Re: EVOLUTION: Women in combat

James Rogers (
Sat, 18 Jan 1997 21:09:48 -0800

At 05:03 PM 1/17/97 +0000, Kathryn Aegis wrote:
>Michael Lorrey <> Wrote:
> >the analytical abilities of hunting were amplified in males
><snort> Newt Gingrich made similar remarks recently when he was
>making a case for women to stay out of combat.

There is nothing wrong with having women in combat roles. Some women are
pretty good at it. When I was in the Army, we did exercises with a couple
foreign combat units (infantry and light engineers) that included women.
These units operated quite well in the mixed gender environment and the
women generally pulled their own weight.

*However*, there were some fundamental differences between the way the US
military operates and the way these foreign units operated. The biggest
difference was that the foreign units did not differentiate between the
sexes at all. There was one set of standards for everyone with *very few*
exceptions (women were allowed to have longer hair, to name one). The women
and men in the units did *everything* together: they ate together, shared
the same quarters, shared the same bathroom, shared the same showers, shared
the same physical training requirements, etc.
Everyone respected everyone else, and they all seemed to get along fine.
What many people would find appalling (and took us a bit to get used to, I
must admit), was that the men would get undressed in front of the women and
vice versa and they shared the same showers at the same time. Contrary to
popular conjecture, there weren't any overt sexual issues raised by this
scenario. This environment wasn't hard to get used to for most of us,
although a couple people in our unit had problems. You will not find this
environment in the US military.

This said, I would *not* recommend this for the US military any time soon.
The reason is that women in the US Army are very different than the women we
worked with in these foreign units. US Army women are subject to much lower
standards in many areas, and they often don't pull their own weight. I
would go on a combat mission with one of the above foreign military units
that had women, but I would definitely *not* do the same with our own
military women. Most of the women I met in the US military would refuse to
operate in an environment like these foreign units anyway.

As sad and cliche as it sounds, the women in the foreign units would
volunteer to carry the heavy squad weapons for a 2-hour patrol, but US Army
women would sit back at base camp and worry about breaking a nail. Pretty
pathetic. Must be differences in training or something.

BTW, even though the women in the foreign units were well-qualified and met
the standards for combat operations, they generally had a much more
difficult time meeting combat standards than men, and on average men usually
seemed to outperform the women at many combat related skills. These
differences were usually physiological problems (e.g. not as strong on
average), and men also usually have a better "tactical sense" (hard to
quantify this one) than women.

-James Rogers