Female colonel sues military to include women in combat

| October 16, 2012

Ring knocker, Army Col. Ellen Haring, was disqualified from commanding a Female Engagement Team in Afghanistan and she’s now decided that a lawsuit against the Pentagon is the only way she can get more women on casualty lists in proportion to male combatants says the LA Times;

Throughout her 28-year career, the lawsuit alleges, “the career options available to Col. Haring, as compared to a man who graduated in her [West Point] class, have been limited.” The exclusion policy “institutionalizes the unequal treatment of women,” said the suit, filed pro bono by a Washington law firm.

That discrimination culminated for Haring with the special operations job, she says.

“There was this open acknowledgment that they knew they were violating the combat exclusion policy,” Haring said of her training at Ft. Bragg. “It was decided, well, we’re going to support this program and not worry about the exclusion policy.”

Haring challenges a Pentagon contention that women are not able to carry a wounded 200-pound man off the battlefield. She said her husband and son, a weightlifter, both said that neither would be able to accomplish that feat.

“We’re being held to standards that most men can’t meet,” she said.

Yeah, that’s totally unfair that she can’t carry a wounded 200-pound man off the battlefield. But not as unfair as it is to that wounded 200-pound man who just discovered the fact that his life depends on someone who thought that a lawsuit would qualify her for a waiver to having to actually perform that task.

Like I’ve said, I’m all for women being given the opportunity to serve in combat if they’re willing to subject themselves to the same training and meet the same standards as the men. The Pentagon is obviously trying to integrate women into combat assignments, but, the only two female volunteers for the Marine Infantry Officers have dropped out, for whatever reasons. That doesn’t mean that all women aren’t qualified – it only means that the Pentagon needs a lot of time to study this process. Whining about it in the courts isn’t going to speed things along. You’d think a West Point grad would understand that.

Category: Military issues

Comments (45)

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  1. 68W58 says:

    Haring challenges a Pentagon contention that women are not able to carry a wounded 200-pound man off the battlefield. She said her husband and son, a weightlifter, both said that neither would be able to accomplish that feat.

    Really?!? Fireman’s carry is an EFMB task, we also did it in my medical premob training. Her son is either ignorant or lying-once you get the weight up on your shoulders it isn’t that difficult (it is slow).

  2. 2-17 AirCav says:

    Discrimination it is. Discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection clause it is not. The suit is a law student plaything.

  3. AndyFMF says:

    Considering that my gear (flak, kevlar, rifle/ammo, pistol/ammo, radio, non-lethal grenades, etc) weighed in at 88lbs and the medical bag was an additional 25-40lbs depending upon the patrol….what the Lt. Col is actually saying is that she cannot retrieve a 120-140lb service member with full gear.

    Speaks volumes about her husband and son as well.

  4. SGT Ted says:

    Here I spent 26 years thinking I was there to serve my country, when it was really about my self-centered career opportunity desires based on my genitalia.

    Is that what they teach about Selfless Service in the Academy these days?

    As far as her husband and son agreeing with her…well DUH! Like no one has ever heard the phrase “Yes, Dear” issue from the mouths of husbands before.

  5. AndyFMF says:

    My mistake…Col.

  6. Ranger11C says:

    Good thing the armed forces are here for her career progression and not national defense…oh wait…

  7. valerie says:

    “Haring challenges a Pentagon contention that women are not able to carry a wounded 200-pound man off the battlefield.”

    The Pentagon should just drop the notion that “women are not able to” … and test the few who 1) want to try and 2) have something, anything in their background demonstrating at least the potential to do so. Keep the requirement, and keep it gender-neutral.

  8. Ex-PH2 says:

    Maybe the colonel should go see what women firefighters have to do. They have to carry the same weight loads as men do. I may have an arthritic back, but I could still haul around a guy who’s heavier than I am in the fireman’s carry.

