Women in combat

We should let women who want to try. But the battlefield is not an equal opportunity place and so we should not lower the standard. Most American men cannot stand the physical stress of combat. Only a minority can carry the hundred plus pounds of gear. I doubt that more than a very few women could pass a real training regime.

What I fear will happen is that standards we be changed. The average unit will produce no women graduates. This will be politically unacceptable and so the pressure will be to make changes.

Combat is tough. Even the non-fighting part is hard. I recall walking in the hot sun with body armor and gear. That alone is tough and too heavy for most women and most men for that matter. Much of the job is just walking and carrying stuff. It is really hard climbing on to a helicopter while loaded down.

It is horribly un-PC, but it is simply true that women as a group are significantly weaker than men are. I know lots of men who can bench 300lbs. I have never met a women who could do that. I know there are a few women who can, but if you went to all the Gold's Gyms in America and held a contest to choose the five strongest people in each of them there is a chance that you would produce zero women winners and a certainty that there would not be many.

A male who can run a mile in about four minutes would not make it at a good college track team, wouldn't even be a starter on some HS teams. Yet this same time would be the world record for women.

I doubt that there is a woman alive who can run a mile carrying more than 100lb of gear.

So let's be honest. Some women are stronger than most men, but no women are stronger than the strongest men. Countries deploy women into close combat when they have a manpower shortage. They also deploy old men and boys, who are similar to women in being not physically up to the job. We have the luxury in the U.S. of not having to go far down to get combat soldiers and marines. We can get the best qualified. In rare cases, women will be among them and this is good. But it won't be too often. At 57 years old, I am still significantly stronger than most women. Do we want an army with 57 year-old men making up a big part of combat forces? If not, do you really want very many women doing it?

Let's give women the chance, but let's make sure that we don't lower the standards. This would get women and men killed.

Posted by Christine & John at January 23, 2013 6:13 PM
Comment #360831

We have women on Naval Ships but that is a whole different ball game then a front line Marine or GI. If they want it more power to them but I agree we can’t lower the standards for them.

Posted by: KAP at January 23, 2013 10:58 PM
Comment #360832

By the way I hope they are able to carry their 200lb wounded partner along with their gear out of harms way if needed.

Posted by: KAP at January 23, 2013 11:02 PM
Comment #360836

I’m against training women for combat. When we start the standards will be lowered. And casualties will go up on the battlefield because of it. Even if they could make the cut with the current standards causalities will go up.
Anyone that’s been in combat knows that a close bond is created between comrades in arms. And this can cause problems if a buddy is wounded or killed because the guys buddy[s] wants to go out there and get him. And it might not be the right thing to do at the time.
Now add in the natural attraction between male and female. And then through in the natural instinct that men have for wanting to protect women. You’ll end up with a very volatile situation when a women goes down in battle.
The best job women can have in the military is support. That’s the jobs they’re physically able to do.
I have never considered myself a super strong person. I was able to stay qualified for my job in SARS while I was in the Air Force which meant is was stronger than a lot of guys. But I’ve never been a super strong person. I’ve only met one women that was stronger than me. And she was a 6’ 4” 380lb bruiser that was able to bench 350lbs. There’s not many women that can do that.

Not very many men can carry a 200lb partner out of harms way. Even without the gear.
My wife was about the strongest women I’ve ever known. She was only 5’0” and was able to carry 100lb feed sacks the 200ft from the storage shed to the feed lot without dropping them. But at that she would have barely qualified for combat if at all.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 24, 2013 12:15 AM
Comment #360838

Ron, We have women flying F 18 hornets off of carriers. We have many women aboard many types of Naval ships except for Subs no women on them YET. There are many difficult jobs on Naval ships that women do, do such as loading bomds on the F 18’s and other type carrier planes. Standards are NOT lowered for them and should NOT be lowered for ground combat as I stated. Carrying a wounded buddy SHOULD be a standard for all ground combat troops, no matter he/she be 100 lbs or 200 lbs.

Posted by: KAP at January 24, 2013 12:31 AM
Comment #360840

The battlefield is not an equal opportunity employer, and certainly no place to allow political correctness to dictate policy.

Posted by: dbs at January 24, 2013 5:35 AM
Comment #360842

I am an ardent and a unapologetic liberal, but also a former Marine, and I think putting women in combat units such the infantry, artillery, and armor will be a disaster. Physical strength and endurance does matter. My follows liberals are utterly wrong on this one.

