Do men think it's ridiculous to have women in the Marine Corp.? - Page 3
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  1. #31
    firstsgtmike
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    Vietnam's Women of War
    They answered their country's call and fought the Americans. But when peace came, their own society cast them aside.
    By David Lamb
    Times Staff Writer

    January 10 2003

    NINH BINH, Vietnam -- They were the girls of war, teenage volunteers who took up arms in one of the largest female armies any nation has put on a modern battlefield. For years they fought, sustaining themselves with a dream central to Vietnamese culture:

    When there was peace, they would find a good husband and bear children.

    For many of them, it was not to be. When they came home at war's end in 1975, they were perceived as less desirable, as damaged by the disease, malnutrition and other hardships they had endured in the jungle.

    Young men, themselves just back from the war, did not return their glances on the street. If love bloomed, parents would often cut it short, forbidding their sons to marry women who appeared too weak to give birth or raise a child.

    "Oh, how the jungle aged me," said Vu Hoai Thu, one of 500 women from the town of Ninh Binh, 60 miles south of Hanoi, who fought in what the Vietnamese call the American War.

    "Finally, I did find a nice boy. He asked me to marry, but his parents wouldn't allow it. He did not want to leave me, but I convinced him he must. I was weak from malaria and malnutrition. I did not think I would ever be strong enough to give him children."

    Women like Thu are in their 50s now, and when they meet to commemorate their sacrifices, they speak of losing the springtime of their youth on the Truong Son Road, as the Vietnamese call the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

    They talk of coming home to lives that were tougher than the ones they had left. Bitterness lingers that for many years they were forgotten soldiers in a war that made heroes of the men who fought, but not the women.

    "I thought my life after the war would be simple and happy," said Nguyen Thi Binh, who came home weighing 85 pounds. "But I let my boyfriend go. I told him that with my diseases, with my wounded leg, I would be a burden on him."

    Binh lived on her own for 17 years, a form of exile in a family-oriented society in which barren women and childless couples are objects of pity. Then, at the urging of her former comrades in a women's brigade, the 559, Binh "took a husband for the night" and bore a daughter.

    She and the child, Lan, now 10, live together on a small rice paddy that Binh farms.

    "The good people offer me understanding and sympathy," Binh said. "And I appreciate that. But sometimes bad people will bring their children to my house and say, 'Don't be like that woman.' "

    But if the "patriotic call went out" to fight in a future war, Binh said, she would let her daughter march off to battle, just as she did. "We have a saying in Vietnam," she said, "that if the enemy comes, even the women must fight."

    Vietnam has a long history of women warriors. Two of the country's most revered heroes are the Trung sisters, Trac and Nhi, who led an insurrection against China in A.D. 40 and liberated Vietnam. One of their commanders, Phung Thi Chinh, is said to have given birth during the battle and to have continued fighting with her infant strapped to her back.

    Another woman, Trieu Au, rode an elephant into battle against the Chinese in A.D. 248, leading a force of 3,000. Defeated in battle, she committed suicide at the age of 23.

    Military historians estimate that in the 1950s, nearly a million female guerrillas took part in the war against colonial French forces. In the conflict with the U.S., 40% of the Viet Cong's regional commanders were women. One of them, Nguyen Thi Dinh, was a general.

    Hundreds of thousands of women, most of them young and single, served in combat zones in that war. They operated antiaircraft guns, built roads under frequent bombardment and went on patrols in mixed-gender units.

    "We lived and slept together but did not touch," said a woman in the 559 Brigade, who attributed the restraint to cultural conservatism. "I don't know of a single pregnancy in our unit. We thirsted for love, but only in our hearts."

    Other women collected intelligence, spied, and ferried troops and supplies along riverways in small boats.

    Mai Thi Diem volunteered to fight after the U.S. bombed the communal farm where she lived, killing 100 people, including many of her relatives.

    "I weighed 35 kilos [77 pounds] when I went to enlist, and the army said I was too small," said Diem, who still walks with a limp, the result of a land mine injury. "I told them I would throw myself off the bridge and commit suicide if they didn't take me. Finally, they said OK."

    Le Minh Khue, a Hanoi novelist, has written of the powerful bonds forged by the war effort. "I loved everyone with a passionate love," wrote Khue, who lied about her age and joined the army at 15. It was a love, she said, that "only someone who had stood on that hill in those moments could understand fully. That was the love of the people in smoke and fire, the people of war."

