US servicewomen fear Iraq role under threat
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  1. #1

    Cool US servicewomen fear Iraq role under threat

    US servicewomen fear Iraq role under threat
    AFP

    US servicewomen fear their role in Iraq may be threatened by US lawmakers after two female marines and a woman sailor were killed and 11 others wounded in a suicide bombing in Fallujah last week.

    Republicans in the US House of Representatives put forward legislation on May 11 that would sharply curtail the role of women on the battlefield. Women in the US military are currently banned from combat by Pentagon policy, but often work in support roles.

    "Some of the folks think women shouldn't be here, this isn't going to help. We're here like everyone else," said Major Jennifer Snyder, a US military spokeswoman.

    "Congress is questioning women's role in combat. We're trained to the same standards as men already."

    Three male marines were also killed and two wounded Thursday in Fallujah, a western town which remains a hot spot despite a massive US-backed counter-insurgency operation late last year.

    The servicewomen were returning to base after conducting body searches of women at checkpoints around the city.

    In the face of massive Iraqi hostility to such searches being conducted by male soldiers in the early months of the occupation, US commanders ordered that women should carry them out wherever possible.

    Convoys of the sort the women were travelling in are so frequently targeted by insurgents that they blur the traditional distinction between frontline and support roles, Snyder said.

    "If you're in a convoy, you may kill someone, which may not be what you anticipated when you came here," she said.

    Since the March 2003 invasion, at least six women have received combat medals for their roles in fighting off insurgent attacks on convoys, according to army statistics.

    The number of combat medals awarded to women is believed to be the highest in any US war, according to army historians.

    For Sergeant Misha King, women should be allowed to perform any role they are capable of, including combat.

    "I feel like if a woman wants to do something, then she should be allowed to do it," she said. "This is a war zone. We hear mortars and car bombs every day."

    Republic proponents of the draft legislation insist servicewomen would not be deprived of positions they currently hold or barred from applying for posts that are currently open to them.

    "Most women in the military want to make sure we are treated equally -- not better and not worse," Snyder said.

    Although in principle Pentagon rules bar women from front lines, in reality they serve in all operating bases in Iraq, Snyder said.

    Women are also barred from serving in the special forces but some go out on house raids known as "cordon and search" operations.

    Servicewomen, who make up just eight percent of US troop strength in Iraq, are seen as something of an oddity by Iraqi men, King said.

    "It's like a novelty. You don't see female soldiers every day, so they want to have their pictures taken with me."

    And men everywhere ogle the women, whether they are American, from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, or from the new Iraqi army, she added.

    "They look at me a little more than they do at the guys, but that's just like guys anywhere."

    Before coming to Iraq, Snyder chopped her straight brown locks to combat helmet length, since she has to put hers on every time she goes outside.

    King and others pull their long hair back in a bun.

    "I cut my hair for the helmet," Snyder said. "It's difficult to tell if we're females or not."

    As of Friday, at least 37 women had been killed in action in Iraq and 304 wounded, according to US military statistics.

    Ellie


  2. #2
    Buttom line Women should not be in or around Combat thats the buttom line....


  3. #3
    Views on women in combat
    Letters to the Editor
    Marine Corps Times

    In response to Army Sgt. Tabitha Stacy's comments about women on the front lines ["Women in combat," Letters, June 2 , I offer the following scenario experienced in Iraq as a vehicle gunner on a convoy heading back to base camp in Anbar province late last year. The vehicle in front of us, an armored Humvee with an M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun and a mission to provide left-flank security and return fire if in contact, was driven by a man. Manning the gun was a woman. They were both "support" Marines, had the same military occupational specialty and were eligible for the same promotion to the next rank.

    I didn't see any gender- or infantry-based favoritism during the convoy brief when the convoy commander assigned billets. The female Marine seemed to have all of her kit in one bag, as well. Impressive from an outsider's point of view? Possibly. Expected by one Marine of another Marine? Most certainly.

    Whether I am for or against women in combat, my point is this: The next time you find yourself on a convoy, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else, ensure your weapon is on safe, the magazine is inserted and your finger is straight and off the trigger. Stay alert, because the front lines are all around you. Do your job, and do it well.

    Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Bell
    Camp Lejeune, N.C.

    I have read a lot of articles lately concerning the issue of women in forward support battalions and other frontline positions.

    Many people who support women being allowed in more frontline roles don't have an adequate understanding of what is happening in Iraq.

    I have just returned from a year tour there. While there, I saw female gunners travel through our area of operations.

    While they might have encountered hostile fire or a roadside bomb, those incidents last only a few minutes.

    The men of the infantry are not so lucky. We own an area, and if we receive contact in that area during our sometimes 24 hours of patrolling, we have to stay and fight it out.

    I am in no way trying to take away from what our female soldiers are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would just like other readers to have a better understanding of the issues that are being presented to them.

    Army 1st Lt. Roger D. Eller
    Fort Polk, La.

    Should women be in combat? The simple answer is no.

    I'm not talking from just a combat-arms point of view; I'm also talking from a combat-support point of view because I've been part of both.

    We all know there are physical and mental differences between men and women. And it's also a fact that women are better at some things and men are better at others. Combat is one of those things men are better at.

    I'm deployed in Mosul, Iraq. The previous unit did not have women on the guard roster because of an incident in which a third-country national climbed into the tower with a woman on guard duty and sexually harassed her verbally and groped her.

