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Women in combat
Old 01-25-2013, 12:36 PM   #1
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Women in combat

What are your thoughts on this one?

I guess it was going to happen sooner or later. In theory, I'm all for equal rights. In practice, I'd imagine it will cause all sorts of problems.

I was never in the military and so obviously never in combat, but just from other experiences, like the Peace Corps, stress and the raging hormones of the young, being out of your familiar setting and comfort zone... talk about a sexually-charged soap opera in the extreme! I'd think soldiers already have enough to deal with without thinking about what's going on in the other fox holes (so to speak ), but what do I know?
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:09 PM   #2
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What are your thoughts on this one?

I guess it was going to happen sooner or later. In theory, I'm all for equal rights. In practice, I'd imagine it will cause all sorts of problems.

I was never in the military and so obviously never in combat, but just from other experiences, like the Peace Corps, stress and the raging hormones of the young, being out of your familiar setting and comfort zone... talk about a sexually-charged soap opera in the extreme! I'd think soldiers already have enough to deal with without thinking about what's going on in the other fox holes (so to speak ), but what do I know?
I think any woman who can make it thru the same physical requirments as the men should be able to work in the same position as the men including in combat zones. There should never be any quota to have a minimum number of women in any part of the military but if they're qualified there's no reason to refuse them. Gender, race, and sexual orientation should never eliminate anyone from the military IMO.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:14 PM   #3
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I think any woman who can make it thru the same physical requirments as the men should be able to work in the same position as the men including in combat zones. There should never be any quota to have a minimum number of women in any part of the military but if they're qualified there's no reason to refuse them. Gender, race, and sexual orientation should never eliminate anyone from the military IMO.
Agree entirely.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:18 PM   #4
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I think any woman who can make it thru the same physical requirments as the men should be able to work in the same position as the men including in combat zones. There should never be any quota to have a minimum number of women in any part of the military but if they're qualified there's no reason to refuse them. Gender, race, and sexual orientation should never eliminate anyone from the military IMO.
I agree 100% and FWIW I am a Viet Nam combat vet, Co. A 75th Inf. Bn.(Ranger) 1st Cav. Div.. If they can meet the same standards as men, I'm OK with it. A rifle doesn't know the sex of the person who pulls the trigger.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:44 PM   #5
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Agree all military should be open to anyone who can cut the mustard. And in this era of terrorism & guerilla tactics, "combat" zones are essentially everywhere. And deployment of women may have some unique advantages in certain areas (e.g. covert ops, medical units, etc.). HOWEVER US military has a long history of job requirements being watered down to ensure more women might qualify. Even current basic Army physical fitness requirements are SIGNIFICANTLY lower for females (e.g. 2mi run, pushups, situps, etc.). For example female standards are about 3 full min slower for 2mi run.
2012 Army Fitness Standards

Politicians too often forget that any military Unit is only as strong as its weakest link.

Also- I wonder what society's current warm fuzzy feelings about 'equality' might become next time the US must reinstitute the draft & folks start seeing their daughters being sent off to be wounded/killed in combat.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:45 PM   #6
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The answer isn't as easy as passing the physical qualifications and being able to shoot a gun. The decision to include females might boil down to mission critical need. For example, the Marine Corps (maybe Army too) attached women Marines to combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the culture of ONLY females could touch other females so body pats to search for suicide bombs.

On the other hand, unit cohesion is critical. This article was in yesterday's WSJ. Sgt. Smith makes some points worth considering. Ryan Smith: The Reality That Awaits Women in Combat - WSJ.com
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #8
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It's gonna make it harder to be a commander or first sergeant of a combat unit. And it's going to make it harder for those in the units. And before we do anything that makes the job of these people harder, I think we need to give the matter a lot of thought.

I understand the issues and I could make a case pro or con.

I have absolutely no doubt that some women can perform well in combat (just as some men do). I don't think the percentage of women physically and mentally capable of doing it (or wanting to do it) will match the percentage of men, but that's irrelevant for those women who can.

