Should women be allowed to serve in combat?

There is currently a debate ongoing about whether women should be allowed to serve in ground combat units. Feminists, girly-men, and feminized false “knights” say yes and claim that regulations barring women from combat amount to discrimination. But is discrimination really the cause of the prohibitions, or is there actually a rational justification for the ban?

Let’s review the facts.

Firstly, as one would expect, mixing men and women in combat units and onboard ships creates a high risk of pregnancies and of the necessity to ship pregnant female troops out of the combat theater. As an example, in 1994 – the first year when women were allowed to serve on carriers – 39 female sailors on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower alone got pregnant. Similarly, a few years ago, MG Anthony Cucola caused a stir when he issued an order stipulating for the punishment and shipping out of any female troops who get pregnant while in a war theater.

It’s a simple fact: female troops arouse men sexually, distract them, and they often have sex. (To be clear: both men and women are to blame for this.)

Secondly, women are not physically fit to serve in ground combat units. They are shorter, have much less upper body and lower body muscle, and have much weaker hearts. They cannot endure the same rigors of combat that men can.

As Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times reports:

“In the 1990s, the British army, under political pressure to put women in traditional male jobs, adopted a “gender-free” policy with identical fitness requirements for both sexes and abandoned its “gender fair” system of separate standards.

A decade later, Dr. Ian Gemmel conducted a study for the British army’s personnel center. He found that the number of women who could qualify for basic training decreased in the “gender-free” system, as more women dropped out of training because of injury, compared with the “gender fair” system of separate fitness requirements.

“This study confirms and quantifies the excess risk for women when they undertake the same arduous training as male recruits,” Dr. Gemmel reported.

In a second study, the British Defense Ministry conducted an extensive two-year assessment of women and their ability to perform routine ground combat tasks, such as lifting and carrying gear over certain distances.

Its May 2002 findings, in a report titled “Women in the Armed Forces,” were not encouraging for advocates of women in combat.

The study concluded that only 0.1 percent of female applicants and 1 percent of trained female soldiers “would reach the required standards to meet the demands of these roles.”

“The military viewpoint was that under the conditions of a high intensity close-quarter battle, group cohesion becomes of much greater significance to team performance and, in such an environment, the consequences of failure can have far-reaching and grave consequences,” the report stated. “To admit women would, therefore, involve a risk with no gains in terms of combat effectiveness to offset it.”

In 2010, the British government reviewed its policies and opted to retain the ban on women in combat.

That year, a group of U.S. Army physicians studied one brigade combat team deployed to Iraq in 2007.

Their study, published in the journal Military Medicine, examined the number of soldiers who sustained a disease or noncombat injury. Of 4,122 soldiers (325 women in support roles), 1,324 had a disease or injury that forced them to miss time or be evacuated.

“Females, compared with males, had a significantly increased incident-rate ratio for becoming a [disease or noncombat] casualty,” the doctors found.

Of 47 female soldiers evacuated from the brigade, 35 — or 74 percent — were for “pregnancy-related issues.” Women had more than triple the evacuation rate of men.

“I infer from this that women are twice as likely to suffer non-battle injuries in current specialties,”William Gregor, a professor of social sciences at the Army’s Command and Staff College, told The Times. “They will probably have a greater injury rate in heavy physical occupational specialties and the combat arms. The British experience with gender-free or neutral training standards suggests the injury rate will dramatically increase.”

Fight load and body bags

Last year, Mr. Gregor presented a lengthy paper at an armed forces seminar in Chicago that concluded: “The physical capacity of women is significantly less than that of men and even more difficult to sustain. Women are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to performing military physical tasks because they have a significantly higher percentage of body fat and generally much lower total lean mass.”

As an example, Mr. Gregor examined physical fitness test results from Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) dating back to 1992 and 74,000 records of male and female commissioned officers. Looking at pushups and the two-mile run, he found that only 2.9 percent of women were able to attain the men’s mean score.

The “fight load” — the gear an infantryman carries on patrol — is 35 percent of the average man’s body weight but 50 percent of the average Army woman’s weight, Mr. Gregor found.

“The increased weight of the combat load combined with the high altitude in Afghanistan has placed a premium on strength and aerobic capacity and presents a significant challenge to sustaining performance in continuous operations,” Mr. Gregor said.

In tests of aerobic capacity, the records show, only 74 of 8,385 ROTC women attained the level of the lowest 16 percent of men.

“No training system can close this gap,” he said. “The reason men and women cannot truly be trained together is not a matter of attitude. It is physical.

“The difference in male and female body composition and the components of strength and endurance training are firm obstacles to designing mutually beneficial training events.””

If you don’t believe those well-known biological facts and those impartial studies, go to any gym and look at how much men and women lift. Men can lift much more weight than women.

Don’t take my word for it. Go. Look.