    Phan Thanh Hao, a journalist and co-author of a book on Vietnam's female warriors, served in the Truong Son Mountains along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

    "Women tipped the balance toward victory in the war," she said. "Other than the Soviet Union in World War II, no country comes close to having the number of women in direct combat roles. Still, it was hard for us to become normal again. For my generation, our hearts tighten to this day when we hear a plane overhead."

    The girls of war came home to families that were poor. Having another mouth to feed was a problem. Emaciated by disease and malnutrition, their skin weathered by years in the jungle, they were perceived as less attractive than when they had set out from their villages.

    In addition, so many young men were killed during the war that the pool of prospective husbands was reduced. Even today, there are 97.6 men for every 100 women in Vietnam, one of the lowest ratios in Southeast Asia.

    "I was lucky," said Nguyen Thi Nhong, 51, a veteran of the 559 Brigade. "I met a young man, very handsome, on Truong Son. He was from a nearby village and we married. But I know so many others who fell in love on the battlefield and searched and searched after the war but could never find each other."

    Many of the women recovered their health and married. Others who remained single went to live in Buddhist pagodas or in government housing projects.

    In the early 1980s, in a step to ease their isolation, the government sought to lift the taboo against bearing children out of wedlock. Unwed mothers and their children, it was announced, would be considered families and eligible for a grant of land to grow rice. Thousands of women took a "husband for the night."

    Perhaps because of their history as warriors, or because the communist leadership was successful in appealing to women as a revolutionary class, Vietnamese women today enjoy a measure of the equality guaranteed by the country's constitution.

    A third of the members of the National Assembly are women. A woman, Nguyen Thi Binh, is the country's vice president. Women receive the same salaries as men in government and fill important jobs in state and private industries.

    They are Vietnam's economic backbone, managing the rice harvests and operating the markets. The rate of death during childbirth is low by regional standards; female school enrollment is high. It is rare for women to stay home as homemakers, regardless of their societal status.

    "How did Vietnam's women reach that level of achievement and well-being? Because of war and the important role they played in it," said Nisha Agrawal, a World Bank economist versed in women's rights. "So at first you say, 'This is great. There are no women's issues.' Then you start talking to poor people in the villages and you say, 'Wow, there are still a lot of problems.' "

    When war ended, men resumed their domination of the family. Men decide how money is spent, determine the size of a family without consultation with their wives and maintain deed to all property. Their disregard for contraception makes abortion the country's No. 1 means of birth control. Their fondness for alcohol contributes to domestic violence.

    Though recognition has been slow, women are starting to receive credit for their contributions to the war effort. Those who lost two or more sons in battle were declared Hero Mothers in 1991 and are entitled to special benefits.

    A Women's Museum opened in Hanoi in 1995. All schoolchildren now write an essay on women's role in the war. A monument is being built on the banks of the Nhat Le River near the old demilitarized zone, honoring a woman who ferried men and supplies in her boat despite bombardment.

    And the women of the 559 Brigade who went off to war as teenage volunteers have been given a special medal as "Soldiers of Truong Son."

    Three of those soldiers wore their old uniforms to a recent reunion in Ninh Binh. They and half a dozen others gathered at a small restaurant to honor the 40 comrades who didn't come back from Truong Son and the 50 others who returned as invalids.

    They exchanged small talk and memories, and when lunch was served, the brigade commander, Tran Thi Binh, stood and announced that she wanted to share a poem she had written, "Young Girl's Time." It was long, and she recited from memory in a singsong cadence, her eyes closed.

    I'd like to burn a simple incense stick for the unlucky girls who died.

    Though they never come back, we who lost our youth keep waiting.

    We are the Truong Son girls, now gray and full of memories,

    Remembering our unfound love partners who have gone far away.

    The other women at the table looked away. A few buried their faces in their hands. Several dabbed at their eyes with tissues. When Binh finished, there was an awkward silence. Then someone said, "Let's make this a happy day."


  2. #32
    We need WM's in the Mess Hall Cooking. hahahahah (just jokeing)
    If they want to be true Marines give some of them the MOS 0300 and see how they feel after about a year.


