View Full Version : Another Misguided Female-in-Combat Plan

10-27-04, 07:29 AM

Another Misguided Female-in-Combat Plan

By Ray Starmann

The headline blazed across the front page of The Washington Times on Friday, Oct. 22: “U.S. Army to lift ban on women in combat.” The article stated, “The U.S. Army is negotiating with the Pentagon’s civilian leaders a plan to eliminate a women-in-combat ban so it can place mixed-sex support companies within war fighting units, starting with a division going to Iraq in January.”

After all, shouldn’t everyone have an equal opportunity to serve? Last week, a grandmother graduated from Sandhurst, the ancient and famed British military academy. God help us all. What’s next; crippled, pregnant lesbians in the SAS?

I quickly popped two antacid tablets and continued reading. The paper noted that the Army wants to allow female soldiers to serve in so-called Forward Support Companies that are “collocate” with actual combat units. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Rodney explained, “We imagined a more linear combat environment. Now, with the nature of asymmetrical threats, we have to re-look at that policy. The Army is not seeking to lift the ban on women in direct combat units, such as infantry or armor.”

Talk about a distinction without a difference.

The underlying reality behind this initiative is stark: This is an act of utter desperation, such as Josef Stalin ordering Soviet women to the front against the German Army in the dark winter of 1941. We simply do not have enough troops to support our current missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, if we move on Iran and/or Syria, where are we going to get the soldiers and Marines?

The Bush administration still proudly proclaims that we have enough troops. After all, the president insists, if the commanders on the ground wanted more troops they’d ask Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, right? Sure they would; if they want to forfeit their seven-figure defense contractor jobs and PX parking spaces after they retire.

Despite initial opposition from Rumsfeld, Congress has given (forced upon) the Army permission for a “temporary” increase in its end-strength by 30,000 billets. Meanwhile, Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker is moving to implement a real reform by reorganizing the Army into new brigade-sized combat formations that will increase the overall number of troops who are trained to fight. But these reforms will take years to have a true impact.

It seems that a combination of political correctness and the messy situation in Iraq have tempted Army Department officials to impose the quick fix of allowing female soldiers that much closer to combat.

To quote Army spokesman Rodney again, “We imagined a more linear combat environment. Now, with the nature of asymmetrical threats, we have to re-look at that policy.” Translation: We got ourselves into a guerilla conflict we didn’t expect, and since the whole country is a shooting gallery anyway, this is a perfect time to move the bar ahead for women in combat.

There are two main problems with this thesis: physical problems and morale problems. Anyone who has been in combat for more than ten seconds knows what a physically brutal business it is. The toughest and best-trained people are winners. The losers are retrieved with a spatula and carried away in Ziploc bags. Women are just not as physically strong as men. They have an extremely difficult time carrying or cannot carry standard combat loads that range from 50 to 200 pounds. They have basic problems with simple combat tasks such as loading and chambering the .50 caliber machine gun. They cannot throw grenades as far as men, nor can they run as fast. Women have a difficult time carrying ammo cans containing 5.56 and 7.62mm rounds. Many cannot lift, much less carry, a 155mm artillery round. These facts have been proven over and over again.

In combat, any type of physical deficiency will get you killed or wounded within seconds. Many will argue that since women will not actually be in the combat arms, then they will not be in harm’s way. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A quartermaster company supporting an infantry brigade is going to be in combat. A maintenance company supporting an armor brigade is going to be in combat.

Pfc. Jessica Lynch and her fellow female soldiers in the 507th Maintenance Co. discovered this harsh reality last year in Nasiriyah. Initial news reports that inaccurately depicted Lynch’s “John Wayne” stand against the Iraqis were quickly impeached, but the Army did succeed in suppressing reports of how brutally Lynch was treated as a POW (See “Exposing the Lies about Pfc. Lynch,” DefenseWatch, Oct. 4, 2004).

We cannot ignore that harsh reality: Women POW’s are treated more brutally than their male counterparts. Because of their physical deficiencies, women also have less of a chance of escaping from their captors than men do.

