“The times they are a’changing” – TTG


“WASHINGTON — Ten women who were commissioned Army officers in the spring graduated from the initial infantry training course Wednesday, becoming the Army’s first female infantry lieutenants. The women were among 166 soldiers to complete the Infantry Officer Basic Leadership Course at Fort Benning in Georgia, a 17-week class that provides new officers the basic skills to lead a rifle platoon into combat, said Army Lt. Col. Matthew W. Weber, the commander of the unit that oversees the course. Officers are commissioned through ROTC, Officer Candidate School or the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.”

“The infantry officer course is a “critical step” toward leading a rifle platoon, but the soldiers who graduated the Army’s first gender-integrated infantry class Wednesday will not join a combat unit for nearly a year, Weber said. They will attend additional courses to prepare them to serve in the traditionally all-male infantry. Those classes include the famously grueling Ranger School, Airborne School, Stryker Leaders Course and Mechanized Leaders Course, Weber said. Eventually they’ll become platoon leaders at Fort Hood in Texas or Fort Bragg in North Carolina.”

“This, the training of an infantry lieutenant, is a process until they step into a rifle platoon,” Weber said. “This is but the very first step in the process.”  Stars and Stripes


I just don’t see how this is going to work… other than as an equal opportunity sideshow act. Even a superbly qualified female infantry platoon leader will still be an object of rare curiosity. I’m all for equal opportunity in employment, but being an infantry leader at the platoon level is not a job. It’s a sacred and deadly profession, a calling, a vocation. I could see qualified female officers and soldiers on an infantry battalion staff or in the headquarters company, but I’d rather not. I guess I’m just not a “modern man.” 

The military education system  has changed since my day. Many in my Infantry Officer Basic Course (IOBC) went straight from graduation to their first infantry platoon. During the last three weeks of my IOBC, we were tracked into light infantry or mech infantry training. In the light track, we did a week of patrolling (Ranger Week), advanced demolitions, defending from and attacking armor, MOBA (military operations in built-up areas) and airmobile operations. The mech guys took their coolers and duffle bags to the field and rode around in M-113s. They said us light guys were anachronisms and would be extinct in a year or so.

According to the article, no infantry officer goes straight to their first platoon after the Infantry Officer Basic Leadership Course. Do they have to go through the Ranger Course? If so, that would be a major change. I’d appreciate an update on infantry officer training in today’s Army.

During the last week in my IOBC we were told there were a lot of openings in the upcoming Ranger Course and we were welcome to try out for it. I figured there’d be no snakes or gators to contend with as a Winter Ranger, so I and many of my buddies said, “Why not?” We were given the PT and swim test the next day and processed into the Ranger training company the afternoon of our graduation from IOBC. I remember us making a game out of giving the Ranger sergeants a ration of crap about us being big time officers now and the sergeants telling us that they’ll remember us come Monday morning. We all got a kick out of it and those sergeants clearly did remember us come Monday morning.

While looking for an online version of this article, I found another taste of the modern Army.     


“WASHINGTON — Two female Army officers have been approved for initial Special Forces training, the first step in the long process to earn the coveted Green Beret, an Army spokeswoman said Monday.

The women are the first female soldiers to be accepted into the Special Forces Assessment and Selection and could report to the three-week program at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as early as October, said Maj. Melody Faulkenberry, a spokeswoman for the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center.”  Stars and Stripes


I don’t blame them for trying. To aspire to “earn the coveted Green Beret” is a worthy endeavor. But again, I just can’t see how a female ODA commander would work. I certainly don’t see it as an enhancement of Special Forces capabilities. 

I do remember when I saw, actually heard, the first female member in 10th SFG(A). We were standing on the tarmac going through the manifest call for a night jump at Fort Devens. As our last names were called, we’d respond with a resounding “Here.” All of a sudden, we heard a high pitched “Here” and we all turned around. It was our first female rigger. I heard someone mutter, “When the hell did that happen?”

