Women in Combat?

In my philosophy class, the discussion of women in combat is on the agenda this week. So many people believe that if a woman wants to serve on the front lines, in a combat situation, why not? Women serve proudly and honorably in many disciplines in all branches of the Armed Forces today, but not specifically in infantry combat units. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to?

I found this posting (below) which included a response to that question from a combat Marine in Iraq. In my opinion, he summed it up pretty good.

— response from a combat Marine in Iraq —
Look. Whoever said this is a pogue and has never been in the field. Yes, it’s about the 120+ temperatures – it’s almost impossible to operate. Yes, it’s about the heavy body armor, and in full gear with backpack, hydration, weapon and ammunition, it’s more than 120 pounds for as long as the hump, 15 or 20 miles. But it’s really about more than that. It’s even more than about the ability to carry heavy weight for long distances in high temperatures. We don’t bathe for a month at a time. If we are doing MCMAP quals, we beat the hell out of each other, continually – every day, all of the time. Literally. Men beat the hell out of men, and get it back too.

Remember when I was in Fallujah and I had to jump off of the roof of the house? I was under fire, my unit was leaving and I had to catch the HMMWV, and I had on full body armor with hydration, SAW drums and SAW. And I had to jump from the roof of a house to the ground. I have had to tackle men in Fallujah who were assaulting us. Full grown men, attacking us by hand. Football style tackle with holds and moves on the dude while in full body armor.

Remember when I trained the SAW gunners before ___________? I would make them hit the road for a four or five mile run in the morning, full armor, to the range. Range all day, then four or five miles back. Screw PTs. Can you run and live all day in full armor?

You want to know what it’s like, physically, to be an infantry Marine in the field? Strap 120 pounds on your body and play men’s football for a season, and do it while being sleep deprived with guys dropping around you from heat stroke. Do squad rushes with full weight. And when you hit the ground, don’t pretend. Hit the ground.

Whoever said this is a f****** pogue. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but he’s trying to impress the women around him. He’s listened to what they’ve said for too long. Tell him I said that he’s a pogue and sits behind a desk. Time to get his ass up and hit the field with the infantry Marines. Then he’ll understand.”

What are your thoughts?

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  • Jeff Sleep

    I served with 2/1 as an 0351 among other duties; recruiting, Barracks etc. I believe women should serve in the infantry. I played football in high school, worked summers bucking hay bales and finishing concrete. After school I unloaded rail road box cars and moving vans among other things. Sitting back and milking the 100% VA disability rating that accompanies my completely fused spine, I think we should let women have the combat arms fields along with the sick, lame, lazy, blind crippled and crazy. Leave the healthy young men alone. Drop the crippled from the list. I don’t want to go back.

  • w

    In the mid 70s the Army tried to Co-Ed Boot Camp it nearly “Destroyed” the Army! 99% of Women cannot Physically Compete with Males! They had two Women that went through “Jump Training” with the Airborne. While the Males had to run to different jumps the Women were driven in jeeps. It’s not part of any insecurity on the part of any Male. It’s a fact of life. Case in point: Jessica Lynch in Iraq throws her Rifle down is rescued from an Iraqi Hospital by you guessed it “Males”. For this she received a “Bronze Star”! I don’t care what anyone thinks “We all respect all Women who serve” But get a “Life” if Women were as physically capable as men don’t you think that would have “Surfaced” over the past million yrs!

  • Anonymous

    Give me a break! If Women had to live up to the same “Physical” Standards as males then you “Just Might” have a few in Combat Arms but no more. Flying a “Blackhawk” yes they could. But that’s Technology not “Physical Strength”. Equally has not a damn thing to do with it. If you wanted to be a Man you should have been born one!

  • Mary

    If the Corps or any other military service branch wants to open combat slots for women, then they should submit them to the same standards as their male counterparts. It won’t be easy and most of the applicants won’t succeed but the very few who will would’ve earned their spot and should be allowed to serve in their respective role.
    I will have to agree with the other posters that most women donnot have the physical strength to tackle the demands that infantry requires , but every now and then a few of them will be able to succesfully compete . If so why not give them the opportunity to do so? Just my two cents ..

