Women in Combat
Occasionally I have written that placing women in physically demanding jobs in the military, as for example combat, is stupid and unworkable. Predictably I’ve gotten responses asserting that I hate women, abuse children, cannibalize orphans, and can’t get a date. A few, with truculence sometimes amplified by misspelling, have demanded supporting data.
OK. The following are from documents I found in a closet, left over from my days as a syndicated military columnist (‘Soldiering,’ Universal Press Syndicate). Note the dates: All of this has been known for a long time.
From the report of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces (report date November 15, 1992, published in book form by Brassey’s in 1993):
From the same report:
The following, quoted by Brian Mitchell in his book Women in the Military: Flirting With Disaster (Regnery, 1998) and widely known to students of the military, are results of a test the Navy did to see how well women could perform in damage control – i.e., tasks necessary to save a ship that had been hit.
|TEST||% WOMEN FAILING||% MEN FAILING|
|BEFORE TRAINING||AFTER TRAINING||BEFORE TRAINING||AFTER TRAINING|
|Stretcher carry, level||63||38||0||0|
|Stretcher carry/up, down ladder||94||88||0||0|
|P250 pump, carry down||99||99||9||4|
|P250 pump, carry up||73||52||0||0|
|P250, start pump||90||75||0||0|
|Remove SSTO pump||99||99||0||0|
|Torque engine bolt||78||47||0||0|
Also from the Commission’s report:
Maybe we need armored strollers.
My friend Catherine Aspy graduated from Harvard in 1992 and (no, I’m not on drugs) enlisted in the Army in 1995. Her account was published in Reader’s Digest, February, 1999. She told me the following about her experiences:
Women are going to take on the North Korean infantry, but need protection in the ladies’ room. Military policy is endlessly fascinating.
When I was writing the military column, I looked into the experience of Canada, which tried the experiment of feminization. I got the report from Ottawa, as did the Commission. Said the Commission:
From Military Medicine, October 1997, which I got from the Pentagon library:
Because peeing was embarrassing. Or,
Depression, says MilMed, is far commoner among women, as are training injuries. Et cetera.
The military is perfectly aware of all of this. Their own magazine has told them. They see it every day. But protecting careers, and rears, is more important than protecting the country.
Anyway, for those who wanted supporting evidence, here it is.
Note added: During the early Beatles’ tour of America, not only were the screams of adolescent girls so intense that the music was inaudible, the concert halls were left afterwards stinking of urine. There was also a report of urinary incontinence among ‘Land Girls’ during WWII when they attempted arduous tasks such as tree-felling.