It appears the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (A&S) is now a prerequisite for attending the actual SFOQC. That didn’t exist when I went through. We applied, took a physical and, if accepted, showed up at the JFKSWC to take the PT and swim test on day one. I was surprised that half our class was weeded out by that test. From what I’ve seen, that A&S is extremely physical, much more so that the PT and swim test. There’s a very good chance that these aspiring female Green Berets will not make through A&S. That’s what’s happening at the Basic School at Quantico.




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74 Responses to “The times they are a’changing” – TTG

  1. turcopolier says:

    It seems to me that the woman in the photo could have gotten a uniform jacket big enough to cover her ass. And, so far as I know, you are not supposed to wear that blue rope unless you are in a TO&E infantry unit. pl

  2. James Loughton says:

    I believe that woman had her uniform carefully tailored to show off her ass. Blow up the pic a bit more and you can see the butt is so form fitting that it shows her ass crack.

  3. Keith Harbaugh says:

    My prediction, FWIW, is:
    No matter how proficient these women may be in combat and leadership skills,
    they will inevitably cause more problems for the Army than they are worth.
    What problems?
    Simply those that are inevitable when men and women of that age
    are in such close proximity, day and night,
    while they are deprived of the access to legal and authorized sex
    they would have in the civilian world.
    How on earth can anyone expect the Army to prevent sex between the troops,
    whether it is consensual or otherwise,
    in the circumstances of combat training and action?
    This will completely corrupt and corrode
    the whole delicate balance of command relationships.

    An example: The fate of General Jeffrey Sinclair.
    What a sad outcome for an evidently outstanding officer,
    and a loss for the Army.
    And that was just with a staff officer in an HQ,
    let alone what can happen in the field.
    I have never been in a real infantry unit,
    but just base on my understanding of human relations, that’s my prediction, FWIW.
    More expert opinion would be welcome.

  4. pl,
    There does seem to be a wide variation in jacket hem lengths in that photo. I still don’t like the black beret as worn by all. I much prefer the peaked cap and the garrison cap. The infantry cord is awarded when one is qualified as an infantryman. I imagine graduating from IOBC is considered being qualified and the cord is worn for that ceremony just as enlisted men are awarded the cord in a ceremony after graduating AIT. You’re right about being assigned to an infantry unit in order to wear the cord normally.

  5. turcopolier says:

    The whole thing sucks and reeks of EEO crap. I want to see that little woman with 45 grunts, living out in the woods like bears together. pl

  6. Tyler says:

    Have you seen the #draftourdaughters stuff?

  7. Seacoaster says:

    Minor clarification: women graduate the Basic School every month, we had about a dozen in my company six years ago. But they are 0/29 (or maybe 30something now) at our Infantry Officer Course.

  8. Tyler,
    It may have started as a 4chan joke/disinformation meme, but there’s a certain justice to the idea. Why would the EEO types want to deny women the opportunity to register for the draft? Surely they don’t want all the benefits without any of the responsibilities. That’s not a very liberated attitude.

  9. Seacoaster,
    Thanks for the clarification. I just see the signs for The Basic School whenever I drive through the range side of the MCB and often forget that many courses are taught there. I hear the ranges every few days and hear/see the Ospreys flying low over the house. You sure can’t sneak up on anybody with those things.

  10. Lemur says:

    Michael Tracy (the Vice reporter) called Clinton an ‘intersectional militarist’, and that is probably a good a forecast as any about the future of the American Empire.

  11. Lars says:

    This evening I went to a party for future military attaches and I am always impressed by these young officers, men and women. I realize that combat is a nasty exercise, but history shows it becomes more and more mechanized over time. We already have drones and I expect battlefield robots to be next. Thus, this discussion may soon be moot. If you can have a driver less harvesters, cars and trucks, why not tanks of various sizes?
    As much as it pains old warriors, they may be headed for museums and new ones will have started as young video game operators. I don’t think that joy stick cares for the gender of the user. If you don’t think women can be deadly serious, you have not been married.

