Women in combat jobs discussion continues

| January 28, 2013 | 76 Comments

Our buddy, Tequila Volare, sent us this missive to clear his own head on the subject;

Putting pen to paper, okay fingers to keyboard, to express my thoughts on those arguing in defense of the recent announcement from outgoing defense secretary Leon Panetta to open up combat arms to women. I am doing this more out of frustration then anything. In stating my opposition to this decision I of course have been subjected to all of the obligatory name calling from the liberals and many an indignant female. My frustration stems from the fact that I spent 22 years in the Infantry meaning I have slightly more knowledge and experience in this particular argument then my critics. One can not convey the true meaning of what it means to be a member of the Infantry in 140 characters on Twitter or in some anonymous comment on a blog which gets swallowed up in the cacophony of others voicing their opinions.

Today I have also been treated to others who have worn the uniform ranging from truck drivers to helicopter pilots who support the lifting of the ban. While I respect their service they can not equate their jobs in the military to what a grunt does day in and day out. Listening to somebody who served as a hatch gunner on a HMMV and may or may not have gotten shot at while riding around doesn’t just quite match somebody who spends days, weeks, months living out in the environment exposed to the elements with no relief in sight. The things which bind an effective Infantry unit together are all of the intangibles which aren’t taught. When you upset that delicate balance you are inviting disaster. You can not ignore the physical differences, which are obvious to anybody and while that particular aspect has been beat to death I won’t belabor that point here.

What I want to address is that unseen bond which forms in combat teams who are forced to depend on each other for their very survival. It is not enough to merely dismiss such concerns by saying service members are expected to act as professionals. They are humans too. As such they are prone to such things as emotions and normal human behavior. What follows next will inflame feminist everywhere, but when you insert a female into a cluster of testosterone laden young males they are going to act like young males in any species on this planet do. There will be fights to establish dominance. Jealousy and envy will infect the ranks. If you are more worried of getting into a firefight because your rival may use it as an excuse to get rid of his competition you have a real problem. Often times the issue of chivalry is raised. Some discount this by saying once the bullets start flying you don’t care about the sex of the person next to you. For those with chivalrous tendencies that will not be the case. Somewhere in the recesses of their mind they will be keeping an ear and eye out and therefore not concentrating on the task at hand. Lastly, in what I call the “Hey Bubba watch this” Syndrome, which can be witnessed at any coed social gathering there is always going to be the guy who does some stunt to attract attention and therefore the eye, he hopes, of the females. Doing such a stunt while on a mission can lead to disaster. You can not regulate this sort of behavior out of existence for to attempt to do so is mere folly.

One of my other favorite arguments that has been thrown at me has been that women that live in such conditions would become unappealing to their male compatriots to which I respond have you ever been in a bar at closing time? I would like to see some reporters go ask some of the wives of married service members what they think about their husband sharing a foxhole with some woman for an extended period of time. I don’t think a lot of them would be on board with that idea.

Regarding the physical difference, without getting into the weeds on that particular aspect but in keeping in the vein of this missive does anybody think there might be just a wee bit of resentment in the ranks because the female is not expected to carry the machine gun, or radio, or mortar tube? She will still be eligible for promotion provided she meets the other criteria without having fulfilled all of the duties her male counterpart would have been expected to do.

Anyway that is what I wanted to say. Go ahead, call me a chauvinistic, misogynist, pig but it doesn’t change the points I brought up for to do so would be to refute the very essence of human nature since they first appeared on the planet.

While we’re on the subject, Dejah Thoris at the Victory Girls had this discussion with her significant man, and you should read it;

I know he feels passionately about this, because he has dedicated most of his adult life to making sure that I can sleep well and live free and he feels like they are taking the last thing he had that was really “his” away. This is one of the reasons I love him so much.

ADDED: Our buddy, Kira Davis, has another view from a former Marine female pilot;

Are there a handful of women who are capable of executing ground combat jobs? Yes…in fact, my husband and I came up with a list of five women that we knew personally that had the physical aptitude and mental temperament that would fit the bill. We have 24 years of military experience between us. Should America open up 230,000 ground combat jobs when there are only a handful of applicants that are qualified?

Category: Military issues

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  1. Twist says:

    “The parties switched side because of the Civil Rights Movement” in 3….2…..1…..

