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Updated on December 14, 2014

Women in Combat?

"A military analyst says violence against military women, already growing at an alarming rate, will increase in the U.S. armed forces if women are allowed in front-line combat units.

"The Pentagon plans will increase combat and sexual violence against women because, among other things, unresolved problems will be extended into the combat arms," says Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to move ahead with a plan to allow women to serve in tip-of-the-spear combat arms positions. The plan says women could start training as Army Rangers by mid-2015 and as Navy SEALs a year later." 18 June 2013

"A conservative military watchdog says the newly announced plan to allow women in front-line combat units will do nothing but degrade tough training standards." 18 June 2013

Some people maintain that this all about "diversity" and "political correctness" and not combat readiness. When I wrote this book, it was because I could see it coming. "Duly Constituted Authority" is available at all major ebook sellers and it's under a buck.

The Inspector General of the Marine Corps looked up and was startled to see the Commandant's head peeking through the door. Damn! How did he get in here? He jumped up, his head almost hitting the plant hanging over his desk. "General Ostfeld, what can I do for you?"
The short, stocky four-star general came into the room, unlit cigar butt in his mouth. "Sit down, Tom. Sorry to pop in unannounced but I just heard about some shit that I had to see you about."
Brigadier General Thomas Edison Cartwright sat back down in his chair as his boss, General Richard Ostfeld, seated himself across from him. Ostfeld was a younger version of the old comedian George Burns with black hair. He regarded Cartwright through his black-rimmed glasses, giving him his all too well known "What the hell is this all about" look. Cartwright knew it well. "Tom, I just had a sit-down with Admiral Re."
Admiral Renzo Re -- pronounced "Ray" -- was the Chief of Naval Operations. His office was among those of the service chiefs in that well-guarded part of the Pentagon known as OJCS, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. These powerful men ran America's armed services from their comfortable offices deep in that five-sided edifice just on the Virginia side of the Potomac River.
Cartwright cleared his throat. "What did the Admiral have to say, sir?"
"He told me there was a young J.G., female type, 'Costanza' I think her name is, anyway she's stationed at Pendleton. Apparently she's got a hair across her butt because some Marine captain told her she had a nice butt or something and now she's screaming sexual harassment. You know anything about it?"
"No sir, first I've heard of it. Why would it be raised to this level?"
"Well, I don't know. But Re got wind of it through the Navy's I.G. system. Seems the people at every level she brought it to thought it wasn't a legitimate complaint so she keeps raising it to a higher level. Seems determined to make a federal case out of it. Damn."
Cartwright seemed confused. "General this seems awfully routine. Why in God's name did it make it to the CNO?"
"That's what I want to know. Admiral Re seemed pretty concerned about it and he thought I should be too." When Dick Ostfeld removed his cigar from his mouth to make a point, everybody knew he was serious -- damn serious. He did so now as he faced his I.G. "Tom, I don't know yet how bad this is but the last thing we need is another Tailhook-type affair. Maybe this broad's trying to prove a point or maybe she's ticked off at the Marine Corps -- I don't know. All I do know is that we've got an administration just itching to stick it to the military. That damn 'gender norming' baloney come up again because of that Wiggins business and now this." He replaced his cigar between his teeth and stood up, prompting Cartwright to so the same. "Tom, check into it. Find out from your Navy counterparts how serious this is and how far it's come. Let's see if we can nip it in the bud before it gets bigger."
"Yes, sir. You can count on it." He grabbed a pencil. "What was that lieutenant's name again?"
Before Ostfeld could answer there was a loud knock on the door. Cartwright’s mouth fell open, as he wondered who would have the temerity to interrupt them. The knock came again, louder. "What is it, for God's sakes?"
His secretary, a tall ebony-skinned lady in her early forties, opened the door and stuck her face through. "I'm terribly sorry sir, but they're looking for General Ostfeld. There's been an emergency."
Ostfeld walked toward her. "What, what is it?"
"Sir, it seems Secretary Canfield's had a heart attack."
Ostfeld bolted toward the door, almost knocking her out of the way. "Good God!"
A few minutes later, practically every flag officer in the Pentagon was standing in the corridor outside the office of Horace Canfield, Secretary of Defense. He had been appointed SecDef by the previous president and, in spite of being a Republican, was kept on at the insistence of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who considered him to be the last line of defense against an openly hostile administration. President Ramsey had reluctantly agreed to keep him on after the Joint Chiefs had sent him a strongly-worded letter vaguely hinting they would resign en masse if he replaced Canfield with another former radical of the late sixties and early seventies, the likes of which filled his cabinet. Though sorely tempted to accept their resignations, Ramsey knew Canfield's health was tenuous so he had bided his time. Now Canfield lay on the floor of his office, a bevy of doctors huddled over him trying to save his life.