  12. turcopolier says:

    The attaché course has always had these amusing receptions in Florida. They are intended to expose future attaches to actual civilians. They used to come under my authority. If you think war as a personal matter is coming to an end you are an idiot. My mother told me the same thing in the 1950s. Have you no awareness of what is going on in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and Ukraine? Go sober up. I hope you enjoyed DIA’s hospitality. pl

  13. Seacoaster says:

    Lot of fun to be near the brownout when they lift off, too. Have not had the pleasure of fast roping out of an Osprey, but apparently it’s doable…

  14. Lars,
    I have no doubt that female soldiers are capable of executing many military functions including some deadly serious ones. I still don’t believe they should be in the infantry. I doubt this will change. I was called an anachronism for being a light infantryman in 1976. In 1983 I was creeping through cellars with a 45 and a hatchet. I would bet that 25 or 50 years from now, some other anachronism will be creeping through cellars or sewers with a laser pistol and a hatchet. We’ll never go out of fashion.

  15. mike allen says:

    Never understood why the Pentagon didn’t do a buy for the NOTAR (no tail rotor) helicopters developed by Hughes years ago. Those birds gave new meaning to “silent but deadly”. But only a few city police forces bought them due to resident noise complaints.

  16. Lars says:

    Obviously, your mother did nothing to curb your cynicism. I am sure there will be some soldiers who will face enemies up close, but I suspect there will be less and less of that.
    Many of the officers I met this evening are going to places that are less than hospital. The best aspect of the evening was the local support, both corporate and social these officer got at this reception and it is true, I did enjoy the hospitality and it appeared the “students” did too. My friend who hosted it has done so for 38 years.
    I conversed with several officers and as I said, I found them to be impressive, even if you would fail to do so. I actually find that they have an important mission, in a geopolitical sense.
    As far as knowing what goes on in the places you mentioned, I did not find anyone not informed, whether military or civilian. Personally, I liked that these young people in uniform are on my side.

  17. Never fast roped and certainly never out of an Osprey. All I did was rappelling out of a Huey. Unfortunately I once did a 250 foot rappel with a 200 foot rope due to a serious updraft in the Kahuku mountains.

  18. Bill H says:

    It seems that the purpose of the military has changed. When I served in the Navy the purpose of the military was defense of the nation. Today it is seen as a career opportunity, and there is a consequent need to see that all social classes are provided with equal access to that wonderful opportunity. That has resulted in all of the social engineering that is not serving what used to be the primary mission of national defense.

  19. Tom says:

    I run an outdoors business in Central Asia and had a long, long talk with a Mongolian officer who had been part of ISAF in Afghanistan. The US is beyond hated even among so called “allies”. Why? No respect for grunts. No going out in the fields. Killing people by remote.
    Do you really think you can communicate (and yes, war is a form of communcation)by sending in drones? There is a moment when you have to touch ground. When you have to eventually put your own troups in harms way. If you don´t do that you will be less than respected. Just intensely hated. The US is gutting her very best infantry units by subjecting them to PC crap and people like you think it doesn´t matter. It matters very much in any of those “small” wars where the US is involved.

  20. Old Microbiologist says:

    I can’t disagree with you there. I have run or commanded organizations with mixed military genders and yes, there are very specific requirements for women soldiers uniforms. They do have an issue with tailoring and these jackets are custom made. Women do not fit into the 6 size groups of military uniforms.
    I recall my particularly tough 2nd wife who was 4’10.5″ and 95 pounds yet was possibly the toughest officer I have ever experienced. When she walks in a room for a meeting nobody notices how short she is. She could make it through these course if needed. In fact, she was roped into an operational unit and bypassed all these schools. I think her airborne school consisted of being thrown from a Huey 5 times out at Camp Peary one day as she had to meet the airborne requirement. My point being when necessary you bag all the qualification crap and just do the job.
    I agree there is a PT requirement which should be enough for anyone if it were a real test. I have always believed every soldier must be capable of shooting a weapon, be NBC qualified and tested, be healthy, and be able to carry their basic load for some measurable yet sane distance perhaps 20 km. This is enough to see if they can actually do their basic military skills (regardless of MOS). How many 2LT 11B OCS (Mustangs) officers had any additional training during Vietnam other than OBC? The ROTC were even more disadvantaged. IMHO it is a waste to spend a lot of money on 2LT’s as it assumes a good survival rate in combat, which is not typical. I have always believed the advanced schools should come after leading real soldiers at the Platoon level. But, then I always believed every officer must serve two years as an enlisted soldier before being commissioned.

