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Women With The Help Of The ACLU Sue For Combat Jobs

Updated on July 2, 2013

Equality in Combat?

I have read with interest of the lawsuit filed by four female military personal with the help of the ACLU. Their main argument concerns their ability to get promotions since they don't serve in direct combat operations. It's all about equality and recognition they say.

This suit wants ALL combat jobs opened to women. The lawsuit also states they are being discriminated because of their gender and violates their equal rights.

This all sounds fine and noble but as we were first told in the Marine Corps our job is to protect democracy, not be a democracy. I was a 0311 which is a rifleman, infantry.

We all know women have been killed, shot at, and have been taken prisoner. Many have shot back. We all recognize this and for the most part these actions are reported on their official personal records that follow them throughout their military career.

I have read the accounts of the four women that have filed this suit and their roles in the combat zones they have served in.

One was assigned to a female engagement team and provided intelligence and initiated relationships with the women of the male dominated society in Afghanistan. Another woman flew medevac missions while another was with a reconstruction team that was hit by a IED.

I want to stress that I'm not belittling these women and the missions they served in. I applaud all of these women but the fact is, the missions they have served in to bolster their argument that all jobs, including infantry, should be open to women is like comparing apples to oranges.

I have no problem with women flying helicopters in combat zones or being part of a female engagement team but these roles are very different to direct, sustained, combat operations such as infantry where they could spend weeks in the field instead of doing a mission and returning to a secure base each night.

There are three main reasons why women should not be allowed in some specialties such as infantry.

First, the most obvious reason is the physical demands. We used to carry backpacks so heavy that the only way to strap one on was to bend over and pick it up by the straps and fling it over your head without falling down.

After the pack is secure we would go take marches at a very fast walk for ten miles or so, sometimes longer. Those humps were the hardest thing I have done in the Marine Corps.

I want to compare that scenario to another march I saw that included women. This took place at a NCO school. (Non-commissioned officers school) There were five or 6 women in this class

. I saw them coming back from a two or three mile march with combat gear and EMPTY back packs. All of the women were straggling behind. Some 50 yards behind and others almost 300 yards behind.

The infantry is very physical, dirty, work. Besides heavy packs and full combat gear everyone at one time or another carries motar tubes, heavy machine guns and extra ammo and radios.

The second reason is how men and women are wired differently. There were many times I spent days with just another Marine on a remote listening post or would spend each night for over a week in a small two man tent where there was hardly any extra room to even lay down.

I don't think any of those situations would be ideal for women and men being together under those conditions whether it would be training or under actual combat situations.

I think training would suffer under those conditions and combat operations could be compromised through normal human emotions and characteristics. Men, for the most part, would would feel protective to the women in their units. I could also see relationships develop that would create jealousy and bitter feelings among team members which would destroy team cohesion.

The third reason is how women themselves would be effected by putting them in combat operations. Back years ago when there was a push to open infantry jobs to women one female general came out strongly against this.

Her reason was that if women would be put through the exact same training as men the vast majority of them would fail. These women would develop self-worth and morale issues.

The other issue is how the women themselves feel about being put in direct combat operations. Many do not want a role such as that.

A case in point is how the Marine Corps recently opened up their grueling three month officer Infantry course to women. There were eighty qualified women to take this course and all were asked. Only two applied. One washed out on the first day and the second one washed out two weeks later. Of course some men washed out also but what is significant is seventy-eight out of eighty women wanted no part in this combat training.

“Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal”

An excellent article written by former female Marine Capt. Katie Petronio in the Marine Gazette titled “Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal” explores her thoughts and her first hand experience.

Another very good article is by Robert Knight “In debate over women in combat, truth is the casualty”

In summary, women are valuable members of our Military and in that being said, let them perform at the jobs that would best serve their abilities and the service.


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