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Women in Combat

The military has been revisiting and rewriting a lot of policy in the past couple years, the biggest of which include the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and now with the opening of various combat roles to women. Granted this is not a wide open doorway yet because Commanders have the ability to define and compile a list of roles which may still be male only as the lift on the ban doesn’t hit its final phase until 2016. It is however a start to fully equalized armed forces unit. Is it a good thing however?

There are many people who are dead set against women having direct combat role, and these are often the people who don’t realize women have been in combat roles for a while, personally I know a handful of female fighter pilots. Medics, Flight Nurses, Combat Engineers, etc all have women currently fulfilling those roles. The lifted ban only covers the units such as infantry, armored, and special operations.Which as much as I am for equal rights, I hesitate to see as a bad thing in some situations.

Now of the arguments against having women in combat, some I agree with and others I find ridiculous. One such argument is that any male soldier upon seeing a female soldier (marine, airman, etc) get shot next to them would have a much harder time dealing with that scenario, due to the male instinct to protect women, and might retaliate in a non-sanctioned manner. I can’t say I have ever been deployed, or in an actual combat, I have been in a number of realistic training missions however. I can tell you from my experience you care about on your team like you are family, closer in some cases, and in the moment when it goes to hell it doesn’t matter who gets hit, male/female the line disappears.

What does make sense to me is the hesitation to open all roles due to the physical requirements currently set in place, the standards are their for a reason, and right now no matter what branch of the military there are separate physical requirements for males and females. A separation like this can not exist in certain career fields, especially the special operations fields. My fear is that in this demand for equality there may enter a group of soldiers who are less capable in roles where physical capabilities are everything. I have no doubt that there are women who would have little trouble passing these requirements, but in the back of my mind I find myself thinking of the scenario where I’m injured, unable to walk and the Spec Ops medic that comes to get me is a woman, in that moment I don’t want to have to wonder if she is going to be able to carry me and my gear out a hazardous area, I want to know.

There also is the issue of what happens if the unit commander is a woman in an area of the world where a woman will not be looked upon as a leader, or with the respect necessary to operate in that territory. At that point the mission is put at risk because the locals will not cooperate with that unit.

In the end it’s a touchy issue, with  many unanswered questions that have 3 years to be worked out. Hopefully in that time the details will be worked out so that the best options for all involved is in place. Until then, we get to talk.

Two men on a walk

As I sat in my car this morning, stuck in traffic on I-94,  I flipped on the radio with the hope to catch something interesting to pass the time. As it so happened at that particular moment on 89X the the DJ’s brought up a topic which I never really put a lot of thought into, and almost made me laugh at worried people were about something so trivial. The topic? Is it ok for two men to go on a walk together?

Now my first thought was ” who cares”, but then I began to question when the last time I actually went on a walk with another guy just to walk and it occurred o me that I couldn’t. Whether or not this is simply a coincidence or perhaps I’ve been subconsciously avoiding such a situation I do not know, but from the reactions of the varies callers who responded to the question one got the feeling that among men there is an unspoken rule the two or more bros can not go for a stroll.

I came in at the middle of this topic so I cannot comment on what any callers may have said before, but the responses from the men who called reminded me of the gender stereotyping that is rampant in our society. Almost every single guy who called in said they wouldn’t be caught dead going for a walk with another man unless it was in one of the following contexts: 1) They had just finished running and were cooling down 2) were on their way to a bar to do “manly” things and pick up girls 3) were carrying a football or some sort of sports equipment.

What surprised me the most about the callers, were the women who called in and agreed that two guys going for a walk would make them suspicious as to whether they might be gay or not. Great, so now on top of working out religiously to maintain my Photoshop-esque physic, denying the fact that I possess emotions, and fighting off bears with nothing but a rock and my cunning charm. I now have to watch out to make sure I’m not caught walking next to another male or I risk losing my man card.

Personally I don’t care what other people other people think, but it’s sad  that the culture of today has gotten to the point that every action, no matter how small will be used to judge a person’s masculinity/femininity. People should just be allowed to be people without worrying whether or not they are meeting a standard…and they should be able to walk with whoever they want.

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