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Question On Women In Combat  
User currently offlineLTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 50
Posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2400 times:

I was watching CNN and they were talking about a woman who graduated from West Point and died in Iraq. They said that the US doesn't allow any of its female soldiers to operate in the front line. Now my question is: does the US allow women in combat or are any such restrictions only for women in the US Army?

I'm curious because I thought that, given the times we're in, the gender barrier was already fully broken in the US military, just as Germany allows women in the front line since the beginning of this century, and just as the IDF allows women in combat operations since like the 1970's.

I know there's already a thread from this year on the subject but it doesn't really address my question.

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Azerbaijan, joined Oct 2003, 14096 posts, RR: 62
Reply 1, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2377 times:

Especially in guerilla wars like Iraq there exists no front line and no rear area. The same can happen during fast moving operations. During the Panama war, a support unit, which included many female US soldiers, suddenly found themselves surrounded by enemy troops and had to fight, which they did successfully.
In modern warfare, you can not really distinguish between combat and support troops.

Jan


User currently offlineKSYR From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2343 times:

Women are excluded from combat jobs in the US military such as infantry, armor, artillery, special operations, etc. In the Army they can fly Blackhawks and Kiowas, but not (IIRC) Apache gunships.

User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2334 times:



Quoting KSYR (Reply 2):
In the Army they can fly Blackhawks and Kiowas, but not (IIRC) Apache gunships.

Nope. They fly Apaches, and some are highly decorated for their combat service.

-UH60


User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 2215 times:

Well, in the British military, females are not allowed in 'combat' roles, however, there are grey areas.

For example, a female cannot be a member of the Infantry or special forces as a soldier. However, women CAN be involved with front line, combat units or Regiments as a supportist.

So, for example, a female cannot be a soldier of the Parachute regiment, Infantry, SAS, Gurkha's etc, however, they can be a supportist attached to said regiments, which means that they wear the beret badge of their 'home' unit but the beret of the unit or regiment they are attached to.
So for a driver in the paras, they would wear the beret badge of the Royal Logistics corps on their maroon beret (of the parachute regiment).

Non combat roles such as Logistics, Army Air Corps, Royal Military Police etc allow women.

However, here's the grey area, a female pilot of the Army Air Corps, will at some point fly into a hostile area, where the enemy may be present and so in theory are in a combat zone, which they shouldn't be, however, because they are in a non combat unit, they can be a member or said Corps.

Other such examples are:
Female medics, (who fly into war zones to pick up wounded soldiers), Female members of the Royal Artillery (which is non combat), however in Iraq, their soldiers and officers have been going out on patrols like the infantry would...

Wrighbrothers



Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13229 posts, RR: 77
Reply 5, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 2188 times:

Well the British Army has lost, I think, two females soldiers in Iraq already.
There are female fast jet RAF pilots, that's combat, at least one has been in action flying Harriers in Afghanistan.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26626 posts, RR: 75
Reply 6, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 2114 times:



Quoting LTU932 (Thread starter):
Now my question is: does the US allow women in combat or are any such restrictions only for women in the US Army?

No direct, front line combat. They can fly pretty much anything, however.

Quoting LTU932 (Thread starter):

I'm curious because I thought that, given the times we're in, the gender barrier was already fully broken in the US military

You would think. Then again, the US military still discriminates against gay people as well.

Quoting KSYR (Reply 2):
but not (IIRC) Apache gunships.

Like UH60 said, women have been flying Apaches for quite some time.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2078 times:

I've seen a lot of strong woman, so I don't understand why are women not allowed in combat etc. ???

User currently offlineZak From Greenland, joined Sep 2003, 1993 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2069 times:



Quoting AlexEU (Reply 7):
I've seen a lot of strong woman, so I don't understand why are women not allowed in combat etc. ???

strong woman or not, the hardships of the necessary physical stamina and power is just something women usually dont have. all the gear wont be lighter just because a woman has to carry it, and it usually already poses a very hard time on the vast majority of male grunts.
keep in mind that the most basic job of a grunt involves alot of walking and running in not so nice terrain with a shitload of things to carry.
i agree with what i think mr. ancorage once wrote here, the military doesnt discriminate against a specific type, but against everyone. the military, at the very least in those units designed for direct combat, has a job in a field that doesnt care for excuses, so if a woman cant carry that 30kg pack and navigate through those 30km of forest day in day out, she doesnt belong there, even if some hippie would say that its "unfair that the woman has to carry the same weight", its the reality of a grunt that the job involves heavy annoying things and alot of endurance.



