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Thread: Military Women Sue Over "Combat Exclusion" Rule

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    Military Women Sue Over "Combat Exclusion" Rule

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    Military Women Sue Over "Combat Exclusion" Rule | NBC Chicago

    A group of female pilots, Marines and soldiers, gathered in San Francisco on Tuesday to announce the filing of a lawsuit challenging the military's policy of excluding women from many combat positions.

    The four women plaintiffs, along with the Service Women's Action Network headquartered in New York, are suing the Department of Defense, and the suit names Defense Secretary Leon Panetta specifically. A representative at the DOD in Washington, D.C., was not immediately available for comment, but he did say it is common policy not to comment on ongoing litigation.

    The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Marine 1st Lt. Colleen Farrell, Marine Reserves Capt. Zoe Bedell, Army Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hunt and Air Guard Major Mary Jennings Hegar in the suit, which was filed Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The four women have all served in Afghanistan or Iraq, and two are Purple Heart recipients.

    Their careers and opportunities have been limited by a policy, the suit states, which does not grant them the same recognition for their service as their male counterparts. The combat exclusion policy also makes it harder for them to do their jobs, the suit alleges.
    Though the Pentagon is reforming the policies directed at servicewomen, the rules still bar women in the U.S. military from specific combat positions -- positions that are available to men.

    "To this day, that same part of me doesn’t understand why someone’s gender would have any bearing at all on what job they ended up in," wrote Major Mary Jennings Hegar , who is based at Moffett Field and is a member of the U.S. Air National Guard. "I always thought that your skills, strengths, and interests would be better qualifiers. I remember watching the news when I was in high school and hearing that they were opening combat aircraft up to women for the first time. My first thought was, “Cool! What do I need to do to get one!” followed closely by my second thought, “What changed? Why weren’t we allowed to fly in combat before?”

    Hegar has served three tours over two deployments to Afghanistan, and trained as a search and rescue pilot after serving five years in the Air Force. She was also awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross with a Valor Device for heroism while participating in an aerial mission near Kandahar Airfield in 2009.

    According to the suit, women make up more than 14 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel, yet the rule categorically excludes them from more than 200,000 positions, as well as from entire career fields. Consequently, the suit states, commanders are stymied in their ability to mobilize their troops effectively. In addition, servicewomen are:

    • Denied training and recognition for their service
    • Put at a disadvantage for promotions
    • Prevented from competing for positions for which they have demonstrated their suitability and from advancing in rank.



    "That’s the problem with the military’s combat exclusion policy," Hegar wrote." It makes it that much harder for people to see someone’s abilities, and instead reinforces stereotypes about gender. The policy creates the pervasive way of thinking in military and civilian populations that women can’t serve in combat roles, even in the face of the reality that servicewomen in all branches of the military are already fighting for their country alongside their male counterparts. They shoot, they return fire, they drag wounded comrades to safety and they engage with the enemy, and they have been doing this for years. They risk their lives for their country, and the combat exclusion policy does them a great disservice."
    Thoughts? Is suing the DoD the correct approach?

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    I don't honestly understand the policy. Everything I have heard is that they are in actually in combat....and DH told me a few months ago that he "earned the Afghan combat medal today" .....well there is a woman on his team, so she was there too and would earn it too...she must be getting the combat pay he is getting. I guess I haven't looked at the definitions and am way to ignorant to comment on this
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    Quote Originally Posted by [his] lobster View Post
    I don't honestly understand the policy. Everything I have heard is that they are in actually in combat....and DH told me a few months ago that he "earned the Afghan combat medal today" .....well there is a woman on his team, so she was there too and would earn it too...she must be getting the combat pay he is getting. I guess I haven't looked at the definitions and am way to ignorant to comment on this
    Well, I think the policy in place currently is that there are certain combat roles that women cannot be in. For example, infantry. They don't let women in the infantry because a lot of what is required of men in the infantry simply cannot be done by women. Like dragging men in full gear, carrying heavy equipment etc. It's just common thinking that most women are incapable of these tasks, therefore they're excluded. Personally, I think that if a woman can meet and complete the same exact training, standards, and courses a man can during bootcamp, SOI, etc., then they should be allowed to be in the infantry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the_lepus View Post
    Well, I think the policy in place currently is that there are certain combat roles that women cannot be in. For example, infantry. They don't let women in the infantry because a lot of what is required of men in the infantry simply cannot be done by women. Like dragging men in full gear, carrying heavy equipment etc. It's just common thinking that most women are incapable of these tasks, therefore they're excluded. Personally, I think that if a woman can meet and complete the same exact training, standards, and courses a man can during bootcamp, SOI, etc., then they should be allowed to be in the infantry.
    Oh I see. Okay. There is a lot of talk of making DH's career special forces, but to do that they would have to kick out all the women. They recently upped the physical requirement to enter the career, and supposedly it "eliminates new females from joining the career". if that'll ever happen but they can keep dreaming

    As far as that....I have heard the arguments of why females can't be special forces and I feel pretty "meh" about the issue, like it doesn't totally make sense to me, but I'm not personally emotionally involved (maybe that's bad!). I don't know where I'm going with this....

    ETA: They really want special hats too....goodluck guys, go after your dreams!

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    It just blows my mind that there are still jobs that don't allow women who are physically and mentally equal. Everytime I hear this, it literally blows my mind. Admittingly, I know very little about this subject, so I should probably brush up on the reasons the DoD has for these regulations.
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    Is it the PC approach to handling the issue, maybe not...

    Is it a way to bring attention to the issue and hopefully light a fire under the military's ass to get their shit straight, I think so...
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    Quote Originally Posted by missinghim View Post
    It just blows my mind that there are still jobs that don't allow women who are physically and mentally equal. Everytime I hear this, it literally blows my mind. Admittingly, I know very little about this subject, so I should probably brush up on the reasons the DoD has for these regulations.

    I don't know what the official reasons are, but from what I've heard, they don't want women in SF because of the circumstances and close quarters they can be in, like they can't provide the proper separation for sleeping, bathrooms, etc... It kind of sounds like BS to me, but a the same time, I don't fully know what goes into those missions so I'm on the whole thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by [his] lobster View Post
    I don't know what the official reasons are, but from what I've heard, they don't want women in SF because of the circumstances and close quarters they can be in, like they can't provide the proper separation for sleeping, bathrooms, etc... It kind of sounds like BS to me, but a the same time, I don't fully know what goes into those missions so I'm on the whole thing.
    I understand that point, well, I don't agree with it but I do understand it. But infantry? That I don't get.
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    They are going to lose. In fact, the court is going to dismiss it immediately. The Court's rule is that they will almost always defer to congress to make the rules, and because it is an issue of national security, they won't hear these cases.

    I understand their point. But this isn't going to do anything.
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    DB is infantry and i could be 100% wrong but he said he got told part of the reason they don't allow women is because the negative psychological affects of possibly seeing a woman get hurt or killed for men is apparently a lot worse than if they saw another man get hurt, and the majority of them would most likely be male so seeing a woman get hurt can apparently make other men make irrational decisions or get too over emotional with everything more than if they saw a man get hurt. I'm not saying i think this is right or women couldn't do the job just thought i'd share what DB has told me about what they got told.
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