Written by Charles G. Mills
The Armed Forces will have better infantry, artillery, armor, cavalry, ranger, and special forces units if they are not required to make adjustments contrary to nature...
GLEN COVE, NY - The latest regulation on the deployment of women in the Armed Forces is a perfect example of the evolution of a fad into a madness. This regulation places women in virtually every possible position in the Armed Forces, including as members of rifle squads.
Women have a long, distinguished, and heroic tradition of service as Army, Navy, and Air Force nurses. Only in the 1950s did we become so politically correct that we allowed men to become officers in the Nurse Corps.
During World War I, the paperwork load was so great that the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps all created military auxiliaries to handle some of it. In World War II, this practice was revived and expanded, even to the point that women piloted military planes from the factories where they were built to the Army airfields where the Air Corps received them. In the late 1940s, the Army opened up a few branches to women other than the Nurse Corps and the Women's Army Corps. During the Nixon years, women were promoted to the rank of general for the first time. Throughout this period, the Armed Forces remained well over 95 percent male, and the women were kept much safer than the men.
There is a reason for this in nature. Men are typically endowed with strength, large body size, and an aggressive spirit to fight off enemies. Women are endowed with a small body, cunning, and a maternal protective instinct to hide and protect their children from the same enemies. The distinct characteristics of the two sexes are intended to complement each other.
No doubt, some women would make good riflemen or tank gunners, and the Armed Forces can make changes to adapt to women in those positions. This fact, however, is beside the point. The Armed Forces will have better infantry, artillery, armor, cavalry, ranger, and special forces units if they are not required to make adjustments contrary to nature. The Marine Corps recently allowed two highly qualified women to take the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course, and both failed. There may well be women who can pass this course, but the Armed Forces do not exist for their good; they exist to win wars in the most practical way possible.
Everything changed in 1976, when the Armed Forces at West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs first admitted women. The current madness is a result of that unfortunate decision. West Point and Air Force Academy graduates are trained to aspire to be generals. Annapolis graduates are trained to aspire to be admirals or Marine generals.
The way we select generals and admirals may be based in many cases on unnecessary traditional qualifications, but it works and everyone who aspires to high rank understands it. Command of a carrier group normally goes to an admiral who has flown planes off a carrier in combat. Command of an Army Corps usually goes to a general who is qualified to jump with a parachute, has a Combat Infantry Badge, and has graduated from Ranger School. If the Corps has a heavy armor component, the less prestigious Combat Action Badge might suffice instead of the Combat Infantry Badge.
There are a lot more two-star and three-star slots for a one-star general in an infantry or armor division, than for a one-star general with a history in the Military Police, Signal Corps, Engineers, Chemical Corps, or Intelligence and Security. Under the present system, women are more likely to command a military police brigade than to be an assistant commander of an infantry division.
In the past, women could shoot the enemy from a helicopter but not from the ground. Women commanded a military police brigade and an intelligence brigade in Iraq, but never an armored cavalry regiment in Germany. This may seem unfair to the female West Point graduate who hopes to get that third or fourth star, but that is in part because we have already put her in an unnatural position of commanding gunship helicopters or prisons full of terrorists.
We need to return to victory as the primary focus and concern of our nation's military, rather than this politically correct preoccupation with the career paths of women warriors. Doing so will require contracting rather than expanding women's role in war.
The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2013 by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com. All rights reserved.
Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles about the law. See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.