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Old 11-12-2009, 01:56 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by MadelynIris View Post

I admire you for going to OCS at this age. You have to get your commission a day before you turn 40 right? Also, what OCS are we talking?
Just to clarify - I finished OCS several years ago, Army. Ok - now I'm retiring from this thread

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Old 11-12-2009, 02:40 PM   #92
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I do want to echo Irving's appreciation of your level-headed approach to the subject (even if responses to you haven't always been as level headed), AEON. It's a refreshing change being able to engage in calm dialogue over a divided issue in here.

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Old 11-12-2009, 03:04 PM   #93
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Yeah AEON, nothing personal. I think you're "just the messenger" here. At least you are telling us like it really is, even if we don't agree...
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:33 PM   #94
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Interesting thread, I see valid points on both sides.

I'd also like to echo the props to AEON for the polite discussion.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:13 PM   #95
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Last post...and I mean it

I just wanted to say thank you for the comments starting with Irvine up until this page. You are all a class act. Thanks (and onto the next controversy...)
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:20 AM   #96
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Oh come on, stick around for at least some controversy.

You have to wonder how and if this study will either help bring phys ed back to schools or whether military physical requirements might become more flexible for some types of combat roles that may accommodate women.

Pentagon: A third of U.S. youth too fat, sickly to serve -
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:39 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by MadelynIris View Post
Just a matter of time before they are fully integrated. I look forward to the day.
Just wanted to say thanks for that-and for the other things you said

You ARE the man
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Old 11-21-2009, 06:14 PM   #98
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:34 AM   #99
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(AP) Dec 14

WASHINGTON — Nobody wants to buy them a beer.

Even near military bases, female veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't often offered a drink on the house as a welcome home.

More than 230,000 American women have fought in those recent wars and at least 120 have died doing so, yet the public still doesn't completely understand their contributions on the modern battlefield.

For some, it's a lonely transition as they struggle to find their place.

Aimee Sherrod, an Air Force veteran who did three war tours, said years went by when she didn't tell people she was a veteran. After facing sexual harassment during two tours and mortar attacks in Iraq, the 29-year-old mother of two from Bells, Tenn., was medically discharged in 2005 with post-traumatic stress disorder.

She's haunted by nightmares and wakes up some nights thinking she's under attack. She's moody as a result of PTSD and can't function enough to work or attend college. Like some other veterans, she felt she improperly received a low disability rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs that left her with a token monthly payment. She was frustrated that her paperwork mentioned she was pregnant, a factor she thought was irrelevant.

"I just gave up on it and I didn't tell anyone about ever being in the military because I was so ashamed over everything," Sherrod said.

Then Jo Eason, a Nashville, Tenn., lawyer working pro bono through the Lawyers Serving Warriors program, stepped in a few years later and Sherrod began taking home a heftier monthly disability payment.

"I've never regretted my military service, I'm glad I did it," Sherrod said. "I'm not ashamed of my service. I'm ashamed to try and tell people about it because it's like, well, why'd you get out? All the questions that come with it."

The Defense Department bars women from serving in assignments where the primary mission is to engage in direct ground combat. But the nature of the recent conflicts, with no clear front lines, puts women in the middle of the action, in roles such as military police officers, pilots, drivers and gunners on convoys. In addition to the 120-plus deaths, more than 650 women have been wounded.

Back home, women face many of the same issues as the men, but the personal stakes may be greater.

Female service members have much higher rates of divorce and are more likely to be a single parent. When they do seek help at VA medical centers, they are screening positive at a higher rate for military sexual trauma, meaning they indicated experiencing sexual harassment, assault or rape. Some studies have shown that female veterans are at greater risk for homelessness.

Former Army Sgt. Kayla Williams, an Iraq veteran who has written about her experience, said she was surprised by the response she and other women from the 101st Airborne Division received from people in Clarksville, Tenn., near Fort Campbell, Ky.

She said residents just assumed they were girlfriends or wives of military men.

"People didn't come up to us and thank us for our service in the same way. They didn't give us free beers in bars in the same way when we first got back," said Williams, 34, of Ashburn, Va. "Even if you're vaguely aware of it, it still colors how you see yourself in some ways."

Genevieve Chase, 32, of Alexandria, Va., a staff sergeant in the Army Reserves, said the same guys who were her buddies in Afghanistan didn't invite her for drinks later on because their wives or girlfriends wouldn't approve.

"One of the hardest things that I had to deal with was, being a woman, was losing my best friends or my comrades to their families," Chase said.

