February 10, 2012

"The Pentagon will maintain bans on women serving in most ground combat units..."

"... despite pressure from lawmakers and female veterans who called the restrictions outdated after a decade of war."
After taking more than a year to review its policies on orders from Congress, the Defense Department announced that it would open about 14,000 combat-related positions to female troops, including tank mechanics and intelligence officers on the front lines.
But the Pentagon said it would keep 238,000 other positions — about one-fifth of the regular active-duty military — off-limits to women, pending further reviews. Virtually all of those jobs are in the Army and Marine Corps.
What is the reason for the limitation? Officially, it's the lack of physical strength. Males and females are currently held to different standards:
But some female veterans questioned why the Pentagon has been slow to adopt gender-neutral physical requirements for such jobs. Maybe only a few women would qualify, they said, but they should be allowed to try.
Do you agree?

102 comments:

Peter said...

All this debate about women in combat, yet it's completely unexceptional for women to be police officers. I know, it's not the same thing, but there are some major similarities (exposure to danger, and the occasional need to use physical strength).

Don said...

The problem is not actually with women in combat, but men with women in combat. Historically men have put missions at risk rather than allow female colleagues to be put in harm's way. Its a biological thing, not intentionally sexist. All-female combat units would probably be fine.

TosaGuy said...

How does women in combat enhance our national security? That is the only question that needs to be answered.

Dave said...

There's also good evidence that women are the least effective police officers, most likely to shoot etc. A large intimidating man is simply more effective and has more physical options than a relatively small women. Doubtless there are some exceptions. Allowing policewomen is very like having women in combat in that it's a decision based on politics over efficacy.

David said...

The commander of Parris Island Marine training base here in SC is a woman. I would be interested in knowing how she (really) feels about the question. As a careful politician as well as an effective leader, she has no public position on the matter, as far as I know.

Bob Ellison said...

I defer to this woman's obvious opinion on whether women should be allowed to try.

Scott M said...

Do you agree?

No. Men act differently when women are around. Any women. This fact is indisputable. The sometimes-awful situations I had to endure while serving were made tolerable because of the closeness and brotherhood shared by those around me. That entire environment would be put into a blender and set to frappe if you introduce women into those roles.

This is, of course, over and above the problems involved with men dealing with women around emotionally, as is being addressed in the other thread.

Psota said...

Yeah, but what about mothers in combat? Are we so desperate for cannon fodder that mothers of young kids have to spend a year away from home and at constant risk of being killed? Women might not be assigned to certain units, but that didn't keep some women serving in Iraq from becoming casualties. The whole country was a war zone.

RonF said...

The mission of the armed forces is to defend our country against it's enemies, both foreign and domestic. It is not to provide opportunities for men or women or to further the (rather nebulous) goal of "diversity". The burden of proof here should be on the proponents of this change to show that it will either be neutral or enhance the ability of the armed forces to complete their mission. It should not be the burden of the armed forces to "provide opportunities for women" or to be "diverse". The armed forces are not a social program.

TosaGuy said...

I was infantry for 20 years and did a tour in Iraq. With the exception the opening invasion and select actions such as Fallujah in 2004, the "war" involved lots of driving around in HMMWVs and strolls through villages. There were occasional raids and firefights as well as a lot of IED attacks. But at the end of the day or a few days, nearly everyone would find themselves back at the base with access to beds, hot food and showers. While it was still deadly combat, it was not prolonged war in the WWII, Korean or Vietnam sense of months in the field, prolonged battles and utter devastation. To base the concept on woman in combat on the experiences of Iraq is ignoring the entire history of warfare.

Salamandyr said...

For combat troops, it's not enough to meet the minimum standard; you need to be at or near the top end of the physical testing, both in physical strength, and endurance.

I have no doubt that many women could hit 180, or even 200 on the men's PT test. But I don't think all that many would be able to score at or near the 300 mark that is expected of line infantry. I don't think the number would be large enough to justify the added complications adding women to the force would bring.

Dave said...

This is another example of how liberals deny the realities of human nature in service of an impossible idea regardless of consequences.

Scott M said...

and the occasional need to use physical strength

The general rotundness of your average precinct office compared to that of the average combat unit day room argues against your case. It appears you have no idea just how physically strenuous the job (ground combat) is.

Dave said...

I meant ti say "ideal rather than idea, but I guess it works either way

Sorun said...