    This is hogwash, and I’m tired of whiny women who want everything dumbed down for them so they can play, too. It isn’t just in the military, it’s everywhere. Maybe she just doesn’t want to damage her manicure.

    Look, lady, you want the job? Then meet the damned standards or shut the frack up.

    That’s all I have to say.

  9. Tangonine says:

    Actually, an Academy grad is exactly the type that would do this.

  10. 2-17 AirCav says:

    @10. Yes, but only after retirement years are in the bank.

  11. Detn8r says:

    I really think The COL is only thinking about herself. She can talk all the crap she wants about equality in the ranks, but, it boils down to her OWN agenda. If it were not so, she would think about the “that wounded 200-pound man who just discovered the fact that his life depends on someone who thought that a lawsuit,,,,”! My entire career, I never came close to 200lbs, I was always a little north of that, and no, I would not want the person next to me to have went through sub-standard training or requirements just so THEY (not SHE) could fill a slot. Everyone around me meet the standard.

    Ex-PH2 – Dead on “Look, lady, you want the job? Then meet the damned standards or shut the frack up.”!!!!!!!

  12. Sponge says:

    I’m sorry, but the FACT is, there are some things that men are just better at than women. The FACT is, men and women are NOT equal and never will be.

    It frustrates me to no end that they keep thinking that if they bitch loud enough or complain long enough, they’ll be equal. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. Genetically impossible.

  13. TSO says:

    For any that want to read the filing in the case, the below link is to the pdf.


  14. WOTN says:

    Evidently, the Colonel thinks she’s as smart and accomplished as General David Petraeus, who was recognized as a rising star at West Point, as a Captain (filling Major’s position) and his entire career.

    General Petraeus made Brigadier General in 26 years.

    I do wonder if the Colonel thinks it was inappropriate that men were not considered for the FET commander position? Or if she agrees that men just aren’t the right person for some jobs? Perhaps, she believes that a penis should not preclude men from talking to Afghan women, and that men should be equally represented on FET’s?

    General Ann Dunwoody demonstrates that women can attain the highest rank (4 star) in the Army, without infantry school, or Ranger school. In fact, her dates of promotion are similiar to those of Petraeus, Odierno, and Dempsey. Of course, she also stayed in for 37 years, not 28.

  15. Tangonine says:

    @11 I still maintain every officer must serve 4 years enlisted (starting at E-1) prior to commissioning.

  16. OWB says:

    What an idiot! She managed to graduate from the Academy, made the rank of COL, and is contending that her gender precluded something?

    Like what, for instance???

    Unlike most members of the military who neither graduate from an Academy nor attain the rank of COL, this one is among a pretty elite group but it still wasn’t good enough for her?

    Way to go, COL. I would have had some respect for you except you had to screw it up. Seriously, what more could you really want?

  17. Green Thumb says:

    Looks like someone got passed over.

    On to ROTC with you…!

    Move out!

  18. Green Thumb says:


    Roger that.

  19. Disgruntled Major says:

    “Haring, a mother of three, served 13 years on active duty, including stints as an executive officer, brigade commander and instructor at a prestigious officer training school. Since 1992, she has served in the Army Reserve, reporting for regular duties while pursuing a doctorate in conflict analysis and resolution at George Mason University.”

    She’s been in the Reserves for 20 years! Her “stint” as a Brigade Commander wasn’t on active duty, unless O-4s are suddenly doing brigade command. (Doesn’t this mean she’s already had O-6 command anyways? WTF is she bitching about?)

    “Throughout her 28-year career, the lawsuit alleges, “the career options available to Col. Haring, as compared to a man who graduated in her [West Point] class, have been limited.”

    What career? She’s a Reservist! ALL options are limited, usually due to geography, civilian job, etc. Is she comparing her Reserves career against an active duty West Pointer? Hell, NG career options are limited based on what brigades are in the state, and how many rank positions are available. You would think 20 years in the Reserves she might have noticed this.

