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Question for the ground pounders...

Discussion in 'Veteran's Forum' started by Deep Blue, May 1, 2004.

  1. Deep Blue

    Deep Blue Millennium Member

    Nov 3, 1999
    Cookeville, Tn
    I'm in a class called "Gender and Politics". We are discussing women in combat, and I'm getting an earfull about how women are just as capable as men, it doesn't take strength to fire a rifle, etc. Most recently the topic I brought up was the lack of sanitation and the effects on womens health. I found a study saying that combat units can go weeks, even months without a bath. The study referenced another study that said women deployed in ground units in the Gulf War had a higher level of.... lets call it "womens issues".

    My instructor doesn't believe me. She says soldiers do not go weeks without bathing. I was a submariner, so I have no first hand knowlege of it, but I seem to remember the combat units in the Iraq War went three or four weeks at least fighting towards Baghdad, and didn't exactly stop to freshen up. Can any of you former Army and Marine guys give me examples of actual length between showers. Do you think women should be allowed in combat positions?

    Its funny that the women who are most vocal about putting females in combat seem to be the least likely to serve, but thats just my observation.
  2. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA

    Mar 1, 2000
    Well, as a USMC grunt, back in my day you went into the field (state side) for a week and didn't shower until you got back to the barracks.

    Ditto for going out to Calif for desert training, etc. Now when we went on Med cruises, if the navy had problems with might not take a shower for a couple two, three days. It can get ripe in those berthing compartments.

    When I was stationed in Beirut, they eventually put up hot showers in front of the Marine HQ (which was later car bombed) and you could catch a ride in a couple of times a week to have hot showers. We kind of improvised and found a cold water line running near the airport runway. We jerry-rigged a little shower area, but man.....those cold showers were killers. Wish we had found a hot water line too ;f

    Can't tell you about showering during the two Gulf Wars or how things are in Iraq. I'm pretty sure the groundpounders in Iraq are a ripe (but proud) bunch.

    No, women should not be allowed in combat situations, period. They are very capable of doing most jobs, but being a grunt in combat is not one of them. The russians and NVA used women as snipers mostly, but sticking them into a frontline unit amongst men is asking for toruble.

    I've been in the military for several years (USMC) and a few years ago the PA Army National Guard and not once have I ever heard anyone say women in combat would be a good thing. There might be a few GI Jane's out there, but they are in a very, very small category.

    If your instructor thinks that females can do the same job, then ask her why there are different standards for males and females?

  3. Deep Blue

    Deep Blue Millennium Member

    Nov 3, 1999
    Cookeville, Tn
    The standard response seems to be "But there are some women who could keep up with the men". My thinking is that they would be so rare that they would be statistically unimportant, maybe a handfull in the whole Army.
  4. alfred guard

    alfred guard

    Mar 16, 2000
    somewhere usa
    When I was in Viet Nam we went one time Six month and did not have a bath or a shower
  5. Roland-G23

    Roland-G23 STI Convert

    Dec 29, 2000
    Albany, OR USA
    I think the longest I went without bathing in the field was about 10 days. When I went to NTC in 1987 (August, its hot in the Mojave then) we used to sit a black water can out in the sun, and stand on an empty and use a field shower. Its enough to get sorta clean, but by no means does it compare to a good, hot shower.
  6. big grip

    big grip APC & Proud!

    Oct 10, 2003
    Hygiene takes a great deal of work in the field and sometimes you simply do not have time to do more than power you feet which is a must.

    Then there is the strength issue. I was with 2nd BN 8th Marines in the early 1980s, two trips to Beirut and a stop in Grenada for my second trip back. I was in a mortar platoon (81’s) I was a squad leader then and I had well over 100 pound of gear and ammo. For me I good 3 pr socks, poncho, poncho liner and one extra t-shirt. That’s it. Everything else was weapons, chow, ammo or gear.

    Yes SOME/A FEW women can do it but they are damn few and far between. I used to have the same discussion while in college and got the same response you are getting. I would even ask the class to raise their hand if they had combat experience. No one raised their hands so I said “Well I’m the only one with an informed opinion here”. Still I got “the looks”. I also did some cold weather training while in the reserves at the same time I was in college. I don’t know of any woman who can ski march with a cold weather load on their back, not to mention the ammo to go with it. BTW, I went over 3 weeks without a shower in one training trip to Norway in 1991. Man you turbo stink in cold weather training, you can’t “air out”.

