Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What it’s like being one of the first spec ops women | Die < Less

What it’s like being one of the first spec ops women

by Max Slowik,
June 20th 2012

About a year ago, the US Army started a program to insert women into special forces missions. It was controversial, and still is, even if now, more than a year later, these women have proven to be a major asset.

These all-female spec ops units are called Cultural Support Teams, and their job is to interact with and gain intelligence from women and children in places where it is socially or culturally inappropriate for men to, like, you know, Afghanistan.

They are not just called in when the Army needs not-men. They travel and fight along side Rangers and other forward infantry  in combat missions, in addition to medical outreach programs, and other non-civil affairs. Make no mistake, they’re door kickers, and they have to wear all that extra headgear, Charlie Mike. You never know when you need a not-man.

SOFREP has an interview with one such grunt, and you should really, really read the whole thing. Here’s a part of it:

There will always be debate about women in direct combat roles, but let’s think about that one for a minute, what the hell do people think women have been doing since 9/11? Female MP’s, FET’s, CST’s, etc., they’ve been serving in that role. And even more importantly, let’s not forget our CST sister who lost her life on 22 October 2011 while serving in direct combat.

Most people tend to give knee-jerk reactions to this subject, which drives me crazy! I guess I can’t fault them for being ignorant on just what women like myself have been doing I mean if they haven’t had the opportunity to work with us, how would they know what our capabilities are, right?

I’ve read many opinions on the matter and the majority of them are extremely subjective as opposed to being objective but I guess that’s what an opinion is, it’s generally based on subjectivity.

What I tire of reading are the ridiculous comments about how men and women cannot fight side-by-side because of a man’s natural instinct to want to protect women. Well, if that’s the case then they have failed as a soldier because when we put that uniform on we’re all soldiers.

The other ridiculous argument is the problem of sex. Men seem to think that women serving in these roles would only exacerbate the problem of men and women engaging in sex during deployments. Well, I have a newsflash for them, people are going to have sex regardless of what capacity their serving in, it happens all the time. It’s a human element that you’re never going to get rid of and if you can’t have a “relationship” with someone and still do your job, then again, you have failed as a soldier.

Everyone should be capable of separating personal from professional, but remember, the operative word here is “should.” That being said hell yes it’s appropriate to put women in the line of fire alongside men, but it has to be capable women. You can’t put just any female in that capacity, they have to be capable of doing the job and doing it proficiently.

As far as allowing women into the infantry, Rangers or SF, I have mixed opinions on this one. I believe if women can do the job just as well as men, then why not? We cannot, however, expect any concessions to be made for these women. They have to be held to the same standard as their male counterparts.

Discussing women in such capacities makes me think about how race in the military was once a closely related issue/topic. Let’s not forget that not too long ago, race was the determining factor on what role an individual would serve in the military and we’ve thankfully gotten past that.

I believe at this juncture, that female enablers are definitely the way to go. I mean we’re all aware that we’re fighting a war in a country that does not allow males to engage the female population thereby leaving at least 50% of the population untapped. Female enablers such as CST’s can prove to be invaluable as we are capable of not only engaging 100% of the population (men, women, & children), we are also capable of fighting side-by-side with our male counterparts as has been proven.

You can continue reading the interview here, and if you want to know more about being a CST you can do that here.

Still, I can’t help but think the program name is pretty retarded. Cultural Support Teams? How ’bout just Rangers?

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