In regards to women serving in combat, I believe that there are some women who would be quite competent to serve as fighter and helicopter pilots as they have been. However, I seriously doubt that many, if any, would have survived what John McCain and his pilot comrades went through in North Vietnamese prisons for years on end. No woman would have survived up to three years in a Chinese or North Korean prisoner of war compound.
As a Marine veteran of the Korean war, I remember living with no showers for weeks and months on end. When we got the opportunity to bathe in a little polluted creek, littered with the bodies of dead enemy, we thought we were in hog heaven, just to strip naked and wash off some of the grunge. If we could commandeer a bulldozer from the engineers, or a tank with a dozer blade on it, we'd have them scoop us out a hole in the creek bed to bathe in. I can't imagine women Marines there with us trying to get clean. I'm sure they had a lot of situations like this in Viet Nam also.
In North Korea in the winter of 1950 it was 40 below zero and you were trying to survive and not leave your dead or wounded behind. Many of the dead had to be left, frozen solid and laid like cordwood in a mass grave, scooped out of the frozen ground with a dozer tank. The thought of our women folk undergoing these experiences would have been totally demoralizing for the men. It was bad enough to go through it yourself, without having to worry and protect your women.
You see the bodies of dead Marines with their arms and legs wrapped around the barrels of 155 mm Howitzers, frozen solid, but at least being brought back and not left behind. Can you imagine if these dead Americans had also been women, in that situation?
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The military services are not meant to be an equal opportunity employer. They are there to protect the country and destroy anybody who wants to cause it harm. Some women think that they are being held back by a glass ceiling preventing them from being generals. There are a lot of jobs in the military that women can perform very well, and that's where they should stay. The combat arms are not the place for them.
If our present government insists on pushing this through, then Obama should have to go on national TV and announce that all mamas and papas should immediately drive their precious little daughters to the post office and register them for Selective Service as is required for boys at age 18. Someday they're going to be needed, and you might as well start thinking about it now.
-- JOHN CUNNINGHAM, Richland