Women in Combat Arms Units comes to the fore

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Women in Combat Arms Units comes to the fore

Unless you've been living under a rock the past 36 hours, you know that Leon Panetta is dropping the combat exclusion policy for women:

The U.S. military is ending its policy of excluding women from combat and will open combat jobs and direct combat units to female troops, multiple officials told CNN on Wednesday.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will make the announcement Thursday and notify Congress of the planned change in policy, the officials said.

"We will eliminate the policy of 'no women in units that are tasked with direct combat,'" a senior defense official said.

Here's a discussion on CNN about it: 


From another CNN article, reviews are mixed:

Julie Weckerlein, who has served more than 13 years in the Air Force and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, thinks the change reflects the military catching up with the times.

Women supporting supply missions have been drawn into battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, where there are no physical front lines.

Now, Weckerlein said, "people will be able to serve in the career fields they are qualified for, and they won't be turned away because of their gender."  [...]

Rep. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, has said he doesn't think women are physically capable of combat duty.

"To have women serving in infantry ... could impair the mission essential task of those units, and that's been proven in study after study," he told radio host Laura Ingraham this month. "It's nature -- upper body strength and physical movements and speed and endurance and so forth."

My friend Jonn Lilyea took the middle ground:

Jonn Lilyea, one of the founders of the military blog "This Ain't Hell," wrote that he thinks it was an "ill-considered decision."

Lilyea, a former sergeant who fought in Desert Storm, wrote that he is opposed to women in combat units, not because women are a distraction but because he thinks the Army and other services will be required to accept more women than are qualified or can be trained.

"If we're doing this to make the military better, fine, but if we're doing it just to beat our collective chest and show how just we are, then that's how a lot of body bags are going to get filled," he wrote.

 The American Legion's position, embodied in  "Resolution No. 36: Repeal DOD Policy Prohibiting Women From Combat" at the Milwaukee Convention in 2010, states:

RESOLVED, By The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 31, September 1, 2, 2010, That The American Legion shall initiate efforts to encourage the repeal of the Department of Defense’s policy governing the assignment of women in combat situations.

The key of course will be ensuring that the standards required of various MOSs (Like Infantry, Special Forces, SEALs etc) does not get changed.  That is covered by "Resolution No. 139: Military occupational specialty standards":

RESOLVED, By The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Indianapolis, Indiana, August 28, 29, 30, 2012, That The American Legion strongly believes that the Department of Defense and all branches of the military services must maintain the current physical and mental requirements and qualifications for acceptance into military service that have created the best and most respected military in the world; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the mental and physical qualifications of all military personnel, regardless of gender or age, should be held to a single duty position specific standard depending on Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and not be amended without Congressional authority; and, be it ...finally

RESOLVED, That The American Legion believes that without such Congressional hearings and oversight there exists the distinct possibility that changes will be made to lessen the current standards or set a double standard, one for men and one for women, for the sake of accommodating personnel for "social experiments," therefore, reducing our nation’s military effectiveness.

Our official statement on this has been released as well:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 -- The leader of the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ service organization has reacted cautiously to today’s announcement that the U.S. military plans to expand combat roles for women in the military.

“Women in the military are performing magnificently in Afghanistan and in U.S. military units throughout the word,” American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz said. “Women comprise nearly 15 percent of our active forces and we simply would not be able to accomplish our missions without them. That said, we do not believe that the administration should precipitously change long-existing policies without careful review and oversight from Congress.”

Delegates to The American Legion National Convention last August passed a resolution that called on all branches of the military services to maintain the current physical and mental requirements and qualifications for acceptance into military service that has “created the best and most respected military in the world…”  It further called on all military personnel, regardless of gender or age to be held to a single standard based on their MOS and that the elimination of the combat exclusion clause for women come only after congressional approval.

The most important aspect to consider in changing existing policy, Koutz said, is if it enhances the military’s war -fighting capability. “Political or career considerations should not enter into the equation,” he said. “The bottom line is: ‘Will it make us a more capable fighting force?’” 

Membership in The American Legion has been open to women who are serving or have served during wartime periods since the organization’s founding in 1919. Women Legionnaires were eligible to vote for their national commander before they could vote for the president of the United States.

