Essay about Women in Combat

Submitted By Patroclus
Words: 3155
Pages: 13

Women in Combat in the U.S. Armed Forces

Chivalry, back in the day (Medieval Times), was when a man, usually a knight, completely devoted himself to a lady. He was then responsible for her protection and providing for her. If her honor or safety was at stake, it was he who went to fight. Many have argued if this is still relevant in today’s world, if women should be allowed in combat. Before the argument is continued, however, it is important to define what combat is. For the purpose of this paper, combat will be defined as the roles of actively going out and engaging in enemy fire or roles that might put a person in a situation where fighting, of any kind, may exist. This includes air, water, and ground combat. Women should not fight in combat in the U.S. Armed Forces. There is a party that believes that women should get a fair shot, however; this is not a one sided issue. In 1948, Congress excluded women from combat positions with the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. They were also banned from military academies as well because, at the time, the academies were designed to produce and train combat officers (“Military Law and Issues”). That changed in 1991 when Congress allowed women to join men at the academies, but combat roles were still closed to them (“Military Law and Issues”). It was not until President Clinton open combat roles for women, first in the Air Force in 1993 and then the Navy in 1994, that they actually were able to serve in combat roles legally (“Military Law and Issues”). As of now, only Army and Marine units that engage in direct ground combat are closed off to women (“Military Law and Issues”). One reason that women should not be allowed to fight in combat is the physical attraction that might get in the way. One West Point graduate who also did three tours in Iraq says that, “Though the military is not willing to discuss the topic, sexual attraction would be inevitable in a mixed-gender combat unit and would quickly damage the required atmosphere of life-or-death trust” (Clemmitt). As this trust is needed in any combat situation, physical attraction to another soldier might not only make another soldier act foolishly, but also might put him or herself and the squad at risk. Due to an increase in women taking over more roles, the number of rape and sexual assault cases has gone up. In 1991, at the Tailhook Association, a private organization for Navy and Marine Corps pilots, about one hundred junior officers assaulted and harassed thirty-six civilian women and related officers (Griffin). Then, in November of 1996, “Twelve drill instructors at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, a training base in eastern Maryland, were accused of raping and sexually abusing some fifty female trainees” (“Women in the Military”). The rate at which more and more women are being raped by fellow officers is overwhelming. Actually, it’s come to the point in which, “‘Military women more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq’” (Clemmitt). Putting women and men together on the battle field won’t work out any more than it does when putting them together on home turf. On one hand, though, some Pentagon officials think that by “curbing” the Navy pilots’ sexual action will limit the edge they need for combat (Griffin). In response, Lawrence J. Korb, a military analyst, says that, “Sexism is not a prerequisite for bravery… Many of this country’s greatest war heroes were respectable family men” (Griffin). One such of these men was Colonel John W. Ripley, U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), who served several tours in the Vietnam War. Then there’s the problem of women in prisoner of war (POW) camps. They are not treated the same way, and are often treated worse. As past Colonel John W. Ripley said, “A great majority of our wars are with enemies that come from societies where women are not valued as equals, and in many cases have no value whatsoever, other than the procreation of warriors… If we…