Fight Like a Girl
The face of our military is changing, this is a statement that can be made at any point in time in America’s past. But, today there is a major change. Women will be standing alongside of our militaries infantrymen and aiding in the mission of the infantry. They will finally be able to call themselves, infantrymen.
This is a topic that is very important to me, as a Marine infantry veteran, and it should be important to you as an American civilian. Thanks to Former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, we will now start to see women formally integrated into our nations battles. I say “formally” because women have already been performing in the battlefield and engaging the enemy in many different ways, only now they will be formally called “infantry.”
Many people are fighting this reality tooth and nail, but no matter how much they want to just pretend it isn’t going to happen, they should be preparing and working on ways to make this integration easier and more effective. Think back on America’s history of racism and segregation. Our military was just as polarized as our society in this matter. Black people had their own units and white people had their own units. It wasn’t until 1948 when President Harry S. Truman desegregated the military. Of course there were other factors at play and it wasn’t just a presidential decision, rather a civil rights movement. Regardless of the reasons, the white units and black units were destroyed and one unit was formed. This was fought just as fiercely as today’s issue of female integration. An army Captain by the name of Adam N. Wojack wrote an article in 2014 wherein he described what white and black infantrymen had to say of desegregation in retrospect. Wojack writes “blacks and whites agreed that soldiers performed better in racially mixed units because competition improved not only their soldier skills but their self-confidence as well.” In other words, the military is now stronger due to desegregation.
What does this have to with women in the infantry? I know it is a bit of a stretch, but maybe this will lead to a more intrinsically competitive military. That would mean that our infantry would be like a shelf sharpening blade. They would be making themselves stronger by having women in the ranks.
My suggestion is to use racial desegregation as a reference for this change. If America was successful at breaking racial boundaries, then we will be successful with breaking gender boundaries. Every member of the military can agree that nothing ever stays the same, so why even try to fight the inevitable? Why don’t we try to make this change a success.