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Legion: Study women in combat exclusions

Featured in National Security
Legion: Study women in combat exclusions
(U.S. Air Force photo)

American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz is reacting cautiously to today’s announcement that the U.S. military plans to expand combat roles for women in the military. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced at a Pentagon news conference that more than 230,000 battlefront posts are now open to women. It will be up to the military service chiefs to recommend and defend whether women should be excluded from such positions as Navy SEALs or the Army’s Delta Force.

"Women in the military are performing magnificently in Afghanistan and in U.S. military units throughout the world," Koutz said. "Women comprise nearly 15 percent of our active forces, and we simply would not be able to accomplish our missions without them. That said, we do not believe that the administration should precipitously change long-existing policies without careful review and oversight from Congress."

Delegates to The American Legion National Convention last August passed a resolution that called on all branches of the military services to maintain the current physical and mental requirements and qualifications for acceptance into military service that has "created the best and most respected military in the world…" It further called on all military personnel, regardless of gender or age to, be held to a single standard based on their Military Occupational Specialty and that the elimination of the combat exclusion clause for women come only after congressional approval.

The most important aspect to consider in changing existing policy, Koutz said, is if it enhances the military’s war -fighting capability. "Political or career considerations should not enter into the equation," he said. "The bottom line is: ‘Will it make us a more capable fighting force?’"

Membership in The American Legion has been open to women who are serving or have served during wartime periods since the organization’s founding in 1919. Women Legionnaires were eligible to vote for their national commander before they could vote for the president of the United States.

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Post76MI

February 5, 2013 - 1:23pm

If the ban is lifted on women participating in combat on common ground with our regular male service men, will the next step be women being mandated to sign up for selective service when they are 18. That would change the ratio of men to women in our armed forces, wouldn't it? I believe we have a greater population of women than we do men.

jimbeaux

January 27, 2013 - 8:02pm

What's next, ....lowering standards for BUDS training? Anyone who believes this won't happen has his/her head in the sand. After all anyone who wants to be a SEAL should be allowed in, it's only "fair". Makes me proud to be an American man who will send his daughter, grand-daughter or even wife to fight the nations battles. What the hell are we becoming?

1Jump

January 24, 2013 - 10:52pm

they will never physically make it 200lb rucks 32 mile road march full gear how about carrying a wounded soldier out by yourself 6'3 230 keep em in the rear with the gear

John La Rochelle

January 24, 2013 - 5:51pm

The military services will be charged with phasing in this policy change to allow women greater access to frontline career fields, and the implementation will be under intense scrutiny by advocates and critics alike. There is no question that women have and will continue to serve our nation in uniform with great valor and sacrifice. It is fully recognized that not everyone volunteers for the combat arms career fields, but the wish should be that all who apply have success in meeting the arduous physical and demanding performance standards. Societal norms may have changed, but the mission and environment in which our ground forces operate have not.

Robert Whaley

January 24, 2013 - 5:30pm

Having served as an Infantry rifle platoon leader in Vietnam I know it's a challenge to keep the frontline soldier constantly focused. Women will be a big distraction to the grunt and distractions are the last thing he needs! They will weaken the fighting force, that should be enough to quash the idea - PERMENENTLY!

cwaremark

January 24, 2013 - 4:14pm

Don't leave it up to Congress. They can't find anything with both hands. Much less to agree on something. Create separate and equal units for them to serve in combat.

cegeyer

January 24, 2013 - 4:10pm

Women can be just as capable as men. That said, think of a remote outpost somewhere with twenty young men and three young women assigned for many months (that's about the percentage of men vs women in the military). Anyone who believes that there will NOT be sexual tension can't remember when they were 19 years old. Realistically, will this further the mission of being the best warriors on the planet? I think not. Reality isn't always fair.....

etpbob

January 24, 2013 - 3:44pm

There are a lot of women who can fight better than some men. Do not count them out.

anfojo

January 24, 2013 - 3:33pm

This issue is not an armed services doctrine issue but a societal one. It's no secret that males and females raised in the US are raised quite differently. You just can't take a female who have been daddy's little girl, who's been coddled and given everything she ever wanted and expect her to perform in a truely hostile environment. No, I don't paint every female with the same brush, but facts are facts. And what will the court of public opinion say and do when all of those body bags coming home are stuffed with girls? How do a marjority of female service members feel about this issue? How are they going to be selected? "I didn't sign up for this". "I signed up to have my college paid for..you got the wrong girl".

ronnie948

January 24, 2013 - 3:21pm

Every single thing Lightowl say's is true.Quotw:::"No Problem!!! If the Army/Marines can find enough women who want to go out and hunt an enemy, find them, and kill them - and perhaps suffer the horror of seeing their 'buddy' get wounded or killed. No Problem!!! BUT - do like the Israelis did waaay back when and put them all in the same Unit together. That eliminates the need for 'seperate-but-equal' facilities, PMS problems, fraternizing at the lowest level [hmmm] and many of the other factors that are created by mixing the sexes. OH - by the way - the Israeli womens fighting Units were terrific but were eliminated in time - they didn't quite workout."""""It can not be said any clearer or better.

LightOwl

January 24, 2013 - 3:01pm

No Problem!!! If the Army/Marines can find enough women who want to go out and hunt an enemy, find them, and kill them - and perhaps suffer the horror of seeing their 'buddy' get wounded or killed. No Problem!!! BUT - do like the Israelis did waaay back when and put them all in the same Unit together. That eliminates the need for 'seperate-but-equal' facilities, PMS problems, fraternizing at the lowest level [hmmm] and many of the other factors that are created by mixing the sexes. OH - by the way - the Israeli womens fighting Units were terrific but were eliminated in time - they didn't quite workout.

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