And then, read the results for the current (or any previous) Olympic Games (or any past championships) for any discipline, preferrably swimming, which requires EXCEPTIONAL strength and endurance over long distances. Women swim MUCH slower than men.

And after that, if you still believe women are physically fit for combat, despite being much weaker than men, the DOD should run a test proposed by this retired Marine. Gather 100 male and 100 female Marines fresh out of bootcamp, equip them with the standard load that a Marine is expected to carry in Afghanistan, and force them to march for 15 miles. If the gals don’t faint before finishing the 15th mile, I’ll shut up. If they do, that will only prove they are not fit to serve in ground combat roles.

But of course, no one will take him or me up on the bet, because everyone knows what the result would be.

Why is physical strength so important?

For nonmilitary, nonconstruction jobs, it’s irrelevant. Women don’t need to be physically strong to be good CEOs, lawyers, political officeholders (including President and Vice President, and I think Sarah Palin would’ve made a stellar VP), mechanics, artists, intellectuals, or doctors.

But in order to be a good soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine, one needs to be physically strong to withstand the rigors of ground combat, the conditions up in the air, and the treacherous seas. Try unloading a truck of mortar rounds or walking with your M16 or M14 and a full load of ammo up the hills of North Carolina. And that’s what ground troops are expected to do almost daily.

Weak women will get men killed if the DOD succumbs to political pressure and allows them to serve in direct ground combat roles. Moreover, they will arouse and distract men and have sex with them. That is unacceptable.


One thought on “Should women be allowed to serve in combat?”

  1. Zbigniew, you have done a good job summarizing the physical reasons women should not be allowed in the combat arms. However, there are other, equally-important psychological and cognitive reasons for excluding women from combat. These are too numerous to recount here in full (the book Kingsley Browne’s “Co-ed Combat” covers these in detail), but consider the following:

    1. The presence of women in heretofore all-male combat units disrupts – indeed, destroys – the trust and emotional bonds necessary to combat effectiveness and espirit d’corps. Advancing under fire to attack an enemy is an unnatural act, one men will engage in only under certain specific conditions. In the end, the infantryman fights not for his country or his flag, but for himself and the men around him. This brotherhood is based upon trust and mutual respect. Men risk and even give their lives for their brothers-in-arms; death or being maimed for life is a better fate than dishonor in the eyes of his friends and comrades. The introduction of women into this environment dilutes and degrades this bond between men.

    2. Men and women differ not only in physical capabilities, but at the level of brain function, cognition and emotion. Men consistently score higher than women in measures of three-dimensional spatial reasoning, of the kind extensively employed by fighter pilots, to name one example. With exception, men generally outperform women in highly-technical fields such as engineering and mechanics; these forms of knowledge are at a premium in the high-tech military of today. At the emotional level, young men possess a level of raw aggressiveness seldom found in women of any age. This aggressiveness cannot be “trained into” women, as it is a function of androgen levels in men.
    Men are also better at compartmentalizing violent behavior and its consequences than women are, and they suffer fewer cases of PTSD on a per-soldier basis than females do.

    3. Strictly at the physical level, women suffer from higher rates of stress fractures and other training and operationally-related injuries. They also lose more hours/individual than male soldiers for all medical reasons, with the exception of hours lost due to reckless, risk-taking behavior – such as vehicle accidents. The armed services have taken great pains to hide or even “scrub” (erase) data that tend to reflect poorly on female personnel, for reasons of political correctness, group think and bias toward cultural leftism in today’s military. Make no mistake, however; there are dozens of such studies on the books – both within the military establishment and outside of it.

    4. As Browne (see above) notes at the conclusion of his book, the presence of women in large numbers in today’s military is framed as an issue of individual rights and equality of opportunity. However, the military does not exist for the purpose of providing equal opportunities or for reasons of social engineering. Its reason d’etre (reason for being) is to fight and win wars and protect the nation. Everything else much be secondary to this mission. There are few if any net benefits to having large numbers of women in the military, save in the areas where they have traditionally served (medicine and in rear-area non-combat support); advocates of increased female participation in the military cannot frame their arguments for greater inclusion on the basis of net benefits to the armed forces – because such benefits do not exist. Men can do any of the jobs currently being done by women as well or better than female personnel (with the possible exception of nursing) and without the enormous costs and friction imposed by the presence of women.

    5. One seldom-commented upon aspect of thw widespread inclusion of women into the armed forces is the economic drag caused by their presence. Did you know that the U.S. armed forces are among the largest (if not the largest) institutional providers of child care and social services in the nation? Why is this the case? Because the army and other services tend to attract single parents (in particular, single mothers), lured into uniform by the vast array of social welfare benefits available to military personnel. In these times of looming fiscal cutbacks and austerity, does it really make sense to subsidize single parenthood when critical weapons systems and combat personnel are at-risk of being cut or reduced in size?

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