Developments Concerning Women In Combat

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 3 months ago

Women in combat, and in fact, in special operations.

The commander of U.S. special operations said Tuesday he expects to see women in the elite commando forces now that the Pentagon is allowing them to serve in combat.

Adm. William McRaven, head of the US special operations command, said he was “fully supportive” of the decision to lift the ban on women in combat.

I’ll tell you what.  Obama has himself some lackeys doesn’t he?  Adm. McRaven is remarkable.  But no more so than the current Commandant of the Marine Corps.

In his first interview since the Pentagon opened ground combat jobs to women, the commandant of the Marine Corps said some occupations may ultimately remain closed if only a small number qualify.

The Marines will not lower physical standards for certain specialties, Gen. James Amos told USA TODAY. “We can’t afford to lower standards,” he said. “We can’t make adjustments on what’s required on the battlefield.

“That’s not why America has a Marine Corps,” he said.

Sounds like he isn’t so much of a lackey, huh?  But wait.

The Pentagon last week ordered that the services provide the opportunity for women to enter all fields, including infantry, tanks, artillery and other combat arms.

The entire process could take years as the services develop and validate “gender neutral” standards. The secretary of Defense would have to approve any fields that remain closed to women.

“If the numbers are so small with regards to qualification, then there very may well be (job fields) that remain closed,” Amos said. “Those will be few and far between.”

Deploying only one or two female servicemembers in a unit, for example, would make it difficult for the women to succeed. “You want to have assimilation … so our females can mentor one another,” Amos said.

“Difficult for women to succeed.”  We wouldn’t want that.  After all, that’s what the military is there for – to allow women to succeed.

I’ve already discussed my own (and my son’s) view of women in combat.  I can’t add that much to it except to say that it’s the most stupid social project the American progressives have ever conceived.  But let someone else tell you that as well.

America has been creeping closer and closer to allowing women in combat, so Wednesday’s news that the decision has now been made is not a surprise. It appears that female soldiers will be allowed on the battlefield but not in the infantry. Yet it is a distinction without much difference: Infantry units serve side-by-side in combat with artillery, engineers, drivers, medics and others who will likely now include women. The Pentagon would do well to consider realities of life in combat as it pushes to mix men and women on the battlefield.

Many articles have been written regarding the relative strength of women and the possible effects on morale of introducing women into all-male units. Less attention has been paid to another aspect: the absolutely dreadful conditions under which grunts live during war.

Most people seem to believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have merely involved driving out of a forward operating base, patrolling the streets, maybe getting in a quick firefight, and then returning to the forward operating base and its separate shower facilities and chow hall. The reality of modern infantry combat, at least the portion I saw, bore little resemblance to this sanitized view.I served in the 2003 invasion of Iraq as a Marine infantry squad leader. We rode into war crammed in the back of amphibious assault vehicles. They are designed to hold roughly 15 Marines snugly; due to maintenance issues, by the end of the invasion we had as many as 25 men stuffed into the back. Marines were forced to sit, in full gear, on each other’s laps and in contorted positions for hours on end. That was the least of our problems.

The invasion was a blitzkrieg. The goal was to move as fast to Baghdad as possible. The column would not stop for a lance corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, or even a company commander to go to the restroom. Sometimes we spent over 48 hours on the move without exiting the vehicles. We were forced to urinate in empty water bottles inches from our comrades.

Many Marines developed dysentery from the complete lack of sanitary conditions. When an uncontrollable urge hit a Marine, he would be forced to stand, as best he could, hold an MRE bag up to his rear, and defecate inches from his seated comrade’s face.

During the invasion, we wore chemical protective suits because of the fear of chemical or biological weapon attack. These are equivalent to a ski jumpsuit and hold in the heat. We also had to wear black rubber boots over our desert boots. On the occasions the column did stop, we would quickly peel off our rubber boots, desert boots and socks to let our feet air out.

Due to the heat and sweat, layers of our skin would peel off our feet. However, we rarely had time to remove our suits or perform even the most basic hygiene. We quickly developed sores on our bodies.

When we did reach Baghdad, we were in shambles. We had not showered in well over a month and our chemical protective suits were covered in a mixture of filth and dried blood. We were told to strip and place our suits in pits to be burned immediately. My unit stood there in a walled-in compound in Baghdad, naked, sores dotted all over our bodies, feet peeling, watching our suits burn. Later, they lined us up naked and washed us off with pressure washers.

And what sensible women wouldn’t want something like that?  So that women can experience the ultimate thrill of being shot at, going a month without a bath, getting their limbs blown off, and defecating near the faces of their colleagues, the evisceration of the U.S. military continues unabated so that the social engineers can have a legacy.

It’s a great country.

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  • George

    I’ve been an Army Reserve MP for 14 years and have deployed three times. Each deployment, my unit has lost female Soldiers to pregnancy. These are loses that are never replaced. So guys pick up the slack.