10=2
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 9, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2023 times:

Women are serving in combat roles throughout the military, including Military Police, medics, truck drivers, pilots and aircrew, and many others. Combat MOS (military occupational specialty) are reserved for men for dual reasons. One is unit cohesion. Women serving in isolated areas with men leads to breakdowns in unit discipline. The pregnancy rates for females serving overseas is quite high, and one of the bigger problems in discipline to be found these days. You can't stop men and women who are far from home and lonely from finding each other. Anyone who thinks so has never served in such conditions.

Women also, for the most part, cannot perform the same tasks as men. They don't have the same upper body strength, cannot carry the same loads and are problematic once a month with emotional and physical issues. These are facts and not prejudices.

Women do well in many combat conditions, but the efforts expended and attentions devoted to women in the military is a distraction, and women at risk of becoming POWs are a real issue for us.

Like it or not, there are differences and some of them actually matter. Unless we were down to the very survival of our nation then it probably isn't worthwhile attempting to integrate combat units.

Quoting LTU932 (Thread starter):
Germany allows women in the front line since the beginning of this century,

Not in infantry units. Go check

Quoting LTU932 (Thread starter):
the IDF allows women in combat operations since like the 1970's.

Women in Israeli defense forces have been included in combat roles since before 1948....out of necessity. Women in the USSR during the war served as snipers and other specialty roles. But they were never included in standard infantry formations other than at times of desperation. There are too many problems no matter where you go.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 6):
No direct, front line combat. They can fly pretty much anything, however.

MPs are in direct combat and go on patrols constantly. The definition of direct front line combat has changed over the last several years, and when there are barracks to go back to the standards can change for a unit. But a field army has to remain segregated.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 6):
You would think. Then again, the US military still discriminates against gay people as well.

The US Army doesn't discriminate against gay people...it discriminates against open homosexual behaviour. I know that's cutting a very fine edge there, and seems hypocritical, but there's another issue entirely. For the same fraternization and unit cohesion reasons that you don't have men and women sharing showers you shouldn't force people attracted to each other physically to share facilities and put them in close combat environments with no outlets or regular respites. It'll cause a problem that you can't stop. Homosexuals serve in the US military today. Many in combat units. Most have the good sense to avoid letting their sexuality be known in order to keep the unit bound as tightly as needed without fear of sexual tensions of any kind.


Quoting AlexEU (Reply 7):
I've seen a lot of strong woman, so I don't understand why are women not allowed in combat etc. ???

Because most women cannot firemans carry a 200 pound man. Most women cannot carry a hundred pounds of gear and weapons and ammo for 30 miles. Most women are physically more at risk than men, and have regular emotional and physical challenges that an army must account for, whether it's polite to mention it or not.

There are women who have served valiantly and honorably in combat and non-combat roles under fire. Won well deserved medals for valor and heroism. I've got zero issue with women in all but a few roles in the military, and those are generally confined to line units that have to exist for long periods in the field and move on their feet carrying what they need on their backs. I'd probably not have an issue with women in armor except for the fact that it's close quarters in the field even in armor.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26626 posts, RR: 75
Reply 10, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2015 times:



Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):

The US Army doesn't discriminate against gay people...it discriminates against open homosexual behaviour. I know that's cutting a very fine edge there, and seems hypocritical, but there's another issue entirely.

It doesn't seem hypocritical, it is hypocritical and just plain wrong.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
For the same fraternization and unit cohesion reasons that you don't have men and women sharing showers you shouldn't force people attracted to each other physically to share facilities and put them in close combat environments with no outlets or regular respites.

That was the argument 15 years ago and it is just as invalid now as it was then. I don't hear of members of Her Majesty's Army having mass orgies simply because openly gay people serve.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2005 times:

Someone once told me that an MP was a non-combat MOS.










They lied.

In the same way, limiting women to "non-combat" MOSs does nothing to keep their jobs non-combat.


User currently onlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8655 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1970 times:

Our enemies would probably hate being shot dead by well-equipped and well trained women soldiers. It would ruin their machismo pretty fast. Other than being dead already, being killed by a woman would be something new.



Seems ok to me.  Smile


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 13, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1960 times:



Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
Women serving in isolated areas with men leads to breakdowns in unit discipline. The pregnancy rates for females serving overseas is quite high, and one of the bigger problems in discipline to be found these days.

One very important fact you failed to mention is the rape rate - which may be about the same as the pregancy rate.

There has not been a single reported case of a US miltary female sexually assualted by an Iraqi since those captured in the 1991 war - to be fair all the males captured were also sexually assualted.

However, there have been several rapes of US military females by US military men in Iraq. Secretary Donald Rumsfeld even ordered investigations and statistics prepared, which though years old are still classified.

I'll go back to what our command Master Chief told us in 1993 when the first female was assigned to our squadron "She is somebody's sister, somebody's daughter. If you cannot treat her like you would want your sister or daughter treated - you don't belong in our Navy."


