Axiom: Three Women Pass Phase One of Ranger School

Axiom –  a premise or starting point of reasoning. (noun) On April 20th, 2015 19 women were invited to attempt the U.S. Army’s most difficult course; the Army Ranger School. Of the

Navy and Marine Corps Elevate Level of Authority to Discharge Trans Service Members

Dated JULY 1st 2015, The Navy and Marine Corps have been ordered by memorandum to require that separations for members diagnosed with gender dysphoria, identify as transgender, or have expressed interest in

THE FIGHT ISN’T OVER: Transgender military service ban still stands

The fight isn’t over. The June 26,2015 victory for Marriage Equality was monumental for the LGBT community in the United States. LGBT service members now have equal access to veteran’s benefits if they choose

Women in Ground Close Combat Roles

WOMEN IN COMBAT This is a hot topic, as has been for a while. When researching the pro’s and con’s of female accession to GCC roles, the argument seems to center on

RESPONSE TO SCATHING LETTER BY FEMALE AIRMAN ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION AND RESPONSE TRAINING

A letter originally posted on jqpublicblog.com went viral among online news outlets and social media. In the letter the Airman describes, in visceral nature, how she felt victimized by the current Sexual

Axiom: Three Women Pass Phase One of Ranger School

women in combat

Axiom –  a premise or starting point of reasoning. (noun)

On April 20th, 2015 19 women were invited to attempt the U.S. Army’s most difficult course; the Army Ranger School.

Of the 19 who started, only eight passed the initial Ranger Assessment Phase and were allowed to move onto the Darby Phase. On the first try, none passed. On the second try, none passed. However, three of those females and five males were allowed a third try.

As of July 11th, 2015 all three females passed the Darby Phase and are now onto the Mountain Phase.

The Axiom:

As I scroll through articles about these women, I can’t help but scroll through the hundreds of comments.

On this site in particular out of 100 comments I found exactly 3 positive comments. Everything else is just dismal.

221826313 days ago – “Gays allowed to marry, women (all West Pointers I might add, the WPPS at work again) given special training and multiple chances to pass Ranger School, transgenders being allowed to serve and the U.S. taxpayer funding their perverse medical procedures, an openly gay SecArmy. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you. It is a sad, sad time in the history of our country when proud institutions who’s members sacrificed so much for the nation. Proud histories and traditions ignored in order to ram down the throats of all of us a socialistic, utopian vision of society that many of us find unacceptable. Even more disturbing is having these rammed through without any regard for what is good for the military or our nation. As long as it supports their social agenda, the security and well being of individual Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines as well as our country is of little import. There will be a reckoning one day for this foolishness.”

“You can bet your sweet bottom this colonel who wants to be a general will be accommodating and ensure these women get their tabs. Mind you, they will never go on raids, take down an airport or engage in high-risk missions, but Rangers they will be.

Please let me know when they pass so I may apply for the correspondence course.”

steve Howell

“yep they will continue on and get the Tab and all the libs will be happy and maybe we can have more gays, trangenders and girl rangers. then we can just start chinese and become commies or socialists or anything but Americans. Thank to all you morons who voted for this CHANGE . Hope y’all are happy with the results.
Damn you liberals to hell. Y’all are worse than Al-Quida”

Seriously?

From my experience, going through 7 military PME (Professional Military Education) courses, any time we had the hawk-eye on us, the standards were enforced to the max. You HAD to do everything by the book. I can imagine what these females are enduring is just as hard or harder than courses in the past. Every move their instructors make is scrutinized to ensure these girls are not being favored.

A big complaint was that these Females were given a third try and whether they allow that for men; they do.

Over 100 men were given a second try and five men along with the three girls were given a third try. So that clears that up…

If women can do the job, if you can pass the training, if you can carry your weight and sometimes the weight of others, why bar them from trying?

Post: Axiom: Three Women Pass Phase One of Ranger School

 

 

Department of the Navy Secretary Increases Maternity Leave to 18 Weeks

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Yesterday, Secretary Ray Mabus announced that maternity leave be tripled to 18 weeks for the Navy and Marine Corps.

This is just one of the many changes Secretary Mabus is bringing to the floor. Read more about that HERE.

