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TUCSON, Ariz. -- A prominent female military veteran from Arizona said the Pentagon's decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat is welcome and long overdue.

The change affects mostly ground combat units.

Martha McSally is a retired Air Force colonel who was the first woman in the U.S. Air Force to fly in combat and command a fighter squadron. She ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Houses seat from in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District in November.

McSally said she applauds the decision and says it will increase the military's efficiency and effectiveness.

She said excluding women from combat units was out of touch with both the realities of combat and performance of women.

And she said the change will provide commanders in the field with more flexibility to do their missions.

Associated Press,

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