    Here’s how to shut them down, fast. If they are all for women in combat ask the chicks in the class how many have registered for the selective service to qualify for federal education loans. Then ask the young men in the class. Follow up with, well if you are for REAL equality then you should be in favor of women registering for the draft. It ends the debate right then and there.
  7. MR. Fantastic

    MR. Fantastic

    Apr 21, 2004
    Phoenix, AZ
    I absolutely agree. While with the Marines there was a percentage of males that I didn't feel too confident leading into battle. That percentage would greatly increase in the female ranks.
    During training the longest I ever went without a shower was 13 days and there were several other instances when we went at least 10 days. During the first phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom it was three weeks before I got my first shower. I was able to take a second shower 2-3 weeks after that.
    I believe your instructer could have been refering to non combat related units and just assumed all wartime deployed forces were the same. This is infact not true. The men on front lines don't recieve all the luxuries and comforts the boys and girls in the rear experience.
    The bottom line is that combat units strive to be deployable within 120 hours at any given time. A units combat readiness depends on it's personel to be prepared to ship out to anywhere in the world at any given time. The fact that the female body has the remarkable ability to reproduce greatly limits their combat readiness. A female serving in the armed forces who is pregnant or has an infant will simply not be deployed. Soldiers who are nondeployable are practically irreplacable.
  8. rlbgfish173


    Sep 7, 2003
    Deep Blue,
    Your Instructor is Clueless.
    Shooting a gun is only a small part of it, I spent Nov 67 - Nov 68 in the Central Highlands along the borders of Laos and Cambodia moving every day through Jungle mountains with a ruck sack that weighed 80-100 pounds plus your weapon, ammo, smoke and frag grenades, canteens, 10 days of c-rations etc. You were always wet from sweat or rain.
    We got back to the rear every 2-3 months for cold showers.
    Remember those who can DO and those who can't Teach.
  9. FatBob


    Mar 25, 2004
    I spent almost 7 years on active duty in the Army. 1 full year of that was on the line with an infantry batalion (that was one full year, I was given 1 block leave, but otherwise no other time off for a year). The infintry batalion was all male, no female in sight. The other six'ish years were in units with both males and females.

    My actual issue is with the statement "it doesn't take strength to fire a rifle." Well sure, not the rifles she sees on TV! But there are a lot more weapons out there than just your "personal" weapon! They forget that the military is a TEAM effort! The M16A2, or M4 used are the lightest rifles the army has. Other than that, all the squad weapons are pretty heavy, then the truck mounted weapons (how do they get those things on the trucks?) I guess your insturctor has never tried to lift a Mark19 onto a HMVEE! I knew one girl that could toss one up there no problem, but I had trouble doing it by myslef, and I was/am 6'1" 205lbs. So it isn't all the shooting that the size matters in, it is getting to the battle! Take your class down to the nearest reserve barracks, and see if they will let your instructor hump some of their gear into their trucks! The stuff the Soldiers, Marines, Airman, Seamen, and Coast Guard hump everyday. Not saying women cant do it (heck many men cant do it by themselves) but if you haven't tried, don't be the first to complain.

    The military is a team effort. It is not about shooting your one rifle. It is about building cohession as a team.

    edited to appoligize for my spelling.
  10. pra.2


    Dec 7, 2002
    New Mexico
    I was in the gulf (Saudi Arabia/Iraq), in an airborne infantry unit, from August,1990-May, 1991. From August to January, we got 1 shower a week "whether we needed it or not". From mid January-mid March There simply was no opportunity to shower. Thank god for the moist towlettes in MRE packs! There were several guys who had larger or smaller "hygiene-related" problems effecting their field deployability, being an infantry unit, we had no females. I can only imagine their hygiene issues would have been overwhelming. Oh, yeah. For about 7 of those 10 months, the only "roof" we had was our poncho hootches to keep the sun off during the heat of the day, and the rain off during the monsoon. YMMV
  11. Deep Blue

    Deep Blue Millennium Member

    Nov 3, 1999
    Cookeville, Tn
    Hell, I was a Siemen... er... Seaman. We had submersible pumps that had to have weighed 60-70lbs, you just lifted it on your shoulder and ran to the other end of the sub. After a few sets of ladders, it got heavy real quick. I don't think a female would have had the upper body strength to do it.
  12. Bonk

