Wanted: Your Opinion on Inclusion of Women in Combat Arms Units.

 
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Wanted: Your Opinion on Inclusion of Women in Combat Arms Units.

 This post is an effort to solicit the opinions of Legionnaires and veterans:   Should the combat arms branches be opened to women if they can pass the same physical, mental and aptitude tests required of their male counterparts?

 We would also like your comments on the subject.  That being said, sending me an email or leaving a comment that says something like “Women need to be taken out of the military entirely” isn’t likely to aid the cause any; that ship has sailed.  Likewise, comments like: “Women are just as good as men” doesn’t add to our knowledge.  What we are looking for are well-reasoned comments on the efficacy of allowing women to serve in the combat arms branches that they have traditionally been barred from serving in.  We want everyone’s opinion, but are particularly looking for the opinion of those who have served at “the tip of the spear.”

For purposes of this discussion, let us assume that there is a standard, and any female inclusion in Combat Arms units would be based on that standard, without alteration, now or in the future (unless to make it tougher).  So, comments like “A woman couldn’t drag a man from a firefight” aren’t particularly useful.  I’m guessing there are some jacked up females out there that are way stronger than some of the guys I had, while there are some guys out there that would seriously struggle dragging me to safety.  If the standard is the same for all genders, that should answer that concern.

Anyway, you can take the poll, but what I would really like is some cogent arguments in the comments section.  If you feel uncomfortable leaving a comment there, please feel free to send me your comments via email at mothax@legion.org

The survey has been closed. Thank you to those who participated.

Posted in the burner | 371 comments
 
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Your mommy can comfort you if you need it, hard charger. I'd rather being doing something useful.

I believe that women if they chose to want to subject themselves to the treatment that the Infantry guys go through to be infantry then let her. But being a woman and knowing that during my time in ROTC and College and my early years in the military, I thought that is what I wanted. But after watching my husband go through Ranger school, airborne school and air assualt school then be deployed as a infantry LT and now as a Company Commander. I say give me my job behind the wire. There are places for women such as doing the female body search in Afghanistan but humping a ruck up and down mountains and through deserts that are very unforgiving no thank you. I grew up on a farm and have spent many years being one of the guys. It is hard enough for the guys to accept you as a team member and trust you enough in the rear not when the bullets are flying. I do think women could serve in Field artillery line companies and armor units but not a light infantry or even a mech infantry line unit (BN and above would be fine with me). It has nothing to do with the time of month but the differences between women and men. There is nothing wrong with being different, we should celebrate it and embrace it. Yes, men are generally (not all) the quick to violence and willing to shoot first ask questions later and women are the ones who are (not all) quick to want to be sure that they won't shoot a non combative but that is what makes us great. We in America can celebrate those differences and are not like other countries that hid their women, due to the differences treat them like second class citizens.

There is, in fact, a difference between men and women, and even though women may, in many cases, perform as well or better than men in a combat role, they should not be there, out of respect for their gender.

It’s not the women that are the problem in Combat, it’s the young men. They are over protective of the women, also jealousies is a problem, old boy friend new boy friend. In combat, it’s the mission that matters not feminism or social engineering. In Desert Strom I saw this over protectiveness and jealousies play out. Sexual abuse was also a problem. As for the women they did an exhalent job. The women, under my command . some times did a better job than the men did.

I was a female marine and I served overseas in combat zones. Yes I have seen women pull the female card to get out of there share of work, but I have seen more men complain about the same amount of work as some females. There are fewer females so when they witness one female pulling that card they start viewing every female that way, and to say that all females can not keep up in a combat zone is very incorrect. I spend a good amount of my time carrying wounded men out of combat and it is very insulting when I hear men say that I can not carry the same amount of weight and that I can not over power my attacker.

I would presume that you are a Marine Corpsman [er...person] ??? Don't think so....at least not a 'combat' Corpsman....carrying a litter person off a helo is one thing....carrying that same person with all your gear [no medic--but Rifleman] and theirs with 'bad-guy' shooting at you...is another. Think about it....

Why not? they already are and are being wounded/kjilled.

I remember an informal discussion of this subject, and the discussion disolved when the comment was made that if you really wanted to scare the enemy to death, let him face a battalion of women soldiers on PMS. Seriously, we all should know by now that women with equal qualifications perform as well, if not better, than men in most situations. While there are physical differences between men and women (viva la differance) there are a whole lot more similarities that are currencly exploited by armies such as Israel, Russia, Vietnam and China. Surely, their women are no better than ours.