Troop morale is the second great dilemma. Military units function on morale, esprit de corps and that hard-to-define but integral combat multiplier, fighting spirit. Men in military units form strong bonds that transcend time and anything they will ever experience in the civilian world. The introduction of women in any military unit literally throws a mental wrench into this bonding or esprit de corps. Suddenly, men who only thought of repairing tank engines now spend their days pondering ways to have sex with the blonde in their platoon, trying to cope with a female first sergeant giving them orders, and the fact that they have just knocked-up their sexy brunette commander.

The Israelis had women in all of their units until the Six-Day War in 1967. They soon discovered that male soldiers were spending more time trying to protect women in combat than actually engaging the enemy. After the successful end to the war, Israel re-assigned women to administrative positions.

The solution: Women should always be allowed to serve in a variety of capacities in the Army. They can serve in support units, but only in those units far from any combat zone. They can be doctors, lawyers, adjutants, CID investigators, intelligence collectors and in the finance corps. They can be aviators and combat arms instructors.

Every life in the military is precious. It is a fact many of this nation’s civilian leaders have forgotten or never learned. Are the lives of our female soldiers worth the satisfaction gleaned by people who have never heard a shot fired in anger?

I think not.

Ray Starmann is a Contributing Editor of DefenseWatch. He can be reached at thrillerwriter39@verizon.net. Send Feedback responses to dwfeedback@yahoo.com.



10-27-04, 08:50 AM
again the army is thinking with their head up there asses which does not surprise me....

10-27-04, 10:22 AM
well, said, Cowboy. I am not at all above women serving in the military. I do agree that they should not be in the combat roles, for the above reasons, plus some others not mentioned. I do however, think that all troops, not just the men, and not just the women, should have some sort of MCT type training. All troops should be basic riflemen at the very least. Across the board. I can bet that a Marine S3 operative can shoot his or her m16 the same way that I could, and I am/was an 0311. Could Jessica Lynch? I am not trying to take away what happened to her, I am truly saddened to hear the things she had to deal with. But had that entire convoy been trained better as possible combattants, they might not have lost as many as they did. Was not that one of the largest single encounter losses we had?

10-27-04, 10:23 AM
The Israelis had women in all of their units until the Six-Day War in 1967. They soon discovered that male soldiers were spending more time trying to protect women in combat than actually engaging the enemy.

I can see that happening. On camping trips or any outing, my buddies and I always went out of our way to make sure the woemn folk were safe and comfortable.

Even walking down the street with my wife, if we are about to pass a group, I position myself between her and them. It's just a natural warrior instinct.

If the Israelis canned the idea, what makes the Generals think that good old Yankee Ingenuity can make it work. Israel has had a lot more combat experience in the past 50 years than anyone!

10-27-04, 01:58 PM
I once had a female civilian who works for a defense contractor (which is a consulting group that employs mostly retired flag officers etc.) give her reasons for not wanting women in combat. They included:

1) Mood Swings
2) Unreliability
3) INDECISIVENESS (This was her big one, hence the all caps).

I don't want to wonder whether the woman on my flank is gonna shoot the guy or not... that's more stress that's not needed.

I might add as a side note that having a FEMALE teaching basic infantry skills classes at boot camp was NOT encouraging... I've never seen someone trip over themselves so much over a basic hand and arm signals class... probably because she's never had to actually use them... thank god for my 2nd hat Drill Instructor, who took the next 1 1/2 hours and taught the entire series a REAL patrol tactics class.

10-27-04, 04:26 PM
hmnnn, well, I am agaisnt women in INFANTRY roles. As for tankers or artillery, let em do it. If they can be combat pilots they can do those jobs as well.

Just my .02

10-27-04, 04:41 PM
Tanker? Doest thou jest? I can see a her driving across the desert in a giant Abram's...TC, "Why are you stopping L/Cpl?"...woman driver, "I'm just going to ask this guy for directions!"