“Department of Defense Instruction 1327.06, Leave and Liberty Procedures for the Department, charges Secretaries of the Military Departments with publishing departmental guidance in accordance with the DoD instruction. Under the section that delegates to the Secretary the ability to designate the level of control for convalescent leave that exceeds 30 days, Secretary Mabus has directed that commanding officers grant additional convalescent leave up to 84 days beyond the currently authorized 42 days of convalescent leave following the birth of a child.” –  Navy.mil

“When the women in our Navy and Marine Corps answer the call to serve, they are making the difficult choice to be away from their children — sometimes for prolonged periods of time — so that they can do the demanding jobs that we ask them to do,” Mabus said in a release. “With increased maternity leave, we can demonstrate the commitment of the Navy and Marine Corps to the women who are committed to serve.” – Ray Mabus

Post: Department of the Navy Secretary Increases Maternity Leave to 18 Weeks

Navy and Marine Corps Elevate Level of Authority to Discharge Trans Service Members

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Dated JULY 1st 2015, The Navy and Marine Corps have been ordered by memorandum to require that separations for members diagnosed with gender dysphoria, identify as transgender, or have expressed interest in transitioning will be processed through the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The memorandum is located below.

Both the US Army and the US Air Force have previously elevated the level in which transgender service-member separations are reviewed.

“This is a huge step in the right direction for our transgender airmen and their families, but they are still threatened by outdated regulations preventing them from serving openly and honestly,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. 

The Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) report in March, 2015 highlighted, “No one should be forced to choose between defending the country they love and being true to their authentic self.  The outdated regulations serve no purpose and only dehumanize and prevent qualified and capable individuals from enlisting and serving.  The ban perpetuates trauma to all those involved, both the service member and their family.”

I have written a few times about bans on Transgender service members. You can read them HERE and HERE.

Post: Navy and Marine Corps Elevate Level of Authority to Discharge Trans Service Members

 

THE FIGHT ISN’T OVER: Transgender military service ban still stands

The fight isn’t over.

The June 26,2015 victory for Marriage Equality was monumental for the LGBT community in the United States. LGBT service members now have equal access to veteran’s benefits if they choose to get out and those veterans who have been fighting for those benefits for decades can finally rest.

BUT

There is a very significant group of people who are still forced to suffer under longstanding bans; transgender service members. A DoD study estimates there are about 15,000 trans military troops and 134,300 trans veterans. Where did we come to think that those numbers weren’t significant? That’s 15,000 lives who have the same suitability to serve as anyone else but are being denied a large part of who they are and 134,300 who may not have adequate access to the healthcare that supports a transition.

There are currently 18 countries that do not preclude trans recruits from serving. Read more about that HERE.

“The President agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

 

Here is some of the rational for the regulations that ban transgender service members:

 

Regulation: Defense Department instruction 6130.03

 

From Doe V. Alexander in 1981:

 

A federal district court noted “evidence that transsexuals would require medical maintenance to ensure their correct hormonal balances and continued psychological treatment and that the army would have to acquire the facilities and expertise to treat the endocrinological complications which may stem from the hormone therapy. The army might well conclude that those factors could cause plaintiff to lose excessive duty time and impair her ability to serve in all corners of the globe.”

 

Leyland V. Orr in 1987:

 

An Air Force consulting physician testified that assigning individuals who had undergone a sex change operation to remote geographic areas, “would be equivalent to placing an individual with known coronary artery disease in a remote location without readily available coronary care.”

 

DeGroat V. Townsend in 2007:

 

“The known and potential complications of sex change operations are many and varied and can affect the long term health and duty performance of the individual. Additionally, many of these patients are maintained on hormone therapy which independently has potential side effects. Further, individuals undergoing male to female gender conversions may encounter prostatic diseases which are more difficult to diagnose and to manage. Air Force duties require individuals from all 7 career fields to serve in a variety of locations around the globe, often changing assignments on short-term notice. Military medical providers in the field are not familiar with the problems these patients may encounter. Individuals who have undergone sex change procedures would not be qualified for world-wide service and if the Air Force assigned them even to remote domestic locations they would be without access to potentially acute specialized tertiary medical care, which would only be available at major medical centers. Overall, it is neither in the best interest of the individual patient to have their access to necessary health care limited during potential Air Force duties, nor is it in the best interest of the Air Force to have to provide the medical care that these individuals may require.”

 

Many nations have already demonstrated that transgender citizens are welcome to serve and have been successful in doing so. What are we waiting for? Do away with the transgender military service ban.

 

freedomtoserve

Women in Ground Close Combat Roles

women in combat

WOMEN IN COMBAT

This is a hot topic, as has been for a while.

When researching the pro’s and con’s of female accession to GCC roles, the argument seems to center on the “boys will be boys” mentality and the physical ability of the average female to complete training. The idea that having males and females in the same austere environment will be breeding grounds for fraternization persists in not only opinion articles but formal research alike. This argument is an affront to one of the DoD’s most important values; professionalism. NASA’s astronauts, male and female are sent up to the International Space Station for months at a time and they are expected to act in the most professional manner. Can we not expect the same from our most elite fighting forces?

