Bottom line: I was a female soldier in the combat zone. So why do I feel so uncomfortable about formalizing women’s placement in combat roles? I did a lot of soul-searching about why this bothered me so much. Ultimately, though, I’ve discovered there’s nothing I should be uncomfortable about.
When I first read that Defense Secretary Panetta had lifted the ban on women in combat roles, I felt queasy. While I left the military for the private sector in late 2011, I spent the first decade of my adult life in the Army, half of it on active duty as a Military Police officer. I have led and served alongside extraordinarily tough and competent leaders, male and female, while deployed in Iraq and in training all over the world. This was personal.
Yet, even as a woman who had been to combat, I couldn’t endorse lifting the ban. The more I examined my prejudices, though, I realize that they were just that — prejudices. Keep reading »
I’m slightly baffled as to why Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler would take to Facebook, of all places, for input on changes to the Army grooming standards. Maybe he thought his Facebook pals were the best people to solicit advice on the Army’s consideration of a ban on French manicures, earrings and ponytails? Keep reading »
During World War II, when the United States faced a pilot shortage, more than 1,100 women filled the gap. Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) served as civilian volunteers from 1942 to 1944, flying new planes from factories to military bases, testing planes, and towing targets to give gunners training (they flew planes with a moving target attached so military men could practice their shooting skills — yikes).
At first, people weren’t sure whether they could handle flying military aircraft. But at the final WASP graduation ceremony, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces, Henry “Hap” Arnold, acknowledged the lady pilots’ abilities, saying, “Now, in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men.” Keep reading »