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 14, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1931 times:



Quoting N1120A (Reply 10):
It doesn't seem hypocritical, it is hypocritical and just plain wrong.

I disagree. It happens

Quoting N1120A (Reply 10):
That was the argument 15 years ago and it is just as invalid now as it was then. I don't hear of members of Her Majesty's Army having mass orgies simply because openly gay people serve.

Different societal standards, and if you can tell me whether homosexual behaviour is tolerated in the barracks of an infantry unit and your source for that information I'd appreciate it. I'll say that European standards for behaviour are definitely different in many ways to ours here, and the cultural differences can seem slight but run deep. Now...you use "mass orgies" as a means to reduce the argument to the ridiculous, and that's deflection. You ignore reality in order to meet your own standards.

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 13):
One very important fact you failed to mention is the rape rate - which may be about the same as the pregancy rate.

The rape and pregnancy rates in the deployed troops is one of the military's worst problems, and it's getting very little attention by the press for some reason. It's better than it was due to serious attention being put on the subject within the command structure, but it's still not good. One of the issues is that rape has been shown to be claimed when sexual contact is discovered as a means of avoiding disciplinary measures on occasion and that makes it more difficult for the actual victims of rape to find justice.

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 13):
If you cannot treat her like you would want your sister or daughter treated - you don't belong in our Navy."

And that's the problem with women in line units right there. You can't treat her differently, and in some jobs the physical requirements would have to be lowered for women to participate.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineStratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1653 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1930 times:



Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
Because most women cannot fireman's carry a 200 pound man

That is pretty much true...That is why I hate political correctness. We have females that are in fire dept that cannot pass the physical agility test but are there for PC and that is not right. If you cannot do the job you don't need to be there. Hell I cannot pass the physical test either. As far as the war? Well part of it is physical agility but some of it is that we will not let women serve in a front line unit because in a conventional war because of the risk of capture and torture and rape (in the case of women) which seems more acceptable for males then females. But we now let women fly combat aircraft so in my opinion the risk is there as much as a front line person.



NWA THE TRUE EVIL EMPIRE
User currently offlineMike89406 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1467 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1926 times:



Quoting N1120A (Reply 10):
Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):

The US Army doesn't discriminate against gay people...it discriminates against open homosexual behaviour. I know that's cutting a very fine edge there, and seems hypocritical, but there's another issue entirely.

It doesn't seem hypocritical, it is hypocritical and just plain wrong.



Quoting DL021 (Reply 14):
I disagree. It happens

Even though it may be discrimination there are also rules of conduct to married couples. You're not supposed to show public displays of affection while on duty in uniform meaning that more than normal display of affection other than hugs or a regular kiss so I think it's safe to say the military doesn't look highly on sexuality displays in the line of duty straight or gay. So the gay policy is just a part of that although the military has the policy.

Quite honestly I have only been approached about affection displays with my wife once at a enlisted ball just becuase I was in a dress uniform and kissing my wife while we were dancing. It's not normally enforced but can be if needed.

Be it as it may though I don't make the rules so dont shoot me Im just the messenger.


User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1888 times:



Quoting N1120A (Reply 10):
That was the argument 15 years ago and it is just as invalid now as it was then. I don't hear of members of Her Majesty's Army having mass orgies simply because openly gay people serve

You obviously haven't been to one of the guards regiments barracks recently  Wink

'The guards...the butt of my jokes since 2007'...

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 11):
Someone once told me that an MP was a non-combat MOS.

Our RMP is technically non-combat, yet they have to have the same level of fitness as the infantry as 'they go where ever the infantry go'...

Quoting Mike89406 (Reply 16):
Even though it may be discrimination there are also rules of conduct to married couples. You're not supposed to show public displays of affection while on duty in uniform meaning that more than normal display of affection other than hugs or a regular kiss so I think it's safe to say the military doesn't look highly on sexuality displays in the line of duty straight or gay. So the gay policy is just a part of that although the military has the policy.

Indeed, it works both ways, for example, a straight couple in barracks cannot have sex, much the same as gay and lesbian couples.

Wrighbrothers



Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13229 posts, RR: 77
Reply 18, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1861 times:

Another problem is that most males, are hard wired to be more protective towards females.
A good thing but maybe not in combat.
Where everyone should equally protect and be protected by their comrades.

But really, it seems that only the infantry and Special Forces are likely to remain closed to females in most Western Armies for the future.
If they can go into battle in ships, subs, combat aircraft and helicopters, as they are now, they are on the front line already, that caveat has long gone.

But the particular demands of the infantry, are a barrier physically, not to all by any means, but to the majority of females.
Anyone seem the training for the Para's, Marines, or for serving troops, to transfer to the SAS/SBS, the first two have very high dropout rates in training, often through injury, which women would be more prone to in many cases.
The SF people, fail most of the serving soldiers who try to join them too.

