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U.S. Army nurses Capt. Gladys E. Sepulveda, left, (Credit: AP)

U.S. Army nurses Capt. Gladys E. Sepulveda, left, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and 2nd Lt. Lois Ferrari, of Pittsburgh, Pa., rest on sandbags at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. They two were waiting transportation to Nha Trang, to work in the 8th field hospital. (July 14, 1965)

Women in the military

Through the years, women's roles in wartime have evolved -- not that women ever have been inclined to just stand by. During the American Revolution, Nancy Morgan Hart was famously depicted with a musket, defending her home and children from British soldiers in Georgia. In World War II, members of the Women Army Corps worked in a support capacity, while in Iraq and Afghanistan women have served closer to the front. Those roles evolved further when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed an order ending the Pentagon's ban on women serving in combat. Here's a collection of images showing some of the ways women have served their country in the U.S. military. --AP

In this undated illustration Nancy Morgan Hart, an
(Credit: AP)

In this undated illustration Nancy Morgan Hart, an American colonist living in Georgia, defends her home and children against invading British soldiers during the American Revolutionary War. According to legend, Hart captured and killed British soldiers during the war.

Marine Corps Women Reserves undergoing training at Camp
(Credit: AP)

Marine Corps Women Reserves undergoing training at Camp Lejeune, New River, N.C., ride in a landing boat of the type that were used by the Marines in landing operations in the South Pacific. (Oct. 2, 1943)

Members of the Women Army Corps (WAC) stationed
(Credit: AP)

Members of the Women Army Corps (WAC) stationed at a U.S. medium bomber station in England, ride bicycles on their way to work. (Dec. 22, 1943)

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Five members of the Women's Army Corps serving
(Credit: AP)

Five members of the Women's Army Corps serving with the army service of supplies, salute an officer at a base in England. (May 5, 1944)

Women Army Corps (WAC) switchboard operators put military
(Credit: AP)

Women Army Corps (WAC) switchboard operators put military calls through at their base in France. (Oct. 7, 1944)

A group of Women Army Corps (WAC) personnel
(Credit: AP)

A group of Women Army Corps (WAC) personnel pose in a Tokyo lounge. (March 1947)

U.S. Army nurses Capt. Gladys E. Sepulveda, left,
(Credit: AP)

U.S. Army nurses Capt. Gladys E. Sepulveda, left, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and 2nd Lt. Lois Ferrari, of Pittsburgh, Pa., rest on sandbags at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. They two were waiting transportation to Nha Trang, to work in the 8th field hospital. (July 14, 1965)

Recruit Angelia Wingle, of Lyons Ga., shines her
(Credit: AP)

Recruit Angelia Wingle, of Lyons Ga., shines her combat boot as she sits on a bunk in the barracks at Fort Jackson, S.C. (Sept. 21, 1977)

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U.S. Army Spec.Tanya Miller of New York leans
(Credit: AP)

U.S. Army Spec.Tanya Miller of New York leans against a wall on an airbase in Saudi Arabia. Miller was in Saudi Arabia with the 101st Airborne Divsion in support of Operation Desert Shield. (Sept. 3, 1990)

Army Major Tammy Duckworth rolls herself up during
(Credit: AP)

Army Major Tammy Duckworth rolls herself up during physical therapy at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Duckworth lost both legs when the helicopter she was in was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade during a mission near Baghdad on Nov. 12, 2004. (Jan. 31, 2005)

Army Spc. Monica Brown, a medic from the
(Credit: AP)

Army Spc. Monica Brown, a medic from the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, who received a silver star at an award ceremony at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Brown is the second female since World War II to earn the Silver Star award for her actions while in combat. (March 20, 2008)

U.S. Marine Female Engagement Team members Lance Cpl.
(Credit: AP)

U.S. Marine Female Engagement Team members Lance Cpl. Mary Shloss, right, of Hammond, Ind., Sgt. Monica Perez,, center, of San Diego, Calif. and Cpl. Kelsey Rossetti, of Derry, N.H. wait for the signal to begin their patrol in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. (Aug. 10, 2009)

An Iraqi woman is searched by a female
(Credit: AP)

An Iraqi woman is searched by a female U.S. soldier before reuniting with her husband, who was among 32 men released from U.S. military detention at Camp Bucca to their families in Tarmiyah, 30 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq, (April 12, 2009)

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Capt. Sara Rodriguez of the 101st Airborne Division
(Credit: AP)

Capt. Sara Rodriguez of the 101st Airborne Division walks through the woods during the expert field medical badge testing at Fort Campbell, Ky. (May 9, 2012)

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