  3. #33
    Earle Comstock
    Guest Free Member
    Now why you gotta talk about food , Now ole Cpl Commie is hungry . Hey woman , git yer as s in that kitchen and russel me up some grub ! Go on git , or be wishin you had . Thank god she didn't wanna go in the service , or I'd have to go find some other woman to do it .
    What do you tell a woman with two black eyes ? Nothing you've already told her twice .
    Now ladies don't get your panties in a bunch , I 'm just joking .
    Semper Fi , Do Or Die ,
    Now get yer as s in the kitchen and start cooking !
    Cpl Commie:rambo: Kill A Commie For Mommy :rambo:
    Be good to yourself and Respect your Elders


  4. #34
    Registered User Free Member leroy8541's Avatar
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    Should there be women in the corp? Definitely! Women in combat m.o.s.? Definitely not! Thats just my 2 cents worth. I never had to deal with the WM in my tenure but once. I got in the bad graces of the gunny, and had to pull mess duty in 29 palms on one of the big time operations (just think a recon marine on mess duty during a big game what a disgrace!) we had WM's there in the division mess area. Most were professional and there was no problems, but some of the younger ones male and female decided to have thier own operation! and one female was busted with about 6500 in 20's down at the reefer! I think most men a just jealous because of the extra rackett WM's can pull to take thier money away from them. I can definitely see fraternization as a problem.


  5. #35
    Well you do have a point there. I know for a fact the bar owner of a club outside the Yuma base is making a ton of money off the marines who go inside his establishment. So he didn't join the service to pull money away from MEN.. Its not just marines, its the whole concept in general. You can't help people that can't help themselves. Women can't handle themselves in certain situations ruin it for the rest of us. I can assure you that. Its a shame that us as adults have to be told to act like adults. That is the whole problem. Sorry, that was my 2 cents worth......

    You are right... there is a problem.


  6. #36
    Registered User Free Member Barrio_rat's Avatar
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    Here's one to think about. A brief history and then the lesson. I was Aviation Ordnance (yeah, I know swing with the wing and all that) - Ordies are known as "the Grunts of the Air Wing" We had a build up crew that was up at 0 dark 30 gettin’ the job done for the squadrons near daily. Rockets and guns for the Cobra’s, Huey’s and Frog’s.

    Well, we had a WM who weighed in at about 98 Lbs, soakin' wet, who's MOS fell into that of the build up crew. This area was well known as a MENS ONLY area. When she was assigned to build up, they did everything they could to get her to quit - staying within the job (meaning they didn't do any personal attacks, just worked her as hard if not harder than any of the men on the crew). Like I said, she weighed less than 100 Lbs and was carrying ammo cans weighing 105 Lbs, lifting them up onto the back of the 2 Ton. Not just one of 'em, but a day long job. She did it all. After they tried to wear her down, the Sgt in charge of the crew open stated that she was his best Marine on the job and wouldn't trade her for anyone. She knew the job, she did the job.

    In case y'all are wonderin' or got these thoughts goin - no, she wasn't some bull dyke or mini-mammoth. She was professional - she was a Marine. She also told me that she believed women should be exempt from some MOS's such as the one she was on, as many women are not able to take the physical punishment of such a job. Not that all women cannot do it, just that by design women, as a whole, are not equipped for it. I thought, at least, she was honest about such things.

    I do see the Air Wing and support units being different in mission than a line company. A line company needs cohesion and I don’t see that being possible by separating your unit - which would be necessary for sleeping/hygiene quarters (though that is not as big of a deal) - I think it just detracts from the overall effectiveness of the unit. In the field I think it would have more impact. Perhaps I am wrong and women could be part of an infantry unit - more power to ‘em if they could. Are there women who could keep their cool under fire? I’m sure there are. Are there women who are stronger, faster and more able to make quick decisions than men? Of course. Our society does not teach or enable women or men to view it in this manner, so the few that are able - compared to the whole group - are, in some respects, left behind to do the tedious task of freeing up a male Marine to go to a line company while the women are in a position of support. I really don’t see that this is a problem. Most Marines are in a position of support (I was often reminded by many a Grunt that it takes 10 Marines to support 1 Infantry Marine). In the field of battle, support units can come under fire as well. I’m glad that the women in the Marines have the training - even if officially they are not able to use it - because there may come a day when the support unit becomes a fighting unit and all hands will need to call on their training.


  7. #37
    Registered User Free Member jakebrown1's Avatar
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    I, for one, have known some Woman Marines that could romp all over some of your @$$es any day of the week, Grunt or not.

    Someday we will get past this and women will be allowed to perform the missions to which they are capable, just like a Male Marine.

    gold fish wrote:
    "He went on to talk about how women go into the Marine Corp. to "get pregnant and married so that they can live off base and get a paycheck for each kid they pop out"

    First of all Marines, I do not blame gold fish for what some dumb-@$$ sea lawyer told him.
    Secondly Marines regardless of gender, do not get paid more for each dependent they acquire. If anyone tells you this, they are either stupid or lying. Besides, the same can be said of some Male Marines. I have worked with many a Marine that either thought about or actually went out and married some local Havelock Honey or whatnot just so they can live offbase and get paid more. Little do they, or the dumd@$$ who told gold fish that story, realize that the increase in pay is in no eway equal or superior to the responsibilities that go along with being married or having children.