  2. 68W58 says:

    Joe trots out the list of supposed offenses against justice that “conservatives” have committed down through time. No doubt he will go through extreme mental gymnastics to support his contention. Allow me to offer an example of why he is (as usual) full of horse manure.

    Right after the civil war North Carolina had a Republican governor named W. W. Holden and he holds the distinction of being the first governor to be impeached in U.S. history. He was impeached for sending the militia out after the Klan which was terrorizing his black constituents. That was too much for the Democrat legislature and they threw him out.

    Now Joe will probably try that tired old line that the parties have switched over time and that Holden would be a Dem today with the vile racist Republicans running him off, but that fails in one important respect. The Dems held the N.C. Legislature from then until 2010. Only after the Republicans took over in 2011 was Holden finally exonerated. Why would the modern “racist” conservative Republicans be interested in exonerating Holden? Why did the supposedly progressive “anti racist” Dems fail to act for so long? Why will Joe fail to provide a coherent answer to these questions.

  3. Hondo says:

    Joe: “My number never came up.”
    Joe: “I am well into my seventh decade . . . .”

    Well, Joe, since you brought up numbers – let’s look at them.

    Being “well into” your 7th decade means you were born between today’s date in 1943 and the end of 1952, inclusive – but I’m guessing 1948 or later; otherwise you’d probably have phrased the comment about your age differently or have made reference to Social Security and/or Medicare instead. Ergo, you probably turned 18 somewhere between 1965 and 1971; I’m guessing 1969 or 1970. Since you used the phrase “my number never came up” you obviously were subject to the draft lottery. That was only used 3 years during Vietnam: 1969, 1970, and 1971 (the 1972 numbers were drawn but not used).

    So, folks, that means we have here one-each genuine Vietnam draft avoider – all done nice and legal. Just the same as a host of other folks, mostly conservatives, who’ve caught absolute hell from various leftist talking heads for doing the exact same thing.

    What were you going to do if you got a low number, Joey-boy – head north?

    That is weak, tool. REALLY weak. As in “free rider” weak, to put in in “union-speak” terms.

    If I recall correctly, you’re a big fan of unions and a big foe of right-to-work laws – generally because of the “free rider” problem. Well, guess what, Joey: you’re nothing but a “free rider” yourself. You’re willing to take the benefits of living in a free country, but not willing to serve the nation when needed. Rather, you stayed home safe and comfy – and let some other poor sap do your share of the dirty work.

    I’m frankly surprised you actually had the nerve to admit that here.

    What that also tells me is you’re basically spineless as well – which we at TAH already knew from your limp comments here. How so? Simple: you had neither the courage to serve nor the guts to put your money where your mouth doubtless was and publicly resist the draft. (Given your comments here at TAH, I really just can’t see you being in favor of US involvement in Vietnam – or being quiet while opposing it.) Instead you just took the nice, safe path of least resistance – once you found out it was a safe one because you had a high draft lottery number, of course.

    Must be nice to be able to check your self-respect at the door and live life without it.

  4. Just A Vet says:

    n excellent article from a woman vet over at The Weekly Standard.

    No Better Critics
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/no-better-critics_698023.html

  5. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @46 Additionally something our friend Joe might be unaware of, is that the iconic JFK voted against that CRA in 1957 along with Al Gore Sr….of course some folks don’t like to let the truth get in the way of diatribes.

    One could argue that 7 years later basically the same bill as ’57 along with a momentous addition of welfare was put forth by the Dems and effectively ended the 2 parent black family.

  6. Just A Vet says:

    Another can of worms that this going to open is should women be required to register with The Selective Service System?

  7. FatCircles0311 says:

    Appearance over results will define this disastrous administration for the rest of history and this is just another square peg going into a round hole for them. Americans love it though, because it makes me feel proud and recently have overwhelming agreed with the administration on this issue although the vast majority have never served and even fewer in actual combat arms units.

    ‘Merica!

    Where stupid reigns due to majority

  8. OldSoldier54 says:

    Tequila Volare nails it…but chalk up another asinine light bulb moment from the Good Idea Faery.