You are quite right Marsha of the women in some of those armies.....their talents are indeed 'exploited' and it is because of their countries 'mindset' about women...parrticularly Russia, China, and VietNam. If our culture was the same as their...without the 'PC'....then perhaps it might just work. Would you like that ????

In the midst of the chaos in Egypt, in the street, within sight of hundreds, a female news reporter was sexually abused. As a Vietnam Veteran, Bravo 1/3, first to fight in Vietnam 1965, I cannot even contact my vivid imagination to offer up a scenario where a woman would have been a good addition to any or our operations; Search and Destroy, Ambushes, patrols; and the by-products of living on the edge - poor hygeine, bad food, foot rot, smegma, monsoons, 120 deg heat, APC pills, hemmeroids (sp), back pain, fatique, urinating when and where you need too, defecating in a slit trench (coed), farting contests, foul language, smoking, constantly horny, dirty clothes, sweat, insects, snakes, monkeys in the night, snipers, bodies, body parts, HD pack and supplies for contant transport, and on. Please don't put them in that and suggest it is to achieve fairness and equality. Please don't do this unless you would be willing to put your sister or Mother into the mix.

I already wrote thej all , what did you do with all the stuff I wrote?

I already wrote thej all , what did you do with all the stuff I wrote?

Some women would do a fantastic job, that's no doubt, BUT overall from my 21 years of service/experience, to include in Combat Zones, I don't think it's a good idea. They WILL cost extra lives & pain, to include the lack of military focus! Here's another thing that is normally kept out of the news when this subject has made the news. MOST women in the military agree with our system and don't want this to change! They do not think they should allow them to be in Combat Units! Can we PLEASE leave out the ridiculous notion of TOTAL equality, political climate, political "correctness" AND sensitivities out of the DA_ _ military?!!!!! If you don't you ARE inviting problems, we have enough problems in our country which seems to be going downwards slowly through the years, lets not let that happen to our military, which with out it, there would NOT be a United States of America!!!!!!

Where are you getting "MOST" from? I am a woman who's served the past 18 years, part of that time was in a special ops unit. Did you do a poll on all the women around you? I just did and included the men who work with us. While some of both men and women agree with you, the majority, including myself have to disagree. Not every woman is capable of filling the position, but there are some that can enhance the team as well as meet or excede the standards required and they should be allowed that opportunity. It's men like you who need to get past their narrowmindedness. That's what endangers a unit so don't blame the gender

Rebecca....not every man can fill the position either....if we are capable of using the same standards...across the board....no 'seperate but equal'....training, quarters, etc...share and share alike...with no 'PC'....then let it be !!! But do you think that is possible ??? Just look at the stats of just the past five years. \And....what did you really do "SPOPs"????

The same standards should be applied to all. Most of the arguments against (above) are sexist and lame. People of either gender who fail to conduct themselves as worthy soldiers need to face immediate consequence.

I've got 2 PH's & I say "Yes".
Women - as long as they are physically fit - are tough as nails.
When the s* in the wind, I've seen men keep their heads down.
Men, women, gay, straight, black, white, green - who cares?
Only takes 3-5 lbs. to pull a trigger.
It's what's between the ears, not the legs.

Sgt. USMC

Let women serve in combat, yes, but train them adequately so there is no lack of training necessary to their survival in combat. If they do not serve openly in combat, then they cannot openly get adequate training and they will be at a disadvantage in combat zones. An expert in combat is just that, with no gender distinction.

I believe that if women are to serve in frontline combat units make that unit all women as by nature men and women can not help or control feelings of sexual attraction which can cause bad judgements and distractions at critical situations for example where a man may make a choice to protect one women and as a result 10 other people die. There is a huge difference between civilian work place shenanigans and combat. People die in combat.

No, women should not be allowed in combat. They are not physically up to carrying 80-90 pound rucks, a weapon, ammo, radios and so forth. And you can't tell me that the male soldiers do not and will not go out of their way to protect them more so than they would a male soldier. Just way to many problems for this old soldier to buy off on this.