  20. JP says:


    That sounds good on paper, but generally they drop the requirements in general, so they are still the same, but not.

  21. Disgruntled Major says:

    P.S. 13 years active duty + in Reserves since 1992 = 28-year career? I smell IRR time or someone who got out and came back in. That might be more responsible for “career options”, just saying.

  22. Ret12B40 says:

    @Disgruntled Major… Maybe she wanted the Reserves to move a unit closer to her so she could take charge of it.

  23. Ret12B40 says:

    Is her BRANCH mentioned anywhere?? Not that THAT would have anything to do with career progression or anything… Frackin’ SOW!

  24. Hondo says:

    2012 minus 28 equals 1984. Let’s assume that’s when she got commissioned.

    If she’s been in the RC since 1992, that means she was almost certainly a CPT/O3 when she left active duty – with around 8 years active duty at that point. Ergo, any command she’s had above company level was in the RC.

    That instructor duty at a prestigious service school was probably while assigned either as adjunct faculty at CGSC or to a USAR schools unit as a CGSC seminar instructor. Could also possibly have been full time active duty as an instructor, though. On occasion there are RC instructor slots that pop up at CGSC, the War College, or other schools.

    The 13 years on active duty very obviously includes some time spent on active duty during her 20 years in the RC. That means she had 5 years of active duty since 1992. That’s plausible, especially if she’s counting her AT time and/or any AD for schools.

  25. Hondo says:

    Addendum: since she’s been pursuing doctoral studies at GMU in “conflict analysis and resolution”, it’s also possible she’s been a Reserve staffer at NDU (which is in DC). GMU is in Fairfax County, VA – about 4 miles E of the DC beltway in the northern VA part of the greater DC metro area. Her academic background and location would actually fit fairly well with the “RC staff at NDU” possibility.

  26. Disgruntled Major says:

    Three years as an associate professor at CGSC. She works somewhere down in Joint world near the former JFCOM stomping grounds. She’s just bitter she couldn’t draw O-6 deployed pay (and a deployed second O-6 command) to wear a head scarf and sit around drinking chai with the Afghan ladies. Hope the CSM has a better sob story.

  27. Texas lawman says:

    This is satire, right?

  28. CBSenior says:

    Conflict Analysis and Resolution, yeah that is just what I want in an Infantry CO. Really geared her training to the job she wants. Maybe the SHE/HE/IT can shoot her up with testosterone and fairy dust and make it so. Then she could carry a 200lb wounded Soldier. Then again, I think she can already do it without the drugs, because she is carring around a 200lb grudge, that’s for sure.

  29. CBSenior says:

    Conflift: Someone is shooting at us. Resolution: Kill them all. Hey were is my Command, I just finished that class 4 years faster then her.

  30. 2-17 AirCav says:

    She looks like a Volt or Prius driver.

  31. Nik says:

    “wife of an Army colonel”

    Poor bastard. Wonder how this will affect his career…unofficially, of course.

  32. Green Thumb says:

    My question is this: The war(s) have been ongoing for 10+ years….no deployment during that time?

    It seems she wants/needs to check the block before hanging it up. I mean wow, no deployment? I wonder what her peers think?

  33. malclave says:

    When did West Point start offering degrees in Women’s Studies?

  34. smoke-check says:

    Wait. Let me get this straight. She is filing a lawsuit against the federal government, and one of her arguments is that her husband and son; who is a weightlifter (insert instant credibility here) “said” that they wouldn’t be able to perform the task?!?!? Examine this one’s transcripts closely how are you a doctoral student?

    “We’re being held to standards that most men can’t meet”. You are exactly right colonel most men cannot meet the standard. That’s why most men (even in the military) are not Combat Arms. This is like saying anyone should be allowed to practice medicine because the standards to be admitted to medical school, are too tough and most people cannot pass.

    She was deemed not qualified to lead a FET? Could it be just that ma’am? You performed below the standard and the job went to a better qualified soldier who just happened to be male?

