Saturday, April 18, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Women long ago earned combat rights

By
From page A11 | February 01, 2013 |

U.S. women have been in combat one way or another at least since the 1989 invasion of Panama. That’s when Scripps Howard New Service’s Peter Copeland reported from the isthmus that women assigned to at least one operation in the Southern Command had been attacked and returned fire.

The information was never official, but the Pentagon refused to deny its accuracy when a reporter for a prominent West Coast newspaper tried to shoot down Copeland’s story as untrue. It was a sensitive subject at a time when women still were not expected to do any heavy lifting in the military. The thinking: They were potential mothers, and the weaker sex might not perform well under stress. Besides, it was a political hot potato.

But attitudes changed, and females unofficially carried some of the load when faced with it.

There have been numerous examples of women courageously fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although they’ve held noncombat assignments as medics, intelligence officers, military police and other jobs, they’ve also traveled with combat units and been drawn into the fighting. They not only have come under fire, they have returned it, been wounded and killed.

So the Pentagon’s recently announced decision to allow women in all aspects of the military – including combat – has been too long in coming, denying them the promotions and benefits that result from combat assignments.

In that respect, the U.S. military has been decades, if not centuries, behind other nations in giving a rifle or spear to a woman and expecting her to use it. During World War II, women were an integral part in the underground units that fought against Nazi oppression. They also risked life and limb to infiltrate and gather intelligence. Israeli women long have taken part in combat operations. Canada resolved the question in 1989 by giving women fighting status in all units.

Today’s women in the armed forces are as disciplined, skilled and tough in attitude and body as the men. And they can be at least as fierce as their male counterparts.

Consider the heroics of Air Force Staff Sgt. Stacy Pearsall, a photographer who was attached to an Army ground unit during her second deployment to Iraq.

When the personnel carrier she was riding in came under attack, she saved the life of one of her wounded comrades, dragging the unconscious man to safety and using the vehicle’s mounted machine gun to return fire, the New York Times’ James Dao reported.

And when a medic arrived, Pearsall was sitting next to the wounded man, his damaged carotid artery clamped between her fingers. She had wrestled him into the carrier, although he was 6-foot-2 and weighed 200 pounds, nearly twice as heavy as she.

Not everyone will support outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to rescind the 1994 ban on women’s participation in combat, which he made after consulting with the military hierarchy. A congressional effort to turn back the clock with legislation is expected. That would be a mistake. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a fan of lifting the ban, was quoted as saying women should have the same opportunities as men in every aspect of military life.

In a press conference last week announcing the policy shift, Dempsey related a story about arriving in Baghdad as a division commander 10 years ago and clambering aboard a Humvee. He asked the driver where he was from and then slapped the turret gunner on the leg, asking, “Who are you?” The gunner leaned down and said, “I’m Amanda.”

“I realized something had changed and it was time to do something about it,” the general was quoted as saying.

The change took another decade and won’t be fully implemented for several more months, but it’s the right thing to do. Being put in harm’s way unofficially to satisfy a myth of inequality is dishonest. Women need to be recognized officially as full participants in military life, including its dangers, or excluded from battle zones altogether.

Email Dan K. Thomasson, former editor of the Scripps Howard News Service, at [email protected]

Dan K. Thomasson

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • RichFebruary 01, 2013 - 6:24 pm

    First it was open homosexuality and celebration of the same down at the puzzle palace. Now its ''we need GI Jane''. These policy decisions have the appearence of niceness, fairness and accommodation. That's not how combat works. Civilized nations don't like women being in combat roles. Our enemies will use this to demoralize and torture our men when both men and women are held in a POW situation. Women will be singled out for brutalization in front of our captured troops. Ask retired Army Col. Rhonda Cormick who was held prisoner in Iraq. Those who've served under those terrible conditions get sick when they think of wives, mothers and daughters being introduced into the crucible of hades. This is yet another Obama plan to weaken America's Armed Forces under the specious guise of ''equal rights'', ''fairness'' and any other phony reason Hussein can muster from where he came from to further his agenda. Like the lemmings of the sea or the pied piper of Hamlin its truly amazing how many amongst us will follow dear leader over the precipice and into the abyss.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
 
Child care program helps teen parents, students

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Wood students entertain guests at Epcot

By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow | From Page: A2

 
 
 
Solano County Science Fair continues to grow

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Take stock of where you are now, and act

By Murray Bass | From Page: B8

 
Fairfield police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Weather for Saturday, April 18, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Family awarded rights to rare coins

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Dog flu outbreak sweeps across the Midwest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

AG announces anti-bias training program

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
 
Iraqi officials believe Saddam’s top deputy killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Germany mourns citizens lost in plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Following Alps crash, debate over pilotless planes heats up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Time for meaningful financial reform

By Paul A. Volcker | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in history: Saturday, April 18, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 18, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 18, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My daughter is upset that I didn’t attend my former in-law’s funeral

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Idea from Adam Sandler film used to soothe dementia patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Athletics fall to Royals 6-4 in rematch of AL wild-card game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Warriors, Pelicans enter series with different pedigrees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Prep softball: Seldon powers Rodriguez to victory over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
JC baseball: Falcons win as Pavlovsky, Evans homer

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep badminton: Mustangs roll to 15-0 win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Prep baseball: Haney hurls Vanden to 3-2 win over Benicia

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Armijo nears girls soccer title with 2-0 MEL win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
SCAC girls roll past MEL 55-28 in All-Star hoops game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

SCAC boys slip past MEL in entertaining All-Star game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Brazil eyes historic medal haul in 2016 Rio Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

2 weeks before Mayweather-Pacquiao, not a ticket to be seen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Big Ten’s Delany lays out plan for freshman ineligibility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Collmenter shuts down Giants, gets three hits in D-backs win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Merritt’s 61 trumps Masters champion Spieth’s 62

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
2 minor league baseball teams to test game with 5-pitch rule

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA could alter schedule, but no change to playoffs, lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Coonan stepping down as Santa Clara’s athletic director

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel says he “let down” fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers fullback Miller at home in Georgia after March arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockhold hopes win over Machida launches him into contention

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Martina Hingis to make singles comeback in Fed Cup match

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Injured Giants fan throws out first ball in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Flyers fire head coach Craig Berube after 2 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hornets GM Cho: Stephenson ‘didn’t work like we expected’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Before ruling out an upset in NBA East, listen to these guys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Western Conference teams face perilous path to NBA Finals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for April 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Back on the USA Network: Sports return with NHL playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

California home prices hit new 7-year high, sales rebound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

Frederick’s of Hollywood reveals closing of retail stores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Don’t plan to line up for Apple Watch next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Google shaking up search recommendations on smartphones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Glaxo recalls flu vaccine due to potency problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 4 Comments

.

Obituaries

Douglas Craig Sparks

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carole Anspach

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Dennis Burkhart von Ting

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7