It was that sense of loss, she said, that led her to get together with some other female veterans for brunch in New York last year. The group has evolved into the American Women Veterans, which now has about 2,000 online supporters, some of whom go on camping trips and advocate for veterans' issues. About a dozen marched in this year's Veteran's Day parade in New York.

"We just want to know that when we come home, America has our back," Chase said. "That's the biggest thing. Women are over there. You want to feel like you're coming home to open arms, rather than to a public that doesn't acknowledge you for what you've just done and what you just sacrificed."

Rachel McNeill, a gunner during hostile convoys in Iraq, said she was so affected by the way people treated her when they learned she fought overseas that she even started to question whether she was a veteran.

She described the attitudes as "Oh, you didn't do anything or you were just on base," said McNeill, who suffers from postconcussive headaches, ringing in her ears, and other health problems related to roadside bomb blasts. The 25-year-old from Hollandale, Wis., was a sergeant in the Army Reserves.

She said she seemingly even got that response when she told the VA staff in Madison, Wis., of her work. She said she was frustrated to see in her VA paperwork how what she told them had been interpreted.

"It would say like, 'the patient rode along on convoys,' like I was just a passenger in the back seat," McNeill said.

Other women have had similar complaints. The VA leadership has said it recognizes it needs to do more to improve care for these veterans, and as part of changes in the works, female coordinators are in place at each medical center to give women an advocate. The agency is also reviewing comments on a proposal to make it easier for those who served in noninfantry roles – including women – to qualify for disability benefits for PTSD.

Sen. Patty Murray, a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs committee, recently asked VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ensure that service members' combat experience is included on their military discharge papers, so later they can get benefits they are entitled to.

Research has shown that a lack of validation of a soldier's service can make their homecoming more difficult.

"What worries me is that women themselves still don't see themselves as veterans, so they don't get the care they need for post-traumatic stress syndrome or traumatic brain injury or even sexual assault, which obviously is more unique to women, so we still have a long ways to go," said Murray, D-Wash.

Chase said one challenge is getting female veterans to ask for changes.

"Most of us, because we were women service members, are so used to not complaining and not voicing our issues, because in the military that's considered weak. Nobody wants to hear the girl whine," Chase said.

McNeill said that when she's been out at restaurants and bars with the guys in her unit, they make sure she gets some recognition when the free beers go around.

"They'll make a point ... usually to say, 'She was over there with us, she was right next to us,'" McNeill said.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:48 PM   #100
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Another victory for equality

(CNN) -- The first women to serve on U.S. Navy submarines are expected to be on the job by fall of 2011, Navy officials said Thursday, ushering in a policy change to what has been an elite service open only to men since the start of the modern Navy's submarine program.

While Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the change last month, the Navy had to wait for Congress to review and approve the policy change over a 30-day period which ended at midnight Thursday morning.

The official announcement came later Thursday from the commander of Submarine Group 10, Rear Adm. Barry Bruner, during a news conference at the Navy submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia.

The first women chosen for the program will be selected by the Navy among upcoming graduates from the Naval Academy, the collegiate Reserves Officer Training Corps -- also known as ROTC -- and officer candidate schools.

Those women will go through the intensive 15-month submarine officer training program, which includes nuclear power school, submarine training, and the Submarine Officer Basic Course.

The Navy will implement the policy change by assigning three female officers to eight different crews of guided-missile attack and ballistic-missile submarines. The assignments involve two submarines on the East Coast and two on the West Coast, according to Navy officials.

Smaller, fast-attack submarines are considered to be too small to accommodate the necessary infrastructure change in living quarters that is possible on the larger subs, Navy officials explained.

Integrating female officers into the submarine squadrons is the first phase of the policy change. Including female enlisted sailors into the crews will take place in a second phase in the coming years, the officials said.

Women joined the crews of the Navy's surface ships in 1994, but officials had previously cited limited privacy and the cost of reconfiguring the vessels in arguing against their joining sub crews.

The change in policy was recommended by the top naval officer, Adm. Gary Roughead; the secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus; and Gates. No Navy leaders opposed the plan, officials said.

"The young women that have come up to me since we announced our intention to change the policy have such great enthusiasm," Roughead said in a statement Thursday.

"There are extremely capable women in the Navy who have the talent and desire to succeed in the submarine force," Mabus added in the same statement.

Women make up 15 percent of the active duty Navy: 52,446 of 330,700 sailors in the service, according to Navy statistics.