Average men serve in ground combat roles, and always have. Can an "average" woman? Look at the women in your office or classroom and consider it.

traditionalguy said...

If women can do the Astronaut's job, why not a combat infantryperson's job as well?

But the training and the tests passed will have to be the same ones so that we will be treating the women EQUAL.

David said...

The lady at Parris Island is General Loretta Reynolds. She is a Naval Academy graduate and one of two active duty female generals in the Marines. There have been 8 overall. She has commanded units in Bahrain, Iraq and Afghanistan, mostly communications and logistics operations. She's 46 years old, six feet tall and the daughter of a steelworker. The troops call her M'am.

There was a very soft buzz in the military retiree community around here when she was appointed, mostly positive. From all appearances her tenure is going just fine.

She has not commanded troops in direct combat, but I don't think you would want to mess with her.

rhhardin said...

Rush has long favored Amazon batallions, consisting of entirely women.

His plan was that they'd live together to synchronize their periods, and at the right time of month would be sent in to wipe out the enemy.

You'd need several batallions so as to always have one in readiness.

It seems unexceptional in that form.

DADvocate said...

No. I've known a few women who could probably meet the physical strenght requirements. Mostly women who were college athletes or body builder/fitness competitor types. But, these are probably less than 1% of the general female population.

Considering all the other potential problems related to having women in combat and the questionable, if any benefits, it's not worth the time, money and other resources to have women in these combat positions. Fen gave a nice tribute to a women in the other thread, but the woman he gave tribute to, while mentally very tough, couldn't take it physically.

As I noted in the Santorum thread, feminists strongly believe that women need laws such as the Violence Against Women act, special laws to protect the accuser in rape cases, sexual harassment laws, etc. The makes me believe women should not be in most ground combat positions which are quite different from flying a fighter jet.

Dave said...

Very amusing post rhhardin

john said...

That PBS show Supercarrier a couple years back: I could not believe how large all the sailors were on that boat. Too much food available from kitchens open 24/7, and too few opportunities for physical work.

Not terribly obese, but big enough that the boat could capsize if they all rushed to one side. (Or the whole island if they all got shore leave in Guam.)

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Historically men have put missions at risk rather than allow female colleagues to be put in harm's way. Its a biological thing, not intentionally sexist..."

I agree with this. One one hand men are conditioned to protect women an children yet in the next breath there is a demand to place women in dangerous conditions.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I wonder if this is just another example of a certain demographic demanding access to a restricted activity only to find out the realities suck?

I'll ask the ladies, do you truly want to be treated as one of the guys? You might want to consider your gender specific sensebilities before you answer.

edutcher said...

I've seen material saying directly the only reason we have allowed women in the Armed Forces in the numbers there are today is because a lot of men won't serve, although, in wartime, it might be noted this is why we have conscription (as a WWII Army Air Corps vet once put it, "If WWII was so popular, why do you think they needed a draft?").

But, yeah, putting women in combat is a feminist thing.

Of course, they'd disown any daughter they hadn't aborted who went Airborne or something, but all those lower-class women should get shot at in the name of Equality.

DADvocate said...

I'll ask the ladies, do you truly want to be treated as one of the guys? You might want to consider your gender specific sensebilities before you answer.

Obviously, they don't. Feminists ask for special rules, special laws, special consideration, special facilities, etc in nearly every situation - work, school, public restrooms, court proceedings, rules of evidence, killing spouses, what have you.

Matthew said...

"I'll ask the ladies, do you truly want to be treated as one of the guys? You might want to consider your gender specific sensebilities before you answer."

I knew a girl in college who said she did. When people did, she didn't always like it. In general, though, I think it means that women feel that they are not accorded the same level of respect and assumptions of competence men give other men.

For example, I know a guy who just assumes women don't know tech, fiction, science or pretty much anything above pop culture. It is an insulting assumption, and I think getting rid of those things are what women mean by "treat me like a man." This guy would never assume a random guy on the street doesn't know some basic science. If the guy asked for clarification, he would not be met with a sarcastic rejoinder like, "What do you mean you don't know what a MIG is?"

The Drill SGT said...

Peter said...
All this debate about women in combat, yet it's completely unexceptional for women to be police officers. I know, it's not the same thing, but there are some major similarities (exposure to danger, and the occasional need to use physical strength).


not even close

No Ann

This is all about promotion opportunities for female Colonels (which I understand because I sleep with one :)

not about force effectiveness, which is all it should be about. The quick class:

anybody who wants to talk about women in direct combat needs to consider the Army PT test.

