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Old 11-12-2009, 11:22 AM   #81
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it does seem to me that the fear of male and female soldiers having sex in the trenches is akin to the fear of showering with gay men, only it seems that one is less of an issue than the other.
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:40 AM   #82
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I had no idea every single military operation involved carrying 8 tons of equipment up the world's largest mountain.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:42 PM   #83
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1) The Infantry requires physical attributes that exclude most men, and nearly all women. The number of women that could pass the training to actual standard would be so small - it would be entirely cost prohibitive to make special accommodations for these very, very few.
I'm confused. What kind of special accommodations would have to be made for women that have the physical attributes necessary for the position?

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If we did allow these "super women" in...
2) Unit cohesion and trust are HUGE components to a successful mission in the Infantry. Unlike other jobs in the military - the Infantry unit can spend weeks (or perhaps even months) out in the field. The Infantry is made up young men in their late teens and early twenties (and are generally what some would describe as uber-masculine football player type). Adding the occasional female into the mix would certainly cause problems. Is it the fault of the boys (like throwing a match into a powder keg and we all know it - so please stop pretending that 18 year old boys aren't 18 year old boys)? The girl? The leaders? My answer is "yes"- all the above are possible in any given circumstance. Can extra training and fear of disciplinary actions resolve this (i.e. can it make an 18 year old not so horny)? Perhaps. Is it worth having combat leaders worrying and managing all this for that occasional exception-especially when lives depend on their ability to execute a battle plan? My conclusion is no. Is it entirely fair? Of course not. Is it best possible scenario despite this unfairness? I think it is.
I think it's pretty unfortunate that rather than expecting (and enforcing) maturity in our armed forces, we simply exclude women because "boys will be boys."
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:12 PM   #84
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Is it entirely fair? Of course not.
Not only is it not fair, it's ignorant and inmature.

Do we really want boys on the battlefield, or can we expect them to be men?
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:15 PM   #85
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I'm confused. What kind of special accommodations would have to be made for women that have the physical attributes necessary for the position?
At Infantry training camps - additional bathrooms, additional showers, additional sleeping quaters, additional training on what can/can't happen in the field (I'm speaking of the gray areas - yes, the black and white should be obvious).

In the field - separate foxholes (yet still somehow maintain the "buddy" sytem if there is only one female in the platoon), additional training to somehow keep men from overeacting to a wounded woman (as was the case in the Israeli army).

Just some examples off the top of my head. But hey, if women were held to SAME EXACT STANDARD as men, across the board - then I would perhaps concede this point.

Does anyone find it strange that if this truly was some grievous assault on woman's rights, in this day and age - that Obama hasn't signed an executive order to instantly reverse the practice?
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:19 PM   #86
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Do we really want boys on the battlefield, or can we expect them to be men?
Move the minimum age requirement to 30? How well behaved were you at 18?
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:25 PM   #87
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Move the minimum age requirement to 30? How well behaved were you at 18?
30? Wow, you really don't have faith in men...

I was raised to respect women, so at age 10, 18, 55 it doesn't matter I always have and will be well behaved. And I sure as hell knew how to keep it in my pants at 18...
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:45 PM   #88
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I think I'm going to close up shop on this topic now, thanks for the great questions and responses. There are many other points that could be made - a little research on the Internet is filled with information that support both sides of the argument (several interesting ones concerning evolutionary biology).

I don't blame women for wanting to be the Infantry any more than I blame a woman for wanting to play for the Dallas Cowboys. However, I do so the reasoning behind not allowing them to do either. To me it is obvious, to others - it is not so obvious. I don't feel anyone that objects to my opinion is an idiot or a child. As long as people remain generally courteous - then productive discussion can occur and I will do my best to respond.
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:50 PM   #89
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I think the problem with this thread is that we are making generalizations about a small slice of the pie. The military is a huge multi-billion dollar organization. Fighting on the front lines and sharing foxholes is a small part of what they do. I know plenty of women who have served as dcotors, nurses, surgeons, pilots, in the air force, doing skilled technical work, recruiting, navy, .... heck my original job idea was to study atmospheric science and join the air force. These "problems" of having to share a foxhole with a horny 18 year old have never had any bearing on how capable they are of doing the job the same as any man, alongside a man.
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:00 PM   #90
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No offense - but is that what you say to everyone that disagrees with you? Can someone have a contrary opinion without being called a nitwit or child? I'm 39, I have a BS degree in MIS and a BS in English Literature as well as an MBA in International Finance - and quite a bit of graduate level seminary (working on Mdiv and hopefully a PhD). I've been an enlisted grunt and an officer. I worked for dotcoms, two Fortune 500 companies and a well established biotech company. I've been to every continent except Antarctica. I've also served as an associate pastor at my church. My point is - I'm not some fresh kid who hasn't seen "the world"
AEON,

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?

But by growing up, I simply mean I think you have some more discovery to do. I'm continuing to grow up myself (I'm 2 years older than you).

Combat Arms is where we draw the line today, but you and I know that a female fighter pilot, tank driver, or nuclear engineer on an aircraft carrier would be more than capable of conducting combat, and in every way in as much danger as their comrades beside them in the fight.

One of the most pleasant experiences I had was coming back from Iraq in a C-17 commanded by a female pilot, and no, not because she was cute and I wanted to have sex with her (not saying she was or was not). But because I knew that she was every bit capable, and I could empathize with her, and her family, and be just as proud of/for her and respect her as if she were male.

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for wanting to play for the Dallas Cowboys. However, I do so the reasoning behind not allowing them to do either
But what about a female place kicker? Got a problem with that?
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:56 PM   #91
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AEON,

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, 03:40 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, 04:04 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, 04:33 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, 06:13 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, 10:20 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, 12:39 PM   #97
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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, 07:14 PM   #98
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http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/si...ob/23749797001
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:34 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, 06:48 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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