1971 to 14 percent in 1999. Women are represented at all levels, but there are still nearly 50 jobs that enlisted Army women are not allowed to do.

Lt. Col. Mary Deutsch, a commander atFort Bragg, says even with all the strides, there are still struggles to overcome.

"We're always fighting the issues of pregnancy, healthcare for women in the military and internal struggles of handling your personal life and professional responsibilities and career," said Deutsch.

Currently in North Carolina, there are 10,000 active duty and over 30,000 veteran military women. North Carolina is the only state that officially honors women in the military.

Women are definitely making their presence felt in the military. About 13.9 percent of the officer positions in the Armed Forces are held by women.

TheAir Forcehas the highest number of female officers with 18.1 percent.

TheMarine Corpshas the smallest amount at just under 5 percent.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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