  21. Old Microbiologist says:

    Obviously, but try being an Infantry Colonel and her supervisor/commander and correcting this without a follow-on Sexual Harassment charge.
    Personally, when I commanded mixed gender units it was horrible. The women are at least 10 times more trouble in every regard. They can be and usually are great soldiers but there is an inherent need for specialized “stuff” when having women serving. Not saying it is bad, but it adds to the complexity of commanding a field unit. When you don’t have enough men it is nearly impossible to assemble a unit in the field which has a large amount of tentage, generators, etc. I have a substantial amount of experience at Field Hospitals and forward deployed laboratories which can have really large footprints and you have 1 day to get operational. I have had to borrow male soldiers from nearby units (MP’s etc.) to get the big tents put up as the women just can’t do it. Driving stakes with a sledge hammer, raising GP Large poles? Just not going to happen, moving water buffalos by hand, the list goes on about real duties in the field.

  22. Old Microbiologist says:

    Excellent points. Don’t forget an increasing larger part of the burden of all this combat etc. is now being done by mercenaries (contractors in the modern PC speech).
    I get tired of hearing they died to keep America free. It is difficult to imagine how anyone can accept that, but then again, HRC is very likely going to be President (no matter how the people vote) and I can’t imagine anyone of intelligence voting for her either, yet I have a lot of PhD friends (including family members) who won’t even listen to any criticism as Trump is so bad (to them). I suppose we will get what we deserve now.
    It seems increasingly likely I am finally going to get answers to all those all night CQ/AOD/OOD whatever conversations about which military would function better in combat against each other. Or whose anti-ballistic missile system actually works? Can any navy ships survive modern warfare? Whose latest fighter is better? The list goes on. It used to be a comparison of the Soviet Union to the US but now it is Russia/China against USA/EU (+/-). 2017 is going to be a fascinating year.

  23. scott s. says:

    re the light infantry, they have converted 3rd Bde of the 25th ID here from Stryker to light infantry, so some one seems to think they are needed. They did lose the 1-14 Inf in the transition though.

  24. A. Pols says:

    It’s really all about the efforts of the SJW contingent in our culture, which has striven mightily to reconfigure the world as they wish it to be.
    It takes layers of protection to insulate the epicene results from the reality that will transpire should that “Ivory Tower” protective cocoon break down.

  25. turcopolier says:

    I was Defense and Army Attaché in two inhospitable countries and was later head of the Attaché system world wide. There was a recently concluded war in Korea even as my mother told me conventional war was at an end. The military attachés in training were nice to you? They were brought down from Washington to learn to be nice to civilians in a social setting. I have been to several of the Florida reception exercises, once as a trainee, and a couple pf times to see how the attaché course instructors were spending my budget. pl

  26. turcopolier says:

    “an increasing larger part of the burden of all this combat etc. is now being done by mercenaries” This is actually BS. Show me where the “mercenaries” are in the US defense establishment. Show me. Logistics contractors? Maintenance contractors? OK, but show me the fighters and don’t count the state Department’s hired bodyguards. Show me! pl

  27. jonst says:

    Lars wrote: ” I am sure there will be some soldiers who will face enemies up close, but I suspect there will be less and less of that”. You realize the bet you are making, right?

  28. turcopolier says:

    Anyone who thinks there is not a big problem of the type you mention about women and heavy manual labor has never tried to put up a wet GP medium tent. pl

  29. turcopolier says:

    I was VN for two 12 month tours and three TDYs that amounted to another tour. I don’t remember that the legendary high death rate among infantry lieutenants commanding platoons of riflemen was anything like as high as the legend would indicate it should have been. pl

  30. Bill H says:

    As soon as I read OMB I knew that was coming. I admire your restraint, sir.

  31. Old Microbiologist says:

    In the snow.