What is wrong with America? I'll tell you this type of crap. We look at the downward spiral this county has taken and it this type of liberal bull that has caused it. Women have done their jobs and done them well in their current roles. However, their is no place for them in infanty units. I agree I served with some males that had no buisness ever graduating from boot camp and some males that broke down when the stuff hit the fan. But on a whole males are physically and psychologically different. Not because of society but because of god and how we were designed. ISome are nieve, with women in infantry units there are going to be all kinds of issues most of which will stem from sexual relations and tensions. Even with strict rules in place males and females will always be attracted to one and another and they will be broken on a regular basis. You throw thses types of complications into a deployed infantry unit and you will get a non efficent one. I've been deployed and when we would roll up for resupply and see some women pumping the fuel it was like a free for all. And guess what those two women got busted having sex for money a few weeks later. I respect women and all they do but lets stop trying to be equal there are just some things that women cannot do.

absolutely. God made men and women different for a reason. be proud of being a woman and be proud of being a man. quit dragging your insecurities into politics. ridiculous that it has come to this.

why not...ppl forget that during WWII woman manned anti aircraft weapons...they also used to fly the planes...why shouldn't they be able to serve in todays combat

Some of the most competent troops with whom I served were intelligent, well-trained and highly motivated women. Some of the guys were wastes of breathing space.

Maybe I'm just a little different, but the uniform does make a different in whether or not I view someone as a man or woman, or as a comrade in arms.

My wife is a vet, was an officer when I was an NCO...on duty, no one, and I mean no one, would be able to tell we had an intimate relationship. To show such would have been both unprofessional and an insult to those with whom we served.

As to my subject line...my wife is an electrical engineer by training and experience (regular Air Force), I was infantry (Army Guard) and combat engineer (USAF Reserve) by training and experience. I taught her a lot about field craft and combat shooting.

With all the drills we've gone though over the years (been together over 33), I am confident that she would bear up if the balloon went up. She's still a bit squeamish over knife work, though.

My daughter is currently serving her third tour in Iraq. She made an adult decision the day she told me was enlisting in the Army. She came to me and told me she was aware of the risks and understanding that she would be serving in combat theaters and still enlisted. She currently wears a CAB so I know she has been in situations that most of do not want to comprehend as parents. If she was allowed to be in a combat unit I am confident that she would, as always, perform her duties to the best of her abilities. I could not be any more proud of her than I am.

To wear a combat action award, you have to have been shot at and returned fire. So what is the situation with your daughter?

Negative. To be awarded a combat action badge, you need to either engage or be engaged by the enemy, not necessarily both. Most CABs are for coming under hostile fire (has to be close enough to be a risk to your life - a mortar hitting the other side of the compound a mile away doesn't count). Discharging your weapon is not required. I am a female who has been awarded a CAB. If you asked my parents what the situation was for which I received the award, they would have no idea. I haven't told them. They aren't military. They wouldn't "get it."

Sex should not matter, some men should not go to combat.

IF THEY WANT TO GO TO BATTEL, LET THEM

As a retired Air Force NCO and Vietnam veteran, I have come to the conclusion that women should serve in a combat role if they are capable of doing the duties commensurate with the role. If homosexual men are to be allowed to serve alongside hetersexuals, then so can women, heterosexual or otherwise. Any morality issues can and should be resolved with a swift application of military laws as encoded in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I believe that the military services have strayed too far from the military justice system and toward political correctness.

When I was in Miltery (ARMY Air defence) we had no women. I worked 32, in a power Plant, 25 as a suporvisor, some of them times I had women working for me. Its Hard. Some men do not want women any where around them, other would not let them do any thing and others hit on them.
In combat it would be hell. They want equal pay, for equal work, they know they are jointing a mans world, when they join the armed forces they know they will be around men, combat mite come to them. Equal pay means equal danger. I would prefur a woman over a happy man, as long as they pull their wieght. If they get hit or killed, well its better them than me.

In this day of equal opportunity, if a woman desires to be in a combat arms unit, and they are mentally and physically able to do the job, I say let them. I have witnessed women police officers that are more than capable of holding their own against larger men. If a person wants to do a particular job bad enough, they will do it. I served 2 years active during Viet Nam performing clerical duties and 5 years in the MI National Guard's 126 Infanty as a fire direction controller and platoon sergeant in the 81mm mortor platoon. I have worked fire, police, ambulance and driving truck and have seen women that are as good as or better then some men.

I agree 100% with Robert Ireland. Women have played major roles in our history for generations. They fought side by side in many conflicts with men. It is time we begin to see the value of women in the Armed Forces in any capacity they qualify for.