You know that there are man's standards and women's standards?

why?

Because after 70 years of women in the Army, applying men's standards to women washes them all out.

Let's talk about infantry (or tankers). a Pass on the PT test is 60(out of 100) in each of 3 events. But that is the Minimum. Most men get 260-280 out of 300. Infantrymen ought to be getting 300+ in order to survive...

Women? at every age cohort, the max score for a woman is about equal to the fail for a man. woman's 100 run scores 60 for a man.

does that tell you how women stack up?

Did you look at thw WaPo slide show? Those women weren't doing anything special. It looked like a Leadership Reaction Course that all officer candidates do. I saw no body armor, no helmets, no talk of 24 mile road marches with 60 pound packs.

what I saw was a customized training course to make the women safe to take into villages.

Want to test the women in the infantry theory? run these gals through the EIB training, then if they pass, through Ranger School

Matthew said...

To further my example, when I tell my computer savvy friends I don't know my computer specs, there is no put down. It is understood to be outside my skill set.

Just watch how guys treat women who ask for help trouble shooting computers. Then, compare the same guys helping a man with the problem.

This isn't to say every man acts this way, but it is enough that I think that's what women mean by "treat me like a man."

Scott M said...

through Ranger School

Swamp phase, in particular. I OPFOR'd down there for a couple years in my spare time (stationed at Eglin). It's brutal.

PaulV said...

IDF stop using women in combat because death or injury to a woman was so traumatic to the unit. I would guess that woman officers would favor expansion of combat role because it would help them get promoted and the enlisted woman would not since grunts, male or female, face the most danger

Michael said...

The main thing is that they get free contraceptives and abortions.

Matthew said...

As for the topic.

I find it interesting that the only time the left thinks we're not supposed to trust the experts in government is when those experts are in the military.

Scott M said...

I find it interesting that the only time the left thinks we're not supposed to trust the experts in government is when those experts are in the military.

Interesting observation. I'm betting someone on the left would say the reverse...that the only time the right trusts the "government" experts is when those experts are in the military.

Well...yeah.

Matthew said...

My defense to that is that the right is usually willing to listen to actual experts in economics, science, etc. But, the right is also very, very slow to accept actions (part of being conservative). So, sometimes this is beneficial ("Well, Scientist A says this traffic pattern is more efficient; let's see what another source says before we build it."), while other times, we get paralysis by over-analysis. The right is willing to listen to experts, but they have to be -experts-, not computer models and people with credentials.

Matthew said...

Which sometimes hurts, because, sometimes, credentials and models are right!

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

.


But the training and the tests passed will have to be the same ones so that we will be treating the women EQUAL.


As soon as that happens the standards will be diluted to get the numbers of women that pass up to political correctness.

.

dbp said...

How about this Faustian bargain for feminists who want women to be allowed in combat: Henceforth, any woman who can pass the men's PFT will be able to apply for for a combat billet. Any woman who cannot pass the men's PFT will be discharged from the service.

What will actually happen is this: There will be one standard for men and women and it will be close to what the current women's standard is now.

Matthew said...

"What will actually happen is this: There will be one standard for men and women and it will be close to what the current women's standard is now."

And I always lead to believe that separate but equal was a terrible thing.

MikeR said...

I remember when an Israeli politician got into trouble for saying (privately): The purpose of the chayalim (male soldiers) is to service their country, and the purpose of the chayalot (female soldiers) is to service the chayalim. [roughly translated]

It makes for a totally different dynamic in the Israeli army, not a very nice one IMHO. And they also tend to keep the women out of combat. But since pretty much everyone serves in the army, there are just a whole lot more women.

(The chareidi community kept their daughters out of mandatory army service back in Golda Meir's day, by saying - literally - that it would be over their dead bodies and their daughters' dead bodies. The secularists caved.)

Women have always fought and fought well when they needed to. But part of men's job is protecting them, or should be.

(Truth is, this comment is pretty off topic, as the question here is, Should they be allowed in combat if they want? Which isn't what I was talking about.)

Dave said...

The whole debate arises from a misunderstanding of equality. Men and women are morally equal free persons deserving of equal protection under the law and equal respect.

