Part 3. Me and Mine
Part 2 discussed whether equality should equate to a single standard. In this piece I want to share my position. Many people have made reference to a false equivalence where black soldiers were not considered equal to white soldiers during the forming of our modern military. That black soldiers could not perform the same as white soldiers was a perception not rooted in science but in racial prejudice. The color of skin does not equate to the anatomical limitation of women serving in some Combat jobs. Scientifically, women are physically less developed than men, and our belief that women cannot be in the Infantry is rooted in sexual bias. Attacking the problem from a scientific position allows us to draw a decision based on rational thinking despite our emotion prejudices.
There are more examples and I’ve asked a lot of questions that I’ve asked you to consider. My position is as follows:
- Can women serve in Combat roles? Yes, because they already do.
- Can women serve in the Infantry? Yes, we can place anyone anywhere but we must understand that to do so will mean we have to accept the pain and horror that will come with the decades long transition; claims of unfairness, increased sexual assaults, psychology of women wounded in battle (a path we’re already moving down), the stigma that most women do not measure up, and the increase in frequency and severity of female injuries.
- Should we place women in the Infantry? I don’t know. In time we could morph our military into a ‘Starship Trooper’ paradigm where men and women are in the Infantry, sharing the same showers and it’s no big deal but we’re not there yet.
- Do ‘I’ want women in the Infantry? Unequivocally ‘NO’. I was raised mostly by my single mother. I grew up feeling the responsibility and burden of having to be the man in the house and protect my mother. As a male chauvinist, I would never want to put a woman in the Infantry. Let’s not be politically correct, Infantrymen are specifically trained to do nothing but kill. Even under the umbrella of protecting, we focus our defensive plans around repelling enemy actions. The mission of the Marine Corps Infantry is ‘To locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and repel the enemies’ assault through fire and close combat’. We have but one purpose.
In closing, I would open up to you and say that I have 3 daughters. I will teach them to be strong, to know their strengths and improve on their weaknesses. To demand respect and give respect when and where it is earned. If they ask me if they should join the Infantry I will relay to them all that I have shared with you before telling them ‘we all have a purpose and responsibility in life. Most people never learn what their purpose is and very few want to take responsibility. A trained, full time, killer is not what I want my daughters to become. Haven’t women shouldered the burden of men’s lack of responsibility and failures long enough? It’s your life. Just know you are going down a path filled with pain, misery, stress, and danger from friends and enemies like you’ve never known. I’ve taught you to be strong but you’re far stronger than you know. No matter what you decide just know that God and I are always with you. Daddy loves you so go kick some @$$.’
Eddie Wheeler is a Major in the United States Marine Corps, who enjoys sports and spending time with his family.