Marines Clash about Women in Combat

Sunday, July 08, 2012
At least one female member of the Marine Corps doesn’t believe women should be serving in combat roles for the nation’s elite fighting force.
Marine Captain Katie Petronio, a combat veteran, wrote in an editorial in the Marine Corps Gazette that women fighting alongside men will not make the Marine Corps better. She cited her own experience, which left her physically drained after months in the field while serving as an engineer officer in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I am here to tell you that we are not all created equal, and attempting to place females in the infantry will not improve the Marine Corps as the Nation’s force-in-readiness or improve our national security,” Petronio wrote.
The editorial produced a strong response from the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), an advocacy group for women in the armed forces.
“Plain and simple: If a person can meet the standards required for any occupation in the military, then they should not be disqualified due to gender,” said SWAN Policy Director Greg Jacob, a former soldier and officer with combat experience.
The controversy follows a decision in February by the Department of Defense to open up 14,000 previously closed jobs to female service members.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-California), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has introduced legislation (HR 5792) to encourage the Pentagon to repeal the Ground Combat Exclusion policy for female soldiers.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal (by Captain Katie Petronio, Marine Corps Gazette)
139 Female Soldiers Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


REED RICHARDS 11 years ago
makes one truly wonder what goes through the mind of most "amerikans" these days. clearly capt petronio is right, the stresses of combat assignments are not to be taken lightly and the physical toll on a woman's body can be catastrophic, as happened to her. war is, and should be, the tool of last resort, having exhausted all other options of diplomacy. although the asylum states of amerika treats war as a video game to be played endlessly throughout their lives. the larger question one should ask is why any sane, rational, intelligent woman thinks it is her "right" to "kill" alongside men anyway?
Kyle 11 years ago
the problem with the whole "standards" argument is that infantry does not unto itself have any real set standards reflective of the job that one has to meet before they join. a woman who can ace the men's version of the marine corps physical fitness test or the men's version of the army's pft for the 18-24 year-old group will just have shown herself to be able to do lots of pushups, pullups, situps, and the ability to run three miles fairly quickly. that says nothing about the job of the infantry, which also entails carrying very heavy loads on the body for extended periods of time, which destroys a woman's body (destroys a man's over time). the standard combat load for an 82nd airborne division infantryman in iraq was 130 lbs for example. this woman laid out, in detail, from actual experience, what male infantry soldiers have been trying to explain for many years. being able to "meet the standards" to be infantry doesn't really mean one has actually met the standards required to be infantry.

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