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At Fort Jackson, Worry and Questions Over New Combat Policy ^ | January 29, 2013 | Sarita Chourey

Posted on 01/29/2013 7:42:34 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe

COLUMBIA -- When Jonathan Proffitt, a 28-year-old infantry drill sergeant, first joined the military in 2003, if a woman was present, “we’d just get real cautious.”

Nearly a decade later, he said the division’s culture is still unique.

“Infantry is its own little world inside the military.”

But that world is changing. And even talking about it changing is making people cautious.

On Thursday Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced an end to the ban on women in direct combat. Fifteen percent, or nearly 202,400, of the U.S. military’s 1.4 million active personnel are women. And more than 280,000 women have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade.

Many have earned medals, some have been harassed and assaulted, and more than a few have been sidelined due to pregnancy.

Most women entering the Army -- 60 percent -- are trained at Fort Jackson, a 52,000-acre community in the middle of South Carolina.

“A lot of people are going to be outraged,” Proffitt said of the policy change. “They’re kind of messing with something that’s worked well since Rome.”

But for those women who want to fight, he said, “I understand that everybody wants to do their bit.”

Public affairs deputy Patrick Jones wouldn’t grant media access to soldiers inside Fort Jackson. He said the fort was waiting for guidance from headquarters, and that people were still figuring out what the change will mean.

For instance, infantry is trained at Fort Benning, Ga. But if women are allowed to enter infantry, will they go straight there or will they come to Fort Jackson?

A more general concern now is how much it will cost to meet increased privacy requirements that come with forming coed units.

Of a dozen soldiers approached Thursday at the Trenholm Plaza shopping center near the fort, no one openly supported integrating women into direct ground combat units. Almost all were hesitant to express their opinions publicly and feared running afoul of higher authorities.

“I can’t just say a cookie cutter ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” on lifting the ban, said one soldier in his 40s. But some women may change their minds about combat “when they’ve seen their first few fatalities,” he said.

Inside Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant on Friday, about 20 soldiers were finishing their lunch. When approached, one stood up and said they would not be speaking to a reporter.

“It would end up like David Patraeus,” offered another, as he exited the restaurant.

The soldier was referring to the general and former CIA director whose career ended in November after his extramarital affair became public. But he probably meant to say “Stanley McChrystal,” another general who resigned in 2010 after a Rolling Stone article quoted his aides belittling administration officials.

Either way, the group had its guard up.

One said they’d just gotten an email from a higher-up who warned them “not to talk about any political stuff,” in order to avoid controversy.

The manager of Pancho’s, however, was happy to discuss the news he and his wife had seen on TV the night before.

“I think ladies can do anything,” said Enrique Lopez, who is from central Mexico. He said it was his wife who had mixed feelings about letting women fight. Lopez said the change would set a good example for Mexico, where he said you seldom even see women riding motorcycles or driving 18-wheelers.

An longstanding argument for allowing women to serve in direct combat is that lets them advance their careers.

“It does give women an opportunity to distinguish themselves in combat, like men are able to do,” said Beth Bernstein, a Democrat in the S.C. House whose Columbia district stretches over Fort Jackson. “Women have kind of been in those situations anyway, so the policy change is good.”

Ralph Waldrop thinks so. He recalled how scary it was to read emails from his daughter, Leah, when she was serving in Afghanistan four years ago.

“She’d say, ‘I feel better today because we have adequate security going into the villages,’” said Waldrop. “That means they didn’t before.”

At an American Legion lounge in Columbia Friday evening, Waldrop, who served in the U.S. Air Force when the Vietnam War was taking place, knocked down a list of arguments against letting women serve in combat.

For one, he said look at Israel’s well-known combat forces, which include women and openly gay soldiers. Also consider female police officers in the U.S., he said, who “will kick your butt.”

Waldrop said excuses to keep women out won’t stop the march of progress. Still, lifting the ban will take some time.

Military departments must submit plans by May 15 for how to carry it out. Services have until 2016 to state which positions should continue to be off limits to women.

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s district includes Fort Jackson, and he supports the new policy.

Caroline Delleney, the Republican’s spokeswoman, said, “Congressman Wilson plans to review the Department of Defense's plans for implementation and agrees that the brave women in our Armed Forces have earned and deserve the right to serve in combat.”

TOPICS: US: South Carolina
KEYWORDS: dod; womenincombat

1 posted on 01/29/2013 7:42:37 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Something is up with the women in combat bit; just not sure what their underhanded agenda is THIS time. I’m going to guess destroy the morale and functionality of the military from within so that we are vulnerable and able to be overcome by Islamic jihadists.

2 posted on 01/29/2013 7:53:43 PM PST by jsanders2001
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Interesting how this article touches on everything except the actual problem: if I’m in love with a woman pinned down under heavy fire on my left, and I’m ordered to shore up defenses on the right, what am I going to do?

I’m no longer dependable.

3 posted on 01/29/2013 8:01:09 PM PST by Psycho_Bunny (Thought Puzzle: Describe Islam without using the phrase "mental disorder" more than four times.)
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To: jsanders2001

I think they never intend for us to ever fight another war.

4 posted on 01/29/2013 8:01:45 PM PST by Oldexpat
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To: jsanders2001

It’s about population control. They won’t be able to get and stay pregnant for much longer. Depo shots will be mandatory and any pregnancies will be ended forcefully if necessary. In the event of a draft women will be prevented from achieving pregnancy at the healthiest age for them to do so. Any women who get killed will obviously not live to reproduce. Not to mention those who are injured and unable to reproduce.

