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An earlier review, published in 2014, had already overturned the long-held belief that mixing men and women in close combat roles would adversely affect the togetherness of a unit.
Sir Nick Carter welcomed the lifting of the close combat ban, saying: “By allowing women to serve in all roles, we will truly help to maximise the talent available to the army and make the Armed Forces a modern employer.” When Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced in July that the RAF Regiment planned to start recruiting women from September, he called it “a defining moment for the RAF”.
The acceptance of women into ground close combat roles comes after David Cameron, then the Prime Minister, announced last year that the British military would overturn hundreds of years of tradition and let women serve “where the primary role is to close with and kill the enemy”.
This decision has attracted criticism from some former officers.
Then, still in my early 20s and with a slim figure, I attended a fancy dress party in a nurse’s outfit without knowing that there would be 50 or so genuine nurses in attendance that night, including the wife of Paul’s boss. But Paul always said that I was a breath of fresh air and we married in 1997 in a full-blown military ceremony.
I left my job in PR to become an RAF wife.themselves as extensions of their husbands, whereas I was a gobby girl from Yorkshire, 6ft tall and very loud.
“The Army’s own research shows that women are twice as likely as men to suffer musculoskeletal injuries during military training.
The historic move comes after the RAF Regiment, which sustained casualties in Afghanistan, confirmed that having reviewed its work practices it would be ready to accept women recruits ahead of its original 2018 schedule.
It means the RAF has become the first Armed Forces branch to admit women to all roles – ahead of the Army and the Royal Navy, which will start accepting female recruits for the Infantry and Royal Marines by the end of 2018.
I knew I was never going to quite fit in but I hoped that I would still make lifelong friends.
Instead I was amazed to discover, for example, that the houses on the RAF base were segregated according to rank.
“But the tactics and equipment, and the demands placed upon the Infantry, are in their essentials unchanged in 100 years.