I just sent in my comments about this subject: dealsbro@sbcglobal.net but I didn't see anywhere that you requested my name and permission. I hope that this can be matched with my reply that took a long time to compse. Thanks.
Please sign me a DEA, Colonel, US Army (ret)

You know I heard a lot of these arguments about Black's being in combat with whites, and how it would cause all kinds of problems and "drama" so they went and made all black units and they kicked ass now you wouldn't even think twice about your brother standing next to you being white, black,yellow , purple, or green,they are just seen as a brother, fellow Marine, solider,Team mate.same will ring true years from now .it just goes to show we as a people still have a long way to go before we grow up and get rid of these damn stereotypes,If they pass all the requirements then they should be allowed and do not sit here and say it's all the womans fault that there would be too much drama sounds to me that it is all the guy's fault that you have to look at it that way, instead of looking at her as a team mate or a fellow marine not a woman why do we put together an all female troop and see how they fair just like we did with the blacks seems to me it's just another for of segragation I guess we still have not learned anything from our mistakes,no matter what race or sex we are all HUMAN and untill we ALL realise that we will not grow as a race

No. Womens' brains are wired differently than Mens'. Women primarily think with the right side of their brains while men primarily think with the left side of their brain. The difference is that the right side of the brain is the emotional side and the left is the logical, survival and combat side of the brain. I'd feel much safer with a male soldier at my back than a woman. Men also have a way of understanding what is needed of them in combat with little or no verbal communication while too often, women need things explained to them. Aside from that, there have been many women soldiers that seem to be able to tow the line but sadly, most don't.

If they can meet the standard let them. Israel has let women fight for a long time. I served with female MP's in Iraq and most were great combat soldiers. MP's are only mounted infantry in today's combat operations. And this jessica chick who surrendered in the beginning of the war in the lost convoy, she was treated as a hero, she should have been court martialed !

In any military no matter what country women serve as SOLDIERs. The oldier has no gender, they are trained for combat and kill to defend as in basic training issued CIF combat gear, pre-pack ABC bags, issued NBC gear, qualify weapon annually, stay in condition daily, combat ready to deploy in support of the mission. Yes terrible things have happen war crimes and more. The SOLDIER job is to complete the mission in any means without thought of gender they are soldiers.

As a 22 year combat vet with both infantry and mp mos and having led hundreds of combat missions i can tell you the combat arms are a vastly different game than CS/CSS. I have led women on combat missions and i have seen first hand the difference between women and men in combat. Putting women in the combat arms will degrade the capabilities of those units. They perform very well, even under fire, in CS/CSS units but the nature of combat arms is such that they physically and psychologically are not as well equiped for the huge differences in the actual missions and on the ground 24/7 activities of combat arms. I have witnessed the differences and no soldier who has not been in the combat arms truely understands what the combat arms require. So all those arm chair cs/css soldiers who have not done the job should sit this discussion out.

With the recent repeal of DADT and allowing openly gay people to serve changed standards that have opened the floodgates, Not only should women be on the line and they must be quartered with men and gay men and with an open /shared head, sex is no longer an issue according to Courts.
Everyone knew that as soon as people who are openly gay were allowed to serve, by the same rights it evens the field for any sex gradation across the board.
Same foxhole = same shower, same quarters from boot on without a rotation on the head either that would violate code making it a mandatory punishable offence, I know how extreme I sound but it is what it is, remember 20years ago the atheists and witches wanted to Quash Christmas until they were made to understand that halloween and other holidays would be easy prey, they decided to back off for their own interests, which I guess was more important than upsetting our Day when we join together to honor the birth of a child, the situation I detailed is what has to be done, there is no choice now

"Sexual tension," "protecting women," etc. A lot of the comments I've read are sexist. some are silly. But having said that, I come down on the side of no women in front line combat units. I think we might want to consider Israel's experience in this question- women used to serve in combat roles, but that practice was ended. A woman might be able to perform as well as a man in meeting particular standards. But an actual combat situation would present far different challenges than simply meeting a fitness standard in a sterile, noncombat testing environment. Even if a woman can meet the fitness and marksmanship standards - just because it can be done does not necessarily make it a good idea. Whether we females want to admit it or not, we are different - our presence creates some good influence, and can raise some negative problems. And a combat unit is not an science lab - men at arms need a rock solid base from which to project their might and accomplish a mission. I think many women are concerned about getting "combat experience" because, let's face it, that's a square that our military says a person need filled if they want to advance their careers. But there are combat arms fields - like artillery, planning, and others, that perhaps should be opened to allow woment the experience that will enable them to advance, and which will tap into their (our) unique talents and skills. Women contribute a lot to our military, but there are still some things that we cannot and should not do, and to pretend otherwise is not in the best interests of our country.