    Our unit allows women on guard duty, but they can't be in that tower.

    When my unit found out about the incident, everyone asked, "Well, why didn't she just shoot him?" No one in my unit had an answer to that question.

    During the period in which insurgents had placed a bounty on women, female service members had to have male battle buddies. That meant men had to stop what they were doing to escort female soldiers around.

    Every time the chain of command puts a new policy into effect to protect our female soldiers, it requires more from the male soldiers, which means we're no longer equal.

    There is nothing wrong with women serving their country and the chain of command making necessary changes in a unit's operations to accommodate them, but not during combat.

    A woman's place isn't in the kitchen, but neither is it on the battlefield.

    Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Washington
    New Orleans

    Ellie


  4. #4
    Registered User Free Member THATFEMALE's Avatar
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    "Attention on Deck", you're residental "Hardheaded Female" is back! It's unfortunate that my fellow "Lady Leathernecks" lost their lives, but we signed that papers just like the males did. In no way should our roles be downsized out there. We're at War! American casualties while not welcomed, are expected. I've been saying this for awhile and I refuse to back down. Now, I'll finally be getting my chance to prove myself worthy of being in combat. Especially since there aren't really anymore established frontlines in Iraq. Stand by males because I'm coming! LOL


  5. #5
    Ha ha ha why did i know i could flush out Thatfemale like a covey of quail just by saying No females in combat...


  6. #6
    I don't know Hrs, why not women in Combat? They have the same amout of money that they make in their envelope then do the men. They want to do it! Why not allow them the right to do it? They are over the age of voting, they can sign contracts, and they can have children, why do they not have the right to defend the Constitution of the United States of America?

    It is not like they are being forced to go! It is volunteer oriented, and they have the same rights as do men! Even the right to go in harm's way!


  7. #7
    yellowwing
    Guest Free Member
    two female Marines and a woman sailor were killed...The servicewomen were returning to base after conducting body searches of women at checkpoints around the city.
    They were doing their jobs. Women searching women is a good policy.

    Now the lawmakers want to tie the hands of the field commanders. 8% less capability on an already stretched force is not a good idea. Where would we going to get 10,000 more troops?

    Using these three womens' death to push any agenda is shameful.


  8. #8
    We dont need no stinking women in Combat what the hell are these people thinking.


  9. #9
    Originally posted by hrscowboy
    We dont need no stinking women in Combat what the hell are these people thinking.
    Tell me Hrs, did you get gigged for bad raw hide on your stone ax when you were in the service, maybe your turtle shell helmet did not fit well, or maybe you dinosaur skin uniform was too tight in the crotch? This is the year 2005! Let them fight to earn their bones.


  10. #10
    Yeah your right Corporal Carey I am a dinosaur been along time since i was in the Corps but i was in enough combat to know we dont need any women in combat to have to look after them, let alone my men and my myself. I have no problem with women being in the service what so ever, but when it comes down to the actual combat as far as i am concerned that is not a womans place. And as an NCO i would refuse any woman on my patrols.

    Enuff said...


  11. #11
    Originally posted by hrscowboy
    Yeah your right Corporal Carey I am a dinosaur been along time since i was in the Corps but i was in enough combat to know we dont need any women in combat to have to look after them, let alone my men and my myself. I have no problem with women being in the service what so ever, but when it comes down to the actual combat as far as i am concerned that is not a womans place. And as an NCO i would refuse any woman on my patrols.

    Enuff said...
    Might I remind you, they said the same thing about Black Marines not too very long ago. They also said the same thing about short Marines. They used to like tall Marines before the WWII. My Dad Joined in 1937; he was 17; and, he was 5'6". The recruiter thought that he would obtain the height of 5'9" by the time he ended Boot Camp, and he allowed him to get in by putting 5'9" on his enlistment papers. To this day, my Dad still has 5'9" on his discharge papers, but he never grew an inch. He died at 5'61/2" tall.

    What I am saying is that there are women out there that can give you a run for your money, even when you were at the top of your game. The Marine Corps is an organization that requires it members to adapt to different situations. This is the next situation. Live with it!

    I might remind you, there are some things that women can do that men can not do, and they are just as brave as men! It could not hurt to get them their chance! It may even help!


  12. #12
    Registered User Free Member THATFEMALE's Avatar
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    Hrscowboy you are making me so mad. "You are so my Residential Nasty Male." LOL You had to have known I was coming back. I don't care where they deploy me to. Trust and believe I will always be around to put you in your proper place. LOL Just as much as you feel you might have to look after a female, you might have to do the same for a male. Woman are already in combat so get used to it! Semper FI Marine.


  13. #13
    Hahahahaha Residential Nasty Male ? Now is that nice? You my dear dont want to hear the truth thats the buttom line. When you can break wild Mustangs and buck 100 pound bales of hay all day long then i might consider letting you drive my John deere tractor with the air conditioning on.


  14. #14
    COWBOY, DON,T BET TO MUCH ON IT, THAT SHE CAN,T. SHE WEARS THE UNIFORM SO LET HER DO HER JOB NO MATTER WHAT IT BRINGS TO HER, LIKE THE REST OF HER BROTHERS, AND SISTERS,THE MISSION IS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT. AKA THE CHOPPER


  15. #15
    Oh! No! HRS! You have an airconditioned John Deer Tractor? And, I thought you were a real man? What next? A rubber donut on your saddle?


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