    Long time readers of TAH will already know my position on this, so leaving aside all the anatomy and physiology issues, here’s an anecdote:

    Around ’95 I was working on one of the numerous towers that sprang up on the Strip here in Vegas like mushrooms. We had been ordered to hire female Ironworkers for that gender equality thing. Now Local 416, for good reason, had very few (almost zero) female Journeymen because 416 is all rebar, no structural, and working rods has to be experienced to be believed.

    So, it was time to place the cord steel around the perimeter of the deck. We were only around 35 floors up so it was #10’s 60 feet long that had to be threaded through all the columns. Each bar weighed 258 lbs, which is a typical, no biggie load for an Ironworker in 416.

    One of the chicks we hired was standing there looking pretty, so wanting to see what she was made of, I told her to get on the other end of that pile of rebar I was standing next to, and let’s start punking (means to carry) out the cord steel. She flat refused. I asked her that if she was getting the same Journeymen’s wages as I was (I knew she was), she should be able to do the same work. No dice.

    And she wasn’t the only one. Jonn’s right, this is just going to fill up more body bags.

  9. jordan says:

    As a woman, I want all qualified women to have the chance to excel, in any field. However, the military isn’t “any field.” We have a military to protect the country, defend the Constitution, and be the power that physically projects America’s will any place, any time.

    It’s not there so individuals can have fulfilling careers. Anyone in service is subject at any time to be reassigned to another billet. As McChrystal said, the needs of the service come first, not your career and not your desires. If the ban is repealed, there is no bar to forcibly assigning women to combat jobs should the need arise. With this ever present reality, what will it do to female recruitment?

    You want your little Heather down at the mall dropped into a combat unit at a remote outpost in Afghanistan, against her will? Really? And what kind of society are we who sends women to fight our battles if they have just had a baby? I remember an example during Iraq when a single mom was killed, and her two year old was orphaned. Yes, Dads are important, but society maintains a structure that serves the family, the community and the nation, and provides the roots for it’s strength and continuity.

    Are we a society that, in extremis, places a young nursing mother in combat infantry? If she protests, so what? Guys have to go. Equal is as equal does, right? People simply aren’t thinking through the philosophical, moral as well as physical realities here.

    I’m as much of a feminist as anyone, but I also know not every sector of life exists to be the experimental plaything of those in power. Women enjoy lives of unparalleled ease and opportunity in America because it’s free, secure and well-defended. But like fish who don’t know they’re in water, we have swum in freedom so long that we no longer realize what it is. (But will when it’s gone.)

    The transformational changes of our societal foundations are coming fast and furious these days. Gays and women in these positions, dramatic, sudden demographic shifts with immigrant amnesty, etc… The pillars of the city, as the saying goes, will rot from within unless more time, care, and leadership is exerted.

  10. Fen says:

    “What follows next will inflame feminist everywhere, but when you insert a female into a cluster of testosterone laden young males they are going to act like young males in any species on this planet do”

    True. When you introduce a female into an infantry squad, the males stop behaving like a wolfpack and start competing for the female’s attention. All sorts of clusterfucks ensue.

    “Am I out on patrol again so that my squad leader can get more face time with Elizabeth? This is the 3rd time in – [BOOM!]“

  11. Fen says:

    Joe: “[Biology prevents it] Over the course of time, women have heard that a lot, usually as spoken by a man.”

    Wrong again, usually its spoken by a scientist or doctor.

    Women have 10% less hemoglobin
    Women have 10% less bone density
    Women have 10% more body fat

    Do you have the faintest idea how that affects them in combat? And I’m not even getting into muscle mass.

  12. Fen says:

    Joe: You guys are not going to stop the march of progress with hand ringing.

    At least your honest about your motives – social progress and to hell with how many of our sons and daughters die until you grow up enough to realize how ignorant and selfish you are.

    BTW, chicks don’t dig the betamale sucking up. Its not going to get you laid.

  13. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Of the things that I are firmly believe are that a dirty old man used to be a dirty young man and that a stupid old man was once a stupid young man. Are you both, Joe, or only the latter?

  14. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    OK … I have not weighed in on this subject because often some of you Army guys have trouble separating satire from my truth.

    So here it is … my truth (whether you want to hear it or not):

    1. There are some direct combat jobs that should always be off limits to woman … period. If you need me to list them I will give you three or four and a like application standard can be applied. However, you can figure it out.

