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06 November 2016

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turcopolier

OMB

"an increasing larger part of the burden of all this combat etc. is now being done by mercenaries" This is actually BS. Show me where the "mercenaries" are in the US defense establishment. Show me. Logistics contractors? Maintenance contractors? OK, but show me the fighters and don't count the state Department's hired bodyguards. Show me! pl

jonst

Lars wrote: " I am sure there will be some soldiers who will face enemies up close, but I suspect there will be less and less of that". You realize the bet you are making, right?

turcopolier

OMB

Anyone who thinks there is not a big problem of the type you mention about women and heavy manual labor has never tried to put up a wet GP medium tent. pl

turcopolier

OMB

I was VN for two 12 month tours and three TDYs that amounted to another tour. I don't remember that the legendary high death rate among infantry lieutenants commanding platoons of riflemen was anything like as high as the legend would indicate it should have been. pl

Bill H

As soon as I read OMB I knew that was coming. I admire your restraint, sir.

Old Microbiologist

In the snow.

Old Microbiologist

Maybe you were lucky. I lost 3 friends there all of whom died fairly quickly once in combat. All were OCS graduates and particularly gung ho. Good guys all and a sad loss.

LeaNder

there are very specific requirements for women soldiers uniforms.

I wondered about that. Pretty waist tailored stuff it seems. Taking a closer look at the image, I wondered if the general fashion during the last decades influenced female uniforms in the military.

Assuming this general fashion has influenced uniforms, I agree with Pat the only way out for the lady in the image would have been to choose the next bigger size in both jacket and trousers:

Pat: It seems to me that the woman in the photo could have gotten a uniform jacket big enough to cover her ass.

Maybe not. Maybe the only factor for length is size?

I recall my particularly tough 2nd wife who was 4'10.5" and 95 pounds yet was possibly the toughest officer I have ever experienced. When she walks in a room for a meeting nobody notices how short she is.

you never fail to surprise me, MB

Old Microbiologist

I think the current footprint of whatever Blackwater is called now (Academi??) is pretty large. But you are correct, a lot of positions are "support" in nature. But, take a closer look at security jobs which used to be done by soldiers and is now done by contractors so that would be your State Department bodyguards. I don't know how that might be categorized otherwise. They carry weapons and shoot people so that sounds like combat to me. If I recall reading recently there are something like 5,000 of them in Afghanistan. But, I must accept what you say as I haven't been deployed anywhere since 1999 except projects as a civilian scientist in non-combat (yet risky) projects in fun places like Peru, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Kidnapping for ransom was the highest risk although I was lucky and never had to go through it although co-workers did. Nothing like getting a pre-deployment security briefing telling me I was on my own.

I was just recalling rumors that 250 or so Academi contractors (probably less but at least 60 were identified) were killed in action in Ukraine as well, so there are things like that going on. That was based on advertising for contractors and reports from the DPR about Americans killed in that conflict. I don't think they were support personnel. Who they work for is a larger question and it could even be they aren't directly supporting the US (although I doubt it). CIA now has a military force of their own and I believe they are comprised of mainly contractors. The numbers in the SAG are impossible to determine but it sounds somewhat large. Does this qualify as combat forces? I don't think the Geneva Convention covers contractors so it is a sticky subject.

However, I have some friends who got into contracting work mostly in medical support roles so only know from them what they told me plus whatever my veterinarian buddies some of whom have had up to 15 deployments now. Guard dogs must be maintained by veterinarians which is a very small corps with high turnover. They get short rotations back home and then get deployed again fairly quickly.

AEL

The Canadian Military has been fully integrated for years. Our experience is that female combat arms officers are extremely motivated individuals. This high level of motivation makes them ideal for employment on jobs where the soldiers are either already poorly motivated or the job itself really sucks.

As leaders, they have to motivate their troops and having a deep wellspring of personal drive makes that job much easier. The many successful female officers thus end up getting assigned (and succeeding) at one shitty job after another. This builds respect for them (both above and below). The few unsuccessful ones quickly drop out of the combat arms.

turcopolier

OMB

"I think the current footprint of whatever Blackwater is called now (Academi??) is pretty large." Stop waving your arms and talking about rumors. You are unable to point to any mercenary combat units in the US armed forces establishment. A facility guard or body guard with a gun is not a mercenary soldier. pl

McGee

My training was as an Army intelligence agent, and I never saw a female in training or in the field way back then. Probably changed now. Apropos was watching the movie Apollo 13 with my then small son and daughter a few years back. When the film switched to a view of the mission control room in Houston, my then 8 year-old daughter suddenly got up and left the room. When I asked her if she didn't like the movie she stated "there are no women in that control room"! That small and very observant little girl is now a very successful biomedical engineer. The times they are changing, mostly for the better I think, though I'm certainly not qualified to question TTG's views about women's role in the infantry.

turcopolier

LeaNder

Officers either have their uniforms tailor made or have off the rack uniforms tailored to fit them. there is no reason why this woman lieutenant should have her ass hanging out. Do you think that will make her a more effective leader of male soldiers? pl

Mike P

My dad fought in the U.S. Army 77th (Statue of Liberty) Division* in the Battle of Okinawa. Same division as Desmond Doss, the Medal of Honor recipient whom the new movie "Hacksaw Ridge"** is based on. My dad earned PHs and other combat medals and came back and went to school, got married, raised 5 kids, has been a faithful Catholic and has been married to the same woman for over 60 years. He's going on 91. I talked with him this morning and mentioned about this piece by TTG and female infantry lieutenants. His take? "This country is finished." He added, "And if that witch wins on Tuesday I'm gonna go out into the middle of the street and burn the American flag." And still with a sense of humor added, "And I'll kneel down while doing it."