I had to play devil's advocate on this topic though I agree with you, see my comment above

....and to Old School....the same....nice response. It could be added that the Selective Service Act be updated to include feamle registration also.

AF MoM....nicely said !!!!!

The Woman's Military Creed: I want to be a man, so I can do a man's job, and destroy two hundred years of military tradition that worked to defend our nation. I will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars to accomodate my female requirements,aboard ship,on aircraft, and in forward combat areas. I will cause high standards to be lowered for me at military academies and in training so I can qualify. I will put myself,others,and a whole nation at risk for quotas,political correctness, and media attention. I will give new meaning to the morale of front line troops that I am assigned to that already have enough stress in combat. Then I can receive the special treatment that results,because of the serious "problems" my presence creates. I will uphold the decisions of a few politicians that think coed basic training,coed service academies, and women in combat is a good idea. Lastly I will bring into the military all the problems the civilian world has to deal with,sexual harassment,assault, special attention, and promotions for me because I am a female in the "new" military.

I am an Army Nurse. I served in the hottest part of Vietnam, 1967-69. I hold to the belief that the female bone structure usually does not lend to humping a pack up mountains, through rivers and thrashing their way though dense jungles. The female soldier must carry the same weight as her male counterpart. Vietnam for lack of a better description was brutal on our soldiers and Marines. As a woman, there is no way I can secure a wounded soldier to the rope dropped by a rescue chopper, it took all I had to drag my combat causality patients out of their beds to the floor and then cover them with a mattress for protection during in-coming rockets.
I wore fatigues for two years and even without a pack on my back..I found at times when transporting wounded to another hospital, changing a tampon with even a modicum of privacy very difficult to impossible.
You men are gentlemen at home, however when there are no round eyes men have the propensity to acquire mannerisms that would (in today's military) be blatant sexual harassment. I was one of five nurses in a Surgical Hospital near the DMZ.
for part of the tour we were located inside The 101st Camp Evans RVN An MP Guard was posted 24/7
at our quarters, not to protect us from the Viet Cong or the NVA, but to shield us from harassment from the "Screaming Eagles"
I do want to say, I have read the comments about women Hum V drivers, placed in harms way, and I agree that when women are sent out into the field they need the same survival training as the men

I am an Army Nurse. I served in the hottest part of Vietnam, 1967-69. I hold to the belief that the female bone structure usually does not lend to humping a pack up mountains, through rivers and thrashing their way though dense jungles. The female soldier must carry the same weight as her male counterpart. Vietnam for lack of a better description was brutal on our soldiers and Marines. As a woman, there is no way I can secure a wounded soldier to the rope dropped by a rescue chopper, it took all I had to drag my combat causality patients out of their beds to the floor and then cover them with a mattress for protection during in-coming rockets.
I wore fatigues for two years and even without a pack on my back..I found at times when transporting wounded to another hospital, changing a tampon with even a modicum of privacy very difficult to impossible.
You men are gentlemen at home, however when there are no round eyes men have the propensity to acquire mannerisms that would (in today's military) be blatant sexual harassment. I was one of five nurses in a Surgical Hospital near the DMZ.
for part of the tour we were located inside The 101st Camp Evans RVN An MP Guard was posted 24/7
at our quarters, not to protect us from the Viet Cong or the NVA, but to shield us from harassment from the "Screaming Eagles"
I do want to say, I have read the comments about women Hum V drivers, placed in harms way, and I agree that when women are sent out into the field they need the same survival training as the men

What next? do we enlist the boy scouts in combat next, Hmmm

I was a female electronics technician on a forward deployed repair tender during Operation Desert Storm and I say YES women should be allowed in combat. I would have gone.
When you only deploy half your strength the other half has to shoulder twice the burden, incur twice the losses and this leaves a bad aftertaste for everyone.
As long as the training and expectations are the same for all then I can't see a problem, since the weeding out process which works for the males will work equally well for the females.

NOT DIRECT COMBAT Units As Infantryman.they Should Be Trained For combat for that possibility exist every day in a war zone but not as An Marine Or Army Infantryman, Maybe As Part Of Tank Crew Or Artillery Besides The Restrictions Are Not Posted At This Opinion site, Any Other Answer Is an assumption. Other Than Limited Choices Presented, & They Are Limited Choices Presented.

l.Samuel Walker
Sgt USMC

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.