  • Anonymous

    >I am against the idea of it, and i totally disagree with it. Lets say women were allowed in infantry units NJP's for a assortment of problems would go through the roof!! I served with 2nd Bn 5th Marines infantry and never before has my body been through so much hell. 20 mile hikes, PT PT PT PT PT PT PT, 20 miles of hiking and more PT. Next on the agenda oh wait- to the field in 29 palms for 3 months- a drunken 96 when over then a Battalion NJP for all the problems over the 96- then right back to 20 mile hikes and PT PT PT PT hikes and more PT! Never in the whole time that i was there did it ever cross my mind that i thought there should be women doing this with us? I mean C'mon- i have also been in some pogue units that you start barking orders at the female marines and next you know you are getting questioned and pulled into the SgtMaj. office with your Co. Gunny for something that never happened or something that made her cry that is SOP. I think that if you ever put a woman in combat- the men would naturally try harder to protect her then accomplish the mission. It would be a total disaster. I love a womans role in life and i believe in equal oppertunity too but this is a bad idea. Why mess with 235 years of success? I mean why make it more difficult? Let the men do the dirty work women!!! It isnt pretty work and there is not a damn thing that is worse then some of the things that grunts go through.. There is nothing glamourous about the work we do in combat.. It is a mans job! It always has been and it always will be..

  • OkieRover

    >Lori,
    You are a 1%. In my life (45 years) I have met perhaps 3 women that could hack it with the average Marine IN THE FIELD. In my six years of service I never met a single woman in or out of the Corps that serve ON THE GROUND. As far as your skill behind the stick, no one is saying you (and by extension women) can't hack it. And if you carried two M-60s ALL DAY in full body armor while sleep deprived, then you are truly a magical being.
    I think you are confusing your service behind the controls of some piece of equipment with an attack on your ability to serve. I do not believe the average woman can serve along side the average man in a BOOTS ON THE GROUND situation.
    I mean no disrespect to you or other women in these statements. It is just a physical fact that most women cannot serve in the capacity of a grunt.

  • Cheryl

    >Women in combat is not a new idea.

    http://www.celtlearn.org/pdfs/women.pdf

  • AirmanMom

    >interesting post!
    fascinating commments!
    ~AM

  • Lori

    >I think this is utter rubbish!!!

    This guy (whoever wrote that) must be very insecure. Because let me tell you what, I have heard every excuse in the world why women shouldn't be allowed to do this or that, and NONE of it holds water!

    I spent a whole year straight flying Black Hawks in Iraq. Been there done that, speaking from experience.

    This guy is talking about how strong you have to be to carry all that. Um, I hate to point this out but I am TALLER *and* STRONGER than a lot of the men I serve with in the Army. Oh yeah and I can do the job just as good if not better! In flight school it is even said time and again that females often have the better control touch when it comes to flying.

    After a long day of flying I routinely would carry *two* M60's plus all my flight gear and armor as well as personal gear (sometimes up to 80 pounds), when a guy next to me was carrying something much lighter. By the way, I've never heard of a girl not having to dig her own foxhole. This just sounds patently ridiculous.

    Not to mention, I know many females in the military who are better physically fit than many males.

    I truly think MEN who say stuff like this are very insecure. Seriously … it is no secret that chicks can do the job just as well if not better. It's 2010. We need to quit being so stereotypical. Women have been serving for a really long time now, and flying Apaches and actually serving right on the blurred edges of the front line. They have PROVEN they can do it time and time again.

    WHY are we even having this discussion??

  • Jenni

    >I've heard that women have different standards that they are required to meet when they are put into a combat zone. I've heard (from a woman who served in combat) that women commonly do not have to carry as much weight and often do not have to dig their own fox holes. Perhaps it's different depending on the branch of service or who's in command. I don't know, but this has always bothered me.

    If it's really about treating men and women equally, why would women not have to live up to the same standards as men? It's unfair to place an extra burden on men because the women they are serving with can't perform to the same standards. Men and women simply are not the same physically and we should stop pretending they are. Sure, there are some women who could kick some men's asses, but what we need when lives depend upon it is a steadfast standard that does not vary based on gender. If you're woman enough to handle everything the men can, you deserve (an odd thing to say to my mind) to be in combat. If not, get out of the way and let the men do their job rather than putting more lives at risk.

    As a woman, I think this kind of thinking (lowering standards) is insulting to women. Gender should not be a consideration, ability should. When I worked with my kids' Young Marines group, it always made me angry that they had different standards for the boys and girls on the PFTs. Girls had lower standards they were required to meet and could do modified pushups and pullups but could still compete with the boys for Iron Man. Some of those girls were much more fit than the boys and could have beaten them fairly, but they weren't allowed that chance because of the way the scoring was set up.

    Again, it's an insult to females and unfair to males. Any woman content with such a system, who thinks it is her right, and who believes that she is equal and has earned her position is lying to herself. That isn't to say that women who serve in combat or otherwise aren't very brave and honorable. I am thankful for their service as well. It is the system and thinking behind it that is flawed.