Women in Combat

Editor’s Comment:

I know the woman who wrote this, she has been in our home. We still know many who fight for us. My bar is open to them whenever they come home.

Author’s name withheld by request.

The argument about women fighting in combat is a subject that people tread lightly on and has been a heavily debated topic for many years. Women are built differently than men and the two sexes will never be considered as the same. Respect does not guarantee acceptance. No matter how much respect a woman may achieve, no matter how brave or strong she might prove to be, the military’s most unconventional combat units are not prepared to accept a woman as a man. The U.S. military acts as a well-oiled machine. As a mechanic, I have learned not to fix things that are not broken and adding women to combat units is like pouring sugar into a gas tank: the outcome is disastrous.

Men have an undeniable advantage over women when it pertains to overall body strength. Men have more red blood cells, more iron, and larger lungs, which gives them a thirty percent advantage when it comes to endurance. Studies have also shown that a female in peak condition, around her 20’s, maintains the lung capacity of a man twice her age. Hence… the strongest woman, on average, is only as strong as the weakest man. Selecting women for combat means the military must knowingly select its weakest members for its toughest duties. Substantial power is an obvious prerequisite for some occupations in the Armed Forces. Female pilots have been known to be man’s equal when it comes to aircraft aviation. I have no problem with a female pilot. However, when it comes to front-line, in-the-trenches infantry combat, women, by and large would be extremely unsuitable.

Women have a lot of things to contribute to a combat unit, such as, distraction, dissention, and distrust. There are also matters of cohesion, bonding, and the innate vulnerability of men to be considered. Men are comfortable working together. Placing a woman into a well-trained combat unit is like throwing sand in the gears of a finely tuned machine. The last thing a man needs in the field is to have to worry about a woman lying in the trenches next to him. Will she return fire? Will she be able to properly respond under pressure or collapse and cry like I have seen so many females do in combat situations? For instance, we had to protect our own perimeter in Baghdad. We didn’t have security personnel, so certain individuals were trained to do extra duties.

My extra duty was to man an M-60 machine gun on an overlook position. We also had at least two gate guards, and numerous people in DFP’s (defensive fighting positions) that were placed all over the camp. Everyone was armed and trained to defend their position in the event of enemy activity. On top of all of the security, we dug ditches, dragged razor wire and placed trip flares along the entire perimeter to beef it up.

Our camp was attacked nearly every night with mortar fire. You would think that the security personnel would be used to it and be able to handle the situation smoothly. No. Most of the females would curl up in a ball in the DFP and cry like babies. Trip flares would go off and, instead of doing what they were trained to do, they would scream and call out for help… not even attempting to look to see what set the flare off. My life was put in danger so many times because of little girls that should not have been placed in those situations. A woman in a combat situation will detract from a man’s effectiveness. The inborn response of men to protect women could impede the otherwise competent performance of combat procedures. Undoubtedly, that instinct could drive men to break rank and subvert military protocol to assure that the women on the team were unharmed.

Women’s performances have been criticized in Iraq during Desert Storm. There were ships and ground units with high pregnancy rates – even organized prostitution rings – as examples of women’s harmful effect on unit cohesion and morale. I know of three separate pregnancy cases in my unit alone while we were deployed to Baghdad during Iraqi Freedom. The wives and girlfriends at home waiting for their men to return do not want the added stress of knowing that their spouses are bunking up and living in confined quarters with women.

America needs to prepare for women to be captured or killed in combat. In order to do so, we would have to desensitize the entire nation to violence against women. Endorsement of women in combat means an endorsement of violence against women at the hands of the enemy. If abusing women at home is wrong, then why is it right for the sake of training? No civilized nation has ever used female combatants as a standard military policy, for obvious reasons, and the likely result would be to decrease respect for women, not to increase it, by making them act like men.

America is not ready for a mother to come home in a flag-draped coffin. I guarantee that if you ask any civilian to name a few women who were either killed or captured during Operation Iraqi Freedom, a majority of them could do so. If you asked the same people to do so with male soldiers, I doubt that it could be done. Let the women stay behind and patch up the soldiers’ wounds, make their food, and control their aircraft. Women can even fly the airplanes that drop the bombs that can destroy nations, but men should be the one’s fighting the battles on the front lines. Women have fought for their countries in wars all over the world, but they fought in their own countries to defend their own homelands, children, and livelihood. If and when it comes to America having to defend her boundaries, then who best to defend her child but a woman? Until then … let the men earn their keep.