Many of the issues could be ameliorated by (dare I say it? dare we think it?) establishment of segregated male and female combat units. This bears zero resemblance to the former racially segregated units. I think both the male and female units would be more effective, have fewer discipline problems, and be easier to lead than mixed gender combat units. For political reasons, this answer is unavailable to us. We should ask ourselves why.

I believe a politically expedient answer will be forced on combat units by those who don't have to deal with the ramifications. For history on how this goes, talk to anyone who lived through Project 100,000, a "noble" idea that killed people and failed to have the desired social outcome. On the other hand, racial integration of the military did lead the way for society as a whole. The specifics of how women will be brought into combat units are very important, and no broad brush "do it like you integrated racially" rationale is convincing.

We have traditionally made a distinction between being in a combat zone (e.g. as a truck driver or in a hospital) and being in a combat unit (in a rifle squad, etc). It's a distinction understood best by those who have been in a combat unit, especially those who have been in these units in combat.

Again, history shows women can and have served ably in combat.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:53 PM   #9
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I've never had a problem with the idea, but I find one thing very interesting. Back when I first went on active duty, there was still a somewhat separate branch called Women in the Air Force (WAF). It was only later that women became fully integrated. As for combat, when I was in Vietnam, we were told that the restriction was set by Congress, and the services simply had to abide by it. Now I see that it merely took a decision by SecDef to change that. Very interesting. Of course, there was a draft back then, too.

I think that as long as the women who volunteer have an adequate understanding of what they're signing up for, there shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:03 PM   #10
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Sgt. Smith makes some good point however I know some women that could handle those circumstances probably better than some men. I do not have an issue with women serving in combat roles.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:34 PM   #11
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No, absolutely not. My opinion. You asked.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:34 PM   #12
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I guess I have a diferent take on the subject. I'm from the old school and saw the time when equality for gender and even race was being stressed (really pushed). Manufacturing in the midwest was strong and women wanted to get in on the bigger paying jobs held by men. I'm talking union type jobs, hourly rate, both skilled and unskilled labor. I saw the women come in and try to do some of the tougher jobs where strength was required. They couldn't do it and the guys had to cover for them. Same pay but their buddies had to do most of the hard work. So most of them were given jobs in the same union classification that didn't require and heavy lifting. That's bull**** as far as I'm concerned. If you work in a particular classification you ought to be able to any job within that classification.

Then came the next step, becoming a female supervisor. The word came down from the top to the department heads. If you "don't find someone soon who can be promoted to supervisor, we will and you may not like who we pick".

It still goes on today in other skilled areas. Women firefighters. How many women do you know that can carry a 100 lb hose up three flights or stairs while wearing full gear including air packs. They can't, so what happens? The standards are changed. The requirements are reduced to accommodate the women. I say bull****.

Women want equality but equality is never reached because the standards are changed until the women can meet the requirements. Now to the subject of the military. Both my son and son-in-law were in the Marines. They both agree that most women will not be able to do what their male counterparts are required to do in boot camp. They worry that standards or requirements will be changed until most of the female recruits can do the assigned tasks. I know women are now flying jets, even off aircraft carriers as Navy pilots. I can understand that and agree with that senario. And there has been some women in combat roles in the middle east and some have been killed.

Maybe the time has come for this change. I can see the handwriting on the wall and a high ranking woman in the military made a statement the other day on TV. She of course was all for this, because she said "it's hard for a woman to attain the rank of General without having been in some combat assignment". You see, it's all about getting the rank and competing for those high ranking officer positions, not about being able to join the guys in a little hand to hand combat. I say it's bull****!
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:55 PM   #13
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I would feel very sorry for the opposing forces if my mother in law ever showed up in uniform on the field.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:02 PM   #14
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... talk about a sexually-charged soap opera in the extreme! I'd think soldiers already have enough to deal with without thinking about what's going on in the other fox holes (so to speak ), but what do I know?
Yeah, cause we haven't had any sex scandals involving the military recently. Oh wait.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:06 PM   #15
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I agree 100% and FWIW I am a Viet Nam combat vet, Co. A 75th Inf. Bn.(Ranger) 1st Cav. Div..
It's worth a lot! Thank you.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:54 PM   #16
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Going through Jump school, there were women in the classes. The standards were very loose and flexible for them.

