Wanted: Your Opinion on Inclusion of Women in Combat Arms Units.

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Wanted: Your Opinion on Inclusion of Women in Combat Arms Units.

 This post is an effort to solicit the opinions of Legionnaires and veterans:   Should the combat arms branches be opened to women if they can pass the same physical, mental and aptitude tests required of their male counterparts?

 We would also like your comments on the subject.  That being said, sending me an email or leaving a comment that says something like “Women need to be taken out of the military entirely” isn’t likely to aid the cause any; that ship has sailed.  Likewise, comments like: “Women are just as good as men” doesn’t add to our knowledge.  What we are looking for are well-reasoned comments on the efficacy of allowing women to serve in the combat arms branches that they have traditionally been barred from serving in.  We want everyone’s opinion, but are particularly looking for the opinion of those who have served at “the tip of the spear.”

For purposes of this discussion, let us assume that there is a standard, and any female inclusion in Combat Arms units would be based on that standard, without alteration, now or in the future (unless to make it tougher).  So, comments like “A woman couldn’t drag a man from a firefight” aren’t particularly useful.  I’m guessing there are some jacked up females out there that are way stronger than some of the guys I had, while there are some guys out there that would seriously struggle dragging me to safety.  If the standard is the same for all genders, that should answer that concern.

Anyway, you can take the poll, but what I would really like is some cogent arguments in the comments section.  If you feel uncomfortable leaving a comment there, please feel free to send me your comments via email at mothax@legion.org

The survey has been closed. Thank you to those who participated.

Posted in the burner | 371 comments
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To Permalink,
---I quote from your statement---"Men can be sexually assaulted too. .."
---And (men) were sexually assualted too---along with women and children.
---So you think it is okay for Women in combat to be sexually assaulted ALSO in
order to gain the same status as the Men in combat?
---Especially okay, if it is the norm in the "culture" of the enemy ?
---I have seen what an enemy did to women, and female children---and
you are coming up, morally and non-intellectually, very SHORT in your
argument by trying to equivocate the genders.

Women should NOT be allowed in combat. I'm not sexist, but the reality is, women are nurturers and care-givers. Typically, it takes an absurd amount of abuse for them to resort to physical violence. Men, on the other hand, are usually more than willing to harm, maim, or kill someone for a far less acceptable excuse...err, reason.

I'm a Viet Nam vet, I love women and I'm happy I didn't have any on my A-Team.

For a self-declared "non-sexist," you sure as heck are sexist! Stereotyping women as caregivers and nurturers who don't have the guts to pull a trigger is EXACTLY the definition of sexist. Yes, you are sexist, whether you want to admit it or not.

The more I read the more I wish I had been born 25 years earlier! I agree wholeheartedly with you. No disgrace or disrepect to my fellow females in the services it is just that, like it or not, nature vs. nurture. Period. There are many capable, strong, tough women and if they want to fight "up front", let 'em do it ~ in an ALL female unit. Leave the male units ALONE!!!

I think it depends on the situation. Look at what the women service members have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan...Maybe a good option would be to have some trained, and then attached to a unit as needed. There could be unique opportunities for women to be used. People just need to think creatively and strategically.

IF a woman can do the job she should be allowed to do the job. There are extra dangers in being in transportation units is Iraq and Afghanistan and women are assigned there because they can drive and maintain vehicles. They are also trained in small unit tactics and have had to use them on numerous occasions. In combat, it is where the enemy is attacking from that becomes all important and whether there is a SOLDIER able to return fire at a given point. In those split seconds the gender of the soldier is unimportant. The use of women now in Special Ops units makes sense as Afghan and Iraqi women respond better to other women sometimes. Special Ops is not all about combat, it is much more, which is why language skills are required and women can do the job.

Amazing Effort!I want to share this site to my friends so that anyone would know how great it was.Real World Travel

the unisex movement has wiped out much of the charm of boy girl relationships. Putting a woman in combat will further de-sex them to the point where much of the allure of the female gender is blown away. also it causes much mental confusion and distraction when women are present in any situation let alone combat which would lower the efficiency of the unit in battle and perhaps cause additional casulties.

