Regarding allowing women in combat: I am the very proud mother of a daughter currently in the Marine Corps boot camp, Parris Island, S.C.
Our daughter (and numerous like her) has trained twice a week since last April at the U.S.M.C. recruiting office on McKnight Road. That was all before she left for basic training.
These women recruits can run or march carrying 40 to 50 pounds long distances. They train physically every day, including Christmas. Our daughter in particular qualified as an expert markswoman after two weeks of intense weapons training. She learned shooting skills, by the way, from years of responsible gun ownership and hunting with her dad.
A female Marine can lift "firefighter-style" another Marine in full gear and carry that person across rugged terrain.
They must endure and succeed at something called "the Crucible" in their final week of basic training -- a week when endurance, survival, intelligence and cohesion of the battalion are put to the test -- just like any male Marine.
That's who we need in a firefight in Afghanistan or Newtown, Conn.
KATHLEEN KRAUS HANNA