NOTE: Picture at top is from the DoD and is captioned

U.S.   Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Sienna De Santis and U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd   Class Heidi Dean, both with Female Engagement Team, India Company, 3rd   Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, greet children   during a patrol in Sangin Valley, Afghanistan, on Oct. 29, 2010. Marines   conducted security patrols to decrease insurgent activity and gain the trust   of the Afghan civilians. The battalion was one of the combat elements of   Regimental Combat Team 2, whose mission was to conduct counterinsurgency   operations with the International Security Assistance Force.   DoD photo by Cpl. David   Hernandez, U.S. Marine Corps. (Released)







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No problem with them in support roles. Women bare children, who later become soldiers. I love and respect women. I just don't want to see their bodies splattered all over the battle field. And for all you bra burning W Libbers out there, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. If we need boots on the ground, let's start a draft and get some of these fat useless feminized "males" off their lazy arses and have them pay back for all the twinkies and Mountain Dews thet've been sucking down while real men have been sacrificing their blood and souls for what's left of our once great country.

just so they know what will happen to them when they are captured !!!

Having served aboard 4 ships, including one of the first to have women onboard (USS Simon Lake, USS Saratoga, USS Nimitz, and USS Constellation), some women are going to push to be where the men are, no matter what the situation is. Personally, some women abuse the workload, complaining that they cant carry boxes, carry munitions, or carry their end of the load. Yet, I have some women that were very able to hold their own with the men. But, I also know that some women, as well as a lot of men, don't want to be on the frontlines fighting, but wil only when forced to. I have read many of the comments here about women and the military don't mix, as all we hear is able sex scandals and the like. Give the women their own ships, their own submarines, and if this is called "segregation", then so be it. At least, hopefully, all these sex scandals will calm down, and nobody will be screaming "harassment" as much. If a woman tells another woman what to do, it will because she chose to be in that position, and she will have to carry her end of the weight. However, I also believe that the draft should be re-instated as I feel many of the people in the United States don't recognize how much a service person has to go through, and we should ALL pull our wieght by at least serving in the military for several years. I'm not saying that it's for everybody, but i know vets are having hard times getting jobs these day, myself included.

I wholeheartedly endorse women in combat positions, where necessary for the defense of a military unit, however, I do believe that they should be used sparingly, as the Israelis do, in offensive actions. Women have proved their standing in our external and internal fights from the very begnning of our nation and I'm sure will continue to serve without hestitation or reservation for the good of this nation in present and future endeavors. Insofaras Congress having oversight as the effeciveness of women in combat or their eligibility to serve in these positions, I would have little trust in their being able to micromanage what the Secretarly of Defense is already doing effectively. If the task is beyond a women's ability, as it is many times with their male counterparts, then if should fall to the next person in line. I served around the world for over thirty years with women in various military positions and found them to be effective in whatever billets they may have been assigned.

I was infantry, RVN, 67-68, C/1/5, USMC. I think only women volunteers, they should not be integrated below the platoon level, I.E., platoons or companies or even battalions of women, but no women in platoons / below integrated with men. We should dig deeply into Israels experience and learn from them. They are similar in their morals and laws to the U. S. Keeping them out just because they are women is egotistical. They should have to meet the same standards as the type of unit they would be. Artillery, tanks, infantry, recon, Green Beret, SEAL.
We also have to consider that, in Viet Nam, when a unit was attacked and needed reinforcements, the speed and method of support had to consider the fact that Charlie liked to attack a unit, expecting reinforcements, set an ambush where they expected the reinforcements to pass, and ambush us.
I can't imagine the risks we might take to save a platoon of women. I know that we grunts would have rushed head long knowing that it was highly likely we would be ambushed. How we would deploy units of those that are only 2nd to our children would need great consideration. We should never change our attitude of how we feel about mothers, sisters, wives and lovers and the best thing on Earth just so some women can have legal equality. I am for, and, against the idea.

War is hell do we want to subject women to that? Women are able to fight in combat but it is not what we want our women to do. From the point of protecting our species women should not be there. Men in combat is a nesscessary evil, women in combat is just evil.

No, No and No. Doesn't deserve and explanation.

Read "Lone Survivor" US Navy Seals non-fiction. Then tell me how many females (beside Demi Moore) Ha have passed buds training and I'll consider allowing "some" into combat situations.RUtkP

If those making this policy had ever been in combat, and I have, they'd realize that women don't belong there, but then, neither do men.

I served in the USMC infantry as an 0341. I can't imagine being in the field with females, and not one person tries to knock boots with her. Let's get real here. Being stuck in a muddy foxhole at the age of 18 with raging hormones with a female,and with lots of time on your hands. Talk about a distraction and being caught with your pants down in a combat zone. All we talked about in the infantry was drinking booze and getting laid. Also, nothing against women, but they're just not built for the infantry. Long time in the field, long humps, and carrying a lot of heavy gear. You can go weeks with out a shower too. Plus feminin hygiene, do they even have govt. tampons in OD green?

