PITTSBURG, KS.--- From the boots to the badges, a uniform has a special place in Kristina Willis's heart.
"It's a symbol of pride. We have one of the strongest military in the world and to be able to be a part of that and fight for the country, I love it. It is amazing," states Kristina Willis, ROTC Cadet.
She hopes to make a career in the military and possibly stand on the front lines of combat, now that is a possibility.
"Over more than a decade of war, they have demonstrated courage, skill and patriotism," states Leon Panetta, U.S. Defense Secretary.
Today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban on women serving in combat positions.
"Women have been in the military for many years now, but we've been restricted," says Willis. "So, now with more jobs opening up and more careers available, as long as we keep the same standards as we had before with the men, it's just going to make our military even stronger."
230,000 combat jobs could become available to women within a few years. Some critics say those duties could prove to be too physically and psychologically demanding for women.
"It will trigger some in the wrong way, but that's how it is for any soldier. The women they select to do this will surprise them," says Panetta.
For Willis, war battles have nothing to do with gender.
"It's very personal. I don't think it matters whether you're male or female. It shows how you as a person will handle the situations," says Willis.
The military service will have until May 15th to submit a plan on how they will comply with this new rule by 2016. Some of those roles may open to women as soon as this year.