    I’ll be honest. It is a freaking nightmare to have women in my squad. When I was in Iraq, a female Soldier threw a clamshell of food against the wall and called my NCOIC a “faggot bitch” in front of several other Soldiers and about a dozen Iraqi’s. Oh, and did I mention the Iraqi’s were detainees? Nothing happened to her. Why? Because Army females are almost untouchable (in the discipline sense, not the get preggers on deployment sense). That is a lesson I would learn the hard way a few years later. I had a problem female Soldier who, because of her conduct and absolute and total lack of work ethic was absolutely destroying the morale of all the other troops. I would have rather been short handed than have her on shift. I tried to take corrective measures and the result? I got a visit from my PSG who accused me of playing favorites. And a nice little EO complaint. I gave up. I avoided her for the rest of deployment – hard to do since we were on the same shift.

    The worst are the ones that are sorta cute but are deployment hot. They somehow convice guys to work extra shifts for them. I knew a few girls who called their little crew the “Career Killers,” because they collected at least a few scalps. In fact, I have had two commanders, a 1SG and a few SFCs relieved of duty because of their (aleged) extra carricular activites. That is really good for combat readyness.

    Another bonus of serving with females? The rape prevention classes, mandatory of course. These are fun little propaganda seminars where everyone with a penis is considered to be a criminal, just looking to drug and rape a chick. And they wonder why young men in the military commit suicide? Since birth, our boys have been treated like shit and it doesn’t stop in the military.

    How about unit cohesion? Well, there was one on again, off again couple that made life hell for pretty much every NCO in the unit. Between his jealousy, her taunting flirtations with every swinging Richard in the AO and the twenty or thirty phone calls each day, it was tough for either one to be productive. And he was an NCO. How was he able to do his job when his entire day was spent checking up on the misses? Lets add sex into the equation. Say my MP company is one hundred guys, twenty girls – just to keep the math easy. Ten of those girls are married. In my experience, eight of those ten will cheat on their husbands. All ten of the single females will be in a relationship with someone in the unit. For this exercise, we will keep it in house. Assuming all the females having sex are with Soldiers in their unit, that means about 18 guys are having sex. 82 are not. Do you know how petty young men can get when they arent getting any but a married SSG is plowing his way thru the units females? Does that sexual frustration and envy help morale?

    How about leadership? Well, on my last deployment, our 1LT (who took the place of a CPT who was relieved for an alleged relationship with a “Career Killer.”) and our 1SG spent a good chunk of each day dealing with getting pregnant females home, mediating relationships, making sure all the Joes went to the latest sexual harassment training, rape prevention training, etc. So good luck just performing the mission.

    Right now, military females are in a win – win situation. They get the same benefits as a guy, don’t have to do the same work, can get pregnant (I know a female MP in Texas who has been pregnant three times on a five year contract – unmarried, of course) and they are treated better than every other Joe.

    Women have and never will be held to the same standards as men. Most proffessional miliatry my ass. We are screwed.

  • Jean

    As I recall, our Brigade deployed to Desert Shield with about 50 women, half never made it to the “Storm”- they were returned stateside, for a variety of reasons, most were pregnant.

  • Rich Buckley

    On the other hand the new terms of service will offer plenty of comedic material in the years to come.

    Dave Letterman: Finally! There will be someone in the tank who will stop and ask for directions.

  • Jean

    I have perfect Pre qualification test for screening prospective female candidates. Have a fire Team of 5 soldiers, gender neutral.
     Airlift them to a 6000 ft evaluation at night
     Incapacitate the heaviest member of the team
     Have the fire team carry the “wounded soldier” to an approved MEDVAC site – downhill- 4000 feet
     Each fire team member will carry their IBA and standard combat load- 100-120 LBS
     During the evac, the team will react to SAF
     During the evac the team will administer life saving first aid to the wounded soldier
     After the evac is complete, the fire team will move back to its position, engage the enemy and complete the mission. That’s the is reality of combat- a day in life of infantry in the mountains of N2K, no helicopters, no MRAPs, Just you and your gear. I would also recommend that everyone review “Small Unit Actions in Afghanistan” – Imagine those actions with blended units. I have upmost respect for any soldier in that has served our country in a combat , but riding in MRAP on convoy duty or manning an EPC is not the same as combat situations faced by our front line units.

  • Herschel Smith


    I wasn’t going to say anything about it because I don’t want readers to think that I don’t have the utmost respect for those who have seen combat, like you do.

    But there is a difference between mechanized warfare (and I know that the Army has opted in favor of Striker-style warfare) as opposed to infantry foot-based warfare, and especially long term, protracted duration expeditionary warfare.

  • Jean

    The Striker is a great platform and its suite of electronics made it an excellent counter insurgency weapon in Iraq, not sure about its performance in Afghanistan. The “light units” would fall in HUMVs or MRAPs in Afghanistan. Normally an infantry company travels by LPC. The Insurgency starts at the end of the road-being FOB and vehicle bound was huge miscalculation on our part. Honestly, we need to pack up and come home

  • Herschel Smith

    Sorry, I guess I should have spelled it “Stryker.” And this is why Marine infantry doesn’t like mechanized and makes their grunts do 20 miles humps in full gear in prep for deployment.

    But the Army did it too, e.g., in the Korengal. Hey, BTW, I don’t think there were any women in the Korengal.