  32. Old Microbiologist says:

    Maybe you were lucky. I lost 3 friends there all of whom died fairly quickly once in combat. All were OCS graduates and particularly gung ho. Good guys all and a sad loss.

  33. LeaNder says:

    there are very specific requirements for women soldiers uniforms.
    I wondered about that. Pretty waist tailored stuff it seems. Taking a closer look at the image, I wondered if the general fashion during the last decades influenced female uniforms in the military.
    Assuming this general fashion has influenced uniforms, I agree with Pat the only way out for the lady in the image would have been to choose the next bigger size in both jacket and trousers:
    Pat: It seems to me that the woman in the photo could have gotten a uniform jacket big enough to cover her ass.
    Maybe not. Maybe the only factor for length is size?
    I recall my particularly tough 2nd wife who was 4’10.5″ and 95 pounds yet was possibly the toughest officer I have ever experienced. When she walks in a room for a meeting nobody notices how short she is.
    you never fail to surprise me, MB

  34. Old Microbiologist says:

    I think the current footprint of whatever Blackwater is called now (Academi??) is pretty large. But you are correct, a lot of positions are “support” in nature. But, take a closer look at security jobs which used to be done by soldiers and is now done by contractors so that would be your State Department bodyguards. I don’t know how that might be categorized otherwise. They carry weapons and shoot people so that sounds like combat to me. If I recall reading recently there are something like 5,000 of them in Afghanistan. But, I must accept what you say as I haven’t been deployed anywhere since 1999 except projects as a civilian scientist in non-combat (yet risky) projects in fun places like Peru, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Kidnapping for ransom was the highest risk although I was lucky and never had to go through it although co-workers did. Nothing like getting a pre-deployment security briefing telling me I was on my own.
    I was just recalling rumors that 250 or so Academi contractors (probably less but at least 60 were identified) were killed in action in Ukraine as well, so there are things like that going on. That was based on advertising for contractors and reports from the DPR about Americans killed in that conflict. I don’t think they were support personnel. Who they work for is a larger question and it could even be they aren’t directly supporting the US (although I doubt it). CIA now has a military force of their own and I believe they are comprised of mainly contractors. The numbers in the SAG are impossible to determine but it sounds somewhat large. Does this qualify as combat forces? I don’t think the Geneva Convention covers contractors so it is a sticky subject.
    However, I have some friends who got into contracting work mostly in medical support roles so only know from them what they told me plus whatever my veterinarian buddies some of whom have had up to 15 deployments now. Guard dogs must be maintained by veterinarians which is a very small corps with high turnover. They get short rotations back home and then get deployed again fairly quickly.

  35. AEL says:

    The Canadian Military has been fully integrated for years. Our experience is that female combat arms officers are extremely motivated individuals. This high level of motivation makes them ideal for employment on jobs where the soldiers are either already poorly motivated or the job itself really sucks.
    As leaders, they have to motivate their troops and having a deep wellspring of personal drive makes that job much easier. The many successful female officers thus end up getting assigned (and succeeding) at one shitty job after another. This builds respect for them (both above and below). The few unsuccessful ones quickly drop out of the combat arms.

  36. turcopolier says:

    “I think the current footprint of whatever Blackwater is called now (Academi??) is pretty large.” Stop waving your arms and talking about rumors. You are unable to point to any mercenary combat units in the US armed forces establishment. A facility guard or body guard with a gun is not a mercenary soldier. pl

  37. McGee says:

    My training was as an Army intelligence agent, and I never saw a female in training or in the field way back then. Probably changed now. Apropos was watching the movie Apollo 13 with my then small son and daughter a few years back. When the film switched to a view of the mission control room in Houston, my then 8 year-old daughter suddenly got up and left the room. When I asked her if she didn’t like the movie she stated “there are no women in that control room”! That small and very observant little girl is now a very successful biomedical engineer. The times they are changing, mostly for the better I think, though I’m certainly not qualified to question TTG’s views about women’s role in the infantry.

