# 17 Women in the Army Chap 2

This year we saw the first female 4 star general, General Dunwoody, and now the first female Commandant of the Drill Sergeant School. The glass ceiling has cracked. It will be broken when we have our first female Chief of Staff, or Sergeant Major of the Army. Link below:


Another good day for all women. As strange as it may sound, examples like this have been relatively new for the Army. I'm not sure, but I believe it was only in the mid to late 70's that we saw the first class of female officers go through West Point. Congratulations to CSM King. A role model for all Soldiers who proves that hard work, determination and a sense of service are the exact things that make the Army a great place. While this a great story for female servicemembers, the truest measure of equality will be when this isn't a story at all. When we are no longer breaking gender / race barriers and the measure of worth is only viewed through the lense of ability and a desire for excellence.


  1. I commend CSM King as well. To caveat my post for "women in the army chapter one" I pulled a quote from the NY times article.

    "Asked if women should be allowed into frontline combat units, she said yes, but only if they meet the same standards as men."


    --I want to ask a question to you Fen primarily but anyone else can answer as well. When we had the discussion at the house last week you made a comment along the lines of the people in the JOC on Bagram do not deserve a combat patch. I might have misunderstood but it is how I interpretted it. I too came back from 15 months of Bagram, not having worked in the JOC, but still did nothing combat oriented other than I performed my normal duties as a company XO in a "combat zone". For about the first month of being home and for predominately the entire deployment I didn't wear a combat patch for the sake of I didn't feel I earned it. Many people chastised me as if I didn't like the unit and that is not the case. I love the 101st and I loved the Soldiers I had been working with for almost 3 years. I felt the signal soldiers in my company out at small FOBs in Afghanistan manning guard towers, getting shot at, and returning fire deserved combat patches. Some even received CABs. Thing is, I felt they earned it. To this day, I'm not sure I earned it. To convince myself some to wear it I think "I earned it by supporting my guys who actually did see combat with what they needed day in and day out as much as a I could." Is that enough though. After your comments I wanted to go back to not wearing one. I've even thought this about my ranger tab at times as I aluded to in my APFT comment on this blog. I'm ranger qualified ergo I do well, I don't where my combat patch so to those who know I deployed I don't like the unit and those that don't know me think I'm a captain who has dodged deployments. I don't really care what people think about me but I guess I wanted your take on the combat patch deal? Also, Fen, I understand you pick and chose times to wear your tab as well. How come and why?

  2. Ok, Lots of different thoughts here. I'll reply to the Women in Combat #1 post under that blog to keep things seperate by blog #. For now, my thoughts on the Ranger Tab, Combat patch question. My point about the Ranger tab is simply that although I am allowed to wear it every day, I EARNED it a long long time ago (14 years ago). Whether or not I could pass Ranger school today is a whole different question. As is the value of that school as the "premier small unit leadership school in the Army". I choose to wear it selectively for political reasons, not personal reasons. The political reasons are simple: Sometimes it helps me get a foot in the door because it implies an ability and lends credibility. I no longer need it to convince myself that I am a more than capable Infantryman because the Army sent me to a particular school that I was able to pass. I have come to a point where the tab does not define me as a leader, rather it is a tool I use to assist me to continue to serve Soldiers.
    With regard to the combat patch, my comments are much along the same line. For many of us, this was a deployment, not combat. Remember, the folks in Kuwait wear combat patches as well. It is nothing more than a recognition than you deployed and served in a particular geographical location. Combat - direct action against the enemy is, in my opinion, a totally seperate category. If you spend your 365 days walking back and forth from your B hut to work - with a stop for a cafe latte and a slice of Pizza Hut along the way, you are in a very different place than the kid on the side of the mountain in a direct firefight 3 days a week. This is not a judgment of people. It is an awareness that each of us defines themselves differently. I could plaster OIF/OEF Veteran bumper stickers on my car and get the special liscence plate, but I choose not to because, in my opinion, deployments and combat are the KNOWN risks of this profession. We do not deserve any special consideration because we chose this profession. Just my thoughts.