Several days later, the Chiefs of America's armed forces sat alongside their immediate boss, Army General Arnold Llewellyn Wolf, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Behind them sat many of the heads of the various U.S. commands worldwide, Operations Deputies, other flag officers, members of the Joint Staff, and dozens of officers and senior enlisted people from each service. There were also several members of Congress, other cabinet heads, and even a few representatives from the military establishments of other nations, especially NATO. A Russian general drew several glances from many of his U.S. counterparts. The late Secretary Canfield's wife sat alongside their two sons and other family members in the front row of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in northeast Washington, D.C. The vice president of the United States, William Andrew Eastwood, who somewhat resembled the movie star with the same last name, sat next to his wife. The first lady, Merilee Ramsey, sat next to Mrs. Eastwood. Her husband was currently in the sanctuary of the church, in front of the altar. The Catholic bishop of Washington stood behind him along with several priests. In the aisle was the bier holding the coffin, which contained the body of Horace Canfield.
Only two weeks prior he had attended the funeral of the Russian president, and now President Theodore McGarrity Ramsey was delivering a eulogy for his secretary of defense. The usual words of praise for his service to his country were said along with words of comfort to his family. Several other speakers who paid their respects in similar fashion followed the president. After all that, the bishop continued the funeral mass, blessing the coffin.
During the procedures, General Wolf wondered who the new secretary would be. He knew Ramsey was no friend of the military. Indeed, Ramsey had opposed the Iraq war that removed Saddam Hussein and was named the most liberal governor in the country, facts that his opponent in the election had been quick to point out. A sluggish economy and high fuel prices had been enough for Ramsey to squeak in, however, and he had moved the country decidedly to the left. How ironic, thought Wolf, to hear Ramsey extolling the virtues of Canfield, a decorated combat veteran of several wars, and one of the most effective defenders of the concept of a strong national defense ever to hold the office.
The ceremony ended and the luminaries filed out to their various limousines to make the trek to Arlington Cemetery for the funeral. Wolf motioned to General Daniel Forrest Green, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, to come over to him.
"Dan, send your car back and ride with me. I want to talk to you." Green gave instructions to his aide and climbed into the back seat of the staff car with Wolf. An Army sergeant drove the car while Wolf's aide-de-camp, a colonel named Frank Gurney, sat in the front seat. In short order, they were heading south through the city toward Arlington, Virginia. "Dan, I understand Shaw didn't pass the ORI,” Wolf said, referring to the recent operational readiness inspection.
Green sighed. "Yeah, I'm afraid so."
"What was the problem?"
"The same problem we've been having across the board. Not enough spare parts, not enough money, and not enough people. Sam Wellman just couldn't get enough planes in the air. And those he managed to scramble didn't make it up fast enough. And on top of that we've lowered the standards. And they still didn't get up there in time!" His frustration clearly came through in his voice. "Arnie, this crap has got to stop. I tell you we've 'downsized' enough."
"You're preaching to the choir, Dan."
"I know, I know. Now Goldunov's dead and we have no idea what kind of government they're going to end up with over there. You think you'll get a chance to speak with Volkhov?" Vladimir Alekseyvich Volkhov was Wolf's Russian counterpart, and had been sitting in the church. He was former GRU, the old, Soviet military intelligence agency (as it is still called in today’s Russia).
"Not yet. I hope to corner him later and see if can tell us anything."
"Did he ever tell us anything worthwhile before?"
Wolf grunted. "Hell no -- Damn. And now Canfield's gone. Lord knows who our esteemed president will appoint in his place."
Green shook his head. "Your guess is as good as mine. I just hope it isn't 'Skumrock.' "
Wolf’s eyes opened wide. "Oh Christ, you think that's possible?" Konrad Morton Skomroch was a Ramsey crony from his college days and had been his advisor on national security affairs during the campaign and now in the White House. That he had served in the Navy as an enlisted man for a few years and the fact that he had a master's degree in international relations from Harvard University made him believe he was an expert on all things military. During his three terms as a U.S. Representative from Vermont, he had wrangled his way on to the House Armed Services Committee where he proceeded to advocate the "downsizing" of the military as well as the nation's intelligence apparatus. He was also a great advocate of using the military for social experimentation. In this he was joined by Merilee Ramsey, the president's wife, who had similar ideas. There had been rumors they had been lovers, which was probably untrue since Skomroch was openly homosexual.
"Skumrock" was probably the nicest name his enemies called him.
Colonel Gurney turned around and faced his boss. "Sir, if I may interrupt--"
"Sure Frank, what is it?"
"As you know, I have some friends on Capitol Hill." That was an understatement. His contacts on the Hill made him a valuable asset to the CJCS and probably had not hindered his rapid rise to full colonel at the tender age of thirty-eight. "Anyway, my sources tell me the betting's on Skomroch all the way. In fact, some of Ramsey's supporters in both houses are busy greasing the skids right now."
"What about Diehl?" asked Wolf, referring to Edwin Jefferson Davis Diehl, the very conservative Republican senator from North Carolina, and the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"Oh, I'm sure Senator Diehl will fight him all the way. But I've got a feeling that might not be enough, General."
Wolf sat back in the seat, frowning. His aide's "feelings" were usually right on target. He stared out the window as they crossed the Memorial Bridge that led into the cemetery. Then he turned to Green and mouthed an expletive,
"Concur,” Green said softly.


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    • AlexDrinkH2O profile image

      AlexDrinkH2O 4 years ago from Southern New England, USA


    • AlexDrinkH2O profile image

      AlexDrinkH2O 5 years ago from Southern New England, USA

      I just reduced the price from $4.99 to $2.99!

    • AlexDrinkH2O profile image

      AlexDrinkH2O 5 years ago from Southern New England, USA

      @Dennis AuBuchon Thank you!!

    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 5 years ago

      I pinned, tweeted and voted up. This sounds like a great book and I wish you success.

    • AlexDrinkH2O profile image

      AlexDrinkH2O 5 years ago from Southern New England, USA

      Author's note - some light editing was done to this Hub version to clean up the language somewhat - you will find a bit more "salty" language in the original!