Jonathon GladdenResearch PaperEnglish 112/Rachel PorterJune 13, 2012 Serve With Me; Not Beside MeDoes anyone else hear the battle cries? Do you see the smoke rising from a nearby bomb blast? The dustsettles and you see mangled children, mothers sobbing above their babies’ limp bodies. Can you feel theadrenaline rush as we move toward that struggle? Hearing the insurgents chanting and yelling. ―Alah!‖is their cry… Now imagine you are a female soldier. When that same dust settles, you find that yourplatoon has been demolished. You are alone. You are captured and you are raped repeatedly thendisembodied and left for the next American platoon to find – or NBC, CBS, FOX, etc.Do you picture menin the first scene? Does the second one make you sick? I draw this illustration because it is whatlawmakers don’t consider. They sit up at highlevels and make decisions because elections can be won orlost based on this kind of thing. The sticky situations that arise in which we must decide to do or die arethe ones I do not want to be in – with a female soldier involved. The fact of the matter is that last month: Assistant Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford told Marine Corps Times that the Corps is now ―soliciting volunteers‖ amongst women Marines for the Infantry Officers Course, the necessary pathway in the service to becoming a combat leader. Additionally, the Corps is opening up about 400 non-infantry jobs previously reserved for men, including amphibious assault; artillery; and low-altitude air defense. (Ackerman 2012)And so it begins. The political wheels for some politician are turning and gaining those votes forwhoever believes in the ultimate ―women’s rights: women in battle.Now stop me if you think I am just being sexist and I will gladly apologize, as I open your door for you,gather your bags to lighten your load and put the toilet seat down when I am done. I am like any otheryoung man in that I respect women. I would NOT hit them; but I would hit a man. I would not even hurtone if there was a man that could suffer first. Do you get my point a little more now? When I am lying
2on a cot dying with the same gunshot wound to my chest as a female in a cot next to mine, I am all in onthe bet that she will be served first. I am all in because I would not have it any other way. But can weavoid that situation, make us all the same (male!) and take that same valor we reserve for girls and show itto America as a whole?That to me is the way to win the war; setting aside the battle of the sexes. Another point to consider is that inclusion of women in infantry and other combat units will harm unitcohesion, a similar argument to that made regarding gays, and that Americans will not tolerate largenumbers of women coming home in body bags. ( ) Yikes! There is that morbid image again. As itstands, the numbers are skewed in favor of women WITHOUT being in front line MOS’s (MilitaryOccupational Specialty’s). Roughly 2.5% of the total deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003 havebeen women (Jelinek, 2011). Odd when you think that women comprise 14% of the total military(Jelinek, 2011). Do we really need to see this number rise? Do we really want our first female CombatCaptain to be the one captured and treated the way I described above? What will America do then? The news often fails to paint the real picture of how women are regarded already in combat zones.And yes, most parts of Iraq and Afghanistan become war zones spontaneously. Marines carting stuffbetween bases in Iraq or Afghanistan became a combat mission once insurgents decided to target theresupply. (Jelinek, 2011) So if we are in the scary zones, shouldn’t women be just as ready to fight asmen? The truth is women are given identical training to the men who would be running that supply linewith them. Women are not spared weapons or hands on training for that very Boy Scout like reason: beprepared. In regards to women in current wars: "This is a time in world history that women are actuallyserving in unprecedented roles — not because they have the military occupational specialty, but becausetheyre there" ( ) It pays to revisit the role of women in military history over say the last 40 or so years. The first majorfactor was a shift in the mid-1970s from the military draft to an all-volunteer force. (Norris) Accordingto military sociologist Brenda Moore, of the University at Buffalo-The State University of New York,"There simply were not enough men volunteering to serve, making the service of women a necessity,"(Norris) Many companies find themselves in need of personnel without constraints on gender, age,
