Alexandria Taylor Esquivel
Professor E. Perez Romero
4 June 2014
Should Women Serve in Combat?
Whether women should serve in combat has been up for debate for many years. Feminist and equal rights activists argue that women should be allowed to serve in combat, but there are many military and government officials as well as American citizens who feel differently (America’s Military 1). Some argue that women should not be allowed to serve in combat, although women have served during wartime in roles that have exposed them to combat, death, and capture since the American Revolution (Women’s Memorial: Casualty 1-3; Women’s Memorial: POW’s 1-2). Women have been ...view middle of the document...
Direct combat is further acknowledged as that which takes place while closing with an enemy by fire, maneuver, and shock action to destroy or capture him while repelling his assault by fire or counter attack (Trainor 60). Identifying front lines is not an easy task in today’s modern battlefield. The lines become blurred when women in combat support roles are sent closer and closer to the front lines and are actually exposed to ground combat. Support roles actually put female soldiers in combat areas. If a female flight surgeon on an Apache helicopter is shot down it would be impossible for her to avoid the combat zone. In Desert Storm, scud missiles were launched deep behind front lines where there were many women soldiers (Campbell 43-44). One such missile landed in a military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia far behind front lines resulting in three women being killed (Womens Memorial: Casualty 2). When a woman is put in the position of being hit by a scud missile or having her helicopter shot down, it seems that she surely meets the definition of serving in combat. Although the military does not acknowledge that women serve in combat roles, they have throughout history and have shown to be capable of handling the job. It does not seem fair for the military to enforce the combat exclusion rule when jobs that they are allowing women put them in a position of being in combat. If a woman is capable of serving in combat support roles that may put them in actual combat then she is capable of serving in the actual combat role.
The military has always been concerned about women being captured by the enemy during wartime. They worry that it would cause problems with the moral of the citizens back home (Campbell 46). Although it is not a widely known fact, women have been held as prisoners of war as far back as the Civil War when the Confederates held Doctor Mary Edward serving with the 52nd Ohio Volunteers with the Union Army for four months. Since that time, there have been eighty-seven women held as prisoners of war in World War II, two in Operation Desert Storm, and two during Operation Iraqi Freedom (Women’s Memorial: Casualty 1-3). So it seems strange for our nation to act surprised when Soshannna Johnson and Jessica Lynch, who both served in combat support units were captured during Operation Iraqi Freedom (Blankenship 14). As an American citizen, I was just as appalled that there were men captured by the Iraqi’s during Operation Iraqi Freedom, as I was that there were women that were captured. No matter what gender is being held captive, both are still subject to the same atrocities of being a prisoner of war such as starvation, deprivation, psychological and physical torture, and possible rape. Some opposed to women in combat argue that direct combat will put women in positions of becoming prisoners of war. Without a doubt there is much greater probability of acts of sexual molestation and rape with the...