SEARCH BLOG: MILITARY.
I have very mixed feelings about women being allowed into ground combat. I'll admit that I'm from a generation that would consider such a move to be the antithesis of what a military should be. Neither men nor women are "made" for combat, but I question the wisdom of placing women in certain combat situations where sheer physical strength may be the difference between living and dying.
One woman writer has this opinion:
First of all, what were the "more than 150 women who have died being in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan in all but formal legal designation" actually doing in those situations. Were they at a forward base that was attacked? Were they on medic teams? Were they simply at the wrong place at the wrong time? If they were not "formally" part of the combat, were they unfortunate bystanders?
Combat can mean a variety of things. Flying drones may be considered combat. Flying planes may be part of combat [and women do fly fighter jets already]. Driving an armored vehicle into combat is certainly something either sex is capable of doing. So are there limits? Perhaps not. Perhaps in modern warfare with modern technology, even the most strenuous combat activity is within the realm of reason.
But one thing should not be compromised: physical training requirement should be absolutely the same for men and women who will be sent into combat units. No special consideration should be given to women so that they can pass the physical training tests. That means no lowering of the requirements for all soldiers to accommodate women. There will be no special consideration given on the field of combat and male combatants should not be placed in a situation where they have to fight an opponent while trying to protect a less-capable woman along side them.
Not every soldier can do this.
Human Protection and Performance Division
Defence Science and Technology Organisation*Defence Health Service Division, Defence Personnel ExecutiveDSTO-TR-1875ABSTRACTWe investigated the physical and occupational capabilities of male and females soldiers before and after 12 weeks of specialised physical training. The Combat Fitness Assessment (CFA) was employed to assess the infantry-related occupational capabilities, which consisted of a 15-km march at 5.5 km/h followed by the Run-Dodge-Jump (RDJ) activity. All soldiers (35 males and 28 females) carried 34.6 kg, which was based on the requirements for a 3-day operation. Physiological assessments of muscular strength and endurance, and aerobic and anaerobic capacities were also performed. All males could complete the RDJ in a rested state, prior to the march, whereas the majority of females (57%) could not complete the RDJ with weapon and webbing. The majority of males (91%) completed the 15-km in 165 min, whereas fewer females could complete the march successfully (36%). All infantry soldiers and the majority of combat-corps soldiers (79%) could complete the post-march RDJ in less than 70 sec, whereas the fastest female required 73 sec to complete the course. The specialised physical training improved strength and aerobic capacity for the female group and strength only for the male group, although the female scores remained below those of the males. These improvements did not translate into improved success in the infantry-based CFA task, i.e. no female could pass the 70-sec RDJ barrier. Post-specialised physical training one female completed the post-march RDJ in 73 sec, while another Control female achieved an RDJ time of 65 sec after the physical training period. Therefore, assuming that this small sub-group of female soldiers are representative of the whole Army, it is likely that a small number of female soldiers are physically able to complete this assessment within the same performance limits as current infantry soldiers. The elevated environmental heat stress encountered during the post specialised physical training CFA potentially masked any possible benefit gained from the physical training program. Combined with the dramatic drop in soldier numbers it is difficult to provide definitive conclusions as to the effectiveness of the specialised physical training program. CFA administration should be planned for the cooler less humid months to diminish the likelihood of thermal injuries. If the CFA is conducted in hotter and more humid conditions, longer completion times (allowing rest periods), reduced distance and lighter loads should be considered. [source]