Thursday, October 15, 2015

Women Can Do Anything, Even in Combat So Why All the Fuss?

Women Can Do Anything and History Shows It So Why Any Debate?

Recently I read an editorial in my local paper that really perturbed me.  In fact, it offended me and I had to respond, which led to the basis for this post. It's no surprise that it was written by a man.  Here's the full transcript of the offending, backward newspaper article:
     "As the U.S. Military falls under increasing pressure to remove gender barriers within its ranks, a new Marine Corps study should give everyone pause.
    According to the study, all-male ground combat squads were faster, stronger and more lethal in most cases than units that included women. The women also suffered higher injury rates.
     The Marine Corps has not said whether it will ask for an exception to a Pentagon order that requires it-as well as all other military branches-to open all occupations to women beginning next year. even if is asked for an exception, there's no guarantee the Pentagon would grant it.
     This obsession with gender quality, though, comes with a price-and it could be high when you're talking about ground troops coming under attack. A fighting unit is only as strong as its weakest link. If women slow down a combat unit or require more protection than men, it doesn't only put the female soldiers at risk. It also endangers their male colleagues.
     Women are not as physically strong as men, and strength is a critical attribute in battle. For centuries, this country recognized those simple facts and kept women out of combat roles. Nothing has changed about the physical differences between the sexes. What has changed is the rise of this flawed notion that men and women are interchangeable."
     Copyright 2015, The Yazoo Herald, Wednesday, September 23, 2015. 


I’m writing this post in response to the editorial, “Women not best for ground combat.” First, as a women that served her country successfully in the United States military, I was offended by the comments. Not to mention greatly perturbed at such backward thinking. I have seen firsthand that women can do anything a man can do. Some women can even do a great many things better than a man can do. It doesn’t take rocket science or brute strength to fire any weapon, drive a tank, fly a plane, or stab an enemy to death. Some women are even better at it. Think not?
Women in U.S. Army Ranger training 2015.

    As for the “new Marine Corps study”, any half-thinking person knows that studies can be manipulated to side with any argument. I know as a woman veteran that successfully served alongside and lived with men aboard a military vessel that some men, a great many in fact, don’t have the brain power or physical strength required to do a job, and it is a woman that carries up the slack. Fact is, some women are stronger, both physically and mentally than man are. I know. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. I was in situations where I had to calm a panicked man down during war games. War games-not an actual war. In fact, I once had to calm down a twenty five year veteran of the Marine Corps for freaking out during a scuba diving course. He panicked and couldn’t do the course. I did, successfully. Yes, some women are weaker, but so are some men. To say that women will slow down a combat unit, or is their weakest link is an ignorant, sexist and blanket statement. There are men that also fill this role. I’ve seen women, myself included that are better at shooting than their male comrades. Not all women are “fragile, or lesser in strength” than men.
3 marines in Musa Qala, Afghanistan in 2010. (Time .com)

     It’s time to recognize that women can do anything that a man can do, successfully. It is high time to realize that, although physical differences between the sexes hasn’t changed, what has changed is that some people, both men and women have recognized that in combat, women can kill, slaughter and maim just as well as a man can, even more so. Most other civilized countries in the world including Israel and the United Kingdom have no problem putting women into combat. They know that women can effectively do the job. The United States Coast Guard knew that and had no problem opening all jobs in 1976, including boarding, law enforcements and search and rescue to women. I was a rescue swimmer. I am proud to say that I served aboard the first United States warship that had permanently assigned women on board. Other military services were slow to follow, but eventually did. Women now serve and fill every role in the military except for combat. Ask my husband which person he’d like to have back him up in a hostile situation such as ground combat and his response would be, the most qualified, not necessarily “a man.” Two women just completed the U.S. Army Ranger School without accommodation to their sex, and I’m willing to bet hands down that they could kill any enemy without any difficulty, or by slowing things down. Should they now, after all that training on tax dollars dime and hard work be relegated away into an office for their safety? No. Every woman, as every man that joins the military knows that that may see combat. Many relish the thought, women included. For those still living in the stone age, stop thinking as if you’re living a hundred years ago. One day soon, something may happen and you’ll need help, and won’t you be surprised that it is a woman, not a man that saves you? Woman can do anything. I ought to know. No one claims men and women are interchangeable, just the fact that women can do anything a man can do, sometimes better.

     What do you think of women in combat? Do you think women shouldn’t be in combat? Why or why not?
     U.S. Army Specialist Erica Taliaferro on patrol in in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, March 2012. (

Meanwhile, here’s a view from the other side of the coin, from a man that supports women in combat.

Regarding Women in Combat and the question of whether they can handle it or not, I would like to set facts straight. I served in the United States Coast Guard and the third and last ship I was assigned to was the first U.S. Combat Vessel with Women permanently assigned. They worked alongside Men in ALL Military job specialties. These Women were all dedicated, hardworking individuals, and policed themselves well, as they had a higher standard than most Men. I have seen many Women who are physically stronger than many Men, and if a Woman can do the job, why should her sex matter? In today’s highly technical combat arena, sheer brawn and physical strength do not matter as much as in days past. Drive, dedication, and will are what win wars. Women have successfully served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite not being in “combat roles”, they have been in combat situations and have proven their mettle. Men have not been the only ones that have died or been maimed during those two battles. We do not have to go too far back in history to see how Women have proven themselves on the battlefields. During World War II, Russia, the most lethal snipers were Women. They racked up incredible numbers of kills against the Germans, who were terrified of them. Women make the best pilots, as they have greater hand-eye coordination necessary to effectively fly a plane.  As a Man who has worked alongside Women in both the Military and in Law Enforcement, it really makes me angry that Women are still considered “second class citizens”. Do not ever denigrate the contribution Women have made to the battlefield. I never have and I never will. We have just begun to see how far Women will go in the military. I am proud of those women that make the ultimate sacrifice of volunteering to join the military, fighting alongside, and dying with and for their male comrades, if need be, and you should, too.


Klavdiya Kalugina, one of the youngest Soviet female snipers (age 17 at the start of her military service in 1943. )

For more information:




History in the making: 2 women will graduate from Army Ranger course:

Women In Military Service for America Memorial: 


Until next time, I wish you well. Have a great day, a great week and a great month.  May all your dreams come true. Be Safe. Be happy. Show compassion. Be kind to one another, especially those without a voice. Don't share your personal information just because one asks for it.  

    S.J. Francis
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