Women in Combat, What is the Rest of the Story

By: Stephen Marsh
February 7, 2013

There has been a lot of discussion over the years about women in the military.

Specifically, women in combat.  Four things came together to make it happen.

First, women find themselves in combat in the current military in our country and in other countries.  A Woman Soldier’s Own Story is an example of  that.  They are on patrol, in dog fights, getting ambushed while driving trucks.  They end up in combat over and over again, they just do not get jobs that say “combat” in them.

Consider Hesitation Kills: A Female Marine Officer’s Combat Experience in Iraq.

Second, the equipment changed.  An M-1 or an M-14 did not lend itself to either women or children in combat.  With M-16s we have child soldiers the world over.  Female fighter pilots are found the world over now.  Upper body strength matters in some settings, but no where near what it did.  For gear worn on the body, it requires trunk and leg strength where women are equivalent to men.

Third, there are career issues, both in the military and in civilian life.  I still remember realizing that if I got a perfect score applying for the post office, a guy who had “combat role” on his resume (even if he never made it off a flight line) could get what was otherwise a failing score and get more points than I could applying for one of those jobs.

The same is basically true for a woman who has actually been in combat but who is not credited with a job that is a combat role.

Fourth and finally, they have started taking a better approach — everyone has to pass the same physical requirements for a job.  Notice the Marine Corp recently washing out its first two female candidates (both of whom looked very good) just like they wash out many men.

Compare the way it used to go, time after time, in similar efforts.  For example, in my dad’s MO, his military job,, there was a strength requirement.  A female general got it into her head that the field would be good for women and as a part of that, changed the requirement for women.  Err, the people work as four person teams.  The strength requirement was the ability to lift 1/4th of the weight of the missiles that were being worked on.

Any time you got two of the new recruits into the field on the same team, the missiles could not be lifted or moved.

Those sorts of waivers have gone away.  Everyone competes on an even footing.

Anyway, that is what is going on with women in combat, four streams coming together at the same time.

Posted by PicasaWhat do you think?

11 Responses to Women in Combat, What is the Rest of the Story

  1. Will on February 7, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    The objective of a military is to break things and kill people. I suppose women can do this as well as men. Women have a high chance, almost 100 percent chance, of being raped if captured. If those women that join understand and accept this reality, I suppose that is their decision.

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  2. hawkgrrrl on February 7, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    I definitely think it’s about time. There was a great quote in Time from one soldier who witnessed a woman rescuing a soldier under attack. He said: “She pulls him out of this burning vehicle! She’s just f—ing awesome! As she’s dragging him back, she’s shooting one handed with her M16 toward the bad guys–completely phenomenal!” The rescuer was a female Army lab tech.

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  3. Nickel on February 7, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Will – women in the military have a fair change of being raped even if they aren’t captured. That is their reality.

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  4. Stephen Marsh on February 8, 2013 at 5:02 AM

    Nickel, actually, about half of the rapes in the military are of men.

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  5. Jeff Spector on February 8, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    I am in favor, let’s get on with it and move on to the next big hurdle. Getting out of stupid wars altogether.

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  6. Stephen M (Ethesis) on February 8, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Yes, follow George Washington and avoid Foreign Entanglements. .

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  7. Jeff Spector on February 8, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Or Dwight Eisenhower: Beware of the Military Industrial Complex

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  8. Roger on February 8, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Lets all throw slogans around as substitutes for thoughtful analysis.

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  9. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on February 8, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Let’s not forget selective service… It should apply to both genders immediately following this decision. Equality right?

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  10. Douglas on February 9, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Though women on all sides have served bravely and honorably, the Russians had what the Germans called ‘Die Nachthexen’ (Night Witches), for the 46th Taman Bomber Regiment – these ‘women’, mostly teenaged girls or young women in their early 20′s, flew obsolete Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes at night, on the deck, with two 100 kilos bombs and a few satches of grenades to harass German positions. Imagine the courage to fly an old wooden biplane, open cockpit, in freezing weather over the treetops, and having to cut the engine when approaching the target so as not to be heard!
    Yet all this liberal nonsense in the headiness of having reelected “Saint Barry” is resulting in some very idiotic notions. I can’t see how integrating females into combat units will enhance the effectiveness therein. Ask those who are actually in the military what they think of the idea. “Equal rights” is a meaningless concept when you’re sending young men as it is, and now there’s a clamor to include young women as well, into harm’s way to do the dirty business that our military is stuck with. My prediction is that it will prove disastrous. And this even though I can commend the service that so many women do in our military as it is. I think of the late Lori Piestwa and how she gave her life bravely, and it’s fitting that the mountain park peak once called “Squaw Peak”, to the consternation of some Native American groups, was renamed for her (along with AZ 51, now the Lori Piestwa Freeway). But methinks her family would rather have her alive and raising a family and keep the old name of the mountain and freeway. Really, it’s bad enough that young men come home crazed, maimed, or dead. I don’t want women included on an “equal” basis on THAT deal.

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  11. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on February 10, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    The Israelis tried using women as infantry before didnt work out so great… (they do have an all volunteer mixed gender unit that they keep in a quiet spot nowadays.. pretty much never gonna see combat..) I’m pretty sure Israeli chicks circa 1948 were made of a helluva lot tougher stuff than American liberal chicks with square glasses circa 2013 that haven’t a clue what infantry actually does. Sooooo, good thing were bout one fighting for now I guess?

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