Today we have a guest blogger who is an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. This is part one of a three part series on his view about women in combat.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. One of the latest hot topics is should women be placed in combat jobs. I would like to address my thoughts in a 3 part series where I hope to guide you down the path of my thoughts and experiences.
Part 1 ~ Is This Really What You Want.
Let me set the context of my argument by saying I am a man who has served in the United States Marine Corps since 1990. I have served in the Infantry during my Enlisted (rank) years before receiving my commission as an Officer.
In my lifetime I have been close enough to have been touched by the Vietnam War and deployed repeatedly to Iraq in our recent War on terror. Through time, experience, education and, what I consider, spiritual enlightenment, I’ve come to my present position regarding ‘Women Serving In Combat roles’.
During my generation of war (Iraq/Afghanistan) women have always served in combat. The jobs involving logistics (transportation, supply, support, etc) have historically been filled by women. Being placed in this job field often means women run the repeated risk of being ambushed during vehicle convoys and on military bases where we believe we are safest. A question was once posed as to whether women could/should be fighter pilots and for years the ‘good ole males’ said ‘No’ mainly because we wanted to maintain the status quo and keep this gloried job to ourselves. Time and education demonstrated women could perform equally to the task of flying whether it be cargo, support or attack aircraft. The inclusion of women busted this myth and we now reap the fruits of our enlightenment. So I think one question could be should women serve on the Front Line? The ‘Front Line’ has changed over the years as combat has transitioned from symmetrical to asymmetrical. No longer do we sit on one side of the street and attack the enemy on the other side. In today’s warfare the Front Lines are all around us so being way behind the front line, where women have historically served, is a matter of perspective. The ‘rear area’ can mean you simply reside in the heart of the combat zone because the Front Line is all around you. Nurses, cooks, mechanics, military police, even clerks can find themselves in a combat situation at a moment’s notice. The Marine Corps standard is ‘Every Marine a Rifle’ speaks to our mindset that at any moment we (male and female) can be called into action to serve on some front line; be it to retrieve a fallen comrade on the field of battle or defending your compound or Forward Operating Base. Every female Marine must be prepared to stand up and take charge during the chaos of war. For you see, the Gods of War and Combat knows no gender; nor do they care. As a society have we grown weak when it comes to waging war? Let us not forget that combat is savage, brutal and a Combatant’s sole purpose is to “kill” the enemy in the most efficient manner that will allow him(her) to move on to the next objective. Sometimes efficiency comes in the form of a missile or rocket, bombs and bullets. And sometimes it comes in the savagery spawned from thrusting a knife into the body of your enemy or strangling him ‘or her’ until life no long exists. To truly move forward in this conversation we must face ourselves in the mirror. Is this what women are saying they want?
Eddie Wheeler is a Major in the United States Marine Corps, who enjoys sports and spending time with his family.