    Bonk Millennium Member

    Nov 8, 1999
    I think the longest I ever went without a shower was three or four weeks between two trips to Norway, four trips to the desert, and a bunch of field time otherwise. My seven years in the Corps, all in combat units, tells me that women should not be in that line of work. Now if that instructor of yours had actually put some boots on the ground, I might cut him a little slack, but if he's another typical pencil-necked academic, his opinion is worthless.
  13. Deep Blue

    Deep Blue Millennium Member

    Nov 3, 1999
    Cookeville, Tn
    Actually, he is a she. I think thats part of the problem, she seems to be a typical feminist. She even went to the pro-rights protest in D.C. two weeks ago. I swear, no matter how many facts I present, she'll still never change her mind (equal rights don't cha know). Its like talking to a brick wall.:(
  14. CarlosDJackal


    Dec 10, 2000
    I spent 4 years as an Enlisted man in the Infantry in both Light/Airborne and Mechanized unitss. The longest FTX I ever went on without a bath is 5 weeks!! And man did I smell!! I personally have served with females who could probably handle being in Combat Arms. But they were the exception and not the rule.

    IMHO, the current generation of women should not be allowed to serve in Combat units for the following reasons:

    - Women require regular hygiene or they end up with infections. I learned this while I was instructing a State OCS Summer Camp. By the fourth day, all the female Candidates had infections because of the heat, humidity and lack of hygiene.
    - America is not yet ready to see more of her daughters killed in combat.
    - The physical standards for females is much lower than males. If they want equality, they need to apply the very same standards (i.e. APFT).
    - Not too many women are able to carry a hundred pound rucksack on a 12-mile forced march at 4 miles per hour (which is the standard for the Infantry).
    - The chances for a man and a woman, who are sharing a foxhole under fire, of not falling in love or lust is very slim.
    - Most men would drop everything for a woman. This is counter to the Combat Pilosophy of: "The mission, men, then myself".
    - Most women would flirt with the gullible men in their unit just so they can get them to pick up their slack. I got this from a former classmate in College who was a Major in the Engineering Branch and a female herself. She preferred to command a unit made up of only men. I have also seen a flirty female Officer in Flight School who got away with not attending classes just because she flirted with the gullible Instructors. This same female also got away with striking a tree with her helicopter's blade without so much as a note in the post-flight paperwork. If this had happened to a male flight student, they would have been given a pink-slip (failing grade) for it.
    - Quotas are alive and well when it comes to women. The above flight student was not given the pink-slip because she was one of only two female students in out class. While I was in OCS, a fellow candidate received a bunch of low (peer) grades that should have had her kicked out. In fact, the TAC Officers (OCS' version of Drill Instructors) did try to drum her out (and rightly so). But since we only had 5 female candidates make it through the first 2-week Summer Camp, they had to keep her in the class to make their "quota".

    I must clarify, that I am not against women for most anything. In fact, I feel that they make better Aviators than men. I also find that they are generally a lot easier to teach how to shoot than most men. But I don't think our society is ready for women to serve in Combat units just yet. JM2CW.
  15. big grip

    big grip APC & Proud!

    Oct 10, 2003
    Like I said....

    Your prof must be in favor of the draft for women to be constistent then.

    You will get "Well if a woman wants to she should be able to go to combat" Answer with "Men don't have the choice, they get drafted and go where they are told". Follow up: "What you are seeking is for women to be more than equal".

    That should shut her up, or get you a bad grade. ;f
  16. Gunboat1

    Gunboat1 A.F.A.M.

    I wrote this for another board, but it is germane to the thread. It isn't just ground combat units that shouldn't have women in them.

    Actually, when I joined and when I left, women were not yet assigned to "greyhounds" and that was fine with me, because that's where I did all my sea time. I knew several competent females who were good at their jobs ashore. The problems came when they went to sea with men; I'm not talking about lessened damage control ability because they had less strength than the men (although that is a reality - DC is a brutally physical business.) I'm talking about the endemic sexual activity on board, competition for their attention, resentment of those so favored by those not so lucky, favoritism in work duty assignments (heavy lifting, dirty jobs), actual organized prostitution, and the ever-present distraction of the proximity of women when you were at sea and, shall we say, "having a dry spell". Heavy PC pressure to avoid bad language, pinup calendars, risque movies or anything that might remotely be construed as sexual harassment. Drastically watered down CPO and Crossing the Equator ceremonies (very old traditions) lest any females be offended. Having them aboard did NOTHING to help forge an effective combat unit, and did a great deal to undermine unit cohesiveness. Fortunately, none of my ships had to deal with it during my tenure. My Flag Lt. tour, however, was instructive, as my staff owned many logistics ships that had females in their crews. Ask the Captains about it, and you got glowing reports of how wonderful things were. Ask the XOs in confidence, and you got to hear the real skinny.

