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Old 02-03-2005, 04:45 AM
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Default Women Warriors In Iraq

(CBS) By definition, there are no American women soldiers in infantry combat. But it's a little different on the ground in Iraq. When insurgents attack U.S. soldiers, everyone fights back.

Behind the wheel in the streets of Mosul is Private First Class Margaux Mange, a veteran on 10 months of hard driving, through the toughest cities in Iraq. CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier spoke with Pfc. Mange in Mosul, and CBS News video shows her driving the humvee as well as lifting and shooting her rifle alongside her male counterparts.

She pulls her weight like all the guys, Dozier reports, but technically, she's not in combat.

"Technically," Mange says, grinning.

Dozier asked Mange to describe driving on Mosul's dangerous roads.

"It's nerve-wracking," she said. "You don't know what's going to happen."

Her scariest moment came in Sadr City, "when we just kept getting mortared, and where it seemed that every time we moved our truck, there was a mortar."

Her team members literally trust her with their lives.

"She's really good, she's a good driver," said Spc. Jeremy English IV, who rides with Mange.

"I know a lot of them treat me like a sister," Mange said. "They fight with me all the time, they push me around, they bully me, but I stick up for myself."

She's one of four women MPs on this base alone.

Spc. Angela Pepple, a humvee gunner, was hit by two roadside bombs and caught in an ambush. She wasn't injured, but she won't forget it.

"The guy on the roof seen us passing by, and he started firing upon us," Pepple said. She opened fire on him. "At first I was a bit scared, but you've got so much adrenaline and you don't wanna miss what you're shooting, so I just did what I had to do."

Gunner specialist Jessica Hudach described a near-death experience with a rocket-propelled grenade as "not bad."

"Well, it hit the guard rail, so it just kind of ricocheted off the guard rail and hit the truck."

What is the difference between what these women do and combat?

"We're not actually going out looking for a fight," Hudach said.

Does she want to go out and look?

"No!" Hudach laughed.
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