*The 77th Division in the Battle of Okinawa was also where Gen. Simon B. Bruckner, Jr. (VMI grad and son of Confederate Gen. Simon B. Bruckner Sr.) was killed along with war correspondent Ernie Pyle.

**Both my dad and I saw the movie and loved it. My dad was always a huge fan of Desmond Doss as long as I can recall. Doss never picked up a gun. My dad manned a BAR.

turcopolier

McGee

Carrying a snub nosed .38 and credentials as a CI agent is nothing like serving in the infantry. nothing. pl

Old Microbiologist

But thinking about combat and combat roles there is now a very blurred line of who is what. I think an inordinate amount of US soldiers were killed doing duties not in their job descriptions like long range truck driving and getting killed by IED's enroute. Patrol duties seem to be also widely diversified so I don't know how it all fits anymore. Maybe we aren't thinking correctly that the majority of combat is performed by Infantry or mechanized infantry. Now we have an inordinate number of SOF working sometimes against each other (as in Syria) so it is completely bizarre and I cannot really understand how it all fits together now. I can't even imagine trying to command or coordinate a Theater these days. Then you have contractors and CIA in the mix? FUBAR

turcopolier

OMB

I was in the field a lot with 1 ID, 1st Cavalry Division, 11th ACR. It did not seem to me that infantry lieutenants were casualties in exceptionally high numbers, certainly not more than the grunts in their platoons. but, this is just an impression that I had. I looked at the statistics. There were 450 odd Army O-1s who died in VN and 1400 or so O-2s. Most of these would have been KIA or died of wounds and the great majority would have been in the infantry. To be honest, these do not seem to be unacceptable losses given the length of the war, the intensity of the combats. USMC dead lieutenant statistics are comparable but of course fewer dead people because of the smaller size of their force. Interestingly, the higher your rank as an officer in our forces was in VN the less likely you were to be killed. In the much malighed Wehmacht the opposite was true. pl

turcopolier

OMB

Thinking about this some more it seems likely to me that a lot of the O-2s were helicopter pilots. pl

Old Microbiologist

I agree over a protracted infantry intense war like that it wasn't huge. My point though is why waste valuable money training a 2LT in SPECOPS etc. They need platoon time first so they aren't super green in their first specialized assignment.

turcopolier

OMB

Unless things have changed the GBs do not take lieutenants who do not have conventional experience. Both TTG and I had served in the infantry before going to SF. As TTG says, in the old days if you were sent to the SF qualifying course, you took the PT Test and the swimming test and then started the course. I will be surprised if any women get through the present pre-course screening that lasts two weeks and is literally two weeks in hell. pl

mike allen

I'm with TTG that female Soldiers can fill many deadly and serious military billets, but that should not include duty in a line infantry platoon or company.

On the other hand I have no beef against them serving in combat in other functions. A case in point is women fighter pilots in the Soviet Air Force in WW2. Historically there have been many mixed gender units. But I believe the vast majority were guerilla units or militias. The most recent example is women in the PKK. I read somewhere they have severe penalties for hankie-pankie.

The Syrian Kurds have the YPJ women fighters. But they seem for the most part to be all female units and not mixed??? Yazidi women have also been formed into fighting units to protect themselves and their villages. Someone a lot smarter than I said about those female Yazidi fighters: "When the consequences of defeat are brutal rape and death ... the cultural proscription against female soldiers tends to go by the wayside."

The Twisted Genius

OMB,

That's the way training and assignments work in Special Forces and SOF. I don't know of any instances of a 2LT being selected for SF, Delta or a Ranger assignment. My SF class was all captains except for one National Guard 1LT. Even the foreign officers, which there were many, were all captains. One has to be a promotable 1LT in order to apply for accession to the special forces branch.

oofda

Colonel,
Again the pure physical demands of being an infantry officer mitigate against women serving in infantry billets- officer or enlisted. I hear of loads of 140 pounds being humped by troops. Add to that the hunger and exhaustion, and it would take a super-physically fit woman to do the physical requirements of the job- and then on top of that, to do the supervision and leadership tasks that being an infantry officer requires. I recall, as a Marine LT being so tired by the lack of sleep and constant moving after a week or more on an exercise in the field. And we walked up and down hills- no riding. I have no problem with women serving in most ground combat and combat support units. But infantry is another thing altogether.

By the way, speaking of overloading infantry- I recall the classic by S.L.A. Marshall, "The Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a a Nation". It should be required reading for all Army and Marine officers. It seems to have been forgotten.

Seacoaster

Ditto for the Israelis sir. There was an article in The Journal of Military Operations a couple years back about that, the pluses and minuses of the Israeli tradition of leading from the front.

turcopolier

oofda

Yes. The level of privation experienced in Army or Marine infantry has to be experienced to be understood. The privation may actually be worse in peacetime training. I completely agree that loads being carried are far too heavy. They always were but are worse now. I have structural damage as does TTG from carrying too much weight. pl

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