    All the drivel about professionalism, and how adults will perform to standard as expected? USS ACADIA deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1987 to repair USS STARK's missile damage. First major deployment of an integrated crew to a "shooting war" zone - how did it work out?
    As I recall the reports, twenty percent of the female contingent returned home early from that deployment due to pregnancy. The Navy kept that one quiet! So much for professionalism. A lot of male sailors had to pick up the watches and work for those women in their unplanned absence.

    In reading boards like this, and talking to sailors, I have found that most junior enlisted sailors didn't mind having women aboard; they got to compete for the womens' attention, and didn't have the responsibility for forging a fighting crew. Most CPOs and officers saw it very differently, as they did bear that responsibility, and had to deal with the negative effects described above. Just one man's opinion, but I think the experiment failed. We are really lucky that we haven't faced a credible naval opponent in a real sea fight since WWII, 'cause the fleet ain't what it used to be in terms of real physical combat readiness.

    Unfortunately, the thing I resented the most was the total pressure from the USN senior establishment - there would be NO and I mean NO dissent, absolutely no criticism of the program. If you had negative issues to bring to light, you kept them to yourself or committed career suicide. Only positive reports were allowed. So, the story the congress and the public has been told is, everything is just peachy with integrated crews. I punched out.
  17. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA

    Mar 1, 2000
    Also tell your instructor to watch "Saving Private Ryan", "The Lost Battalion", "Hamburger Hill", "Platoon" or "Band of Brothers"....... and then see what she has to say.
  18. FLMarine


    May 2, 2004
    Over NC
    Personally I have no problem with females serving in the military. I start to have a problem with them when it comes to several combat arms MOS's. I'm a week from finishing up primary flight school for the Marine Corps so I've seen a couple of times where females have used their sex to try and get ahead or get out of trouble. I haven't seen many females do that though first hand. I have no problem with females in flight school, most I know do pretty decent. Most Marine female pilots I will trust my life to. I've done several live fire exercises with females shooting twenty feet behind me and ten feet to the side of me and there was only one or two females (and plenty of males) who I wouldn't have trusted to do that. One of my good friends is a Marine female officer who I think is one of the best junior officers around and is a better pilot than I am. That being said females shouldn't be in the infantry and similar units. Females trained side by side with the males in the Marine Corps TBS (The Basic School is where 2nd LT's spend 6 months training in basic infantry tactics). There were females there that could kick my ass in running but put a pack on them and they'd drop much faster than the guys. My fighting hole partner was a female and couldn't put her pack on and get up so I had to help her do that several times before I told her to grow a pair and learn to pack less or figure out how to get up on your own. Females physically just can't keep up with the men in physical situations and are very prone to hygine problems when they are out in the field. I hope females do join the military and support their country, just keep them out of the infantry and similar units.
  19. i went from march till june with out a shower last year when i was in iraq, we bathed with baby wipes, and what running water we found, aslo couldnt wash my dcu's while always on the move. It isnt pleasant, i dont agree that wemon should be in combat roles, far as infantry, artillary, engineers, etc, any combat arms MOS. One example is Jessica Lynch, she what in a support MOS, not a combat arms MOS, while wemon can do alot of the same things men can, and could be better at certain tasks, men seem to be better conditioned at liveing and operating in eviroments that lack cleanliness, and no access to showers.
  20. Gunboat1

    Gunboat1 A.F.A.M.

    Your point is exactly why it isn't a good idea at all. Lynch wasn't in a "combat unit"....right up until the ambush. All units in a war zone need to be ready to fight, and all soldiers in those units need to be combat-ready soldiers. All else is folly. When the 101st Airborne needed reinforcements at Bastogne, guess who got sent to those foxholes in the forest....all the support troops. There should be no such thing as a non-combat soldier.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013