So, I’m elated when I read this:
WASHINGTON – Call it breaking the brass ceiling. Ann E. Dunwoody, after 33 years in the Army, ascended Friday to a peak never before reached by a woman in the U.S. military: four-star general.
Later Friday, at Fort Belvoir, Va. _ her birthplace _ Dunwoody was being sworn in as commander of the Army Materiel Command, responsible for equipping, outfitting and arming all soldiers. Just five months ago, she became the first female deputy commander there.
There are 21 female general officers in the Army _ all but four at the one-star rank of brigadier. It was not until 1970 that the Army had its first one-star: Anna Mae Hays, chief of the Army Nurse Corps.
Until I get toward the end and read:
Women now make up about 14 percent of the active-duty Army and are allowed to serve in a wide variety of assignments. They are still excluded from units designed primarily to engage in direct combat, such as infantry and tank units, but their opportunities have expanded over the past two decades.
Why? Why can’t a female soldier drive a tank? Do boobs get in the way of the steering wheel? Tanks are small places; I had a friend who was a “tanker” in the Guard – a short, squatty fellow. You’d think female soldiers would be a natural for tank duty. Have you seen a woman drive an SUV?!? (bah-dum-bum! Thank you, tip your waiter, I’ll be here all week…)
Why can’t a female soldier be in the infantry? Trust me, BDUs (battle-dress uniforms) and camo face paint are hardly sexy. Is that what we fear, that male soldiers wouldn’t be able to fight with all the hot babes around? Is it the “no gay soldiers in the shower” argument from the straight angle? Would macho he-males make stupid decisions to gallantly rescue fallen damsel privates in distress? (I mean, Army soldiers of the rank of “private”.) Because I know at least one female former soldier who I’d give an M-16 and fight from a foxhole with any day. She’s far more vicious and a better shot than I am! With an infantry full of women who all “get in sync”, we could time tactical operations around “cycles” and rain down hell on the enemy with The Fightin’ PMS Battalion! (bah-dum-bum-spish! Thank you, thank you, catch me next week at Mr. Yuks in Sheboygan…)
Sexist jokes aside, really, why do we still ban women from direct combat duty? I’m all for strict physical standards – can you do the obstacle course, shoot a rifle, carry your fellow soldier, patch a wound, and so on – but I can’t understand why if a woman can be a firefighter, cop, or four-star general, she can’t also be an eleven-bravo grunt.