Equality of performance of any kind in that has any measurable object standard does not exist at all even within gender. Skill, talents, intelligence, strength, speed etc all inherently differ.

When performance matters, like in the army where it's life and death, distorted notions of equality are destructive.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Should they be allowed in combat if they want?"

If they want? It shouldn't be a choice for them should it?

sydney said...

Joan of Arc was not available for comment.

Scott M said...

If they want? It shouldn't be a choice for them should it?

Surely if they are to adopt letting women into ground combat units, they are going to have to open selective service registration to the other half of the population. Surely that's an equal protection issue, is it not? Surely the the feminists would argue it that way, would they not? Maybe a feminist named Shirley...

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... When performance matters, like in the army where it's life and death, distorted notions of equality are destructive..."

You know, I can foresee a near future where this kind of statement will be classified as heresy.

edutcher said...

Matthew said...

"What will actually happen is this: There will be one standard for men and women and it will be close to what the current women's standard is now."

And I always lead to believe that separate but equal was a terrible thing.


Only if it doesn't get the Lefties what they want.

dbp said...

Joan of Arc lead troops in battle but did not physically participate in combat.

Dave said...

Hoosier

Good thing we're still free. What does it say about someone when the truth offends?

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Joan of Arc was not available for comment..."

Most historians contend that her role was of strategic and inspirational value and not of the sword weilding type.

Shana said...

My husband was in the AF. Not exactly up to the physical standards of the Army and Marines, right? Yet even there, the women in his unit couldn't be left on duty alone because they couldn't lift the heavy comm/nav equipment that they worked on. So the men got stuck with the night shift, which was a solo shift. The ladies got day shift so that they could have help with the heavy stuff. Multiply that factor x 1000 with a combat unit, and add in the instinct to protect women, and you've got a disaster on your hands. We could try to drum that instinct out, but then we would be barbarians. I prefer to keep one of the last vestiges of civilization that this culture has intact, thank you very much.

MikeR said...

Joan of Arc actually did participate in combat and was wounded at les Tourelles. Like almost any military leader, most of her success was not through her own fighting.

sydney said...

Joan of Arc lead troops in battle but did not physically participate in combat.

And yet she took an arrow to the neck. In those days, participating in combat was mostly being on the field, as she was.

The Drill SGT said...

The purpose of the Military is to "support and defend the Constitution of the US against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

It is not a jobs prgram or a social engineering lab.

Force effectiveness, is everything, particularly when downsizing...

Let's run some math.

- call the active army 500k
- 15% female = 75k
- to be a decent grunt you need to be able to max the male PT test
- say 1 in 100 females can do that? now we're at 750 women.
- 1 in 10 of those want to be grunts? now 75
at any given time, half the Army is not in a Tactical unit (schools, admin, etc) so we have maybe 35-40 of these female grunts available to spread out.

so:
1 female grunt in each of 40 Brigade Combat Teams (each 4,000 strong)?
1 Female grunt Platoon in the whole Army?

don't those numbers alone demonstrate how this cant improve the force, it's all about promotions for female careerists and scoring feminist points against the Military.


WV: recon

Dave said...

Joan of Arc stands out because she was such a rare exception. Can you even find more than a handful of examples?

dbp said...

"participating in combat was mostly being on the field, as she was."

I will let Patton reply to this:

"I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country. "

William said...

Woman have gone out on dates with OJ Simpson and gone away on long weekends with Charlie Sheen. Of course they're brave enough for combat missions. And in some areas of phyhsical development, they stack up very well compared to men.

Peter said...

"There's also good evidence that women are the least effective police officers"

Well, sometimes they're more effective for problems that can be solved entirely by talking.

"A large intimidating man is simply more effective and has more physical options than a relatively small women. "

But there is something to be said for large and intimidating. Which is probably why bars tend to hire large, intimidating men as bouncers.

"most likely to shoot etc."

It seems reasonable to assume there are situations where a female police officer would have to use deadly force to protect herself where one of those large, intimidating men would not.

But I haven't seen any real statistics to show that this is the case.

In any case, I'd have to agree with others that men seem to be hardwired to protect women. There may be exceptions, and perhaps it could be conditioned out of them, but other than that it's what one should expect.

The Drill SGT said...

Peter,

The issue is that women have a narrower tool set. They can talk or shoot, while a man has "intimidate", "baton", or "smack-down and cuff"

They are better in the talking part...