I hate to think of myself as "politically correct" (one of my favorite insults) but now is the time for full equal rights! Equal regardless of gender, race, orientation, religion and so on. To properly hold most any job you must meet certain standards for say security or physical strength/stamina. Anybody that can meet valid prerequisites should be allowed to pursue the field of their choice.
Every time I go into the Post Office I see the sign about how males must register for the draft and wonder how in this time of 'equal rights' women don't have to register. As a father of both a son and a daughter I wince at the thought of either of them registering, as I did many years ago. However, the price of freedom is the willingness to fight for it. As retired Navy, I am proud to say that both of my kids are willing to fight for freedom.
I have had women work for me that were more physically capable than many of the men in my division. Conversely one of the smallest, feeblest sailors I had was a male! Any citizen that can meet the requirements of the job should be allowed to pursue that field of endeavor. The job requirements, however should NOT be downgraded to 'enable' any group. Nor should there be any quotas based on any demographic! Anywhere!

This is the ultimate consequence of the craven cowardice that enveloped the United States in the late 1960s. Unless the barbarians are literally at the gates, women are for mothering - not for fighting. American men should hang their heads in shame. America has been disgraced by this left-wing, sorry excuse for a Secretary of Defense.

I served 21 years and retired NAVY,yes they will have to change the standerds on PT. Face it guys thier are not of young men signing up at the recruiting office. Thier are some tough woman iam pretty sure they will be limeted jobs they can be asigned. Special Forces it will be NO not that they might not pass the trianing but we have to draw the line some where. If they are willing to join and wear the uniform of the UNITED STATES MILITARY then buy GOD why not let them they know that they might not return but that is why we join to protect our country.

Make them shave there hairy faces just like we do if they want to be in a combat role. Make the standards the same as males. If these cunts want to be a man, treat them like one. I am tired of hearing these woman put out logos that say they are more better than us. (example: silly boys, trucks are for woman) What about that f-16 woman who is a pilot but has no idea what a 11B position is. Yea I can fly jets all day too, actually its too easy. Get paid for having fun. She has no idea of ground combat.

I am against this completley for all the reasons everybody is stating here.
But here is something nobody is talking about.
If we have a draft again they most likely will have to draft females becaise some guy will bitch if they don't.
And what happens if some drafted female gets sent to the front line and gets scared and deserts.
And if you desert during a time of war you can be shot.
Female are not the same as us " thank God " and they are not supposed to be put in this kind violance.
A female that is a civilian Cop is different and they can not be shot if they desert they just get fired.
Some females might like the military but I don't think all females would like it.

Stamina wise ladies can compete with men, but strenghth wise NO, except for exceptions to every rule theory. When they realize this, they will lower the physical standards, and put guys on the front line at risk just for the sake of equality. There is just such a double standard in this country, when it comes to gender, and race. Sorry I'm NOTpoliticly correct as you can tell.

It is about time. There are truly no front lines in todays wars. The Men against this are wrong in thinking this way.. Why shouldn't the women who fly missions and who drive in convoys get the same medals as the men who do the same thing. I know there are a few women who deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor. When I was in I outdid my male counter parts in many things such as I did more pushups and sit-ups and even out ran them Women can endure more pain then men. Women are also known to be better shots then men. In fact a FEMALE Airman won the sniper competition. Come on quit being so wrong in your way of thinking.

Why is the National Commander saying we should move "cautionously" when he states in the February issue of the American Legion Magazine that "Women are serving today, as the fighting front now surrounds everyone in the theater, are combat veterans in every sense of the word?" Seems to me if we are combat veterans in every sense of the word we should be recognized as such.

I believe the old addage: too little to late" is fitting but none the less, it is good to see we are beginning to view our race as equal. At least in the sense of opportunity that our federal goverenmnet can offer its citizens. However, it is unfortunate that some must die within these confines inorder to show that freedom can be attained.

can you imagine women landing on Iwo Jima or Okinawa. How they do in the NBA with men? When they can do 50 Marine Corps style pushups non-stop, send'em in.....

