Integration of Women in U.S. Combat Roles: A step backward?

Should women have just as much of a right and opportunity as men for work and for pay? Damn right. But should women get those things, based only on the fact that she is a woman? I don’t believe so.

For a truly equal society, it should be a society based on merit. If a woman displays equal amounts of capability, intellect, and other required criteria for an occupation, then she should be equally considered for that position. If she is faulted in any of the criteria, then she should not.

A highly debatable topic within this past year was the order from the Secretary of Defense opening all combat roles to women, as of January 1st, 2016.

Previously, any woman joining the military was limited to certain occupations usually within administration or supply. Now, women can fill any combat role that were once male only Military Occupational Specialties, or MOS. Those positions like infantry, reconnaissance, force reconnaissance, critical skill operators, and any special operations positions such as SEAL, Rangers, or the MARSOC Raiders (Marine Special Operations) are now open to women.

As a woman’s woman I celebrated such a feat for equality and progressivism. But, (yes there is a but) it didn’t play out so well.

Do I believe a woman should be allowed to assume and act out a combat position if she meets the physical and mental measures of that particular occupation? Yes. Hell yes. On the rarity, there are females of larger build, that have higher than average physical strength and therefore can endure the physical brutalities that come along with combat deployments. (Note my specific reference to physical). If that woman has the ambition to pursue a career as an infantrymen — aptly named — and is fully capable, then there should be no rules barring her the role. I fully support this. As I said, cheers and hoorahs, or oorahs — ugh, don’t get me started.

But things didn’t work out according to the utopian plan.

So, what should have happened from this new order was the one percent of females unleashing hell for the feminist movement, breaking physical and mental barriers previously set for all of woman-kind; causing mind blowing levels of impressiveness to the world. Which would no doubt lead to a movie deal. Disclaimer: I am not speaking for every single woman who has succeeded in passing the rigorous training required for these combat positions. I am sure that this type of film worthy reaction occurred in few cases. Check out the book Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield for some truly inspiring mental and physical feats by some bad ass women.

Unfortunately, what resulted was a lowering of the predetermined training criteria to meet newly enforced quotas; to place x number of women in the ranks. Women who were applying for these positions were failing out of the training due to physical inability. So much so, that they actually changed (lowered) the training qualifications to place these women into their desired occupation.

Lowering the qualifications to allow women into these positions is not equality, it is special treatment.

As of December 2016, the Marine Corps released a new set of qualifications based on gender and age, with lower scoring required of women and less demanding physical tasks.

In conclusion, the strength between men and women is relative, quantifiable yes. I am not disputing this. A woman can be substantially stronger than the average female counterpart, I am not disputing that either. I am disputing that women’s strength is not relative, in a functional capacity, to the strength of a man.

When both individuals are placed in the same combat scenario and expected to carry out the same amount of physical work, where does the relativity come into play there? We are talking about combat deployments, there are no controlled variables. Do the people in charge, setting these physical criteria, realize how this is going to pan out in the real-world combat scenario?

Like the enemy is going to take into consideration the female to male discrepancy and take it easy on her? Does she get a lighter workload then her male counterparts or expected to do less?

This could only lead to contentions about women being placed in the ranks, and it surely does. I’m not referring to the blatant sexism and misogyny that is prevalent in the armed forces, this is well known and not something I’m trying to dispute. But it does give credibility to the argument that really matters. When lives are on the line are you willing to lower standards?

I can not speak from direct experience, for I have never been employed by Uncle Sam, but I’ve been very closely connected to the military world and from a slightly nearer observer I have seen it, I have heard it. The discord is palpable at times. And it stems from the special treatment that is A. prescribed directly from those in charge, written within the rule book, and B, just the general treatment of women in our society; the privilege of being a woman.