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

If one-legged female midgets were in the NBA we'd reach utopian perfection.

Peter said...

Regarding police officers vs. soldiers, the one attribute in which men have the greatest advantage over women is raw physical strength - which also happens to be one attribute which is relatively more important for cops than for soldiers.

John Lynch said...

I'm not convinced that most women in the military (and since we are talking about a huge organization we are talking about statistics, not exceptions) can carry an M240 machine gun or lift a 200 lb squad mate who just got shot.

My military experience showed me that almost no women could meet the minimum physical standards for men.

That's the reality. Any physical standard that challenges men will exclude women.

As for helicopters or aircraft or any other combat duty that doesn't involve sprinting with a basic load of 70 pounds, sure, fine.

John Lynch said...

Soldiers are not police. Police don't get shot nearly as often, nor do they go looking for people to shoot. And police don't have to carry nearly as much.

SGT Ted said...

But some female veterans questioned why the Pentagon has been slow to adopt gender-neutral physical requirements for such jobs. Maybe only a few women would qualify, they said, but they should be allowed to try.Do you agree?

I do agree. It should be about gender-meutral physical standards, particularly for leg infantry. Horrifyingly brutal physical and mental endurance is required of these guys, if they are trained and fight right. I've had many tastes of it as a combat MP, as direct combat operations is ofttimes an MP mission at some point during a war, regardless of our classification as "combat support".

The current PT standards discriminate for women using a different, easier scale than men. A womans "Max" PT raw score is a barely passing one for a male.

This is always sore spot, particularly because promotion points for doing well on your PT test are based on adjusted PT scores. We just don't talk about it much in the service, as it serves nothing.

A truly fair system of blanket physical requirements for each job, based on probability of ground combat and physical demands of the job coupled with equal scoring would do alot to alleviate a valid resentment towards the double standard granted women in the service.

Hagar said...

There are women and there are women.

I remember reading a post by the warrior kind describing an experience teaching - or rather trying to teach - close combat skills, i.e. bayonet fighting, to a class of female recruits. I t did not go well, and she finally seated them in the bleachers and gave them a speech trying to explain to them that they really needed to learn this stuff; it wasn't a hypothetical that they might need it someday.
She said they just sat there looking at her with big round eyes, obviously considering her completely daft and wondering if they should report her when they got back to the barracks.

SGT Ted said...

This is another example of how liberals deny the realities of human nature in service of an impossible idea regardless of consequences.

Community Based Reality. Assertion as Proof.

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John Lynch said...

SGT Ted-

If they had a gender-neutral standard for PT, it would be the male standard and virtually no women would pass. That's not politically possible, so they'd be forced to lower the standard. That's why simply banning women from combat is the safer option.

SGT Ted said...

When they pass a law allowing women to be drafted, I will consider men and women equal in our society. Until then, the Armed Services are just a diversity opportunity choice for career minded women. They have all sorts of 'outs' not available to men, should they decide they don't want to serve as expected.

Kirk Parker said...

Folks, please: that's "Ms. of Arc" to you.

holdfast said...

There is simply no such thing as gender-neutral physical testing in a government organization.

At first the standards are set high - some men fail and almost every single woman fails. Then the professional whiners and advocates start complaining about "disparate impact" and the like. Then one of three things happen (1) they establish separate standards for women, (2) they officially keep the standards but waive them for women on a routine basis or (3) they lower them for everyone, so you end up with a bunch of weak men and weak women.

The number of women who can really perform the role of a light infantryman is vanishingly small, and most are otherwise employed as professional athletes. "Light" in this case meaning no or few vehicles, so it's more stuff to carry than for mechanized infantry.

There are also moral and social issues about women in combat. I don't dismiss them, but I don't think you need to examine them to say that in an era of shrinking budgets and high operational tempo, there is no need to re-jigger the infantry and armor to accommodate the miniscule fraction of a fraction of women who could, in theory, do the job.

The Drill SGT said...

SGT Ted...I've had many tastes of it as a combat MP, as direct combat operations is ofttimes an MP mission at some point during a war, regardless of our classification as "combat support".

Ted, not to take anything away from MP's of either gender who fought valiantly in convoy operations and perhaps in house clearing along the way, but...

For those who aren't familiar, SGT Ted is primarily talking about fighting from hummers or dismounting to flank an ambush.