Here are some definitions vital to how combat roles should be viewed:

Ground Close Combat Roles are defined as: “Roles that are primarily intended and designed with the purpose of requiring individuals on the ground to close and kill the enemy.”

Ground Close Combat is defined as: “Combat with the enemy over short range on the ground.”

The US policies that prevent women from serving are archaic and based on fear of the “what if.” If there are women out there capable of completing intense combat training at the same standards as males, then why bar them? Lift the ban and allow women to try. If they don’t make the cut, then they fall in with the thousands of men who didn’t make it either. It stands against equality to prevent a fully capable person from at least trying. The standards MUST be enforced and not lowered. The women looking to join the ranks of elite Special Forces or other GCC careers are not looking for a free ride. They are looking for equality and the ability to serve with dignity.

There are several 1st world countries allowing women in direct GCC roles and all have reported very little to no difficulty in implementing female integration.

An Overview of some of the countries assessed in the 2010 Ministry of Defence review of women in GCC roles:

You can read the whole review HERE.

Note: I have highlighted important areas for those of you who do not wish to read everything.

Denmark: “Women are treated and regarded as normal soldiers who are expected to perform as trained, and to participate in all operations on equal terms with their male counterparts. Women have been employed in combat in Afghanistan whilst undertaking a variety of functions from administration to Combat Commander… As far as the Danish Personnel Policy Section of the Danish Defence Personal Organisation are aware there have been no reported difficulties with employing women in combat roles. Although team cohesion and operational effectiveness have not been assessed, there have been no reports to indicate that this may be an issue.”

Finland: “All services and units in the Finnish Defence Forces and the Finnish Border Guard accept females. All deployments are open to women, provided they have had the necessary military training.”

France: “In 2006, 1.7% of combat infantry soldiers were female.  A recent study in 2006 showed that women represent 19% of all French military personnel. They are allowed to serve in all posts (including combat infantry).”

Germany: “Approximately 800 female soldiers are currently in combat units. Women are regularly being sent to foreign deployments, and as at September 7th, 2009 the number of German soldiers attached to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan were 4,200 of which 194 were women. Currently there are 30 women deployed in the dangerous area of Kunduz, but this low number is simply a reflection of low availability, rather than tactile or legal reasons.”

Israel: “In 2006, 88% of military positions open for women and 2.5% of women served in 14 combat positions… A recent study has examined the integration of female combatants in the IDF and is based on numerous sources of information available between 2002 and 2005. It reports that during service Commanders have recognised that female combatants often exhibit superior skills in areas such as discipline and motivation, maintaining alertness, shooting abilities, managing tasks in an organised manner, and displaying knowledge and professionalism in the use of weapons. Despite this, these females often face an ongoing battle against skepticism and mistrust in the form of teasing from their fellow male combatants and negative messages from high ranking officers. This resistance to their presence on the battlefield seems to stem from a perceived threat to the historical male combat identity.

Key phrase – “perceived threat to historical male combat identity.” No matter how often your drill instructor or supervisors have told you, perception is NOT reality. That is a cop out for not digging to find the truth of the matter.

Romania: “There are no distinctions between Romanian men and women with regarding to employment in combat roles. The selection of military personnel is conducted on a voluntary basis, with equal opportunity. Romania has sent 58 women to Iraq in close combat positions, which represents 5.3% of the total of personnel employed in these positions. In Afghanistan it is around 6.8%. The Romanian Armed Forces have not encountered any difficulties relating to women’s employment in combat roles or environments, nor have they experienced any impact on operational performance. Team cohesion is not reported to suffer as a result of having mixed gender combat team and the general view is that missions undertaken by these teams have been successfully achieved.

Spain: “The publication of the Armed Forces Personnel law in May 1999 eliminated any kind of gender discrimination, and women were allowed to join all positions in any service in the Spanish Forces.”

Sweden: “Since 1989, there have been no gender restrictions to any positions in the Swedish military. Women are allowed to serve in all parts of the military, including combat. The Swedes have reported explicit experiences in Afghanistan, where women have demonstrated positive operational effects. For example, through the contact between Swedish military females and local Afghan females, IED’s and suicide bombers have been discovered and neutralized.”

