Women in Front Line Combat
When it comes to combat assignments and the needs of the military, men take precedence over all other considerations, including career prospects of female service members. Female military members have been encouraged to pursue opportunities and career enhancement within the armed forces, which limit them only to the needs and good of the service due to women being not as “similarly situated” as their male counterparts when it comes to strength or aggressiveness, and are not able to handle combat situations.
Women during wartime situations were so determined to participate in the defense of their country and their homes, they went from performing the traditional duties of cooking, sewing, fixing the weapons for the soldiers to serving as soldiers themselves along side the men. They hid fugitives and even became spies. During World War II and the Vietnam War, women were only allowed to serve as nurses because military leaders did not want to expose women other than nurses to the horrors of combat. Women were not given any form of training and were not permitted to carry weapons which would able them to defend themselves against the enemy. Decisions permitting the deployment of women especially enlisted women, to the combat area was the military habit of over-protection, based on the notion that the women would not be able to cope with the slightest inconvenience without loss of morale and efficiency. It was just this kind of thinking that was continually interjected into the decision-making process when it came to enlisted women, which were often treated as though they were not much brighter than a young child. “The male soldiers, sailors, airmen and hostile wives back home labeled these
hard working women as whores and lesbians and felt the women on the front lines of combat were only there for the moral support of the male troops. These false accusations humiliated the women and had a huge impact on the attitudes of people and policies regarding women in front line combat for the decades to come” (Moskos 54). Along with these accusations came the tests of the military manpower and strategies.
Manpower strengths now became a major issue, which for the first time caused drafts to play an important role for men. The military designated programs to force a more balanced number of women across all but combat and combat-related fields. The result caused delayed or denied entry for women because the traditional fields were filled. There were no established standards for measuring the strength and stamina of women, so women were being recruited for jobs that they could not physically perform. Eventually the utilization of women proved to be ineffective and lowered morale.
During an interview with Major General Gene Deegan, the Commanding General at the Pariss Island Marine Corps Recruiting Depot. Deegan stated to the Presidential Commissioners on...