To ensure a smooth and harmonious assimilation of the sexes in combat occupations, the Marine Corps has a newly formed division; the Marine Corps Force Integration Office (MCFIO), whose primary mission is to oversee, implement, and support ‘gender integration’ and ‘gender neutrality’ in the ranks. Fragmentary Order 4 to the Marine Corps Force Integration Campaign Plan, section (4) Conduct and Culture, addresses the potential issues of the “cultural shift” caused by women being all up in the men’s territory. End quote. Or something along those lines. The MCFIO states they are “prepared to meet this challenge” followed by a bunch of vague, equivocal statements and assures that any such “reductions in combat effectiveness will be addressed by effective leadership and gender-neutral standards”.

Why I think this is a step backward for the movement; hear me out on this one. Play out this scenario, as I have, because I have many loved ones that serve in the U.S. Military. A 200 pound male is a casualty in a combat zone. The only person able to aid this injured individual is a 130 pound female, who passed a lower level of physical testing requirements. A part of the physical testing is being able to carry an injured person, with a variation of carrying styles. Again keep in mind the differences in physical strength, and the testing used to deem this individual ‘qualified’. Okay, are you with me on this? That person will most likely die, because of this woman’s physical inability. By lowering the standards, standards that are set for a reason, they lower the entire capabilities, efficiency and safety of the entire platoon, squadron, team, etcetera. The US military is the world’s largest, most efficient, and most lethal. #Merica, #GoUSA #StarsandStripes #Budweiser #okaywegetit. It has become such, due to the standards and criteria required to A. get into the chosen branch of service, and B. be placed into a certain MOS. By changing these standards, the quality is lowered. Combat effectiveness is lowered.

It hurts, that things played out this way. Politics and semantics ruined a potentially good thing. I am all for women in combat roles, but the quota system in place needs to be abolished. These genetically endowed, bad ass women; the one percent, should be reppin’ hard when they succeed in their training. Otherwise, if you don’t meet the criteria, you don’t meet the criteria. Remember, that men also fail out of the training qualification for certain combat positions because they, as well, are not physically fit enough to carry out the role.

This saddens me, as I was once under the veil of feminist hype. Don’t get me wrong, I still rally behind the cause. But I am not one to deny the facts presented. I am an egalitarian, feminist, but I am also a realist. And to be a woman and claim true equality to the opposing sex, but to deny the physical inequality would be heinously ignorant. I have read articles and posts by leftist feminist bloggers whom blatantly deny this fact. The difference is there, it is biological. It is measurable, and quantified, and supported by average statistics, across the board. The rebuttal statement is usually something along the lines of, “well I have a girl friend who works out and can bench like just as much weight as any guy”. I don’t think statements like this even warrant a response. But I will give it, yes there are strong women, yes there are women of bigger build, higher muscle to fat ratios, that demonstrate strength and endurance comparable to the ‘male opponent’. They are exceptionally well-endowed with genetics. Does this type of woman represent a large percentage of the female population? That is rhetorical. I’ve also read some blogs pacifying the physical differences between males and females, acknowledging it as obvious, yet should be of no importance (again, note that we are referencing physical differences and nothing else). As you can see, based on an occupation like hmmm, say a combat role in the military, this physical inequality has an impact. And physically, a large percent of the female population is of smaller build, higher fat to muscle ratio, therefore lesser in strength, and because of those differences we are limited. And that should be acceptable. I accept this. If you are a woman and this truly bothers you, then may I suggest pursuing the hobby of hypertrophic training and androgenic anabolic steroids. This will truly make you an equal. Otherwise, don’t be foolish.

I will end this with the repetitious statement that I fully and unequivocally support women in combat roles in the military, and I feel like that can not be argued against. But I do not believe it is in the US military’s best interest to lower the physical criteria to meet set quotas. To date, enlisted women have succeeded in passing the screening, classification, qualification and continuation of their designated combat MOS. No woman has succeeded in passing the same qualifications required of officer candidate screening within a combat role.

Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Stephen Luttrell, Afghanistan.

Fragmentary Order 4 to the Marine Corps Force Integration Campaign Plan:

Click to access WISR_Implementation_Plan_USMC.pdf

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