10-27-04, 04:59 PM
:marine: You know squat about being a US Marine Tanker...absolutely diddly-squat....I agree on one thing tho...we don't want them [females] in Tanks either...ever see a W/Marine covered with grease stains, oil/dirt stains, gas stains, humping ammo crates...breaking track [that's bull work] and reconnecting it...all of the above would break those sexy nails to bits..LOL...EVERYTIME...we bailed the grunts out of life and death...the grunts loved us unashamedly...it meant they lived for one more day; perhaps, two or three...who the ***k knows...and I stick up for the 11th Marine Regiment [1st Mar Div FMF]...on 17Oct51 in Artillery Valley, NK...our CP and all of the 11th Marines Rgt took in over 100+ 122mm gook incoming barrage..it was like the end of the world to us as unmerciful gook/incoming pis*ed down on us...that day US Marine Tankers and US Marine Artillerymen sustained over 100+ KIA and 200+ WIA...HardJedi don't you ever wave off what it is to be a Marine Tanker or a Marine Cannon/cocker....Those US Marines were lost to history and to hear you make light of Tankers and Artillery...you sound like a guy with a paper a$$hole!! :marine: PS....Don't take my word for it...check out the "Command Diary" in the National Archives Bldg.

10-27-04, 05:34 PM
LORD Lock and Load, didn't mean to get your panties in a bunch.;) Look, I meant no offense to ANYONE. And as for MY PERSONAL expierience with tankers and cannon cockers? Well, never saw either in any REAL action, only in training, usually in a cax out in the stumps. And in those times, the only time we ever dealt with them was in sneaking up on them at night and catching them asleep at thier posts. OBVIOUSLY, I would ALWAYS want them if I needed them. And would be there for them if they needed me. a Marine Is a Marine, and i would never turn my back on one.

Sorry again if you took offense at my thoughts. but JEEZ, lighten up a little.

I was not making light of ANYONE'S job. I was just saying that if they want combat roles, that maybe THOSE would be more appropriate. THAT IS ALL I WAS SAYING.

10-27-04, 06:55 PM
Sorry.... I may be one of the younger Marines here, but I'm still old school on this one: women do not belong in combat, period. I'm a democrat, and usually much more socially liberal, but this is one issue on which I will never budge. I do NOT trust a 5' 5", 110 lb female to be able to drag me, my deuce gear, my weapon and ammo, plus herself and all her gear and weapon to cover if I get shot up. I'd rather have a blank file on my flank than be wondering whether or not I'll get the help I might need. Period.

10-27-04, 06:56 PM
:marine: You talk condensing to those in here at times...just had to straigthen yur a$$ out...don't confuse real combat Marine Tankers to what you saw in the stumps...I talk in a combat sitiuation, and I don't have much patience with state-side non combatant Marines, who lack the proper training/perspective...even your last post is irritating in places.:marine:

10-27-04, 07:08 PM
Can I help it that I am so dang smart? ( JOKE)!

anyway, Yeah, I have made a lifetime habbit of irritating people. can't help it. Just ask any Officer I ever served under :)

as for condesending? well, that all depends on who's doing the reading, in my opinion. Much like taking offense. I certainly do NOT look down on anyone, and i can't help it if someone takes something i say wrong. If there is EVER any doubt, just ask me, I'll tell ya if I was trying to rub your nose in something, or if you just misunderstood. :)

Last thing I ever want to do is hurt anyones feelings or disrespect anyone. and I almost ALWAYS apologise , if I have done those things, if ididn't MEAN to anyway.

Arlene Horton
10-27-04, 10:29 PM
O.K. my "little brother Marines"...here's a female Marine from the Korean era who has 2cents to add. I fully agree that combat situations are NOT appropriate for women, no matter what branch of service they represent. Granted, females at MCRD P.I. are trained to survive "the crucible". However, the Corps brass do not have males & females going through it together. I can't imagine a 5'4", 125# female trying to pull a 5'11", 180# male to a safe position. Sure, they can fire Sharpshooter, etc., but being in a combat zone is NOT the place for a woman. The Israelis learned it and corrected it. Women can serve very well in support situations that won't endanger them to the horror that little Pvt. Lynch went through. Semper Fi

10-28-04, 12:54 AM
ever see a W/Marine covered with grease stains, oil/dirt stains, gas stains, humping ammo crates

Yes - every day for 10 years.