3sexual preference, etc. And so more women or more men get hired. No big deal, right? But in thesecases we are talking about JOBS, not Military Occupational Specialty’s. There is worker’s comp forwhen you get hurt (and workplaces must stay safe by law), harassment policies for when you are putdown unwantedly, and even cell phone use policies so we can all stay focused but still contact ourfamilies throughout the day. The military includes these benefits – but the work environment is whatcannot be guaranteed. Worker’s comp = discharge with disability pay – there is no light duty for theInfantry. Harassment = rape and torture without trial if it’s the enemy. And communicating with yourfamily = Skype if you are lucky and nothing if you are in combat. There is no complaint department. I know what you are thinking: this guy must be from the 50’s when women were on pedestals andraised the young and had dinner ready at 5:30. I am flattered to be compared to my grandparents actuallywhose values we need around a little more today. Sure, the argument can be made that equality isessential for a civilized society or some mumbo jumbo BS like that. We all know THIS IS DIFFERENT.In a 2003 survey, early on in the war in Afghanistan, ―28 percent [of women who had served] experiencedat least one sexual assault during military service. And that sexual trauma, combined with combat trauma,makes women far more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder.‖ (Norris, 2007) Last year the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, designed to review the issue of women incombat, had this to say, ―(The) Defense Department should open all military occupational specialties toboth sexes. Not doing so stunts career opportunities…‖ (Lamothe 2011) I don’t know that privatecompanies have ever worried about stunting the career opportunities of women so much so that theywould risk putting women into jobs with what the business world calls Bona Fide OccupationalQualifications or BFOQ’s as they are known. (BFOQ) are employment qualifications that employers areallowed to consider while making decisions about hiring and retention of employees. (Bona Fide, ND)Furthermore in this definition, ―The Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications rule allows for the hiring ofindividuals based on race, sex, age, and national origin if these characteristics are bona fide occupationalqualifications. (Bona Fide ND) Mr. President, I believe no business in their right mind would not screamout ―BFOQ‖! Men have the qualifications; women do not. There is no need to get personal. We are all
4equal for about 90% of the jobs. In fact, there is still PLENTY OF THINGS WOMEN CAN DO:―…keeping women out of combat units prohibits them from serving in roughly 10 percent of MarineCorps and Army occupational specialties…‖ (Jelinek 2011) My mother would scold me for being so sexist. But my aunt who served 6 years during our first GulfWar in the late 80’s early 90’s agrees with me wholeheartedly. ―Do I want to be the same as men in mostways? Of course! But do I need to place myself in harm’s way only to have to rely on a man to help meout – before he would help his male buddies? Oh, hell no!‖ (Gabringer 2012) She adds: ―I love that themilitary embraces women in roles where they thrive. And sure there are those women who fit the bill forcombat or infantry. But in the end, they still have an F marked on their ID under Sex. And they areoutwardly seen as such to all our enemies. Do we need to be that foolish?‖ (Gabringer, 2012) A currentfemale Marine was quoted as agreeing with Gabringer: ―It’s a totally different thing to augment them(war engaged soldiers) than to be one,‖ said Villatoro, who faced mortar fire and firefights during herdeployment. ―For the women who want to try it, I think they should adhere to the male physical standardsand from there, see how they do.‖ (Lamothe 2012) It is evident by the passing of the new law that I will not be heard this time around. My fellow soldiersand I treat the women in my unit with the utmost respect. We always will. Infantry or not. And so wewill adapt and overcome, Hoorah, Semper Fi and all that. But do we want our females safe and alive?Yes, they are who we want to come home to, not who we want to carry out of a war in pieces.
5 Works CitedAckerman, Spencer. "A Few Good Women: Marines Open Infantry to Females." Wired.com. Conde NastDigital, 19 Apr. 2012. Web.<http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/04/marine-women-infantry/>."Bona Fide Occupational Qualification Law & Legal Definition." Bona Fide Occupational QualificationLaw & Legal Definition. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://definitions.uslegal.com/b/bona-fide-occupational-qualification/>.Dao, James. "Marines Moving Women Toward the Front Lines." The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 Apr. 2012. Web.<http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/us/marines- moving-women-toward-the-front-lines.html>.Gabringer, Amy B. "Should Females Serve in Combat and Infantry Roles in the Military?" Personalinterview. 4 June 2012.Jelinek, Pauline. "Military Commission: Lift Ban, Allow Women in Combat." Msnbc.com. Msnbc Digital Network, 14 Jan. 2011.Web.<http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41083172/ns/us_news-life/t/military- commission-lift-ban-allow-women-combat/>.Lamothe, Dan. "Marines Split on Women Joining Combat Units." Marine Corps Times.N.p., 19 Apr.2011.Web.<http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2011/04/marine-women-combat-marines-infantry- 041911w/>.Norris, Michele. "Roles for Women in U.S. Army Expand." NPR. NPR, 01 Oct. 2007. Web.<http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14869648>.Norris, Michele, and Gloria Hillard."Reported Cases of Sexual Assault in Military Rise."NPR. NPR, 04Oct. 2007. Web.<http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15005484>.