Proponents of putting women in combat will, of course, say that women should be allowed to serve in the combat arms as long as they can meet the same standards as men, which seems reasonable enough. But, here is the catch — those standards can be changed and manipulated. So when some feminist group decides that not enough women are in infantry units, to their liking, because the standards are too tough, they will try to get the standards changed. Their typical mode of operation is to argue that the standards are not “relevant
” for today’s type of conflicts. Accordingly, they will urge more female friendly standards — whether those standards are realistic or not.

I have personally experienced this during my own military service. Just before graduating from my MOS school, a physical test required for graduation was changed because too many women were failing it.

Posted by: Junk Yard Dog at January 24, 2013 8:34 AM
Comment #360856

This experiment is going to fail big time n my opinion.

As a combat veteran, I can attest to what John says about mostly walking with a heavy load. In Viet Nam, in an infantry unit, my “basic load” was 400 rounds of M-16 ammo, 2 frag grenades, 2 smoke grenades, 2 trip flares, 1 claymore mine, c-rations to last for 3 days (that’s 9 meals of canned goods), 7 quarts of water, 100 rounds of 7.62 amo for the machine gun and a 1st aide kit. Then if we wanted any extra clothing or a pancho, or a pancho liner to sleep on, it was optional. My ruck sack weighed about 110 lbs. Then I had to carry a rifle. Getting into a helicopter was very hard and hard to stay in while sitting in the door as the chopper banked to take off. I’m not sure very many females would be able to do that.
When we got to our destination by helicopter, we would always march at least 2 to 3 thousand meters before setting up a perimeter. When we had to use the bathroom, privacy was not an option. If we had to go to the bathroom, we did so within sight of others. If we bathed in a river, or out of our steel pots, we did so within sight of others. modesty has no place in the field.
I have met a few women who I think might have the courage and the fortitude to combat an enemy, but they are few and far between. I don’t think I have ever met one who could perform physically and emotionally under the pressures of combat.
I respect women too much to ask them to go thru what I had to.

Posted by: tdobson at January 24, 2013 5:05 PM
Comment #360867

The battlefield is an equal opportunity killer though.

Junk Yard Dog, tdobson
Thank you for serving our great country.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 24, 2013 10:46 PM
Comment #360886

I’d say set reasonable standards, and if the women can meet them, more power to them.

Although, I would add this: according to some articles I’ve read, that huge loadout more or less causing chronic back and orthopedic problems for our veterans. With the body armor and everything, soldiers are walking around carrying loads of about three hundred pounds on their legs and their backs. They’re doing that, and running, jumping, and doing whatever else combat requires.

So, the question is, might it make more sense, for the sake of the men as well as the women to find some way to lighten this load, or support it better?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 25, 2013 10:29 AM
Comment #360887

Stephen, Most of what a soldier carries in combat is needed like extra ammo, food, clothing, sanitary equipment, and other things. To set reasonable standards just for women is not an option. Some men fail. On board Air Craft Carriers the women do the same job as a man and that includes flight deck operations which is the most dangerous area aside front line operations in a combat zone. They don’t have lifting equipment to load bombs on the planes or the missals all is done by hand. Women as well as the men assigned to do these things must work as a team if one fails the outcome could be disasterous not only for them but also the 5000+ other people on board that ship. I know first hand I served on board the USS America CV66 and other ships beside.

Posted by: KAP at January 25, 2013 11:55 AM
Comment #360888

Reasonable standards are set. They are based on real life combat experience. I agree that if a woman can meet those standards, they should have the opportunity to serve on the front lines. I don’t think the standards should be relaxed even a little to allow a woman to qualify for those positions however. If that happens, it will put every person on those front lines in more danger.

I don’t know what the modern day soldier has to carry as far as a basic load. I somehow doubt that it is 300 lbs. I listed my basic load that I had to carry in Viet Nam. It was about 110 lbs. You can add 25 to 30 lbs if we had a mortor platoon with us as we would each have to carry a mortor round to support it.

I don’t know how you would lighten the load. What would you cut back on?, We burned a lot of energy, so we needed the food. MREs were just comming out at that time and they were a lot lighter than c rations, but they were basically dehydrated foods and to eat them, you had to add water which would add back the weight you lost by dehydrating the food. Would you cut back on water? On more than one occasion, 7 quarts of water wasn’t enough. I have had to wipe the rainbow shine off of water in a rice paddy and use iodine tabs to purify it to drink. Would you cut back on ammo? There were times when I wished for more.

The fact is we carried what we needed and nothing more. If we could have lightened the load, believe me, we would have.

