Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Real Army Rangettes: women in combat

The Army's Major General Bennet Sacolick announced on Tuesday, June 18th that in 2016 women will be eligible to apply for combat and special forces positions. The military is currently evaluating the standards for the various posts that women can't take due to the hazardous factor.

I have a problem with this.


Does anyone remember when women weren't very commonplace in Public Safety? I'm not talking about females working as EMTs & paramedics; I also mean as firefighters and law enforcement officers. Law enforcement were slow to hire women in general although the Los Angeles Police Department hired its first female cop in 1910. Two percent of law enforcement officers were women as of 1970. The 70's saw women break in to the fire service, with the forest service have documented all-female crews and Ruth Capello was named fire chief of Butte Falls (MT). Sandra Forcier was the first woman to be hired as a full time paid firefighter, working as a Public safety Officer in 1973. Pubic Safety Officers spend most of their time as law enforcement but respond to fire incidents as the calls come in. Judith Livers became the first full time fighter in 1974 for the Arlington County (VA).

Other areas needed lawsuits to hire women. Once the lawyers left the courtroom, agencies either gave a slight bias for women or lowered standards in general.

I don't believe in lowering standards. Anyone, men or women, should be able to apply for any position, but the company or agency should NOT lower the position requirements to fit a specific race or gender. In other words, if you want to be a SEAL, a Ranger, a firefighter, a paramedic, a cop, or a pilot for that matter, that's great. Then you should meet the minimal standards for that job.

That is the bottom line. If you can't lift the weights, wear the gear and carry the hoses up the tower, make the shooting requirements at the range, do the physical fitness test within the time allowed, or pass the written exam then you can't move on. Physical, mental, and psychological abilities are set to a minimal level for a reason. Lowering the bar doesn't do the trainee or his/her co-workers (or any future victims) any favors. You need to be able to do the job: pick up your wounded partner, shoot that enemy without hesitation, or order another soldier to possible move to a place that might get him killed. Men will have a problem seeing a woman raped in front of them.

Listen up folks: it doesn't matter what your parents told you as a child. Having the desire doesn't equate to having the ability.

In the movie G.I.Jane, after the scene in which Master Chief John James Urgayle (Viggo Mortensen) has roughly interrogated Jordan O'Neill (Demi Moore) , he tells one of his companions that Jordan is not the problem, they (the men) are. He goes on to explain how soldiers will get hurt if women join combat forces. Men will disregard their own safety to save a woman. They can't help it.

Okay, it was a movie, but the point is valid. Let women apply but I think they should have to meet the same requirements that are in place now. If they can't, too bad. If they do, that's fantastic. Only a small percentage of men pass the special forces course, and even many of those do so after multiple attempts.

Think about it for a minute. Would you want a person going in to a foreign land to rescue your loved one who only passed because the tests were lowered? I wouldn't.

When I turned 18 I went to see a recruiter. I wanted to be a corpsman or medic. He told me the job was considered a combat position and therefore as a woman I was ineligible. He went on to offer me a list of other jobs in medicine. Back then I was focused on emergency medical services, so I declined.

I was stupid and clueless. If I'd half a brain, I'd have signed up and let the military train me in law enforcement or medicine and make it a career.

Water under the bridge...

I still made it to EMS and later became a Public Safety Dispatcher. I'm still around and have seen many changes. I still believe in high standards and training. I think dispatchers (telecommunicators) should have a national standard.

Stay safe out there!

Military announcement:

No comments:

Post a Comment