  35. Rik says:

    Well, well, well, isn’t this an interesting and perfectly charming little story.

    Incompetence that is so absolute that it doesn’t even recognize itself. And yet demands that it and it’s consequences be imposed on the rest of us. “Fair.” Pout, stamp, feet, call a lawyer, file a law suit. The ‘merican way.

  36. 2-17 AirCav says:

    Some cadet needs to sue West Point, too. There isn’t one female on the football team.

  37. smoke-check says:

    Additionally, I may be assaulted by the PC avengers among us but, does her picture does scream physical prowess to anyone here? Along with her transcripts I would like to see her most recent PT card. This is not the picture of someone I would want to rely on to pull my large unconscious body out of a burning MRAP completely naked let alone with full kit.

  38. Eric says:

    That’s pretty strange since I’ve had female Soldiers who were SSGs in charge of a FET. She wasn’t disqualified because she’s female, she was disqualified because she isn’t qualified to run a FET.

    Along with that, why isn’t she suing to change the APFT standards to be one standard for males and females?

    And since there is only one infantry battalion in the Reserves (100th/442nd) and NO infantry brigades (they are AC or National Guard) then perhaps that’s why she can’t have an infantry unit command? I don’t have a college degree and I know that. Perhaps she needs to stop going to keggers and dorm parties and study more.

    Maybe her son is the tanning oil boy for weightlifters and just can’t admit it to her, so he claims to be a weightlifter?

  39. Ex-PH2 says:

    This is an Olympic record for women’s weightlifting:

    2008 Beijing Miran Jang 326kg +75kg Korea

    The 326 kg is what she lifted. The +75KG is her weight class.

    Multiply kg weight by 2.2 lbs per kilogram.

    I believe this solidly refutes both what this woman’s son said, and the idea that women cannot lift 200 or more pounds.

  40. WOTN says:

    The world record for Squating is 1267.7 lbs and for Deadlifting is 1015 lbs: http://www.powerliftingwatch.com/files/PLWR-M-10-12-12.pdf
    Magnusson weighed 381 lbs when he attained the deadlift record.
    Thompson weighed 385.4 lbs when he attained the squat record.

    The world record for women in Squating is 854.3 lbs and for deadlifting is 683.4 lbs: http://www.powerliftingwatch.com/files/PLWR-W-10-12-12.pdf
    Becca Swanson holds these two titles and weighed between 243.8 lbs and 246.6 lbs when she did so.

    The question of course is not whether someone that spends their life lifting weights could Squat or Deadlift such weight. They are professional weightlifters.

    The question is if someone that spends weeks of the year in the field, could maintain the ability to lift a 200 lb man, plus his equipment, in the middle of a firefight, after a week humping a 75lb ruck, along with 30lbs of ammo and a 25 lb vest, up and down the mountains of the desert, breathing in talcum like sand, in 20 degrees or 120 degrees at 7500 feet above sea level.

    I don’t think the Colonel could and I doubt her weightlifting son could.

    Then again, the sum of an Infantryman’s job is not lifting a wounded battlebuddy over his shoulders. It’s an important part, but only a part of it.

  41. LCDR M(Ret) says:


    +1000, sir or ma’am!


    Navy Mustang

  42. David says:

    @37: The way they have performed the last 25 years (with the exception of the 1996 and 2010 seasons), you could say that there aren’t any MALES on West Point’s football team.

  43. Ann says:

    First Airmen who use their uniforms to get attention for the cult of being able to breastfeed on every inch of the planet, and now this. Where do they find these people?!

  44. Matt says:

    I was an Infantryman and women do not have any business out in the field of war with us, period. They’re weaker and not going to be able to handle the rigors of this job. I’m sorry but that’s the truth. Only those who have served on the ground like us grunts are most qualified to give the opinions on matters such as these. Screw the Colonel, with all due respect. She’s just a feminist running her mouth.