Yet at graduation they received the same wings as the men. Granted there were several Black Hats (instructors) who vere every bit as good as the male instructors.

I do have mixed feelings, if the standards remain the same and not lowered for accomodation, fine, that is but one hurdle. I am glad I will never have to experience the results.

I do note that the Sec Def conveniently made the change just before his departure, he will not have to deal with the consequences or implementation. I feel for the front line who has to implement. And a mess it will be.

Though in the interest of women wanting equality, by all means they shuld be exposed to getting killed and maimed in battle, just as guys do.

By the way, all of my MOS have an S suffix.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:57 PM   #17
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About damn time. Now lets change the selective service registration requirements to include 18YO women, too.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:59 PM   #18
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Female here...I have w*rked as small engine mechanic (summers) and as an Engineer, both traditionally male career fields. I held my own and am proud of that. I expected no breaks and took none.

But...was I physically and mentally suited for combat, when I was a young woman ? Hell no.
If I had chosen the military as a career, and had been selected to train for combat, perhaps I would have been chosen to serve in that capacity. Perhaps not.
I would not want to have been placed in a combat unit unless I had proven that I was physically and emotionally capable.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:28 PM   #19
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I will freely admit that I don't undertand how the coed military works.

When I served in the USMC in the 1960's, there was absolutely no privacy. I lived in open barracks, quonset huts and tents for my entire enlistment. The heads (bathrooms) had no private toilet stalls or showers. When we went to the field, we used 4-holer latrines with no individual stalls, or any kind of cover for that matter.

When we deployed we went in troopships or LST's (Landing Ship Tank). In those ships the troops were as close together as they could possibly be without being in the same clothes.

I'm not familiar with Project 100,000, but at about the same time the USMC had a program for Spanish speaking men. Some of them could not speak a word of English. Most of the men admitted to this program thought it was a great opportunity. The written tests in English were waived. I don't know if there was an admission test in any language. If the individuals were not US citizens, they were given a headstart on their citizenship application. They had to attend English classes at night. As far as I know they were all assigned to the infantry. I only heard good things about the men in that program.

For example, there were a number of Apache Indians from Arizona who could speak Spanish but could not pass a written test in English.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:28 PM   #20
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Pertinent anecdote:

At one time, I was on the staff at the Air Force Academy. During their first summer (before classes begin), new cadets are required to go through a program called "Basic Cadet Training" or BCT which is quite appropriately pronounced "beast."

It's an extremely grueling couple of months, designed to both instill a sense of belonging and weed out anyone not capable of handling the next four years.

One of the exercises during the early part of BCT is a rather challenging obstacle course. One task is a wall with a rope hanging down. The idea is you leap up, grab the rope, pull yourself to the top of the wall, then jump down on the other side. There is just dirt below the wall.

During my tenure, we had the first coed class of cadets enter the academy, and with no precedents to go by, we had to make a lot of modifications. For example, with just men, we had mandatory intramural boxing. Obviously that wasn't a good idea, so we offered fencing as an alternative. Small but significant changes like that.

Anyway, when the first young women came to that obstacle course, they began going through it like everyone else. Suddenly, I got a phone call from an O-6 out there who was just about apoplectic, screaming that someone had to get a pile of mattresses out to the wall so one of the women wouldn't get hurt if she fell.

Of course we did it. Some time later, I was talking with one of those female cadets and asked her about that incident. She remembered it well, and just shook her head and muttered "what a ****ing idiot!"

Moral: I think the women will probably do a whole lot better than many people expect.
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