“I’m no sociologist, I have no anthropological training but I’m certain of this … we live in a world where the squandering of women’s talent, the traducing of their potential, is a global disgrace”. [Opening all areas of the armed forces to women] “Wipes away the barriers to achieving potential and sends a clarion call to all who serve that talent will prevail, not gender. Armies that revel in their separateness from civil society, that value the male over the female, that use their imposed values to exclude those that don’t fit the particular traits of the dominant group, who celebrate the violence that is integral to my profession rather than seek ways to contain it … they do nothing to distinguish the soldier from the brute.”
~Chief of the Australian Army, General Morrison
A few weeks ago a qualified soldier with two X chromosomes, whose primary profession is not Infantry, was given access to, and graduated from, the Army’s new challenging Combat Jungle Warfare course. The soldier had this to say about her experience:
“This is infantry we’re talking about here. These are guys who know they’re going to war and know they’re going to get into firefights. Me being there, of course I was not accepted at first. Every day, for the first two weeks, they’d wake up and say, ‘She didn’t leave yet?’ They tested me the whole time I was there until the last week, until they finally said, ‘Taylor, you’re not going nowhere, we’re so proud of you.’ They just want to see you prove yourself without any favoritism. They want to see you do what they do because they do this every day. Infantry doesn’t play. They respected me at the end, but I earned my respect.” ~Specialist Tinita Taylor, U.S. Army
So what exactly is the new Jungle Warfare Course? This new Army combat course is conducted in Hawaii and is designed to train our young soldiers in the lost art of jungle warfare. Our Army has been at war for over a decade in the desert, and has neglected to train in a subtropical environment; we must again become proficient at these specific skills. The Jungle Warfare Course, like Ranger School is extremely difficult, physically taxing, and mentally demanding. However, with that said, it is not a profession, Jungle Warfare School, like Ranger school is never a soldier’s primary occupation or MOS. The Jungle Warfare Course like Ranger School is just that, a school.
Like Airborne School, Air Assault School, Combat Dive School, etc., the Jungle Warfare Course and Ranger School is a course, an opportunity for a soldier to become certified in an EXTRA set of war fighting skills. These military schools are much like a police officer’s extra designation as “SWAT” qualified, or a Park Rangers extra certification of “search and rescue qualified”.
So, if a female soldier was allowed to pursue the extra certification of “jungle qualified” why do the same soldiers with two X chromosomes continued to be banned from accessing the Army’s elite Ranger School? Why is Ranger school different?
Many men in our military are supportive and frankly champions of equal access for qualified women to all combat professions and schools. However, there are those, who belong to a dwindling squad of mostly men in our Nation’s Armed Forces who vocally believe that the Special Operations, the Infantry, and Ranger School are just too difficult for women, that ultimately they are the sacred place of men…these arguments no longer hold any validity in our society and serious thinkers on the subject no longer entertain them, and neither will I.
What I will address however, are the dishonest group of hold outs who secretly place themselves among the supporters of combat integration, but in reality oppose the integration of women into combat jobs. This cowardly group in our Army endorse all the same antiquated ideas of women and their place in our society that I just mentioned, but won’t come out and publicly say it. This band knows that their beliefs no longer hold water in our society, that their civilian masters will no longer tolerate such ignorance. Let me be clear, they do not think a female soldier should have been allowed to attend the Jungle Warfare Course, and they certainly do not want women serving in the Infantry or wearing a Ranger Tab. However, because they can no longer successfully employ their base arguments they resort to deceptive delay and distraction tactics.
To delay the directive to give women equal access to all combat professions and schools they employ countless tests and studies, they hire research teams. They rattle off terms like “critical mass”, “force multiplier”, “bone mass”, “muscle composition”, cardio capacity”, “injury rate”, etc., etc., etc., etc.
To distract their bosses (the American public) they calmly list reasons like: “She is not Infantry why does she need a Ranger Tab?”, “Women in the Army don’t really want this”, “this is a political experiment”, “the 15+ women who graduated Marine Infantry training were trained to a different standard” etc., etc., etc. All of these new “reasons” are simply Red Herrings, the last desperate and veiled attempts to ban women from accessing these elite courses simply due to their sex.
They will tell their bosses, (the American people), that only soldiers who are Infantry soldiers need to attend Ranger School, and because qualified soldiers with two X chromosomes are not yet able to serve in our nation’s Infantry they should not be allowed to attend the Ranger Course. Yet, many male soldiers who are not Infantry soldiers become “Ranger” qualified every year; Chaplains, Armor soldiers, Medical Officers etc. You see, the Army believes that it is beneficial to have soldiers in many professions Ranger qualified. For example, a doctor might very well be attached to, or serving in an Infantry unit and her Ranger qualification will assist the entire unit as well as placing her on equal footing with her fellow Infantry soldiers who wear the Ranger Tab.
Because all combat jobs must be opened by 2015, women will surely begin to assume Armor and even Infantry professions. With this inevitable fact, doesn’t it make sense to allow female soldiers access to all the military’s special schools and extra certifications in order to develop a better trained fighter? Based on the direct order to integrate all jobs and schools by 2015 it seems to me, to be illegal and a complete disregard for a direct order, to continue to ban women from Ranger School. After all, Ranger School, like all other combat schools, is no longer reserved for men, it is reserved for warriors.
It is the hope of many female soldiers; to include the one who just graduated from the Jungle Warfare Course that, by next year, the first qualified soldier with two X chromosomes will have earned the right and the honor to wear the coveted Ranger Tab. In fact the young female soldier who currently wears the Jungle Warfare Tab had this to say about Ranger School:
“My goal is to be the first female soldier to complete Ranger School.”
Many women, just like many men in the military do want this. It is not a political experiment, it is equality based on qualification; I can think of no other profession in our free nation that bans someone simply due to their chromosome make-up.