Some advice on women in combat from a female veteran

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Jazz Shaw @ Hot Air:

Yesterday’s column on women in combat elicited a number of passionate responses from both sides. Some of them came from proponents of the move, frequently citing alternate motives on my part. These ranged from “trying to keep women pregnant in the kitchen” and “Republicans want to lock women in the 1950s” to whichever variant of the GOP’s “war on women” you’d care to name. Many others lent a more sympathetic ear. One in particular, though, caught my attention. It was from one of America’s female veterans who served in Iraq, delivered with a first hand, been there, done that background. The Marine in question – who for purposes of publication will go by the pseudonym of “Sentry” – had previously submitted this history and opinion as a comment at National Review, but her story was compelling enough that I checked into her background, contacted her and decided to republish it here in its entirety. I offer the following as a third party testimony to stand your scrutiny on its own merits.

I’m a female veteran. I deployed to Anbar Province, Iraq. When I was active duty, I was 5’6, 130 pounds, and scored nearly perfect on my PFTs. I naturally have a lot more upper body strength than the average woman: not only can I do pull-ups, I can meet the male standard. I would love to have been in the infantry. And I still think it will be an unmitigated disaster to incorporate women into combat roles. I am not interested in risking men’s lives so I can live my selfish dream.

We’re not just talking about watering down the standards to include the politically correct number of women into the unit. This isn’t an issue of “if a woman can meet the male standard, she should be able to go into combat.” The number of women that can meet the male standard will be miniscule–I’d have a decent shot according to my PFTs, but dragging a 190-pound man in full gear for 100 yards would DESTROY me–and that miniscule number that can physically make the grade AND has the desire to go into combat will be facing an impossible situation that will ruin the combat effectiveness of the unit. First, the close quarters of combat units make for a complete lack of privacy and EVERYTHING is exposed, to include intimate details of bodily functions. Second, until we succeed in completely reprogramming every man in the military to treat women just like men, those men are going to protect a woman at the expense of the mission. Third, women have physical limitations that no amount of training or conditioning can overcome. Fourth, until the media in this country is ready to treat a captured/raped/tortured/mutilated female soldier just like a man, women will be targeted by the enemy without fail and without mercy.

I saw the male combat units when I was in Iraq. They go outside the wire for days at a time. They eat, sleep, urinate and defecate in front of each other and often while on the move. There’s no potty break on the side of the road outside the wire. They urinate into bottles and defecate into MRE bags. I would like to hear a suggestion as to how a woman is going to urinate successfully into a bottle while cramped into a humvee wearing full body armor. And she gets to accomplish this feat with the male members of her combat unit twenty inches away. Volunteers to do that job? Do the men really want to see it? Should they be forced to?

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Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

8 Responses to “Some advice on women in combat from a female veteran”

  1. 1


    I believe women should have the choice—which is really a foreign concept to conservatives (e.g., pro-choice concerning abortion of non-conscious protoplasm that resembles of human being only in its DNA).

  2. 2



    which is really a foreign concept to conservatives

    Get over yourself, Lib1. Liberal/progressives are more intimately involved with removing choice from people, and it’s due to the idea that you and your kind believe that you know better than everyone else how We, the People, should be living our lives.
    -Cuomo limiting magazine capacity to seven rounds.
    -Bloomberg wanting to limit our soda intake.
    -Feinstein and others wanting to limit the type of weapon we can use to defend ourselves.
    -The environmental loonies wanting to limit the types of vehicles we can drive.
    -Those same loonies limiting where we can build houses, drill for oil/gas, or cut down trees.
    -Those same loonies limiting where/how/when we can clear brush to prevent fires, while forest fires burn out of control in areas where brush cutting has been limited, due to the brush still present.
    -Liberal/progressives around the country limiting choices for workers on whether they can belong to a union or not.
    -Those same lib/progs limiting your choices, as a homeowner, on who can come and fix items in your home.
    -The federal government limiting where and how we can buy everyday items, such as milk.
    -Illinois lib/progs limiting your driving on highways in Illinois in the left hand lanes.

    And many, many more instances of liberal/progressives limiting the choices of We, the People, because the lib/progs know so much better how We, the People, should be living our lives.

  3. 5


    “abortion of non-conscious protoplasm that resembles of human being only in its DNA”. That is an interesting way to define black babies.

  4. 6

    Joseph P. Martino

    There’s something sick about a nation that sends women into combat, or down into coal mines.

    Some women argue that they need combat experience for career advancement. Well, the military doesn’t exist to provide career advancement. It exists to defend the nation. Before women are sent into combat, it should be proven that the enhance the effectiveness of the military, not just that they get a shot at higher rank.

    Colonel (Retired) USAF

  5. 7


    @Joseph P. Martino:

    Read my link. That is exactly the reason that Panetta lifted the ban on women in combat. So that a select few, should they survive, can make grade.

    Obama now says that football is too rough. Can we expect the NFL to lift the ban on 5’1″, 105 lb. female linebackers soon?

  6. 8


    I think that there are many women who are fully capable of fighting on the front lines, and serving their nation well in combat. I also think that in the name of sexual equality, women should also be subject to the draft. Having said that, I think that it would not be advisable for the reasons that female Marine “Sentry”mentions, but also because IMO, it will result in higher US casualties. Whither a female on the front line of fire needs it or not, many fellow males combatants will be more likely to put themselves in more dangerous positions to “protect her” from hostile forces.

    Females on the front lines need to also be aware that, if the serve in a Middle East campaign, that a female captured by radical Muslims has a high likelihood of being raped by her captors. Females have been targeted for such attacks by radical Muslim occupiers and even local radicals have committed offenses against innocent women (and children). News reporters have been sexually assaulted by crowds of radical protestors. There is no reason why a foreign military prisoner should expect any lessor treatment.

    I expect that the far-left readers of this site will no doubt remind us that there have been US service members who have also been accused and some convicted of similar such offenses. War zones are often the scenes of atrocities and it is no surprise that women are often targeted by the worse elements of society. All women who would serve in combat must be realistically be aware of what they may be in for.

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