  38. turcopolier says:

    Officers either have their uniforms tailor made or have off the rack uniforms tailored to fit them. there is no reason why this woman lieutenant should have her ass hanging out. Do you think that will make her a more effective leader of male soldiers? pl

  39. Mike P says:

    My dad fought in the U.S. Army 77th (Statue of Liberty) Division* in the Battle of Okinawa. Same division as Desmond Doss, the Medal of Honor recipient whom the new movie “Hacksaw Ridge”** is based on. My dad earned PHs and other combat medals and came back and went to school, got married, raised 5 kids, has been a faithful Catholic and has been married to the same woman for over 60 years. He’s going on 91. I talked with him this morning and mentioned about this piece by TTG and female infantry lieutenants. His take? “This country is finished.” He added, “And if that witch wins on Tuesday I’m gonna go out into the middle of the street and burn the American flag.” And still with a sense of humor added, “And I’ll kneel down while doing it.”
    *The 77th Division in the Battle of Okinawa was also where Gen. Simon B. Bruckner, Jr. (VMI grad and son of Confederate Gen. Simon B. Bruckner Sr.) was killed along with war correspondent Ernie Pyle.
    **Both my dad and I saw the movie and loved it. My dad was always a huge fan of Desmond Doss as long as I can recall. Doss never picked up a gun. My dad manned a BAR.

  40. turcopolier says:

    Carrying a snub nosed .38 and credentials as a CI agent is nothing like serving in the infantry. nothing. pl

  41. Old Microbiologist says:

    But thinking about combat and combat roles there is now a very blurred line of who is what. I think an inordinate amount of US soldiers were killed doing duties not in their job descriptions like long range truck driving and getting killed by IED’s enroute. Patrol duties seem to be also widely diversified so I don’t know how it all fits anymore. Maybe we aren’t thinking correctly that the majority of combat is performed by Infantry or mechanized infantry. Now we have an inordinate number of SOF working sometimes against each other (as in Syria) so it is completely bizarre and I cannot really understand how it all fits together now. I can’t even imagine trying to command or coordinate a Theater these days. Then you have contractors and CIA in the mix? FUBAR

  42. turcopolier says:

    I was in the field a lot with 1 ID, 1st Cavalry Division, 11th ACR. It did not seem to me that infantry lieutenants were casualties in exceptionally high numbers, certainly not more than the grunts in their platoons. but, this is just an impression that I had. I looked at the statistics. There were 450 odd Army O-1s who died in VN and 1400 or so O-2s. Most of these would have been KIA or died of wounds and the great majority would have been in the infantry. To be honest, these do not seem to be unacceptable losses given the length of the war, the intensity of the combats. USMC dead lieutenant statistics are comparable but of course fewer dead people because of the smaller size of their force. Interestingly, the higher your rank as an officer in our forces was in VN the less likely you were to be killed. In the much malighed Wehmacht the opposite was true. pl

  43. turcopolier says:

    Thinking about this some more it seems likely to me that a lot of the O-2s were helicopter pilots. pl

  44. Old Microbiologist says:

    I agree over a protracted infantry intense war like that it wasn’t huge. My point though is why waste valuable money training a 2LT in SPECOPS etc. They need platoon time first so they aren’t super green in their first specialized assignment.

  45. turcopolier says:

    Unless things have changed the GBs do not take lieutenants who do not have conventional experience. Both TTG and I had served in the infantry before going to SF. As TTG says, in the old days if you were sent to the SF qualifying course, you took the PT Test and the swimming test and then started the course. I will be surprised if any women get through the present pre-course screening that lasts two weeks and is literally two weeks in hell. pl

  46. mike allen says:

    I’m with TTG that female Soldiers can fill many deadly and serious military billets, but that should not include duty in a line infantry platoon or company.
    On the other hand I have no beef against them serving in combat in other functions. A case in point is women fighter pilots in the Soviet Air Force in WW2. Historically there have been many mixed gender units. But I believe the vast majority were guerilla units or militias. The most recent example is women in the PKK. I read somewhere they have severe penalties for hankie-pankie.
    The Syrian Kurds have the YPJ women fighters. But they seem for the most part to be all female units and not mixed??? Yazidi women have also been formed into fighting units to protect themselves and their villages. Someone a lot smarter than I said about those female Yazidi fighters: “When the consequences of defeat are brutal rape and death … the cultural proscription against female soldiers tends to go by the wayside.”