I gotta disagree with most of the reasons, however I do agree with the bottom line - Leave women out of ground combat.

There are 5'2" 125 lbs men in the Marine Corps. There are men who couldn't shoot the inside of a barn. There are men who would rather go UA than to get greasy everyday. Men who have mood swings, are indecisive, etc...

Non-hackers come in every shape, size, sex, religion, race, etc.

Which, by the way, history has shown us that all of these reasons and more were applied to blacks not too long ago. It was said that they could only perform cooking or janitorial functions. It was said they can't shoot, swim, etc...

10-28-04, 01:03 AM
Sergeant, I have to respectfully disagree with you. The basis for racial discrimination had no basis in fact, whereby the basis for excluding women from combat roles is grounded in simple observation of averages. Certainly, there are plenty of male non-hackers in the Marine Corps. But I have a feeling that if we opened up combat arms and infantry to females, we'd have a much larger proportion of female non-hackers than before. There are a number of items that support this, chief amongst them being the PFT standards. I will almost always be outscored by a female on the PFT, simply because of the b***s**t PFT scoring standards that heavily favor females. When female recruits go to the crucible, they're issued an additional MRE to support their "extra" needs, be they real or imagined. Females shoot the offhand in a manner colloquially known as "b*tch-hipping* which makes them less stable, but they do so because their bodies cannot effectively fire the rifle from a proper standing position. The list goes on, but the bottom line is that females are not suited for combat arms and infantry, period.

10-28-04, 07:39 AM
I've stated my "NO" views to women in combat and combat potential roles before. Just to rehash for the recent members;

We all know there are those women that can physically out perform some men, as has been said. But the biological and mental challanges are what concern me.

Men will, by instinct, pay more attention to her safety than their own, or the mission.
Men will, by instinct, pay more attention to her physical 'attributes', while trying to make points. I think in a stressful situation, the INSTINCT for self preservation and for 'the desire to reproduce' will conflict with the mission.

Women also have physical challanges that could be detrimental in a combat/related environment;
They must shed extra gear, and take additional time, just to 'take a leak'.
Women have specific hygene needs that MUST be attended to periodically. This also involves additional supplies and time, which present a compromising position for a unit. Failure to do so WILL result in a non-combat related casuality.
There are specific smells produced during this time, which could compromise a position.

I'm not trying to come out as a feminist or chauvinist bringing these points up, they are just fact.

"NO", to women in combat/related roles. Support roles, no problems here, just not into a hostile environment.


10-28-04, 07:45 AM
I am not even sure that support roles in a combat area are appropriate, thinking back to Jessica Lynch and Lori Pestewa. Lori went down fighting, or trying to anyway, but Jessica was captured. The stuff she had to go through perhaps was worse than a male POW might go through.

10-28-04, 08:03 AM
All of those examples apply to recruit training only.

PFT standards are scientifically the same.

Rifle range is EXACTLY the same.

And as of last year, females never received an extra MRE.

(Reference source: my wife who spent a decade in the Marine Corps as well)

The bottom line is the same, our reasons are vastly different.

And GENERALLY speaking mrbsox, you aren't that far off. But all of that does not apply to MANY of male and female Marines.

10-28-04, 06:21 PM
Respectfully, Sgt, whether or not the PFT standards are scientifically the same bears little relevance on the ability of females on an average curve to perform in combat, specifically in terms of upper body strength and/or (to a lesser degree) endurance. The extra MRE, so far as I know, was true as of a few months ago. I also agree with many of mrbsox's reasons as well... the complications outweigh the benefits.

