Skip to comments.The Turret Gunner Was a She
Posted on 02/08/2013 9:37:49 AM PST by Kaslin
Martin Dempsey, the Army general who's now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a division commander when he got to Baghdad in 2003 and climbed into a Humvee for his first trip off base. "I asked the driver ... who he was (and) where he was from," the general remembers, "and I slapped the turret gunner around the leg and I said, 'Who are you?' And she leaned down and said, 'I'm Amanda.'
"And I said, 'Ah, OK.' So female turret gunner protecting division commander."
One of the things that makes a good commander is the speed with which he can adjust to changed conditions, and the general had just been introduced to another reality of the ever-new U.S. Army.
The general told that story the other day as he stood next to the country's secretary of defense to formally lift the Army's ban on women in combat units. No, not every woman -- or man -- may be fit for combat, but now every trooper has a chance to qualify for it. Which is as it should be -- at last.
Gen. Dempsey, it turns out, is a rich source of instructive stories. Not to mention comments that apply to more than their immediate subject. It was during this same news conference that he discussed the considerable problem of sexual harassment, not to mention outright abuse and rape, in the service. He traced it to treating women as less than equal. To quote from his remarks:
"When you have one part of the population that is designated as warriors and another part that's designated as something else, I think that disparity begins to establish a psychology that in some cases led to that environment. I have to believe the more we can treat people equally, the more likely they are to treat each other equally."
When you have one part of the population that serves in the military and another part that doesn't, a rift is likely to develop between those who have defended the country in uniform and those who have never had that privilege. And it is a privilege. As well as an education, not just an obligation. It's also a necessity in a democracy. For the divide between citizen and soldier may only grow greater as the years pass, and develop into mutual suspicion, even mutual contempt. And divided we fall.
Unlike generations of Americans, this one may be remarkably ignorant of both military life and the military virtues, not having been exposed to either. Which is why every citizen of a republic should serve in the military for at least a time. In order to understand that freedom does not come without obligation -- including a military obligation. And to realize anew that discipline, far from being the antithesis of freedom, is one of its requirements. They go together, like liberty and law.
The idea and ideal of the citizen-soldier has been at the core of democracy since the ancient Athenians invented it and entrusted the defense of their city-states to their hoplites, the first citizen-soldiers. Divide citizenship from military service and something essential to the preservation of democracy since the Greeks has been lost. Democracy and its defense will have been separated, and that is not a wholesome arrangement for either. To quote Thomas Jefferson, "Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state."
A professional army is a great asset -- a necessity, as many a democracy has discovered when it neglected to train one. But a republic needs citizen-soldiers, too. Without them, democracy is divided at its very core: between those who defend it and those who are defended.
It is not a healthy division, for the result is a mutual ignorance that leads to mutual estrangement -- between those citizens who have known military service and those who haven't. It is a division no democracy can afford. For the military needs a connection with the citizenry, and the citizenry with its military. Both benefit, and the country benefits most of all.
Or as Gen. Dempsey noted: "When you have one part of the population that is designated as warriors and another part that is designated as something else, I think that disparity begins to establish a psychology...." And it is not a healthy psychology, for it divides rather than unites. And united we stand.
The disparity starts at BIRTH and furthered when the Army conducts physical fitness tests.
Make ALL of the women pass the men’s standard or muster out, and I won’t say another word about it.
Until then, accept the wise words of one un-named Marine general officer;
“Any system that judges both sexes by the same standard can only shortchange one and victimize the other.”
It is indeed a privilege to be a general in the US military. However, to serve as a grunt on the front line during hand to hand combat often takes coercion. Can we compel women to fight this way? Do we want to compel them to fight? The general is full of pc bs.
I’m Amanda!? Lol. I was assigned as General Patton’s (the younger) driver for about a year. Saying “Hi, I’m John was a thought that never crossed my mind.” Keeping my M16 in fine fettle was something that did however because he was a stickler on that.
There’s assessing the situation as one arrives or just winging it. They still teach that in war college? How this guy ever made it to the top,, I’m too lazy to check his bio.. what a sad commentary.. sad. jmo
Because that chic was a turret gunner once proves women are fierce combat warriors!
When a general asks a soldier to identify themself, the correct answer is not "Amanda" -- nor is it "Steve", "Bill" or "Stan".
"Corporal Henderson, sir!" might be a good attempt.
That’s pretty informal. Not even a sir?
She was in the turret BECAUSE Dempsey would be present and photographers would record it. It’s called PC.
Amanda a man da.
A soldier would not answer the General’s question like that.
My BS meter is smokin’.
It’s probably true. He was a DIV commander, so he was in a DIV HHB, meaning there were likely plenty of females around, and one of them got tasked to be a turret gunner (it’s probably a rotational basis kind of tasking).
If the good general actually believes that standing in a Humvee turret is the same as being an Infantry Soldier, well....I don’t know what to tell him.
You may be able to do all this, but I doubt if most of the men in my basic unit would have been able to match your feats. You can beat a man in hand-to-hand until you meet a man that can beat you in hand-to-hand.
You can beat a man in hand-to-hand until you meet a man that can beat you in hand-to-hand.
There is no man who would always win in all fights. A women fighting hand-to-hand against men are going to just about always die.
They can with practice and the build up of their strength. I would come pretty fast in dedicated training. You can't train a women to do this without metamorphosing their DNA.
Furthermore, This is standard training for Air Force PJs to have the ability to carry a man while keeping a free arm to engage the enemy with their rifle while he evacuates the injured flyer/comrade.
If women had stormed ashore at Omaha Beach or Iwo Jima, and newsreels showed them being blown apart, it would have caused a national outrage.
women should not be in combat.
I didn’t say they belonged in combat. I was merely pointing out the fact that the basic PT test would not exclude large portion of physically fit women.
I = It
It only takes one to ruin someone’s career.
Ok fine. Just being clear that basic PT is not a good measure of combat fitness.
Women in battle = BAD IDEA.
3. Sexual Roles (It’s in the very nature of men to protect women, which interferes with the freeing-up of one’s mind given by the “Joe’s got my back” factor.)
4. Field Hygene—yea, “that” and more!
War is NOT a social experiment.
(Besides, we need to stay home with the kids and keep our weapons clean for any problems that get passed the men.)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.