To you gentlemen talking about the sexual chemistry argument I would ask first, have you ever been in combat? If so, do you really think that if a woman was near you in that combat situation that you would be thinking about sex?! That's hard to believe...I can understand if it's a situation where there is no actual combat around. But c'mon about the sexually aroused while in combat issue!

If it were like the movies or TV where every second you were beeing shot at or shooting at somebody else you're right: you wouldn't have the time to think about sex. But that's NOT what REAL combat is like. At least 90% of the time you're standing around waiting for someting to happen. It's durring that 90% that all the stupid $#!^ happens that could and would get people killed durring the remaining 10%!

This is very true. I know while I was in Iraq there was plenty of time to think about sexual relations, especially after being there for a couple months. Nature is nature, and it doens't matter what is going on around you, when testosterone gets building, things start happening. The only way i could see this being successful is for the military to supply some members of the opposite sex for soldiers during R&R to help "reduce the tensions" (and I really doubt that would ever happen.)

Either you are very young and inexperience or you are a jerk! How dare you want a woman for "R&R". You know, we women would like a little (actually a big) R&R ourselves. I don't know if you are a sh*t stirrer or you are really ignorant (ignorance = lack of knowledge, not stupidity) but you should really keep your male chauvanistic opinions to yourself. You are making yourself look like an idiot.

anyone that has ever been in combat knows that women end up raped during these periods..war is violent...and they do not belong there..it is a distraction either way...get you killed.

Anybody who has been a cop and had a female partner knows this sexual chemistry combat argument is bullshit. You are more likely to get shot at as a cop in E. St.louis or Washington D.C. than on patrol in Iraq, thats a fact, USA Today proved it. Male and female cops patrol and roll together without drama. Unfortunately our Army is full of immature little boys who think with the wrong head, and they want to blame the women for their own sexual feelings. THE TERRORISTS BLAME WOMEN FOR THEIR SEXUALITY TOO, THATS WHY THEY WEAR BURKHAS! ...this sexism is pathetic, un-american, and sad. Remember this is the land of opportunity, not the chosen.

Do you have a source on the cop thing? I searched USA Today and could find no article that stated that.

Mind you that is probably true in Iraq right now, but if your point is that combat is less dangerous than being a police officer, I would approach that with a lot of skepticism.

If we allow inclusion then the draft system will need to be updated as well .

Brilliant point

VN/Cold War Vet; I do not believe that women belong in grunt units. They may be able to fire a weapon, but I do not believe that women can become physically violent in close quarters combat. They may fight for their life, but I do not believe that they can physically overcome the physical strength of an enemy combatant. I also do not believe that female grunts would have survived in the jungles of southeast asia, where physical strength could not be questioned. Could be my age, but I simply do not believe that female's belong in forward operating platoons or companies. There are many other force protection and support roles which they can perform, many of them requiring battlefield training and skills; but they must be able to perform to the demands of the roles physically.

look around there are woman in all types hazards positions cops firefighters they pull people out and also pull triggers and also die for what they believe in

I do believe it is about time that the military allows women to serve in combat zones. For years women have been in the military and have done the same jobs as their counterparts. If they can pass the physical and PT requirements of their branch of service then by all means they should be treated with the same equality they have so long been seeking.

The same argument can be applied to the women in combat zones as men, "they knew what they were doing when they signed the contract", if by chance the American people do not feel they should allow women in the military then quit gripping of unfair and unequal treatment.

Women due serve in combat zones and have for a long time now. We are talking about combat MOS s . Also if I understand what you are saying is everything should be the same across the board? Then why in the Army are the minimum PT requirements for a 17-21 year old male 42 push ups, 53 sit ups, and 2 mile run in 15:54 and minimum for a female the same age 19 push ups, 37 sit ups and 2 mile run in 18:54? Thankfully God designed women differently both physically and mentally. I am glad my wife is not 225 lbs and 6' 4" like me and she definately could not handle the stuff I have had to see.

I have served with female soldiers and Marines in both a peer and leadership capacilty, and I agree with most of the above statements concerning sexual chemistry and relationships while deployed. As much as we "hope" or "expect" our soldiers and Marines to act, the simple truth is that when you put young sexually active troops together, romances and relationship will occur. This creates a unique stress and lack of focus in a platoon and negatively impacts the combat efficiency.

