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September 3, 2015

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Special forces opening to women; ‘days of Rambo are over,’ general says

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Charles Dharapak / AP

Air Force Brig. Gen. Gina M. Grosso, right, speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Tuesday, June 18, 2013, to discuss women in combat. From right to left are: Grosso, Navy Rear Adm. Tony Kurta, Army Maj. Gen. Bennet Sacolick, Marine Col. Jon Aytes, and Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg. The military services announced their plans to break down the final barriers for women, opening up thousands of combat jobs including the elite Army Rangers and Navy SEAL.

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In a May 9, 2012, file photo, Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky.

WASHINGTON — A top general says cultural, social and behavioral concerns may be bigger hurdles than physical fitness requirements for women looking to move into the military's special operations units.

Maj. Gen. Bennet Sacolick, director of force management for U.S. Special Operations Command, says "the days of Rambo are over."

He says he has seen women working alongside special operations teams in Afghanistan who met difficult physical requirements. But he says the commandos usually deploy as small teams, often with a dozen or fewer troops, in austere conditions for long periods of time.

He says he is more concerned about the men's reactions to having women in their ranks.

Military leaders are detailing plans to slowly bring women into thousands of combat jobs, although after studies some exception may be made.

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