Women now allowed in combat

Women in combat illustration

Michael Edwards / Clarion

Ana Bon, Artistic Director

Uniforms ill-fitted, they sacrificed their long hair, wrapped their breasts and filled the waist of their trousers. This was the process, risking body and mind to be able to fight for their country. Women, disguised as men, dating back to the Revolutionary and Civil War.

Such actions will no longer be necessary as the military has eliminated gender restrictions and all combat roles are now open to women. Giving women the opportunity to prove themselves.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the news on Dec. 3 during a speech at the Pentagon.

More than 200,000 military jobs have been opened including, but not limited to: infantry, armor, driving tanks, operation units, riflemen, and leading soldiers into combat.

“They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers, and everything else that was previously open only to men,” announced Carter during his speech. “We are a joint force and I have decided to make a decision which applies to the entire force.”

“No one knows how women will perform in these roles unless they are given an opportunity to do the job,” stated Sherri Barrett.

Barrett, a veteran and recent graduate from Madison College, served in the army as a sergeant and never felt held back by her gender.

“Don’t ever feel as though gender is an excuse to be held back,” added Barrett. “If I ever encountered a challenge, I had the confidence instilled in me to fall back on, which made the challenge easier to handle.”

She has been through advanced individual training and as an 88M, heavy wheeled vehicle driver.

“I was sent on several special assignments during my career,” stated Barrett. “I never felt as though my gender was ever an issue.”

Barrett doesn’t recall anyone prohibiting her to do something. In fact, she felt encouraged by her comrades.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for women. I think that it is overdue, however, I think it is important to understand that women have been in combat for a long time,” shared Barrett. “Women are on the front lines during war, we are firing our weapons, manning observation towers, we are fighting right along the side of men.”

Yes, eligibility is given, but women still have to pass tests and meet standards to prove qualification, just like every other soldier.

Only time will tell how well the military can integrate women into all roles of our armed forces.

Guidelines to Integrate Women into Combat Roles

The guidelines are as follows:

  1. Implementation will be pursued with the objective of improved force effectiveness.
  2. Leaders must assign tasks and jobs throughout the force based on ability, not gender.
  3. Equal opportunity likely will not mean equal participation by men and women in all specialties, and there will be no quotas.
  4. Studies conducted by the services and the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) indicate that on average there are physical and other differences between men and women, and implementation will take this into account.
  5. The department will address the fact that some surveys suggest that some service members, men and women, will perceive that integration could damage combat effectiveness.
  6. Particularly in the specialties that are newly open to women, survey data and the judgment of service leaders indicate that the performance of small teams is important.
  7. The United States and some of its closest friends and allies are committed to having militaries that include men and women, but not all nations share this perspective.