THE US PERSPECTIVE

“Whilst legally the position has not changed and women are still prohibited from being well forward on the battlefield, in reality, as today’s battlefield is no longer linear, US servicewomen are vulnerable to being injured, killed or captured in theatre. As of February 12, 2007, seventy-five US military women had been killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan and two had been captured as Prisoners of War. As of December 2 2006, more than 430 US women have been wounded in battle. Since these experiences indicate that anyone can find themselves in close combat, regardless of whether they are assigned to combat or combat support units, the US military is now training all troops in basic combat skills. Indeed recent comments on a military strategy page state ‘Although by US law women are not allowed to participate in combat arms, it is understood that this only serves to keep women out of the combat arms, but not out of combat itself. This was particularly true in Iraq where non-combat troops were constantly attacked as they drove trucks in supply convoys. These convoys quickly acquired more weapons and combat training, and the women remained…’.”

“Although US Army regulations exclude women from infantry assignments, some female Military Police accompany male infantry units to handle search and interrogation of enemy suspects. Whilst these three-person teams are performing well in critical operations, it remains to be determined as to whether mission accomplishment is assisted or hindered by the presence of women. A recent article on a military website commented that the US army has found it useful to send a female soldier on raids in Iraq and Afghanistan, as they were better able to elicit useful information during these searches.”

A RAND study conducted in 1997 and a Government Accounting Office study conducted in 1999 both failed to provide strong evidence that gender had an impact on team cohesion and perceptions of readiness. The RAND report concluded that ‘division caused by gender were minimal or invisible in units with high cohesion’. The most important factor in unit morale was identified as leadership.”

It looks to me that the only negative comment coming from any country was that males felt threatened that they may lose their combat identity. Nearly every study listed in the 2010 MoD review concluded little or no impact on unit cohesion. “Information provided by those nations that do employ women in combat roles suggests that there is little evidence of a negative impact on the effectiveness, cohesion or readiness of military teams, a finding which is supported by the academic literature.”

The review stated, “Leadership was found to be a major factor in how well units perform – not the presence or absence of women.”

HOWEVER, and this is a big however, though all nations that employ women in combat roles showed a relatively positive impact, the study concluded overall that the evidence is not substantial enough to make an informed decision.

I say that’s untrue. Even if only one female out of a million successfully completes training for a GCC role and performs her duty at the same standards as her male counterparts shows sufficient evidence to say that it CAN be done and done well.


 

Here are some common, non-official, arguments against women in GCC roles taken from the comment section HERE.

“Direct combat is about engaging and overpowering the enemy by all means necessary. Even if it means using your hands. It is a dirty and dangerous job that has nothing to do with academics. Do you really think a female is going to be able to overpower a male who is trying to kill her? Women can’t even defend themselves against rape. Not to mention throwing young females in a unit with young high testosterone males. How about carrying or dragging a male soldier out of harms with heavy equipment on.”

Yes, actually. I do believe a female will be able to overpower a male trying to kill her. Why? The forces fighting against us are not elite athletes. They are men who took up arms against an enemy. They have little training, and if you’ve ever seen their recruitment videos, you’d see that the training is severely sub-par compared to even the most basic US military training.

As for the job being dirty, I’d argue to say there have been many females to get the dirty job done. Lyudmila Pavlichenko, for example, one of the deadliest snipers in history. She is credited with 309 confirmed kills, which is twice as many as the famed Chris Kyle. Roza Shanina had 59 confirmed kills. As a matter of fact,  the female snipers of the 3rd Shock Army, 1st Belorussian Front. in 1945 had 775 confirmed kills between the 12 of them.

775 confirmed kills in one picture, 1945

“Only .55% of Canadian armed forces infanteers were female. I find that not exactly a highly successful rate. When you interpret that into force strength that would mean only 2 or less of a rifle company are females, unless large numbers of women are bundled into certain units. That, sir, is not a successful integration of females, I would think.”

Like I stated before, even if only ONE female passes the grueling GCC training in whatever chosen field, that is successful integration.

If males were the only ones fit for ground combat, there would be a 0% drop out rate for Special Operations combat training.

NOTE:

It is understood and undisputed that women ON AVERAGE have less muscle mass and a higher body fat percentage than the AVERAGE male. However, when accepting people into GCC roles you are not taking the AVERAGE, you are taking the ELITE. They are looking for people that not only have the strength, but most importantly the mental fortitude to complete the intense training.

An interesting perspective: Women in Combat Arms by Norways highest ranking female infantry officer – Ingrid Gjerde.

