Females See Action
The Female Fallen
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Jane, We Hardly Knew Ye Died“It says you can have female medics, but they can't see combat,” said Capt. Megan O’Connor, who served in Iraq for a year and a half in the New Jersey Army National Guard as a medical operations and plans officer. “It's all combat in Ramadi. It's so gray. They put the rules down on paper. It looks good. It reads good. But for a commander to implement, it’s impossible.”
Should women continue to be barred from serving in ground combat forces in war? Here's my feelings on the subject. “The women were itching for it,” she added, and accumulating commendations and medals for bravery along the way. Ms. Donnelly said the Pentagon was openly flouting current policy and sending women out directly with combat troops, with no debate, no hearings in Congress and, so far, no consequences. She has no qualms about women, who make up 10 percent of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, doing the jobs they are assigned in dangerous circumstances. That is standard. But to send them out with combat troops is illegal, she said.
There is an increasing number of female veterans that are becoming homeless!! The Veterans Administration has very few services for the female vet as far as housing goes! Female veterans also are developing PTSD at alarming rates!
In many cases today in both the Air Force and Army, aircraft no longer have a "Cockpit"!
“I have enormous respect for these women,” said Ms. Donnelly, who opposes allowing women into ground combat forces. “My criticism is not of the women in the military. They are fulfilling their responsibility to the greatest degree, and that, too, is unprecedented. The policy makers should not be ordering them into areas that are not gender integrated.”
But the fact that the Army is successfully using women in this way is likely to lead policy makers to revisit the rule, some analysts say. “It's that policy that when this war is over is going to have to change, even if we have to keep women out of the infantry per se,” said Lory Manning, a retired Navy captain who is the director for the women-in-the-military project at the Women's Research and Education Institute, a nonprofit public policy group. “The next door to open is ground combat. That's the last frontier. A lot of the social conservatives have powerful feelings about training mothers to kill.” [But at the same time we have had several Bronze Star and two Silver Stars awarded to females!] one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan
Conventional wisdom has long dictated that women were not suited to the battlefield — too frail, emotionally and physically, to survive combat pressure. Men, it was said, would crumble at the sight of a bloodied female soldier, or put themselves at risk to protect her. The public would not stomach women coming back in body bags or suffering life-changing wounds. And mixing men and women — with all the sexual and emotional pitfalls — would strain the unit dynamic, which can lead to deadly mistakes.
Those sorts of arguments were revived last week when the former Navy secretary James Webb, running for Senate in Virginia, was reminded of his assertions 30 years ago that women could not, and should not, fight, assertions he has distanced himself from. None of this, so far, has come to pass. “They are pulling their own weight and performing as well as men,” Ms. Manning said. “And the American public is not any more upset about women coming home in body bags than men.”
Mady Wechsler Segal, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and the associate director for the Center for Research on Military Organization, said succinctly, “If they weren't doing a good job, we would be hearing about it.”
Certainly, women in Iraq and Afghanistan face different challenges, both at war and at home. Incidents of sexual harassment on military bases are common enough, and fending that off without offending peers and superiors is tricky. Your actions after a sexual assault, while less common, only intensifies combat stress, leading to greater vulnerability. It also leads to new complications. What if your attacker is also the person you must defend, or must defend you? Here is the latest update on sexual assault in the military!!
A whole crop of veterans are suffering from post-traumatic stress and lost limbs, circumstances that sometimes prove more difficult for women who often fill the role of nurturers to their families.
And there are practical considerations. Women on smaller bases in Iraq often share sleeping quarters with men. Equipment in women's sizes can sometimes be harder to come by. Some women use newer forms of birth control to make their periods less frequent. Even urinating can become a problem. The military has disbursed portable contraptions the women affectionately call a "weenus", for use on long truck drives.
Women also face resistance among some male commanders, who are not keen to put women at risk, some women who have served in Iraq say. But many commanders, they added, treated them no differently.
Capt. Tammy Spicer, who commanded a transportation company for the Missouri National Guard, said women were often being watched to see if they are up to the job. Driving trucks is dangerous work in Iraq, and her company drove a million and a half miles with no enemy-related casualties.
If anything was taxing, she said, it was in 2003 in Kuwait, when she and four other women shared a tent with 45 men. The women shared showers with men, on rotation, and always got the worst hours, she said. “Their bickering, their cursing, their body noises,” she said, laughing. “They would leave their food out and we would have rats. There was no relief from men.”
Here is a story about female combat action [Angels of Bataan] from the past. [I learned a lot by doing the research!]
Congress Honors Female Pilots From WWII (WASP's)
Military Friends vs Civilian Friends
First Female Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Retires.
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