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Letter to the editor: Women shouldn’t serve in combat roles


Eric Lopez is a senior studying political science, writing in response to the Daily Question published March 1, 2011.

There has been talk for years on whether women should be allowed to sign up for combat arms jobs such as infantry, scout and combat engineer, field artillery and armor.

While there definitely are women that do participate in combat support roles, such as military police and medics, who see combat and conduct themselves valiantly, women aren’t built for the stresses of every day life in a combat arms battalion.

I served in combat arms for the United States Army and went to Iraq twice and I don’t believe that most women are capable of standing up to the physical rigors of combat life. Beside putting on body armor with a full combat load of ammo, personal med kit, bayonet and countless other items including your weapon, soldiers have to then strap on a large rucksack ranging anywhere from 40 to 80 pounds. This all takes a toll on the human body and this might be something that some women aren’t capable of doing.

Women also have different physical needs than men. In the Army, if a woman is training in the field and begins menstruating, she gets to pack up her equipment and go back to base.

Guys in combat arms battalions have to stay out in the field for weeks without a shower. In the military’s eyes, it is very unhygenic to have a female soldier out in the field for who knows how long.

Think of the combat arms battalions in Afghanistan with small outposts in the middle of no where and a shower consist of dumping a water bucket over yourself or wiping yourself down with wet wipes. You can see how things might get awkward quickly.

In the military, there is a set standard for everything and not living up to the standard is a failure of the soldier and their leadership. If someone wants to join Special Forces, the mark to strive for is 71 push-ups in 2 minutes, 78 sit-ups in 2 minutes and a 13:00 minute 2 mile run, regardless of age.

Is the military to lower the physical standards so that women have more of a shot in meeting them?

If and when this policy changes and women are allowed to join combat arms, then the standards should be the same across the board – the same gear load out, the same hygiene policy and the same physical fitness scoring.

To do otherwise would lower the standards of the fighting force and this is something our country can’t afford.


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  1. "Feminist" Mar 8, 2011

    Really Sundial? You’re going to publish this on International Women’s Day? Should be ashamed of yourselves.

    1. Eric Lopez Mar 8, 2011

      At least you’re not disputing the validity of the statement. Oh, and Happy International Women’s Day. Though we may not say it often, men really do appreciate everything that women bring to the table. Whether it be raising children or running a Fortune 500 company and everything in between.

    2. Ralph Paramio Mar 10, 2011

      Feminist….. this is nothing to be ashamed of. Eric is simply stating the truth and in a non condescending manner. I was in the Army 7.5 years so I also know what i speak of. We are not trying to insult or demean anyone when we say that the lower bone density, muscle mass, strength, and endurance of women has resulted in more injuries and more problems with stress fracture and strains for them. Look the groups that are for women in combat are trying to frame this whole narrative in a certain way that is disengenous. The language that is consistently used is that it is bigoted and against women’s rights to not be able to be in ground combat units. Please hear me carefully when I say that it is not a rights issue…. it is a matter of how biology made man and women different. Oh don’t get me wrong…… we are equal but we are still very different. To ignore this common sense scientifically certified fact is at best wishful thinking and at worst dangerous because you are going to put soldiers lives (male and female) at risk while attempting to prove a point. To be blunt if I am wounded my team members better be able to pull me and all my gear, which can then weight upwards of 200lbs out of harms way in a hurry. So now you ask anyone if their life is on the line and the enemy is 30 yards away and closing who do you want to pull you out a 130 woman or a 195 man? I ask you this question.

    3. I tried to find a “happy International Women’s Day” card at the local Hallmark but was dissapointed that they didn’t have any. Perhaps you could help.

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