    2. General and or basic combat related jobs should be opened up fully to females without dumbing down standards. If at anytime during training any trainee (male or female) should be removed from consideration for combat. If at anytime during actual combat there is an apparent failure of anyone in terms of combat effectiveness he or she should be removed from the battlefield at the earliest and most opportune moment.

    3. I don’t mind nor do I care if females serve in combat roles. It would certainly help if the are 100 % combat effective as compared to their male counterparts, they are all in everyday of the month, we all shit can any preconcieved notions, and most importantly they are good looking … that is always good for morale!

    On the issue of morale, you only have to look to our good friends and allies … our sisters in the IDF: http://www.google.com/search?q=idf+females&hl=en&tbo=u&rlz=1R2ADBR_enUS378&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=pN8HUd38CYrk8gTGnYA4&sqi=2&ved=0CD8QsAQ&biw=853&bih=537

    The above commentary is not satire!

  15. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ 53 Hondo Says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    OUCH … snapped off in his ass!

  16. Anonymous says:

    As long as we’re pressing for total equality, it’s time for all women 18 and older to register for the Selective Service and a potential draft, just like every American male.

    How do you think that’ll sit with Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and GaGa?

    You want total equality. C’mon in!

  17. Woman with a CIB says:

    Just kicking this up!

  18. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    I am a certifed thread killer!

  19. Twist says:

    @69, I throw the BS flag on that one. Since you commented on this and bumped it up to the top you are a certified thread reserectionit.

  20. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ 70 Twist … ROGER THAT!

  21. Ex-PH2 says:

    In regard to women 18 to 25 registering with Selective Service, this showed up today:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/29/16745990-push-for-all-younger-women-to-register-with-selective-service-gaining-steam

    Not reviving the thread, just adding this bit of news to it.

  22. Anonymous says:

    @72, (I posted 67)

    This is AWESOME! Can you imagine the Kardashians, Lady GaGa, Miley Cyrus,theReal Housewives of Anywhere….. yes…Lindsey Lohan signing up at the local Post Office? This alone is worth the price of admission!

  23. Hondo says:

    So, a group called SWAN was an advocate for the change? Perhaps that’s apropos considering what happens at the end of a “swan song”.

  24. Ex-PH2 says:

    Okay, Hondo, here’s the technical question: if the draft requires 6 years of service, does that mean if you don’t have a full six you get called back to finish your 6?

    Wouldn’t that put all those unpleasantly malorous peasants who currently endores protest groups back on active duty?

  25. Hondo says:

    Ex-PH2: probably not. Technically, they’ve almost certainly fulfilled their total military service requirement even if they served less than 6 or 8 years on active duty.

    When someone enters the military, they incur a total military service commitment on entry. That total commitment may be served in either the active or reserve components, or split between the two. (The current total military service commitment is now 8 years vice 6, by the way; I believe that changed sometime back in the 80s. Total military service commitment through at least the late 70s or early 80s was indeed 6 years.)

    The general practice was (and still is) for the active duty portion of that military commitment to be governed by either enlistment contract, needs of service, or a combination of both. That’s where the terms “3-year enlistment”, “4-year enlistment”, etc . . . , came from. These terms were technically inaccurate, as they were only referring to the active duty part of the total committment.

    The general practice was (and still is) for persons finishing their active duty portion with total military service commitment remaining to be placed into the reserve components. Those who desired generally could be placed in RC units or mobilization augmentee positions which required periodic training and active participation. Collectively, these constituted the Ready Reserve. Certain early release programs required participation in the Ready Reserve.

    Those who didn’t desire to participate in units or mobilization augmentation programs were generally placed into the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). Basically you didn’t do anything (there was a technical requirement for an annual muster, but I don’t personally know anyone who ever was called for one) – but as many folks found out in 1990-1991 and since, you are indeed still subject to recall to active duty from the IRR should the military need your skills and body. Once an individual no longer had a military service commitment remaining (e.g., at either 6 or 8 years, depending on the year of entry) enlisted personnel were normally dropped from the IRR. (As I recall, officers had to ask for their release or they remained in the IRR until 2x nonselected for promotion, at which point they were also dropped.)

    Bottom line: all of those folks you’re talking about are probably long gone off the military’s “books”.

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