This is a sad day for our society overall. Political correctness continues to eat away at the traits that made (past tense) our society the strongest in world history. The continued destruction of the family unit is at play here. Men and women are very, very different and for very specific reasons. Yet, the failure of man is that egotistic leaders and women activists think they know better. They scream "male chauvinist" and "bigot", etc. This is a distraction which most fall for. I will never ever let my daughter anywhere near this insanity and cannot imagine any father would want there daughter going through the trauma of blowing someones head-off or watching someone they know get their head blown-off. Men are different, we can understand the trauma and deal with it. Women, 99.9% of the time cannot. Yes, a sad day when our society lets this happen because we are so afraid of really talking about what this means and really acknowledging the differences between men and women.

And dont kid yourself, the standards will be lowered even further from what they already have, just like they have in every instance where political correctness pushes for equality. There never has been equality in military fitness to this date.

They should allow women in combat as soon as women start playing in the NFL, not before.

I spent time I Armour.
Not even in combat.
This makes about as
much sense as putting
them in our dorm
style barracks. Add to
that the cover up of
assaults on women
and I see this as
covering up cover ups.

Politically correct decision. Disaster to follow.

as viet nam veteran Im old and glad to be old. My thoughts of girls in combat are not good in any way shape or form. I believe if there were girls with me 45 years ago there would have been plenty of sexual related offences. But i'm positive John Kerry would have welcomed them on the river boats heck they could have even recieved more decorations than he.Yea right political BS

as viet nam veteran Im old and glad to be old. My thoughts of girls in combat are not good in any way shape or form. I believe if there were girls with me 45 years ago there would have been plenty of sexual related offences. But i'm positive John Kerry would have welcomed them on the river boats heck they could have even recieved more decorations than he.Yea right political BS

as an intentional act it is absolutly "Nuckin Futs"

I'm not opposed to it as long as they can do everything without standards being changed. When I went to basic training in Nov 79 I was in the first company that had females in it and they couldn't keep up on the first road march we went on . Guys had to carry their equipment for them after awhile we also had to slow down for them. The next road march they didn't even go on and at PT they couldn't keep up. It was very bad for my moral that they didn't even go thru the gas chamber with us. There may be a select few that can do as much as a man but I don't think that the standards will be the same and men will pay with their lives for it.

It is a bad idea to allow women into a combat position. In many respects women are equal to men but generally speaking women do not have the physical endurance of men. Combat is physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally demanding. In the risk of sounding antiquated and/or sexist, there is no reason to place those with whom future generations are born into a combat situation. Women are different than men. Being equal does not mean being exactly the same.

I have no problem following orders of a female! My comcern is what the effects of worrilying about my female counter part and how my choices as a leader will be affected by thoughts of what might happen if she is caught!!!!

It all sounds well and good to make women equal to men on the battle field, but consider what will happen to public support when the first video appears on You Tube showing a captured American female soldier being gang raped, beheaded, and dragged thru the streets of some God forsaken town in the middle east.

The people that are pushing this law would be the first to fold if one was captured and tortured. I agree on equality for women and men in everything but the enemy we fight now are not civilized human beings. These animals are cave dwellers with cave man inteligence and care not about human life. They keep women as subservients and would love to torture one of our fighting women.

Responding to some of the comments I've read here....I spent 29 years in the Army (enlilsted & officer). A lot of my active duty was spent in the field. There were women who physcially and mentally beat out fellow male soldiers daily. If a woman is physically and mentally able to fill the MOS, then so be it. Yes, standards should be the same, however, if you have any background on the physical make up of women and men's bodies, you would know there is a difference regarding bones, etc., which produced the different standards for PT tests. However, many women still beat their male counterparts in sit ups, push ups and runs despite the scoring differences. Draft? Then draft all, male/female; including politicians sons/daughters. As for field conditions, I've been there, done that - no latrines - pooping and peeing in the woods, stink-(RE: Al P). Come on, really! I've never seen anyone, man or woman, relieving themselves in front of a battalion. No showers - so we stink and we deal with it. As for horny soldiers - too bad - get over it. Due to that "problem", all soldiers have battle buddies to protect each other, unfortunately, against fellow, stupid, undisciplined soldiers who can't control themselves. You are supposed to protect each other not just men protecting women. Goes both ways. Pregnancy isn't as much a problem as men who hurt themselves because they think they are invincible and show off to fellow male soldiers; also those who can't deal with being away from their wife, girlfriend, lover; worried they are cheating on them. Yo Jim, Gays are already serving in the military AND some are married. Enufisenuf - women have been buried as a result of war for many years - where have you been? Ever hear of the WIMSA memorial? Probably not. Women have taken up arms in many wars when their men have fallen. Austin Johnston - hoorah! You, Jeff G and Jacquiline said it!

