Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘combat’

women fighter pilotsTwenty years ago on April 28, then Defense Secretary Les Aspin first authorized female pilots.  Women aviators have claimed a series of “firsts.”

Now, female pilots like retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally are offering advice to women’s advocates and the Pentagon on how best to integrate women into the all-male world of ground combat.

Col. McSally has a distinguished career.  Of course she was challenged.  Women don’t easily enter the “man’s world.”  But, said Col. McSally, “I have three older brothers.  I’m Irish.  I’m fiesty.  This wasn’t my first rodeo with these kinds of dynamics.”  Hurdles included the ready room where men were not used to women and proving that she could meet the same standards as men.  She sued the Defense Department to contest a policy that required women personnel to wear the Muslim head scarf while off-base in Saudi Arabia.  Col. McSally was awarded the Air Force’s Distinguished Flying Cross for her heroics in Iraq and Afghanistan.  (The Washington Times National Weekly, 4-1-2013)

I have never doubted that women are equal to men, but we are different.  I admire so many qualities about men but that doesn’t mean I covet their vocation or role.  I often prefer activities and conversations with men more than women just because I find our different abilities and perspectives so fascinating.  At the same time, I mourn what happens when men don’t have the help of a woman.

I believe in serving my country, but I know a woman does this in a myriad of ways.  And, the best way might not be to become one of the “brothers.”

As we prepare to integrate women into the all-male world of ground combat — infantry, armor and special forces operations, I am compelled to ask: Who is asking for this change in policy?  Is it the young women who may have to face the enemy?  Is it the men who have been taught to be chivalrous and respectful of sisters, mothers, girlfriends, and wives?  Is this departure from time-honored tradition for the good of the nation… or on behalf of “women’s rights?”  Is distraction on the gridiron or the battlefield a good thing?  As enemies grow all-male armies a million strong, will we regret tampering with our defense during a time of relative peace?

“The ancient tradition against the use of women in combat,” writes George Gilder, “embodies the deepest wisdom of the human race.  It expresses the most basic imperatives of group survival: a nation or tribe that allows the loss of large numbers of its young women runs the risk of becoming permanently depopulated.  The youthful years of women, far more than of men, are precious and irreplaceable.”

He continues, “Beyond this general imperative is the related need of every society to insure that male physical strength and aggressiveness are not directed against women . . . All civilized societies train their men to protect and defend women.  When these restraints break down . . . the group tends to disintegrate completely and even to become extinct . . . military services, however, are unanimous in asserting that successful use of women in battlefield units depends on men overcoming their natural impulses to treat women differently and more considerately.”  (Men and Marriage)

In all of my years, I have found great joy in working beside men and dialoguing with them.  I could linger for hours in a room of gentlemen.  But, there comes a time when I am wise to give them some space.  To let them breathe.  Work.  Communicate in their own way.  Do what they do the way they do it best.

I am usually happier for it.

Read Full Post »

I don’t apologize for a Biblical worldview.  It answers the important questions: Who am I?   From where did I come?  What is my purpose?  Why do bad things happen?  Is there hope?

So, as I continue to ponder the topic of women in combat, I do best to use God’s Word on the topic.

According to Genesis, man was created to be the defender of life.  He is the steward over all.  God gave to man the instructions for life and the warnings against death.  Sin messed up the perfect world, but God still used His created order for the benefit of women, children, and society.  Man would continue in his roles of stewardship and defense as husband, father, and warrior.

Woman was created to be man’s helper.  She would help him be a good steward over all of life.  Together with God, the two would procreate new life, but the woman alone would bear that life from conception until birth.  Sin may change how some women feel about motherhood but, nonetheless, women are still the bearers of life.  Generational hope comes through the womb.

So… what sane and civilized people would send the bearers of life to be targets for the enemy’s bullets?

I began really paying attention to what was happening in our military during the Gulf War.  A photo in the Dallas Morning News (2/20/91) of Spec. Hollie Vallance tugged at my mother’s heart.  Dressed in fatigues and helmet, Hollie was holding her 7 month-old baby in a final good-bye before being sent away.  She was quoted, “I never really thought about going into combat.  I never dreamed anything like this would happen in my lifetime, let alone right after I had my first child.”  She continued, “I’ve built an ice wall around my heart to try to cool the pain, and sometimes I worry that my husband and baby daughter won’t be able to melt it away.”  Hollie’s husband was quoted, “It isn’t that she’s a woman that makes it harder.  It’s that she has a baby.  I’m afraid Hollie might not be the same person when she comes back.”

Bearers of life on the front lines of battle.  Mothers separating from children.  What about womanliness itself?  The female anatomy?  A woman marine who served in Iraq as a Humvi driver explained that she would go all day without water.  It was one thing for men to stay hydrated because relieving themselves is a simple procedure and requires no bush.  But, it’s both difficult and risky for a female soldier.   First, it’s awkward to manipulate the clothing of war.  Second, if there is a bush for privacy, does walking to it require leaving a safe zone?  What about that time of month?  What about shared living space with men?   I know a guardsman who, while serving time in the Persian Gulf, had to share his tent with a woman soldier.  It mattered to him… because he was married.

Most men I know believe in chivalry.  Chivalry was first practiced by Jesus Christ.  He literally sacrificed His life for His Bride, the Church.  He laid down His own life so that she might be spared.  Although not every man on board the sinking Titanic was a Christian, most all practiced chivalry.  It was, after all, the rule of the sea: Women and children into the lifeboats first.  Men, whether they knew it or not, were influenced by God’s Word for life.  So, what does a chivalrous male soldier do if a woman soldier is being attacked?  If she is taken prisoner?  Sexually abused?  In battle, is she “just one of the guys?”  But, not in battle, is she different?  What is the price of honorable — or dishonorable — sexual distraction?

Memorial Day approaches.  I wonder what our veterans would have to say about “equal rights” on the beaches of Normandy or Iwo Jima?   About “equal opportunity” for the bearers of life to unload from amphibious transport onto the open spaces of water and sand under enemy fire?

I think I know.

Read Full Post »