  • Jean

    Not sure about the spelling, I have seen it both ways. So some Korengal History, there were females sprinkled through out the forces used in “Mountain Lion” March/April 2006. On a sad note, a stellar young Army medic worked at in Korengal in August of 2006, she was to help with the outreach to Afghan females. Her unit was ambushed at the mouth of Korengal Valley during the exfil. QRF was also hit, long sad day. I hope the GO’s and POTUS are ready to face the parents. It’s easy to make a political correct decision to appease your supporters and get some good press, it’s harder to live the second and third order consequences.

  • Travis

    I served three tours as an infantry officer in Iraq. I fought in hard combat. In Najaf, in August 2004, I didn’t shower the whole month. We crapped on the floors in rooms of the buildings in which we lived. For the first few days, we were limited to about a liter or two of water a day (it was over 120 degrees out). Yeah, your son’s description sounds familiar. We too were mechanized (M2A3 Bradleys).

    I have always considered it an obligation for a man to serve his country, especially in a time of combat. Right or wrong, a man has to show that he is willing to serve in the defense of his society. In America, we count on our government being right, even when it isn’t. I’ve always loved the American foot soldier, even as a boy. For the sake of the infantrymen, I supported my country’s military. Now, I think that we need to reconsider our unconditional support for the military. The Army, USMC, USN and USAF will now more resemble the MP platoon described (that too sounds familiar – a USMA classmate of mine who is a female made sport of letting her men know she was “available” to them; that’s your tax dollars at work educating our “finest” women). I can no longer support such an institution that is bent on destroying the values for which I fought. Nor will I ever encourage my son to enlist. I’ll do a better job of making him a man. And if I have a daughter, I’ll be the first to send her to Canada or South America before she is ever drafted. If she were to enlist, she won’t be welcome in my home.

    The U.S. military is now a political tool. It is no longer worthy of material or moral support.

  • Herschel Smith


    Make sure you know that the link I give discussing my son’s view of women in combat is from him, NOT the WSJ article (which my son read, and said, yep, that’s right – and then proceeded to tell me things from his own experience that added to the WSJ report but not reported herein). But the man in the WSJ article is not my son. My son was in Fallujah in 2007. The first day he showed up he and the other Marines were laying down on their backs passing sandbags over their heads to construct the walls of FOB Reaper, while being shot at.

    Different subject. I see the network domain from which you are writing. For my readers, Travis’ comment is legitimate. That you sir for your heart-felt perspectives. My best to you.

  • Cal

    I have to look at it like this. This is just political correctness coming out. It’s not a good idea, we didn’t eliminate the problems, we just stamped it with a go ahead stamp and rolled it out to the public. Women do not have the same capabilities as men. Fact. Even still…we don’t drink in the ME so that we don’t piss off the muslims….now we’re sending women against them. We’ll be lucky if the whole ME doesn’t unify against us after that sort of insult.

  • George

    Travis is right on, and that makes me very sad. The military was the last government institution that I had faith in, but after serving and seeing what I have seen, no longer. One thing that really frustrates me is that the professional organizations I am a member of (AUSA, NCOA and the Military Police Regimental Association) have silently watched our standards erode. Of course, each issue does tout the importance of various expensive weapons systems. Apparently vehicles will fight and win the wars of the future, not warriors.

    What also frustrates me is that so many of those pushing for allowing women into Combat Arms have no stake in the game. GEN Dempsey will not have to pay the price of his failure. The 1LT and CPT in combat will. But, at least GEN Dempsey will feel good about himself.

    I argue with my father – a big liberal – about this stuff all the time. He’s one of those guys who thinks the military is made of interchangeable cogs, like every other government job. To want to serve in the military requires that you have respect for the culture that the military defends. I’m not sure I ahve that respect anymore.

    David Hackworth is currently spinning in his grave.

  • Travis


    Where I currently work I see this on a daily basis. It’s hard to stay sane, honestly. You hit the nail on the head with the military’s obsession with toys, not men. I work with Ft. Benning on acquisitions and analysis. There has not been one peep from them about this. But they’ll spend all day telling you how important it is to buy 100 more pounds of lightweight crap, and how computer games are better training tools than an E-6 in the woods with his snuffies!

    Don’t get me started on AUSA, and the Infantry Association (of which I am a life member). All they want to do is talk to Congress about gadgets and pay raises.

    Back in 2000 two Rangers ruck marched from Ft. Benning to Washington D.C. over a fucking hat. Does anyone remember this? Don’t get me wrong, black berets for everyone are gay. But when homosexuals are shoved down our throat and now women in combat arms, who is rucking to D.C. over something that will destroy our fighting culture?

    Thanks for the supportive comments. I thought I might get raked over the coals for my reluctance to support our “non-gender specific, non-sexual preference specific peoples in uniforms”.

    “For rising generations it will become a real problem at what point the policies you are ordered to carry out have become so iniquitous that a decent man must seek some other profession…” C.S. Lewis

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You are currently reading "Developments Concerning Women In Combat", entry #9883 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Army,Special Forces,Women in Combat and was published January 30th, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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