Having been a Vietnam era Marine, it is inconceivable that females be allowed to serve in those MOS's that require those kinds of frontline actions. Just another step by the current 'know-it-all' administration for further social engineering.
When, just last weekend Obama was commenting that there is 'too much violence in college and NFL football', I guess he realizes that there just might be some violence associated with combat ? Well, probably not!

I just do not in general agree with women being placed in combat positions.

TO: American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz.

RE: Woman in combat positions

Commander Koutz, you say the most important aspect to consider in changing existing policy: “is if it enhances the military’s war ‘fighting capability’.
Political and career considerations should not enter into the equation.”

Political leaders control militaries in all democratic nations.

It’s unfortunate when those who have been given political appointment positions choose to “exceed” their authority via personal policy-making over the heads of duly elected congressional bodies. This type of activity is done with shameful regularity these days.

Hopefully, no one “today” would suggest that in order to shorten a conventional war that we should nuke other nations who have no nuke weapons just to show we have more ‘fighting capability’.

Imagine the lessons these actions have given to our enemies in history.
Every misguided party in the world who gets and uses a nuke will credit “you know who”
for using it first.

I believe: The most important thing is that this nation honors God and has moral leaders to represent the people, setting a good example for friends and enemies alike.

For thousands of years, armies fighting the wars of history tried ‘protecting’ non-combatants such as woman and children. This was considered the moral high ground by warring and conquering parties. No doubt this has saved the lives of millions of women and children even those on the losing side of war. Those who disregarded this principle will not in the long run, be respected by history or following generations.

In order to help protect woman, you don’t flaunt woman in combat positions.

Also, dressing women up exactly to look like men in order to “hide” some genders is a farce. Then subject women to killing and being killed in combat as an unknown target. Over the past several years, the military leaders have increasingly violated this historical custom of respect, and this has led to the loss of women due to being placed so close to combat areas.

After being responsible for their deaths and injury, would they now say that the disrespectable policy is now justified by their deaths? Why not go back to a time when honor and respect was something to value?

This policy changing was for political reasons to undermine the existing established rules and customs of military practice and history and to placate certain radical groups.

The selective service systems are designed to protect women and the children’s primary, personal, family caregiver (the mother) in the nation.

Would they send women off to war and dump the children into a government day care center, a grandmother or working dad?.

It is the responsibility of men to defend the nation in time of war. When you remove the protections for woman, as has been done in abortions of children, who are left to be protected?

Would think Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey have shown a blatant disrespect for the values of what made this a great nation.

It’s interesting how they have cleverly crafted and distorted the real issues (such as talking about what positions might remain closed to woman) to add confusion to what should not be in question.

One would think something as important as this should get full congressional approval.

In time these contributed actions will lead to all fit woman being possibility subjected to the horrors and death of wars via the selective system.

A system that has murded millions of babies in abortion will, in time, add to this blood
a legacy of more immoral acts.

Some gentlemen seek to strip the protections from the innocents.

As a veteran Org that has the Motto "For God and Country" in it. It sure does get thrown around alot. I wonder if all the Chiefs in the Org actually follow it.

lets start with what i think. First of all i ahve been in the army for 40 years its been my life. I think that there is a place in the military for women But not in combat roles. This all came up because a maj or ltc female type and a sgm complained and sued the us government. Stateing that they could not get promoted which is a bunch of bull. How did they get to thier ranks with out getting promoted. Next the military has double standards when dealing with females. Also all the government is doing is trying to please everyone. They need to stop. I will say i have worked with some fantastic female soldiers not alot but some. Also if they are going to do this then also make them sign up for the draft at 18. Iam NOT FOR IT AT ALL!!!!!!!

Very, very dumb idea! ... The military is labor intense, .. lives depend upon it. Most women, not their fault, do not measure up. Then, there is the other issue: Sex! How stupid can Panetta and others be ... or are they? ..... Our proud military is being degraded and destroyed in unimaginable ways. .... is it intentional? Yes! Beware of the enemy from within! They are having their way!

Very, very dumb idea! ... The military is labor intense, .. lives depend upon it. Most women, not their fault, do not measure up. Then, there is the other issue: Sex! How stupid can Panetta and others be ... or are they? ..... Our proud military is being degraded and destroyed in unimaginable ways. .... is it intentional? Yes! Beware of the enemy from within! They are having their way!

It's been happening for a while. Got news for you, my daughter spent a year and a half as an MP escorting convoys from Kuwait to Bagdad in 2003-04 -- encountering IEDs and hostiles. If that isn't combat, it's awful close. I'm proud of her.


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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.