  47. OMB,
    That’s the way training and assignments work in Special Forces and SOF. I don’t know of any instances of a 2LT being selected for SF, Delta or a Ranger assignment. My SF class was all captains except for one National Guard 1LT. Even the foreign officers, which there were many, were all captains. One has to be a promotable 1LT in order to apply for accession to the special forces branch.

  48. oofda says:

    Again the pure physical demands of being an infantry officer mitigate against women serving in infantry billets- officer or enlisted. I hear of loads of 140 pounds being humped by troops. Add to that the hunger and exhaustion, and it would take a super-physically fit woman to do the physical requirements of the job- and then on top of that, to do the supervision and leadership tasks that being an infantry officer requires. I recall, as a Marine LT being so tired by the lack of sleep and constant moving after a week or more on an exercise in the field. And we walked up and down hills- no riding. I have no problem with women serving in most ground combat and combat support units. But infantry is another thing altogether.
    By the way, speaking of overloading infantry- I recall the classic by S.L.A. Marshall, “The Soldier’s Load and the Mobility of a a Nation”. It should be required reading for all Army and Marine officers. It seems to have been forgotten.

  49. Seacoaster says:

    Ditto for the Israelis sir. There was an article in The Journal of Military Operations a couple years back about that, the pluses and minuses of the Israeli tradition of leading from the front.

  50. turcopolier says:

    Yes. The level of privation experienced in Army or Marine infantry has to be experienced to be understood. The privation may actually be worse in peacetime training. I completely agree that loads being carried are far too heavy. They always were but are worse now. I have structural damage as does TTG from carrying too much weight. pl

  51. turcopolier says:

    They have an additional problem in that the IDF has no career combat arms NCOs. pl

  52. oofda,
    I’m glad you brought up the problem of overloading infantry. It’s a serious problem. I’m from the generation where a buttpack on your web gear sufficed for carrying your stuff. Ammo and weapon comprised the majority of the load and strict fire discipline helped to ease the ammo requirement. Body armor seems to a minimal requirement today. The only armor we carried was the steel pots on our heads. The loads I’ve seen carried by our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are ridiculous. Contrast that with the loads carried by the YPG/YPJ units.

  53. turcopolier says:

    I was an O-2 but I had been a rifle platoon leader for two years. I was definitely the junior guy among the officers in my training detachment. As you say we had foreign officers in the course, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Iranian. Those are the ones I remember. There were two USMC as well. pl

  54. pl,
    On our team alone we had a big, bold, burly Spaniard who always carried a field expresso maker, two Malaysian scout-trackers and a Tunisian who badly wanted us to take out Gaddafi because his shenanigans ruined his Summer every year. The other three teams had their own foreign officers, but I don’t remember where they came from.

  55. LeaNder says:

    AEL, I vaguely considered that option around the Abu Graib scandal. 😉
    I have no doubt others did too.

  56. LeaNder says:

    Pat, no discussion on the issue. Pretty peculiar in fact.

  57. Lars,
    “combat is a nasty exercise, but history shows it becomes more and more mechanized over time”, really ? Guess it is true, except when it isn’t.
    Ask the Izzies about their experience with the “plasma warrior” syndrom, or the French with their “playstation generation”.
    Certain environments will NEVER be mechanized, period. There’s plenty of evidence to back this up, but nuf’ said already.

  58. Lars,
    Just a little crash course in “modern warfare”: considering the % of the world’s population living in cities (which is higher than ever before and still climbing), considering the difficulties inherent to urban combat for a technologically superior force, considering the increasingly asymetrical nature and hybrid nature of warfare in a number of areas in the world, considering the average distance between opposing fighters in urban environments, etc., considering all of the above, you really believe “facing the enemy close up” is going to disapear anytime soon ?
    As for knowing the places, how would you be able to assess how much they know ? You also fluent in pashto ? farsi ? arabic ? tamazigh ? somali or oromo ?