10-28-04, 08:14 PM
we dont need no stinking women in combat.....

10-28-04, 08:17 PM
what about ones that DON'T stink, Cowboy? if they smell pretty, can we have em THEN? LOL :D

10-28-04, 08:30 PM
just what we need a damn woman in combat that all of us alfa males have to look after because shes tired or she has blisters on her feet or hasnt showered in weeks and then the real test comes when she has to really pull the trigger on another human being. we as marines and as warriors dont need that bull**** when the heat is on and where trying to save each others lives in a real shootem up shootout at high noon. i dont give a damn if she has on whitediamonds or passion prefume on it aint going to save her ass in the long run...

10-28-04, 08:38 PM
LOL, I have to agree, forthe most part. But you just try and tell my mother, or grandmother, that women aren't capable of pulling the trigger on someone. LOL. They were both in law enforcement for MANY years.

10-28-04, 10:23 PM
Seriously - those of you spewing how weak women are really need to wake up and come into reality.

You make it sound like all men are studs are superhuman and the weak little females can barely wipe their asses.

And here's a big news flash - the PFT bears little relevance on the ability of MALES to perform in combat. I have been in combat on a few occasions and can tell you that I had to put a foot up a few male 300 PFT'ers asses.

And in this war, there are no "front lines" so everywhere is a combat zone. The women I served with performed outstanding and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps. Yeah - I had a few male Marines that couldn't keep their mind on their jobs and off the females - but the females kept their minds on the task at hand.

Now - who's the professional? The dumbass with a hard-on or the MARINE doing her job?

Who was alert and faithful to their duty? The dumbass beating off in the sh|tter, or the MARINE doing her job?

Be smart - don't lump all of the females into your tiny, outdated, box of machoisms. Judge the MARINE on their capabilities - not by the ability to pee standing up. Finally, adjust to our new line of combat. There will be no more front lines. Not there, and not here. If you go down (for real - not hypothetically) you won't give a damn who saves your life.

Toby M
10-28-04, 10:48 PM
Well put enviro!! You hit the nail right on the head!

10-28-04, 10:58 PM
Females in combat, you got to be sh*ting me! Does this really happen?

What the hell would men be fighting for if they were there?

Unless of course, they looked like Joan of Arch. :D

10-29-04, 01:18 AM
holy **** enviro aint no one said a damn thing about women Marines thats another thread. where talking about the ARMY that cant find there asses in a ass whippin contest. you and i both know there combat training aint **** brother, never was and never has been and as far as i am concerned never will be compared to the Marine corp boot camp.. look how many ARMY women have been killed or taken prisoner.. Its a known fact israel tried this and have come to the conclusion that females in combat is not the way to go...

10-29-04, 07:49 AM
We were talking about women in general, in combat. We all know that women Marines more than likely can hold thier own in combat if neccesary, like the ones Enviro was speaking of. Fine and dandy. But that is like cowboy said, a different story, because they are Marines. We already know we have an edge on the other branches. As far as Joan of Arc, when have you ever seen any woman Marine or soldier for that matter look like her? Except her, of course. :) Perfume would cause the same position give away that certain mention bodily concerns mentioned would in a trench. I know that was a joke, Jedi...but all these opinions here do boil down to one thing, in the military, in any branch, there is a chance of having to go in to a combat situation. Like Kenny said, there are no longer "front lines" so the whole country you are in is a combat zone. They must all, and I mean all every stinking baker, baseball player, tuba player mechanic be trained as riflemen first. Like we do in our Corps. Army, Navy, all of them need MCT schools. They should all go to ours. My 2 cents...

10-29-04, 10:04 AM
I agree with you on that one hrscowboy. I wasn't even thinking about it that way. Most of the Army females we saw were driving trucks and were about as attractive as Rosie O'Donnell. They seemed hell bent on buying all the Copenhagen out of the mini PX that was set up.

10-29-04, 02:17 PM
rosie o donnell??? heaven forbid more nightmares...