The best way to eliminate an opponent is to injure or kill all their young women. Women are the end game with fertility. Men are necessary but less so. 1/2 the number of young men can still ‘do the job’ with the young women. Kill 1/2 the young women and you automatically half the birth rate.

Betcha your bippy it’ll be girls from flyover country doing the hardest slogs in indian country. Country girls who grow up living in house trailers won’t have any advocates to put them in ‘easy duty’. And, like the draft in the 60’s, those girls lucky enough to get in to college and have someone to pay for it will get an out. Which means none of the coasties will ever do any time in combat.

5 posted on 01/29/2013 8:02:57 PM PST by Black Agnes
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To: Tailgunner Joe

“One said they’d just gotten an email from a higher-up who warned them “not to talk about any political stuff,”

... an overt admission that this is NOT about what is good for the country or the service men or women. It’s all about freaking POLITICS.

6 posted on 01/29/2013 8:08:55 PM PST by Reddy (B.O. stinks)
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To: Black Agnes

You and oldexpat have it right. They never intend for us to fight another war, and if we do, they (zero) want us to lose.

And if we don’t lose, then if most of our child bearing women are dead or barren from being injected with depo-provera, they win anyway.

7 posted on 01/29/2013 8:13:44 PM PST by Reddy (B.O. stinks)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Somebody mentioned in the past the Israelis tried combat roles for the gals
years ago and dropped it. When the Arabs captured one they would torture
her into screaming and the Israeli grunts went nuts and against orders tried
to save them. Men, other than moslem males that is, are hard wired that
way. The ambushes set up by the Arabs slaughtered them.
8 posted on 01/29/2013 8:25:16 PM PST by QT3.14 (Political Correctness: Intellectual AIDS - It sickens and kills everything it touches ~ Wm. Lind)
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To: Reddy
It’s all about freaking POLITICS.

It always is. When I was in, Prez Carter was scheduled to visit our base once, and, no exaggeration, mind, pretty much everyone stated quite forcefully that they would not be attending the planned Official Greeting.

We were then all ORDERED to attend, no exceptions.

9 posted on 01/29/2013 8:27:19 PM PST by Utilizer (What does not kill you... -can sometimes damage you QUITE severely.)
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To: Reddy

This is standard policy for anything that concerns the military. Reporters have the bad habit of calling or interviewing anyone in uniform they can find then claiming opinions are an official source. They will call bases or recruiters and speak to whoever answers the phone.

Soldiers are supposed to refer them to the Public Affairs office.

10 posted on 01/29/2013 8:36:44 PM PST by USAF80
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To: Reddy

Actually, not most. Just girls from flyover country. The wealthy elite girls will never get front line duty. They’ll get ‘national guard’ home duty (sound familiar?). We’re not even counting women who end up ‘messed up’ because of the things they will see, do and have done to them in combat.

This action tells me the elites are planning another war that we won’t be allowed to win. This time they’re going to make sure our national fertility takes a hit. Especially those groups they’d prefer dead anyways. Like flyover girls. And eliminate any troublesome children they might have had.

11 posted on 01/29/2013 8:38:26 PM PST by Black Agnes
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To: Tailgunner Joe

I didn’t know that we had a military so that some young lady’s career could be enhanced. By all means, to the front lines with you, if it advances your career.

Never mind about whether the tactical or strategic objective is advanced - your career comes first Cpl. Sweety.

Oh, and if I’m a al Qaeda, and I have the choice of attacking an all-male infantry unit in an ambush, or an ‘integrated’ unit made up of women, gays, and males . . .

Guess which path my resistance is going to take? It will be delicious to watch the US field commander have to throw reserve or reposition units because my ‘Georgia Peaches’ got eaten by my small band of mobile, well-placed guerillas.

I’m going to buy stock in body bag companies, then sit back on watch ‘operation petticoat’ do the rest.

You’ll also have to add another general order to the list.

“Under no circumstances will I fellate while standing my post, nor will I allow to be fellated, nor will I participate in sexual congress while standing my post.”

Make women snipers? Absolutely. Two woman teams. They are excellent shots, better than men in most cases.

Put them in combat as part of a squad? You might as well just strap them on to the backs of the two or three strongest guys in the squad, because that’s what’s going to happen.

12 posted on 01/29/2013 10:06:32 PM PST by RinaseaofDs
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To: jsanders2001

They seek to weaken our military until we are at parity to our neighbors.

13 posted on 01/29/2013 10:19:25 PM PST by The_Media_never_lie (Actually, they lie when it suits them! The crooked MS media must be defeated any way it can be done!)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

The Obamazation of the American military.

14 posted on 01/29/2013 10:43:05 PM PST by onedoug
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To: RinaseaofDs
Tip of the spear, on the front line in combat is no place for anyone, male, or female.

The so called "romance" of battle is a myth. It is hell.

This new policy has been written and approved by non warriors who's only experience in combat is what they watched on films from Hollywood. That, or they served in a combat zone... in the rear.

Those of us who have seen the elephant know this is pure nonsense.

It won't work. It is evil that this will be allowed.

15 posted on 01/29/2013 11:14:01 PM PST by JDoutrider
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