  59. AEL,
    “they (female COs) have to motivate their troops and having a deep wellspring of personal drive makes that job much easier”. You sure we’re talking abt combat arms here or is this statement a copy/paste from the corporate world ? Honestly, I have trouble understanding it, if we are indeed talking abt combat arms in a professional military.

  60. Degringolade says:

    My God…Did we look that young?

  61. Seacoaster says:

    None? Wow. I guess I had heard that though, that officers have to do a lot of sergeant-level tasks, but I guess it didn’t fully register. I guess they have that in common with the Arabs then.

  62. Seacoaster says:

    Why does Canada have women in the infantry but not in the NHL?
    Because the Canadians take hockey seriously.

  63. Seacoaster says:

    While we’re on the subject sir, do you buy the argument that Occupied Territory policing duties have degraded the IDF substantially from its Six Day War peak?

  64. McGee says:

    Agree totally Pat! Certainly didn’t mean to imply anything else. (no need to post this)
    Best, John

  65. Tyler says:

    I don’t even recognize the Army anymore since I left it. More fever dreams about “equality” and enablers like Lars always chiming in with “war won’t be so personal anymore” (shots fired at them: 0).
    How many men are going to have to die cause GI Barbie wanted to play infantry and can’t drag a troop weighing 250+ in full battle rattle out of fire? But hey, I’m sure we will certainly see less fraternization.
    Aside: Every unit has to relearn soldier’s load when it deploys. I remember when we arrived in Afghanistan in 03, the 10th Mountain who were showing us around went on patrol with ammo, water, batteries and kept it light. Meanwhile we wanted to have packing lists with three different bags until our first big op when you had something like 20 casualties across a company from guys hiking up icy goat trails at night with an 80lb ruck and falling off the mountain.

  66. turcopolier says:

    In addition to that, Israeli society has profoundly changed in such a way that they no longer possess the kind of men who fought in ’67. What their infantry is good at now is abusing Palestinians at roadblocks. This is now the era of the Gucci Israelis rather than the kibbutznik generation.

  67. Seacoaster says:

    Sir, thank you. I should have checked your archives first.

  68. Seacoaster says:

    General Barrow, CMC, stated it plainly: If the 1st Marine Division had been 15% female (General Dempsey’s stated goal) at Chosin, “I do believe Kim Il-Sung would have been presiding over my bones.”

  69. mike allen says:

    General Barrow knew what he was talking about. I was lucky enough to serve during the time General Barrow was CMC. He was one of our best IMHO. He was a Mustang and before being sent to OCS he did time as a drill instructor at MCRD San Diego. His obituary is:
    Interesting about the letter that General Barrow wrote to Caspar Weinberger regarding American troops in Lebanon being shot at by IDF troops. That got ignored and disappeared down a rathole unfortunately.
    I always wondered whether the architect of the Pentagon had gone to LSU and seen Pentagon Barracks there? Barrow had worked there as janitor and waiter to earn his tuition and board & keep.

  70. aleksandar says:

    I agree, in afgha, body armor was 22 kg, add ammo ( 12 magazines for rifle + 6 for pistol ) and all the stuff, nearly…450 kg.
    Taliban where chamois in mountains, we where turtle.
    Women as platoon leader are not so bad, but we experienced problems in our Army. Most of the time they want to be better than men and put too much pressure on theirs soldiers and NCO;
    I remenber an entire platoon in Bosnia soldiers and NCO, going to ask the compagnie commander to be transferred to another squad or company.
    There is no women in SF, partly because the risk for them if being captured.

  71. mike allen says:

    ooops – board and keep only. There was no tuition back in the thirties and forties for LSU. Huey Long may have been a crook, but at least he gave poor Louisianans a free college education.

  72. Fred says:

    We’re gonna have to draft Barbie and Ken and the rest of the rainbow flag generation as they aren’t signing up. The one’s pushing the policy are, to use rjj’s phrase, the “rainbow guard of our own cultural revolution”.

  73. aleksandar says:

    well…………45 kg

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