Not.being.grunts

MP's use Hummers to carry what they need to battle

grunts use their backs, or need to be able to live from what they can carry for 48 hours not 48 minutes like an MP would.

sitting in an air-conditioned hummer with a ceramic plate vest on, is different than carrying it, and 60 pounds of other crap up and down hills in 110 degree temps for 24 hours.

PS: that's why I went armor instead of infantry after Vietnam. Standing in a shit filled rice paddy watching tanks go by with lawn chairs and ice chests on the back made me desire civilized comforts :)

Hagar said...

The other thing I have been wondering about is when it will occur to some benighted Taliban commander to teach the infidels a lesson about coming to their country and teaching their women to be uppity by performing some particularly barbaric acts on some of our women they have captured, and our guys respond a la the British reacting to the atrocities of the sepoy mutiny in 1857.

Hagar said...

So far, I have not heard of this happening, but do not know if this is because the powers behind the Taliban have been able to keep them in check by so far, or if it has already happened, but our government has been able to keep it quiet.

The Drill SGT said...

On Feb. 29, President Obama and the First Lady will host an East Room dinner for returning Iraq veterans, with representatives of all ranks, all branches, and every state and territory. Attire will be formal: black tie or dress uniform. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, will attend. More than 100 combat veterans of Iraq will be invited, along with a guest for each, many of whom are expected to also be veterans. The guest list will include wounded warriors, caregivers, and Gold Star families, who have lost a loved one as the result of military service. The list is being assembled by the senior enlisted representative for the five service chiefs, and the goal is a mix that is racially diverse, old and young, gay and straight.

W.T.F?

craig said...

Either it's a good thing for society to encourage men to protect women, or it is not. You can't turn cultural traits on and off with a switch.

After the wreck of the Costa Concordia, we heard lots of fond reminiscences of the Birkenhead Drill and how it was a more civilized society then. Now we are lectured about how military units will not require women to meet the same physical standards as men, nor will they expect men to protect women in battle zones, as if these were good things.

Our society is insane.

Gary said...

@the drill sgt, I was an 11B (infantryman, for non-army types)for 7 years from the late 1980's until the mid '90's. In the field, it was not at all uncommon to be carrying 80-100 pounds of gear, plus weapons, for days on end. I don't know how many women could stand up to the strain, but I do know that a lot of men can't do it day in and day out for a couple of weeks. I don't think most civilians have any idea what the job requires physically, or they wouldn't make inane comparisons between soldiers and police.

mariner said...

I believe a society willing to see its women in combat isn't fit to survive.

MikeR said...

What's the difference between Noah's ark and Joan of Arc? Noah's ark was made of gopher wood, and Joan of Arc was Maid of Orleans.

Bender said...

Look -- women act differently than men in the office workplace.

Especially in management positions, there are still too many women with chips on their shoulder, either resentful of perceived, but largely non-existent sexism, or excessively pushing things because of a feeling that they have to prove themselves three times over because they are women.

Are they suddenly going to be immune from that dynamic if placed in a combat unit? Or in their zeal to prove that they are "just as good as a man," is there a greater tendency towards ill-advised action and recklessness? Or, because of their baggage, is there the greater potential for them creating a more hostile work environment?

Roux said...

When you are out on a patrol even if you are a medic or a driver things can change quickly and you'll turn into an infantryman.

holdfast said...

Roux:

How many drivers deliberately go on 20 mile foot patrols? How many carry GPMGs, plus all their other gear?

Getting in a firefight doesn't make you an infantryman.

Molly said...

I'd love to hear a constitutional law scholar chime in on the question: If the Equal rights amendment had been ratified, wouldn't this kind of decision be unconstitutional?

Scott M said...

Getting in a firefight doesn't make you an infantryman.

Correct, although, for those not used to it, it does require a change of pants.

holdfast said...

Just to be clear I was a combat engineer, not infantry. I was also, at one time, in damned good shape, and could even beat some of the infantry guys at PT, in shorts and runners. I still couldn't keep up, fully equipped, on a long range recce - it really required a pretty awesome combination of strength and stamina, whereas most athletic folks tend to have one or the other.

Shana said...

"I believe a society willing to see its women in combat isn't fit to survive."

This. The wholesale rejection of civilization and embrace of self-destruction writ large.

Alex said...

So when some PCP mad man attacks who do you want between you and him - Some 95lb female weakling or a 210lb linebacker?

Alex said...