Female sailors still cannot serve in the elite SEAL program, because those are considered frontline combat unit positions. Similar regulations in the other branches of the military also prevent women from serving in combat positions.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:51 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post

Female sailors still cannot serve in the elite SEAL program, because those are considered frontline combat unit positions. Similar regulations in the other branches of the military also prevent women from serving in combat positions.
still no full equality
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:55 PM   #102
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It's a step-every journey starts with one step and all that.. Steps are required-and mindsets and attitudes have to change too.
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:24 PM   #103
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Women are allowed to serve in any branch of the Canadian Forces they want to (and are able to, physically/mentally/etc), although obviously there are far fewer females in the combat arms trades than males. In my experience, however, the women can be and are just as tough and just as skilled (and often are better) at what they do as the men. There's a female sergeant I work with who is the loudest, scariest person in the whole unit when she's mad, which I know for a fact because I've been on the receiving end of her rage before
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:58 PM   #104
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By Pauline Jelinek
Associated Press / January 14, 2011

WASHINGTON—Women should finally be allowed to serve fully in combat, a military advisory panel said Friday in a report seeking to dismantle the last major area of discrimination in the armed forces.

The call by a commission of current and retired military officers to let women be front-line fighters could set in motion another sea change in military culture as the armed forces, generations after racial barriers fell, grapples with the phasing out of the ban on gays serving openly.

The newest move is being recommended by the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, established by Congress two years ago. The panel was to send its proposals to Congress and President Barack Obama.

It is time "to create a level playing field for all qualified service members," the members said.

Opponents of putting women in combat question whether they have the necessary strength and stamina. They also have said the inclusion of women in infantry and other combat units might harm unit cohesion, a similar argument to that made regarding gays. And they warn Americans won't tolerate large numbers of women coming home in body bags. Those arguments have held sway during previous attempts to lift the ban.

Congress recently stripped the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays serving openly, and the Navy changed its rules over the last year to allow women to serve on submarines for the first time. Women are barred from certain combat assignments in all the services but face the broadest restrictions in the Army and Marines.

Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine captain and executive director of the advocacy group Service Women's Action Network, said the prohibition on women in combat "is archaic, it does not reflect the many sacrifices and contributions that women make in the military, and it ignores the reality of current war-fighting doctrine."

Although thousands of American women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and been exposed to great danger -- 134 of them have been killed -- they have been largely restricted to combat support jobs such as medics or logistical and transportation officers.

Defense policy prohibits women from being assigned to any unit smaller than a brigade whose primary mission is direct combat on the ground.

The new report says that keeping women out of combat posts prohibits them from serving in roughly 10 percent of Marine Corps and Army occupational specialties and thus is a barrier to advancement.

"The Armed Forces have not yet succeeded in developing leaders who are as diverse as the nation they serve," said the report. "Minorities and women still lag behind white men in terms of number of military leadership positions."

Women generally make up about 14 percent of the armed services. Of the roughly 2.2 million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 255,000 have been women, said Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez.

Supporters of the change say women essentially have been in combat for years, even if they are nominally removed from it.

"It's something whose time has come," said Lory Manning of the Women's Research and Education Institute. She said ending the ban would be "a logical outcome of what women have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Army and Marines have been essentially ducking the policy."

She said, for example, that military officials have employed terms of art to skirt the ban, for example "attaching" women to a combat unit instead of "assigning" them.

The new report says there has been little evidence that integrating women into previously closed units or military occupations has damaged cohesion or had other ill effects. It says a previous independent report suggested that women serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan "had a positive impact on mission accomplishment."

Defense leaders have said they see the change coming someday. For example, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in September that he expects women to be let into special operations forces eventually, and in a careful, deliberate manner.

The advisory commission recommends a phased-in approach. The Army is doing its own internal study of women in combat as well.

Pentagon figures show that as of Jan. 3, 110 women had been killed in the war in Iraq compared with about 4,300 men. In the Afghanistan campaign, 24 women have been killed compared with more than 1,400 men.

Lainez said the department will review the recommendations when the report is delivered.

But regardless of what becomes of the policy, she noted that women will continue to be drawn into combat action, "situations for which they are fully trained and equipped to respond."
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:01 AM   #105
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I'm sorry, it just makes me laugh that we actually have to have reports done to prove what is already painfully obvious-that women, or gays, or blacks, or whoever, serving in the military will not weaken the overall structure in any way, shape, or form.

Anywho, thanks for finally coming around to the realization, Washington! Here's hoping this means this will become a full-fledged reality as soon as possible. Perhaps once we stop continuing on with these unfounded fears about certain groups of people serving in the military and start focusing on the actual point of the military overall, which is to, you know, protect the country and serve overseas when needed for foreign activities, we might actually get somewhere in our military endeavors here and abroad.


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