  8. #38
    Earle Comstock
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    Well now there Sgt. , If you feel comfortable going to war having women watch your back , and believe they are capable to think rationally enough to save your as s , then go for it Marine . I do not , and thank god I went through when I did . When I did my time , women in the Grunts was not an option . Carry On Marine .
    Cpl Commie
    :rambo: Kill A Commie For Mommy :rambo:
    Be Good To Yourself And Respect Your Elders
    Death And Destruction Professionally , USMC


  9. #39
    Registered User Free Member jakebrown1's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Earle Comstock
    Well now there Sgt. , If you feel comfortable going to war having women watch your back , and believe they are capable to think rationally enough to save your as s , then go for it Marine .
    Actually, there have been some Marines that I wouldn't want watching my back, and it had nothing to do with thier gender. It had to do with their character as a Marine. I won't judge a Marine based on thier gender. I will judge them based on thier performance as a Marine. That is what truly counts. The sooner we all wake up and realize that, the better. I am not suggesting we open the 03 field to all women. I am suggesting that there are some women capable, just as there are some men. Let's face it, not all Marines are capable of being 03s, myself included.

    However, that is just my opinion, and everybody has one. If all of my opinions were right, I would be the Commandant. I am not , and I respect your opinion .


  10. #40
    firstsgtmike
    Guest Free Member
    "Military historians estimate that in the 1950s, nearly a million female guerrillas took part in the war against colonial French forces. In the conflict with the U.S., 40% of the Viet Cong's regional commanders were women. One of them, Nguyen Thi Dinh, was a general.

    Hundreds of thousands of women, most of them young and single, served in combat zones in that war. They operated antiaircraft guns, built roads under frequent bombardment and went on patrols in mixed-gender units."
    ------------------------------------------------------

    If I'm reading your posts correctly, the consensus is that American women don't pack the gear and can't cut the mustard.

    Perhaps we can improve the gender if we got into a discussion on why American women, as potential recruits, don't measure up to women who have historically served in other countries.

    Is it genetic or cultural?

    Now THAT's an interesting question!


  11. #41
    First Sergeant! Now there's a question fer consideration!


  12. #42
    Registered User Free Member jakebrown1's Avatar
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    I agree firstsgtmike. That is an interesting question. How do our women measure up against women from other countries, militarily speaking?


  13. #43
    firstsgtmike
    Guest Free Member
    It's MY question. YOU answer it.


  14. #44
    Give me some time! LOL> I gotta think about that one a bit before I go shootin off my mouth.

    Besides, I been busy ****in off left wing extremists...

    The obvious answer is cultural. But I gotta figger on it fer a bit.


  15. #45
    Yes the answer is cultural. If you think about it, you aren't really describing a gender thing. In other countries, they don't have a draft. They just demand their men sign up. When they run out of men, they use kids. Women make new babies or they would use more of them. In china in the old times they used to kill the female babies if they had enough woman on the farm, go on to have more Sons to work the farm. In other countries the human life isn't revered like we do it here. The first clue is the fact we can choose for ourselves how we want our lives to be. I am only 5' 2". I weigh about 115 lbs. I joined the corps because my FATHER told me that he didn't want his daughters to rely on other people to do things for them in their lives. The same thing he would have told his Son if he had one. There lies the difference in our women. Do you know how many women around me think they just can't do it? Don't feel bad about sitting by the side of the road waiting for another person to fix a flat tire? Even in this day and age you can see a woman on her cell phone waiting next to the vehicle waiting!! As parents we are training our future soldiers. Theres an issue! I know my daughter isn't going to get married and hope he has a great carreer. She was really proud of her mother at school because I was the only Mother there not ashamed to drive a concrete truck for a living. A very good job without a college education. I make more money than most women my age who work as secretaries. Oh but how our society looks down on things to this day. My parents are still old fashioned to a bit. They were impressed I could be in the Marines and serve my country. They were dissapointed I was in the motor transport field. They were happy I am making a good living as a Concrete driver for a big company that pays for my medical insurance. The are disapointed that I am doing a "mans" job. Which as we all know.... If you want to make a mans wage, you probably should do the job!!


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