The simplest test case is the Israelis refuse to use women in combat despite their more desperate situation because even they understand that young women are the future bearers of babies.

Alex said...

It's amazing how close the ERA came to ratification. Isn't it still just a few more state legislatures away?

Roger J. said...

Drill said: "Standing in a shit filled rice paddy watching tanks go by with lawn chairs and ice chests on the back made me desire civilized comforts :)"

LOL--why do you think I went armor in the first place drill? :) First of the 69th armor, and 2d ACR in peacetime.

dont have anything to add to the thread that hasnt been already said--but from my experience including ranger school in 1967 (summer ranger), today's soldiers are head and shoulders above old col blimp types--these guys carry more stuff on their bodies than I could carry in my tank.

I dont have any feelings one way or the other about women in combat--except when they get their brains shot out, or guts spilled, or limb shot off, I dont want to see any mother fucker on the national news whining about it.

Roger J. said...

Oh--and I include myself as an old col blimp type

Roger J. said...

Drill--my email is on my profile--I would love, at some point, to buy you a beer and we can tell war stories-please let me know when you are in the vicinity of Memphis

Ken said...

I will let Patton reply to this:

"I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country. "


Again, Joan did NOT make the other poor dumb bastard die. She encouraged the men on her side to make the other poor, dumb bastard die.

The Drill SGT said...

Roger,

Been to Nashville a few times to Mil Tech convention events. Gaylord etal. Never to Memphis, (home of Mob Tax firms and FedEx)

Eric said...

All this debate about women in combat, yet it's completely unexceptional for women to be police officers.

Is it unexceptional for police officers to carry 132 pounds up the side of a mountain in thin air? I couldn't do it. How many women can do that? Is it even double digits in the whole of the US?

Even assuming you could find a handful, how reasonable is it to spend millions of dollars accomadating a handful of women?

The Drill SGT said...

Eric said...
Is it unexceptional for police officers to carry 132 pounds up the side of a mountain in thin air? I couldn't do it. How many women can do that? Is it even double digits in the whole of the US?


Being in ground combat and functioning as a grunt in sustained combat are vastly different. Anybody can have the misfortune to get shot at. It takes a masochist to carry those loads.

Reminds me that all those Fire Departments used to have physical tests involving carrying loads of hose up multiple floors wearing turnout gear and air tanks. The women could not do it in numbers, so they sued to remove the tests, yet:

When 9/11 came around, it was 300 fireMEN, who went up the stairwells of the towers "carrying loads of hose up multiple floors wearing turnout gear and air tanks."

all men, real men, know what they were facing, but going up anyway...

so much for irrelevant physical tests.

Firehand said...

Son's first time in Iraq, after a couple of weeks he got curious, found a scale and came up with this:
Body armor, water, basic ammo load, first-aid kit, etc., the stuff they ALWAYS had on when they left the wire, weighed out at about 90 pounds. Not counting helmet, rifle, and anything else added to the basic. Infantry on long patrols were carrying a lot more. Only way women should be allowed in units on the front lines is if they can meet the same standards as the men.

That doesn't even touch on the cultural factors.

virgil xenophon said...

Circa 1969 my fighter squadron flew down to northern Italy to an abandoned bare concrete runway in the mud flats of a mountain valley left over from WW II in a NATO exercise to test the "bare base" operating concept. At age 26 and an ex college athlete who still played sports I was in way above average shape. After two weeks of living in 40-man tents, using slit trenches and pi$$ tubes for urinals enduring heavy freezing rain, and walking to the operations tent and hence to the aircraft in ankle-deep mud that would suck one's boots off I was totally exhausted. Note we were not under heavy artillery fire, nor we charging up mountain-sides while getting shot at under heavy automatic wpns fire while assaulting enemy positions. And we slept in tents rather than crouched in foxholes out in the open air exposed to the elements. It gave me one helluva perspective on what the troops must have faced/endured during the Italian campaign for months on end. And here I was TOTALLY exhausted after only two weeks of what, by comparison, was an extreme camping trip. Anybody who really, seriously argues for the inclusion of women in combat should be asked this question: "If you could use Mr. Peabody's wayback machine, and could go back in time--and with the fate of the civilized world in the balance--replace all male allied combat personnel with females, would you?" I mean, why not, they're the equal of men, right?

To even ask the question is to answer it..

The Drill SGT said...

