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Women in Combat Features Father of SPC Brittany Gordon

Photo courtesy of the Gordon family.

National Public Radio featured a St. Petersburg female soldier in its first piece for a series on "Women in Combat."

Reporter Quil Lawrence talks to the father of  Spc. Brittany Gordon who was killed in October 2012 while on a mission to meet with Afghan intelligence, north of Kandahar.

Brittany was the daughter of St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Cedric Gordon. She grew up in St. Petersburg and her friends have paid tribute to the memory of Brittany by collecting donations for soldiers and sending boxes to those serving in Afghanistan.

"I wonder sometimes if that's the depth of my grief, because I always felt like I should be there to protect her, you know, as a father," Gordon shared with Lawrence.

During the several years I've covered military families, military moms have expressed a similar sentiment wishing they could be on the front-lines with their sons serving in combat.

Wanting to protect your child - even a grown child - from harm is an instinct shared by fathers and mothers for daughters and sons.

The NPR story also provided an interesting historical perspective:

America has been debating the role of women in combat since 1779. That's when the Continental Congress first awarded a military disability pension to Mary Corbin after she manned a cannon in the Revolutionary War at the battle of Fort Washington in New York. Corbin got only half the pension male soldiers received, but she asked for — and received — the full ration of rum.

And women have been "manning" the weapons and caring for wounded on the battlefield ever since, yet they are not fully recognized for what they've achieved in a realm dominated by men.

"Are women in combat?" asks Sgt. Jessica Keown rhetorically to NPR reporters Quil Lawrence and Marisa Peñaloza. "Hell, yes."

Be sure to tune in throughout this week for NPR's series on women in combat.

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