The women have some advantages, being more resistant to pain generally is one, but for all the lighter weapons, lighter ammo (meaning they carry more of it and more gizmos on their rifles), infantry training in any decent army mitigates against the female gender, physically.

But now we do have women in many of the supporting arms, as has happened, in many instances they could find themselves in combat. (Tell the 6 RMP's killed in Iraq in 2003 that they were 'non combat' too).
But what if there was a situation where large numbers of supporting arms troops had to assume an infantry role, almost certainly in counter-insurgency operations, when we now have so many of these units mixed gender?

Because it's happened before, in the case of the UK, prior to large scale integration of females across regiments.
When in the early/mid 70's, the situation in Northern Ireland was at it's most grim, there were 'surges' of British troops, for some periods up to 22,000, about 10,000 more than the average between 1969-1997.
The army was half as big again then, compared to now, but with NATO commitments, 55,000 in Germany and the same number to re-inforce them in war.
The army was forced to take whole units, transport, armour, artillery, engineers etc, re-fresh their basic soldiering skills, then rapid but intense counter insurgency training, from that, on to the streets of Northern Ireland, in the days when full scale firefights with the IRA, as well as rioting, bombings etc, was far more prevalent than it would later be.

If similar was to happen now, anywhere, UK, Europe (Balkans again?), and support units were 're-roled', the final barrier to women in combat on the ground, would be broken.
I suspect that integration is so embedded now, simply taking the women out of the units, would defeat the object of the exercise, to put more boots on the ground fast.

Some might say that this is all sexism dressed up as concern, but mother nature is really the reason why the fairer sex is not cut out for the infantry/SF.
It's not like the forces want Rambo types, big muscled up types.
With the toughest of them all, the opposite seems true.

In late 1999, on a late shift at work, we had the SAS in our hangar, using a neighboring BA 747-400 to practice forced entry through the various doors, approach without being seen, etc.
They had all the gear, respirators, flack jackets, Heckler and Koch weapons.
At the end of this, they asked if they could see inside a Concorde, not for training, just curious.
So I escorted them on board, I'm 5 ft 7-8 ish, most of these guys were an inch or two shorter, age wise late 20's to early 40's, nearly all of a quite stocky build, not a Stallone look a like in sight.
But not short like most fit (in the exercise way-calm down!), women.
These men were clearly right for the demands of the SAS, where the training includes very long, often solo, marches in tough terrain in bad weather, carrying a heavy load.

(As an aside, when I was in the cockpit expalining the systems etc, I have never felt the full, rapt attention, like I was under then, it was palpable, you could feel them taking all the information in, any questions were informed too).


User currently offlineFumanchewd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1849 times:



Quoting N1120A (Reply 10):
I don't hear of members of Her Majesty's Army having mass orgies simply because openly gay people serve.

That's one of those hidden perks.

Some like to keep the fishing hole secret.  Wink


User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days ago) and read 1796 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
Anyone seem the training for the Para's, Marines, or for serving troops, to transfer to the SAS/SBS, the first two have very high dropout rates in training, often through injury, which women would be more prone to in many cases.
The SF people, fail most of the serving soldiers who try to join them too

Indeed, SF, para and marines are only open to women if they are in a supportist unit such as logistics.
So far no woman has completed the parachute regiment 'P Coy' and the first woman only passed Marine training a year or two ago (an officer on her third attempt, having failed her first two attempts).
As far as I am aware there are not any women in the S/F support wings, although unlike their Marines and para counterparts, S/F supportists do not have to do selection.

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
It's not like the forces want Rambo types, big muscled up types.
With the toughest of them all, the opposite seems true.

Nope, it's a well know fact that the vast majority of guys who do selection who you would perhaps beleive to 'be' special forces (massive muscles, able to run for years and the such) are amoung the first to fail, while the thin, stick like men who look more like an office worker than any form of soldier are the ones who pass.

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
have never felt the full, rapt attention, like I was under then, it was palpable, you could feel them taking all the information in, any questions were informed too

Special forces soldiers are probably some of the most mature (and no offence to the infantry guys etc) and interlectual soldiers around, the reason is the special forces want all rounders, and their style of operational procedures is of a small, close knit team who are multi-skilled.
The main reaosn is you have to be able to take over if the need arises and due to the nature of what they do, you don't want immature people who mess around or go blabbign to their mates about what they did last weekend etc. But selection takes care of that, and they get rid of the 'passengers' (or 'cowboys' as they are know) who are just there to 'give it a go' or go their with the wrong ideas, dont think it doesn't happen either...

Wrighbrothers

[Edited 2008-01-02 07:31:49]


Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
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