Then we should court martial them for fraternization. Make it painful, make it permanent and people won't risk screwing around instead of doing their job.

Are you OK Joe or is it Josephine in, stressing yourself out

they want to be cops, they want to be firePERSONS, mailPERSONS...etc...let them earn equal pay

I think women should be included. Its simple. In the early frontier days, women work as hard, if not harder than men in America's history. Then, history shows two spheres developed: one, what women's roles were.and two, what men's roles were... but when it comes down 2 it, women are willing to do what it takes for this country! The women who enlist and have the desire and ability to fight should be allowed 2. There have been plenty of military men who disgraced this country because of their behavior but we do not say, men should not fight. Let each individual decide and adjust military policy and procedures but do not discount women and their passion and ability. Throughout history, time and time again, shows women can get things done!

Respectfully, Desire does not = Ability, or I'd be the starting MLB for the NY Giants

Women in front line support units are not working out. Pregnancies and adultery are rampant. Men are getting in fights over young female soliders. Younger female soldiers are refusing to participate in dangerous misssions. Young female soldiers often cry there way out of dangerous duty. The system is not work. We need to keep young junior enlisted females out of the combat areas. The Army is turning a PC blind eye to this problem.

MAJ C., I'm retired military & also rated through the VA as 100% disabled. Been there and have the T-shirt to prove it. Regarding Major C's statement that female soldiers are refusing the participate in dangerous missions and others crying their way out of dangerous duty. Ever head of the UCMJ, court-martials. Has PC over-rode our military? Are these "young female soldiers" you described being punished? Loss of rank etc?

Perhaps you need to go back to school to learn to be a commander. You obviously don't have what it takes to command personnel.

Not really, I spent 13 months remote more than once in my military career. Most were a men only deployment. One was where a lone female was assigned to a unit compition among the males were many,the female not in anyway filtration , did create unrest! We need to keep our eye on the ball--after all we are --human with animal instints. A

NO.... all these dramatic stories and stuff about female soldiers doing great things in Combat are true... they were in one fight and they did their job agreed.... but could they go kicking in every door in an entire neighborhood a day looking for insurgents and do this everyday straight for a year.... oh and be on qrf and be on EOD escort and anything else the Battalion Commander can think to do with and Infantry company.... So yes woman can rise to the occasion if its life or death, but i know dozens of people who did these things daily and got no silver star cuz its their job... and Jessica Lynch had she been male would and should have ben court martialed surrendering without even taking her rifle off the rack.... I'm just saying

The fact that women are now experiencing the rigors of close combat is a result of chance, NOT intent. Young men who are chosen for infantry, artillery, and tank, are worked hard. They are saddled with up to 150 pounds, and walked long distances with the expectation that they will be ready to engage in combat at the end of their stroll. 90% of men can be physically prepared to do this. Only 10% of women have the bone or musculature to be so physically prepared. Of that percentage, how many want to be in the combat arms? Perhaps 10% of them?? I'm not sure. Of that percentage, how many are smart enough? After all, combat requires intelligence, contrary to the beliefs of the Left!! So, will we make the expensive infrastructure changes required to support this small number of women? Or, will the government require the services change our standards, as they did when women were allowed into the Service Academies? Naturally, they protested that nothing of the sort occurred. But before he changed his coat, Jim Webb was the Secretary of the Navy. He saw it, reported it, and resisted it. He was defeated!
Semper fi

I've read many of the arguments of keeping Women OUT of Combat units. That's DISCRIMINATION, pure and simple. Look how long it took us to accept, and I'll bet many of you still don't, Black People into the Military. It took the Tuskegee Airmen to prove with their lives that they were worthy to Fight for their Country. The Navajo Indians saved our collective Butts in the Pacific. Think back to your American History, who stood by their man and took his place when he had fallen, Women. Hey Dumb-asses, wake up they've been there since the Beginning. What do you think, the Red stripes on our Flag ONLY stand for the Men. Simplest thing to do is, GIVE THEM THE OPTION TO FIGHT. Which would you rather have, a heavy-set women with a rifle, ammo and ready, willing and able to Fight, OR No One. The way Congress is chopping up the National Defense, No One is what you are going to end up with. LET THE WOMEN FIGHT, I'd love to have a women covering my back any day.

the Tuskegee AirMEN were still MEN. And if a female wants to be a pilot then she should go ahead because that has nothing to do with engaging the enemy on the ground face to face. If she would like to be in the Infantry then she had better consider being in the field for 45 days where showers and feminine products are scarce at best.

