Women in combat

By Beau Ebenezer

January 25, 2013 Updated Jan 25, 2013 at 10:51 PM CDT

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Thursday, U.S. Defense leaders made an announcement that will change the face of the U.S. military forever.

A 19-year-old ban will be lifted allowing women to be able to serve in direct combat roles.

The groundbreaking move could open up hundreds of thousands of front-line positions for female soldiers.

"It's a great opportunity for female soldiers. Right now, we have approximately 2,500 female soldiers within the Illinois Army National Guard, so opening the ban on women in combat, increases the opportunities for female soldiers," said Illinois Army National Guard Sergeant, Kassidy Snyder.

Defense secretary, Leon Panetta is directing the service leaders to implement the change by May 5th.