[LMB] Women in Combat

Bart Kemper bkemper at bigdogz.com
Sun, 03 Feb 2002 12:56:52 -0600

Danielle wrote:

 > However, the majority of the female
 > "performers"...those troops that are soldiers and not just
 > holding up a  uniform, routinely score very high on the PT
 > tests, whereas there is a  lot more struggling on the male side
 >  to keep up with the high-end of the  standards.>>
 > Bart, I really respect you, both as a fellow listie, and the
 > fact that we do both wear the same uniform, so please tell me
 > that you DON'T think a woman who doesn't score exceptionally
 > well on the APFT is less of a soldier than a PT goddess.  My
 > score stays around 240ish (80 80 80), so I definitely don't
 > include myself in the PT goddess category.  The main benefit of
 >  PT, other than being able to run away from the People Trying To
 >  Kill You When Your Vehicle Breaks Down, is as you mention in
 > another message, the endurance factor.  It's just as important
 > whether you're in the field as it is when you work 3 12-hour
 > shifts (16 after you get PT and assorted Army BS added on)
 > back-to-back-to-back.

Clarification:  I'm saying that if you take the population of 
soldiers, truncate the marginal performers overall (not PT only--I 
hate those who judge soldiers solely on their PT scores), that it 
seems easier for a physically fit woman of 30 to score 240 on her 
test than a man to score 240 on his.  Part of this is since we all 
do PT together, the women are pushed to do "proportionally" (can't 
think of a better word) more stuff when you look at teh score 
requirements.  If a woman can hang with the guys, she automatically 
is a stud on the female scale, whereas the guys, esp. older troops 
with accumulated knee, back, shoulder, ankle damage typical of 
combat arms have to struggle more to make that 240.  Agree 
wholeheartedly the main thrust should be the endurance and 
health...but in the officer and enlisted side there is a LOT of 
emphasis on PT over performance...or more aptly, equating PT 
performance with the soldier's total performance.  I can sorta maybe 
halfway buy it with a private, but from SGT on up there is a LOT 
more going on.

 >>> You can be given an Article 15, lose a
 > stripe and pay, for getting sunburned offduty badly enough you
 > can't do  your duties--you are responsible for your actions.
 > Women are excluded  from this when it comes to biology, to
 > include dealing with periods,  hormone swings, etc.>>
 > Out of curiosity, where have you seen women get away with this?
 >  We certainly don't get to go home and lie down with cold
 > compresses - much as it sounds like a nice idea on some days.
 > Although, actually, mild exercise does help with the pain and
 > cramps.  Although you won't get an AR15 for sunburn if you can
 > prove it wasn't your fault.  We had a friend at DLI who was
 > given amoxicilin, not told it would increase his sensitivity to
 >  sun, and went skiing.  On the flip side of the argument, we
 > had the Marine detatchment at DLI barred by their command from
 > some of the activities around DLI because too many of them were
 >  getting hurt in off-duty hours (serious injuries, including
 > head injuries), mostly as a result of taking chances they
 > shouldn't have.

I've known nurses to pull this, f'crying out loud.  (But my mom saw 
the same thing back in her day...people are still people.) I've seen 
  a female do it in the 82nd...and was transferred out shortly there 
after by an irate female 1st sgt.  I saw a bunch of HQ types in 
XVIII ABN Corps do it during an FTX.  In Honduras a female failed to 
keep up with her hygiene and developed Toxic Shock Syndrome...after 
which 6 other females started claiming similar symptoms to get 
medevaced. I've had female soldiers come up to be as a Reservist 
telling me "regs say we have to have a shower every night", at which 
point I ask them to bring me the regs....but as I've said, I had 
females leaders mentor me on how to deal with female-specific 
issues.  I'm not saying all or most of the women are like this...and 
most get weeded out.  However, when you get higher in the food chain 
you see more of it come your way.  As I've said before....these 
things are not because they are females and therefore females don't 
belong in the service....these are weak people or poor performers 
who will find whatever loophole or excuse to get what they want at 
the expense of the mission and the unit.

Yep...if you can prove it wasn't your fault *and* the boss wants to 
hear you, you can avoid punishment.  And yep, have seen groups 
penalized for mass stupidity that interfered with training.  The 
greatest source for lost time during the Gulf War (Shield, Storm, 
etc.) was not hostile action or heat, but sports.

Danielle has pointed out that the military *does* provide 
birthcontrol upon demand, something that has been encorporated and 
further developed for Betan society.  She also has confirmed there 
are those women that will become preganant (regardless of the 
outcome for the male or the child!!!) to avoid a 
deployment....something that seems to not be an issue in Betan 
society because the women is expected to be just as responsible for 
these actions as anything else within her control.