For thousands of years, soldiering has been an exclusively male profession. The instances of women bearing a weapon into combat are few and centuries between. Ancient Greek legend says that there was once an army of Amazon women, although history does not record them. Boudica was a warrior queen in
during the first century AD. Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) led a French army. The remaining six thousand years of history, however, do not record any significant role for women in combat. Britain
Modern myth includes the fictional character played by Demi Moore in the movie, GI Jane, which promotes the notion thatwomen can compete with men in the military special forces. In real life, Jessica Lynch (1983 - ) served in combat in
, where while part of a convoy of supply trucks, her convoy was ambushed. She was wounded, captured by enemy forces, then rescued by US special forces troops. Lynch was at first reported to have fought ferociously, shooting and stabbing enemy soldiers. Later, it was found that she had been seriously wounded in the initial contact with the enemy, and had therefore been unable to resist the ambush, in which several of her comrades were killed. Iraq
Thousands of women have served heroically in the military forces of many nations. Most notably, the Kurds in Iraq employ women soldiers, in front line combat against terrorists, despite that their Moslem religion generally relegates women to the kitchen. In
, women also serve, although not as front line warriors. Israel
has a dual personality regarding women in combat. On the one hand, soldiering seems unladylike. On the other hand, from the Revolutionary war, to the settling of the Wild West, frontiers-women were rugged, brave, and good shots. Phoebe Ann Mosey (1860 – 1926), although not a soldier, became famous both as a skilled shooter and an advocate of women’s rights in the late 1800s to early 1900s. You might know her better as Annie Oakley. United States
In the modern era of computerized combat, most members of the armed forces do not have to be rugged frontiers types. A few do - and therein lies the problem. Political correctness makes no room, none at all, for even the most minor exception to its rigid dogma. If any woman anywhere at any time is denied an opportunity on the basis of her gender, then that is considered to be an outrage. Facts do not matter to ideologues. If no woman can be found who can carry a fifty-pound mortar base plate up a long hill at a sufficiently swift pace, then the requirement to do so should be voided, even if it costs lives. Everybody must be equal.
Then there are the pragmatists, who believe that while women cannot necessarily do everything, they can do a lot, and should. Lt. Col. Kate Germano, United States Marine Corps, is apparently one such woman. For about a year she was in charge of Marine Corps basic training (boot camp) for women at the 4thRecruit Training Battalion on
Parris Island, SC.
According to information posted on the official US Marine Corps website at
Ltc Germano has an impressive record of achievement. Judging from that and news reports, she fits the mold of the legendary hard-bitten, no-nonsense drill sergeant that so many military recruits have come to know, fear, and admire all at once.
So why did she get fired?
It seems that the answer is that she fits the mold of the legendary hard-bitten, no-nonsense drill sergeant that so many military recruits have come to know, fear, and admire all at once.
While most military training in the Unites States consists of both men and women in the same class, the Marines resisted the efforts at gender integration in boot camp, and persisted in training women separately from men. The effect has been to raise the standards for women while not lowering them for men, a lowering that in fact has harmed the other military services.
Germano went a bit farther. She exhorted her trainees to avoid alcohol, citing the well known fact that women who get drunk are more likely to suffer sexual predation than women who stay sober. She castigated them for relaxed physical fitness performance, stating that male Marines would never accept them as equals if they were soft. Germano’s tough, and often crude, leadership had results. One of them was that the performance of women on the rifle target range increased significantly.
The other was that Germano got fired.
One wonders, what happened? Marine Corps leadership had once stood out as unexcelled by any other service. Germano seemed to exemplify that standard. How could they fire her?
While I am not privy to the actual answers, it seems to me that political correctness, which has infected the officer corps in the Army, Navy and Air Force, has now seeped its way into Marine headquarters, which once upon a time fended it off.
My suspicion is that, somewhere along the line, one of Germano’s trainees felt offended. Feeling offended is a serious condition in the world of extremist liberalism. Accusations of hurting someone’s tender emotions has gotten more than one high ranking individual in hot water, both in the military and out. Even the very liberal former president of
, Larry Summers, felt its sting as he was shown the door for being not quite liberal enough. Harvard University
Germano is appealing in Congress, and it will be interesting to see how that works out. Senator Joni Ernst (R), lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, are you listening?