As far as supporting the weight better, Find a way. I’m sure you could make a fortune if you can find the answer to that.

You are correct about the choronic back problems with our vets. I average 3 pain pills a day to dull the pain of arthritus in my back. My legs sometimes feel like they will break when I stand. War has taken it’s toll on me and most other vets. Go to a VAhospital and watch how many veterans walk with canes.

I don’t complain about my problems. It is worth every moment of pain, knowing that I fought to keep my country free. It would be nice if more of my countrymen supported our veterans, Maybe with a small donation to Wounded Warriors.

Posted by: tdobson at January 25, 2013 12:15 PM
Comment #360900

I don’t know how the load our fighting men could be lightened. Just about all carry the minimum equipment and supplies required as it is. Some have to carry more.
But a better support system is a viable option. And I’m sure the military has tried to find ways to improve the support. If someone could come up with a better support system they most likely could get very rich from it.

War has taken it’s toll on me and most other vets.

It sure has. Very few that’s never been there will ever understand the price paid by our fighting men.

Go to a VAhospital and watch how many veterans walk with canes.

I’ve been there and seen them. Sometimes I think I’m not to far from needing a cane myself.

I don’t complain about my problems.

Most vets don’t.

It is worth every moment of pain, knowing that I fought to keep my country free.

You and me both. And every other vet that ever served in combat.

It would be nice if more of my countrymen supported our veterans,

Like treating them a little better maybe.

Maybe with a small donation to Wounded Warriors.

Very good idea.

BTW, When was you in country? I was there from Nov 66 to May 68. And again from Jan 70 to Mar 71. DaNang both times. I was sent CONUS because of Vietmanization.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2013 2:02 PM
Comment #360902

I spent one tour there Ron. I got in country about a month after the TET Offensive. I was in II Corp. with the 173rd Airborne Bge. around Ankhe and Bong Son. After about 6 months, I was transferred to a Mobile Advisory Team loacted about 30 miles south of Saigon in the “Plain of reeds”. A five man team assigned to the South Vietnamese. I was the small arms advisor.

Posted by: tdobson at January 25, 2013 2:39 PM
Comment #360913


“So, the question is, might it make more sense, for the sake of the men as well as the women to find some way to lighten this load, or support it better?”

If you can get America’s enemies to give us time out and special help to cross battlefields, we can do as you request.

Everybody is trying to find ways to lighten the loads and make them easier to carry. The problem is that it is a competitively deadly situation.

Your comment indicates the problem. Liberals will want to make the tests “fairer” so that women and weakling men can pass them. This will be okay if we don’t have an actual war. But in the case of a real emergency, women and weak men will die much faster and take others with them.

Posted by: C&J at January 25, 2013 5:09 PM
Comment #360916

So far, the discussion has centered around physical attributes in our warriors.

I know for certain that in hand-to-hand combat women have a distinct disadvantage.

Are there any psychological reasons that would make men better and more efficient warriors than women?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 25, 2013 5:38 PM
Comment #360920

Question: If the military draft was still in effect, would you want your sister, wife, or girlfriend drafted?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 25, 2013 5:51 PM
Comment #360924

There are minimum standards set to get into the military. Just about anyone that’s breathing can get in. It’s after that standards start getting tougher.
During Vietnam someone had to rated 4F before you wouldn’t be drafted. But someone rated 4F could enlist. They were usually put in support rolls. The combat rolls were the 1A rated enlistees or draftees.
Special forces such as the Green Berets, Marine Recon, SEALS, and SARS had very high standards and the DOR and washout rate was very high. They only wanted the best of the best in these jobs.
There was 80 of us that started SARS training together. They told us that that if we were lucky 5 of us would graduate. At the end of our training there was 3 of us that graduated.
I understand that that the Green Berets graduated 3 out of 100. The rest I have no idea.
I don’t really know what the washout rate for the infantry was. But most those poor guys manged to graduate and had the privilege of crawling around in the rice paddys and jungles. But then they needed more of them than any other MOS.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2013 6:52 PM
Comment #360946

I say, let’s look at reality; if women are in combat situations and are captured by the enemy, and most enemies today could care less about rules of engagement, these women will have their eyeballs raped out. This is the sorry truth of the matter. Could you imagine women troops being captured by Muslim fanatics’? They treat their own women like crap; what do you think they will do to American women. After they are savagely and continuously raped by Muslim men and then are stoned to death; what will be the cry from women’s groups or liberals? This is another in a long list of idiotic ideas by liberals.

Posted by: John at January 26, 2013 9:00 PM
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