I have no problem with women in combat. But I have to ask, why would they want to be in combat? I am a Marine Vietnam “combat” veteran and there is nothing wonderful about combat. Dying in combat is not a pretty thing. Then I heard Leon Panetta qualify the new position saying, this didn’t mean women would need to sign up for selective service or the draft. What’s that about?
In the last nine years I have drawn over 3,100 portraits in my “Fallen Heroes Project.” Most are men, but I have also drawn some of the 150 women fallen heroes too. Their families tell me about the way those folks come home, sometimes in locked-for-good caskets, or in small boxes. Do folks really think about that? I heard a woman talk about how combat is good for advancement. I know it’s different than Vietnam but, “good for advancement”? This is a person who has a distorted view of combat. Then I heard a women pilot talk about how proud she was to be a combat pilot, I am proud of her too, she’s helping save lives. But, as a pilot she has no idea of what its like to be a combat soldier on the ground.
I met with Randy “Duke” Cunningham one time, he was the top ace in Vietnam. He told me that as much as he loved his job in the air he could never understand what or how we were surviving the war on the ground. He knew we weren’t. Even if we got to came home alive, most of us actually in combat, still deal with it, even 40-plus years later.
Soldiers, especially now, are dealing with multiple deployments. We can ease that some by letting women get into those combat positions. They can handle it, but make no mistake, it will take a lot of years of experience before they realize what combat actually is. But if this happens, go all the way. Have them sign up for the draft, and bring back the draft back, so everyone has the chance for advancement. That seems to be what they want.
Michael G. Reagan