VN Vet Corpsman.
I believe there will be many times in a combat situation, when a man's "chivalry" will interfere with his actions. It's "just the nature of the beast!"

In our modernity, we forget that for thousands of years, women were restricted from warfare for the reasons that they could be exploited and the sensibilities of a unit or battalion could be exposed to save a woman combatant. Saving women is in our DNA. Putting this burden on field commanders is ridiculous.

The question is, “Should the combat arms branches be opened to women if they can pass the same physical, mental and aptitude tests required of their male counterparts?”

In an all volunteer military this should be a no-brainer; if women can pass the same physical, mental and aptitude tests required of their male counterparts without any fudging on these exams for the sake of a political agenda and as long as all personnel understand that no special treatment will be rendered as a result of their being women, then they should be allowed to serve wherever they are qualified to serve.

Robert Ireland – Post 174 (PUFL)

Of course women/blacks/gays/etc should be open to the combat arms branches. No matter what the politcally correct mambies say, it is not sexist to say that most women could not serve in combat. Some can, most can't. It is also true that some men couldn't handle the requirements of combat. The job should be the job. Specific requirements should be set and met. There should be no "softening" of requirements as we have seen in the past.

Vietnam Vet

I agree except that I would add IF the aptitude tests are a good reflection of the requirements of the job. If, for example, there was a requirement that a Soldier be able to hold their breath underwater for four minutes in order to be in the infantry, I would say that requirement is not reflective of the job for which the Soldier is applying. Similarly, if a female is seeking a job in a combat arms unit that does not require carrying a 100 pound ruck up the side of a mountain, then her inability to do that should not prevent her from being assigned to that position. If that is the true requirement, then she needs to meet it the same as the male.

I think women should be included only in the event we need to fight off the muslin hordes that is coming in the near future

No you are not paranoid

I personally do not like mixed genders on the battlefield as I think anytime this exist so does a large distraction on what should be everyone's primary focus of the task at hand. but I don't like a dual standard even more, the qualifications should be the same to preform the same task no matter the gender. If you cannot pass the requirements you should look for another occupation.

Robert Ireland hits it on the head. I was about to type the same thing almost word for word before I read his post. We are going to need all the boots on the ground we can muster in the coming years; it won't make a damn whether they are a size 5 or size 13.

G. Castle - Post 11

The main requirements to serve in combat should be mental toughness and developed skills needed to execute the tasks the job requires. The Israeli combat units function just fine being gender neutral. Would Joan of Arc been denied serving in combat...a great hero would have been missing from European history.

women have there part in the military. when I was in 1967, there were WAC's these ladies did
clerical and medical jobs. Keep the women out of combat. in combat you live together. You
dig a sleeping position behind the fox hole, and sleep together. It can not work. it will just cause more casualties. whoever thought that women can be in an infantry unit, was never in one them
selves. this is the kind of thinking that is destroying our country. this should not even be an issue.
it is lunacy to think that when I was wounded that a woman would show up to carry me through
mortars and machine gun fire. A woman could not pick me up to move me. I would tell the woman to leave and save yourself, and let me die if all i can get is a week lady to carry me.

I feel that a male has a genetic predisposition to protect females and children. I am afraid that males would put themselves in unnecessary dangerous positions to protect females.

As a wounded combat vet in Vietnam, I'd like to hear from women as to why they would want to?

The main reason is I am an american and was a soldier and love my country as much as any male memeber in the military and was willing to fight and die if necessary. I guess we all have our reasons.
If we reep the benifits of our country we should all be willing to fight for them.

They are there in combat units now and seem to be holding their own. Even if they are not directly in a combat unit they should always be at the ready, If driving a convoy you do not know if or when you are going to get hit.


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.