And here I was TOTALLY exhausted after only two weeks of what, by comparison, was an extreme camping trip.

Only a USAF pilot would call big tents, with cots, pot bellied stoves, and hot meals, an extreme camping trip :)

The Army calls that base camp R&R

Harold said...

"It seems reasonable to assume there are situations where a female police officer would have to use deadly force to protect herself where one of those large, intimidating men would not.

But I haven't seen any real statistics to show that this is the case."

You haven't seen those statistics because they are carefully hidden.

A story I heard from way back when women were first placed on ships is that a CO who didn't want them, but was stuck and carried on as ordered, did a test. He had one of his female officers hand pick 4 enlisted women for a physical task, then randomly selected 4 junior enlisted men. Called battle stations, and set Zebra (all watertight doors/hatches shut and dogged) throughout the ship. Placed the 4 men in OBA's (Oxygen breathing apparatus), and had them carry a P-250 pump from Point A, repair locker 5, to Point B, on another deck where it was needed to fight a casualty, and timed them. On completion, put the women in OBA's, gave thn the P-250, and sent them on their way. It wasn't that the women were slower- they never got to Point B. And there was no fire, smoke, excess heat and explosions- just Zebra and the OBA's. They could not complete the task.

The experiment was known about, by word of mouth, but not published nor repeated in any public test. Doesn't support the idea that women are the equal to men aboard ship.

The same test repeated today very likely would result in a similar conclusion. But will never be conducted. Any CO who dared would be crucified.

Virtually anyone who has served on active duty has some similar story to tell. Navy fire fighting training is carefully conducted to be safe- but you are entering a watertight compartment with real genuine flames with a hose. During one of my refreshers a female OFFICER froze up at the WTD and refuse to enter. Have to conquer your fear- she couldn't. Needless to say, she was not cashiered as she should have been- the incident simply didn't occur.

Females not being able to conquer their fear is why it is no longer a graduation requirement at USNA for a midshipman to step off a 50 foot high platform and drop into the postage stamp size pool below- at least it looks like a postage stamp. It's encouraged and recommended, but not required.

Gene said...

The list is being assembled by the senior enlisted representative for the five service chiefs, and the goal is a mix that is racially diverse, old and young, gay and straight.

That reminds me. In the army these days, are transgender males allowed to wear a female's uniform?

holdfast said...

@Harold

Same thing with the rappelling tower. It's not that guys don't get scared - hell, some of them were petrified - but they were even more scared to look like wusses, so they jumped off the tower. Most of the girls went just fine, but the ones who didn't want to go, just didn't go.

cokaygne said...

We have tons of experience with women serving as police and corrections officers without restriction. As far as I know there have been no problems with that.

The bigger problem may be the replacement of combatants by drones. It is inevitable of course. Everything else has been mechanized so there is no reason not to mechanize combat. When there was a draft there was a hard check on the power of the executive. Once the Vietnam war got so big that thousands of ordinary Americans who did not choose combat were being killed, politicians felt the heat.

It was more difficult to check the executive with a professional military. Those dying in Iraq and Afghanistan chose to go there. Less pain was felt by the body politic. Eventually, though, the pointlessness of so many dead comes through and a young, inexperienced state senator from Chicago was able to win the presidency by vowing to stop it.

What 0bama is doing, of course, is replacing American soldiers and sailors with machines to do the killing. Future presidents will be unbounded in their war power. I don't like it.

SGT Ted said...

Drill SGT,

Well, I never had any air conditioning in any of the vehicles I rode in. We had turtlebacks and soft shell HMMWVs. By the time out units had any M1114s at all I was out processing for retirement.

MPs are more like Dragoons in our combat role. Move to a point; dismount, form the attack, move to contact. Only during react to ambush mounted do we get to do the Rat Patrol thing.

But, yea, I figure the 11B guys are just jealous because they have to use LPCs. With vehicles, it makes the commute and sometimes fighting much easier, if your vehicles can support your assault.

And I've done a week of dismounted with a ruck, but it never was what 11Bs go through. Which is why I said I have had a taste of it. That, and the first unit I was ever in was full of Vietnam Vets always trained for dismounted conditions.

Only a USAF pilot would call big tents, with cots, pot bellied stoves, and hot meals, an extreme camping trip. :) The Army calls that base camp R&R

Yea, we doggies call that High Living. "You mean I DON'T have to sleep on the perimeter? WOOOO!!"