I have to wonder if Defense Secretary Leon Panetta read Echo opinions columnist Chris Hoitash’s recent column about women serving on the frontlines, because according to the Associated Press, the Pentagon is expected to announce tomorrow that female soldiers will be allowed to fight in combat. The women who risk their lives for the United States will finally have the chance to rise to the same ranks their male counterparts currently enjoy.

I’m sure the same old concerns will be bandied about—whether or not women have the physical strength for the job, whether mixed gender units will experience the problems some suspect they might. These are legitimate questions and I look forward to learning the answers in the future. But regardless of these concerns, the reality of modern warfare is that the frontlines and combat zones aren’t always clear, and any soldier, male or female, should be recognized and rewarded for his or her bravery. I am glad to see that our military is taking this step toward gender equality.