The Marines Corps has some growing pains with regards to women living with the men in the field. Any one of the military services are notorious for being slow to change, and this particular change is pretty glacial.
“You’re going to have sex, you’re going to have love, you’re going to have relationships, and it’s going to overly complicate the command structure,” Marine veteran, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, told the Marine Corps Times.
Army was doing what the Marine Corps is fighting at least twenty-five years ago. When I deployed with my unit to Desert Storm, our platoon stayed together in one tent. Two women, the rest men (don’t recall how many, but it was not more than eight). It did not destroy the morale of our platoon, and we did have sex. It did not complicate anything. We just put up cloth walls for privacy, which everyone did, because there wasn’t a whole lot of privacy to start with.
Eventually, as we got more women assigned the unit from the inactive reserves, then we split off into two women only tents. The other woman and I were disappointed; it was much better being with our platoon.
Yes, we did have some issues with soldiers having sex and one who got pregnant–but it wasn’t because they were living in the same tent. It was because we were there under very stressful circumstances and also because we were there for a long time. It’s one part of the war experience that military tends to pretty much pretend like it doesn’t exist, then blame the women for being there, as if only one person was responsible not the stressful situation.
A historian discovered the women’s names in the records for the late 1800s:
While compiling a lengthy list of Sandoval County veterans — from the Civil War through Vietnam — retired Army colonel and amateur historian David C’de Baca made an intriguing find: Two Navajo women who served as scouts with the Army’s 20th Infantry Regiment in the summer of 1886 could be the first women to have officially been enlisted in the U.S. Army.
The rest of it is in the Army Times. I thought it was pretty cool that it wound up in this publication. There are four sold on every military base–one for each service, so this is going out to the military.
This is the story of the first woman who did bomb disposal for the military:
More important, she was captivated by the job from the first moment she plugged a blasting cap into a block of TNT. We can really blow things up? she recalled thinking, as if she was getting away with something. She could put explosives on anything — a pile of old land mines, cardboard boxes, a wooden table — and it would cease to exist and “turn into air.” It was a revelation.
Fascinating to read about. Still not something I would have volunteered for. Much better to write about fictional characters and fictional explosives! Much safer, too.
This is a rare photo of a woman soldier in an action shot. The original photo is on the DOD Website.
U.S. Army Spc. Julie Neff participates in the “team reaction lane” during the 2015 European Best Warrior Competition at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, Sept. 14, 2015. Neff is assigned to the 5th Battalion, 148th Aviation Regiment. U.S. Army photo by Gertrud Zach
The “obstacle course” is what everyone outside the military calls this course, because it has obstacles that a soldier has to get through. It’s actually called a Confidence Course. This is a video of the Army showing male and female soldiers going through a course. Watch at about the 3 minute watch during a balance test at what the soldiers use to aid in their balance.
Part of the teamwork aspect is everyone cheering you on to get over one of the obstacles.
As you can see, a lot of this really pushes the soldier’s skills. Everything about military training is preparation for war, since you will never know what you need.
The Maryland National Guard conducted a training exercise for casualty evacuation. I remember us doing something like this years ago. We’d get this box of injuries (no that isn’t one of my typos) from the training equipment organization. The box contained Hollywood-style applications of injuries that could be applied to casualties. Kind of cool and gross at the same time.
This week, we had the historic first: Two women survived Ranger training. I’ve obviously never been to Ranger training–nor would I have wanted to–but I knew people who went through it. Not for the faint hearted.
My basic training was in New Jersey, starting about May (I was actually there in April, but we didn’t have enough women for a whole class). It was typical New Jersey weather–hot and humid. Lots of mosquitoes. The BDUs–similar to what you see in the photo except for the camo pattern–would get soaked through with sweat. The uniform is fine when it’s dry, but when it’s wet, it’s like wearing cardboard.
We were out on the range one day changing these big targets and soaked through with sweat. Just so hot out. Then it started to pour all of sudden, and we were out there, hands raised to the sky, because the rain felt so good!
My Desert Storm book is finally out! I honestly didn’t expect this would happen. I knew I wanted to write a book about my experiences even a year after the war. But it was such a difficult subject to talk about that it took almost 25 years before I could actually write about it.
On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Within twenty-four hours, he controlled the entire country. Five days later, the United States was deploying soldiers and had named the military operation Desert Shield.
This would be the largest deployment of women at the time. Over 40,000 women went to war. It was so new that people questioned whether women should be there, and what would happen to the families they left behind.
Linda Maye Adams was one of those soldiers. Soldier, Storyteller is a rare inside look at war from a woman’s perspective.
Her memoir answers the question: “What was it like?”