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Women in the Military: Should They Serve in Combat Roles?

U.S. defense officials last week gave the green light to women taking on the same combat jobs that are open to their male counterparts. Tell us if you agree with the policy change.

Women in the U.S. military could one day become members of the elite special operations forces and take on other combat roles previously reserved only for men.

The Associated Press reported last week that American defense officials signed an order overturning a nearly two-decade-old rule that prohibited women from being assigned thousands of jobs in the areas of front-line artillery, infantry, special operations and more.

Military officials will now have until mid-May to develop plans for allowing women to seek the once-prohibited combat positions, but three years to make cases for certain positions remaining closed to women.

Some are skeptical of the change in policy. In a column published on CNN, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin says allowing women to serve in combat roles “crosses a line worthy of greater deliberation and public debate” and is effectively “testing a hypothesis that may impair the military effectiveness of our ground forces.”

“The American public … should not sit back and leave the brave members of our armed forces susceptible to the whims of ideology,” Boykin writes. “Men and women can serve together in the armed forces productively, but that service needs to be prudently structured in a manner that reflects the differences between the sexes and the power of their attractions.”

George Will on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos questioned whether military leaders would change physical fitness requirements so the presence of women on the battlefield won’t have a negative impact.

“You’re 6’4″, 240-pound Marine, and you’re injured, and you need a Marine next to you to carry you back to safety, and the Marine next to you is a 5’4″ woman who weighs 115 pounds. It’s relevant,” Will said.

David Wood, senior military correspondent for The Huffington Post, says he experienced firsthand one of the jobs currently closed to women—gun loader on an M1A2 Abrams tank. Despite the physicality of that job, he thinks it’s one a female soldier could be capable of doing.

“Tank loader and Marine rifleman are two of those jobs currently closed to women,” Wood writes. “Judging by my experience, at least, I see no reason why women couldn't do either.

“But it ain't easy.”

-- Should women in the U.S. military be allowed in combat roles?

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Contributed by Jon Gargis, Editor of the Marietta Patch

Steven Hamlet January 30, 2013 at 02:01 PM
It's really not a question if women can handle combat. Israel proved with women in the infantry that they can be some of the best fighters In the battle feild. Israel also learned that it doesn't work and removed them from the Infantry. They found that when a woman is killed or injured the men stopped fighting.
Keith FitzPatick January 30, 2013 at 03:23 PM
The real issue is physical strength. Right now there are separate physical fitness standards for men and women. For example, a 21 year old woman get 100 points on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) for doing 42 pushups and a 17 year old man gets 60 points for doing that same number of pushups. (41 pushups for a man results in a test failure) My personal experience at ROTC Advance Camp and Officer Basic Course where all cadets and junior officers participate in basic infantry training was that women could not keep up carrying their lightly loaded rucksacks on road marches. We were not carrying a week’s worth of food and a combat load of ammunition. That said, I think if a woman can meet the same physical standards as a man, she should be given the opportunity to serve in a combat position.
Destiny Caceres January 30, 2013 at 08:13 PM
The issue might be about phsical strenght BUT understand where we Women are coming from we want to protect our country just as much as MEN do and im not saying there is nothing wrong with that. But come on now we women have come a long way to showing men that we are not just house wives and stay at home moms but we are more and we are equal just like men.

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