The Soldier Conversation is Missing the Women

There was a photo that went viral over the last few days, identified as disabled women soldiers. It turned out to be models. There was some angry “How dare this happen?” on the veteran Facebook pages.

I think the reason people got excited over it is that there is so little of anything about women veterans. The press makes women out to be victims because that sells stories, and then focuses on the men for everything else.  The official military sites don’t post many photos of women. I just went on the Army website, searched through eight pages of photos (20 each page), and there were only four of women soldiers.

It’s particularly bad because they have more pictures of Afghan women, celebrities, and even children. Yet, they default straight back to the male soldiers.

So I’m sharing one of the four pictures from the Army site.
Two women soldiers practicing hand to hand as man watches.

Staff Sgt. Kevin Wright, center, unarmed self-defense instructor, explains an unarmed self-defense technique to 1st Lt. Sovannchampa Touch, left, and 1st Lt. Erin Kan, members of the 724th Military Police Battalion. Unarmed Self Defense is required training for units preparing to conduct Detainee Operations in support of Overseas Contingency Operations. Division West, First United States Army has the responsibility for training all deploying National Guard and Reserve Units conducting Detainee Operations. U.S. Army Photo by CPT John Brimley.

My comments:  When I was in, we didn’t do anything like the this.  The closest was in basic training.  We used pugo sticks, which look like giant cotton swabs.  As a joke, the drill sergeants paired the two least likely to be soldiers (me and another woman).  We put on helmets and hit each other with pugo sticks.  Times have changed!

Rabbit on the Army Menu

I was surprised to hear on the radio today that Whole foods decision to sell rabbit is such a big deal.  It’s even getting protests.

The reason I’m surprised is because rabbit has been on the Army’s master menu.  I don’t know if it still is, but it definitely was in the early 1990s.  Now, if you know anything about how the government works, deciding what went on this menu would have gone through many hands and been vetted and changed before anyone down the chain saw it.  The fact that rabbit wound up on the menu probably means that it’s popular in the places most of the soldiers came from (possibly also that it was popular at the time the menu was created, but the Army hadn’t gotten around to changing it!).

One of my additional duties was to be on the Dining Facility Council.  I ate in the Mess Hall, so I was happy to make suggestions so my eating would improve.  At the time, we had a mess sergeant was actually pretty receptive.  I suggested adding cream cheese for the bagels, and it was in the Mess Hall for breakfast in a few weeks.  He also mentioned the master menu the Army had, so I was curious and asked to see it.

That’s how I found out rabbit was on the menu, alongside of the Chili Mac and Breaded Veal.  Granted, I had never seen it served in the Fort Lewis Mess Halls.  I also wasn’t about to do any food experimenting if it was made in an Army mess hall.  I still remember Southern food day.  They’d gotten a new mess sergeant, and she thought to make all Southern food for dinner.

What she didn’t think about was that some types of food are an acquired taste.  Like pigs feet, which was the main course.

They ran out of hot dogs and hamburgers.

I imagine the same thing would have happened if they’d tried serving rabbit.