Another, more recent, review by the Mod about women in GCC roles: December 2014

Transgender Service Members Are Still Suffering

freedomtoserve

The past few years have been pivotal in the struggle for equality within the armed forces. In 2010 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed after 17 years of prohibition from LGBT troops from openly serving. Three years later, the Defense of Marriage Act was deemed unconstitutional and allowed same-sex couples who are legally married to receive federal benefits. Not only were those key victories for LGB troops serving under the Department of Defense, but for LGBT citizens as well. But there is a very significant group of people who are still forced to suffer under longstanding bans; transgender service members. A DoD study estimates there are about 15,000 trans military troops and 134,300 trans veterans. Where did we come to think that those numbers weren’t significant? That’s 15,000 lives who have the same suitability to serve as anyone else but are being denied a large part of who they are and 134,300 who may not have adequate access to the healthcare that supports a transition.

 “The President agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

Here is some of the rational for the regulations that ban transgender service members:

Regulation: Defense Department instruction 6130.03

From Doe V. Alexander in 1981:

A federal district court noted “evidence that transsexuals would require medical maintenance to ensure their correct hormonal balances and continued psychological treatment and that the army would have to acquire the facilities and expertise to treat the endocrinological complications which may stem from the hormone therapy. The army might well conclude that those factors could cause plaintiff to lose excessive duty time and impair her ability to serve in all corners of the globe.”

Leyland V. Orr in 1987:

An Air Force consulting physician testified that assigning individuals who had undergone a sex change operation to remote geographic areas, “would be equivalent to placing an individual with known coronary artery disease in a remote location without readily available coronary care.”

DeGroat V. Townsend in 2007:

“The known and potential complications of sex change operations are many and varied and can affect the long term health and duty performance of the individual. Additionally, many of these patients are maintained on hormone therapy which independently has potential side effects. Further, individuals undergoing male to female gender conversions may encounter prostatic diseases which are more difficult to diagnose and to manage. Air Force duties require individuals from all 7 career fields to serve in a variety of locations around the globe, often changing assignments on short-term notice. Military medical providers in the field are not familiar with the problems these patients may encounter. Individuals who have undergone sex change procedures would not be qualified for world-wide service and if the Air Force assigned them even to remote domestic locations they would be without access to potentially acute specialized tertiary medical care, which would only be available at major medical centers. Overall, it is neither in the best interest of the individual patient to have their access to necessary health care limited during potential Air Force duties, nor is it in the best interest of the Air Force to have to provide the medical care that these individuals may require.”

Many nations have already demonstrated that transgender citizens are welcome to serve and have been successful in doing so.

There are currently 18 countries that do not preclude trans recruits from serving. Read more about that HERE.

 

It is long past the time that the United States follow its NATO counterparts.

Our current administration has voiced support, and it would not be difficult to integrate transgender policy. The DoD needs to consider its greatest resource; people.

Just like anyone, trans military want to serve and serve with dignity and respect. Why ban a willing citizen from offering a huge personal sacrifice in the name of their nation?


 

On a personal note, as an openly serving female in a same-sex marriage, I know what it felt like to serve under DADT. I heard my own supervisor and coworkers berate LGBT people and use derogatory language daily. I stayed silent about my relationship status and so they made up stories about me to fill the blanks. Those stories caused me to become a target and I was sexually harassed regularly for nearly a year before I changed duty stations. It felt horrible and I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel that way. However, many still do; transgender more than any.

 

RESPONSE TO SCATHING LETTER BY FEMALE AIRMAN ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION AND RESPONSE TRAINING

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A letter originally posted on jqpublicblog.com went viral among online news outlets and social media. In the letter the Airman describes, in visceral nature, how she felt victimized by the current Sexual Assault training (SAPR).

As an active duty female myself, and as one who attended the same briefing at my duty station, I can understand her perspective. However, she wrote the letter without the audience in mind and with only vague references about the content of the brief. This training is conducted on military installations where less than 1% of the nation’s populace will attend. Your audience didn’t see what you saw; I did and I’m here to share my perspective.

Dear SARC,

I got up this morning as an Airman in the United States Air Force. I got up and I put on my uniform, I pulled back my hair, I looked in the mirror and an Airman looked back. A strong, confident military professional stared out of my bathroom mirror, and I met her eyes with pride.”

I wake up every day as an Airmen in the world’s greatest Air Force. I put on my lightly pressed uniform, slather gobs of mousse in my hair to have a neat bun, lace up my boots, check my pockets to ensure they are buttoned, and stand in front of my full body mirror to make sure I’m representing not only the US Air Force, but a strong, confident military professional.

I remember the day I attended the SAPR briefing. It was at 1000 in an auditorium with seats so close I felt like a packed sardine. Our briefer for the day was a pleasant female Captain with a bright personality and an understanding that none of us wanted to be there. She made haste but made sure the message was received and we were thankful for that.

You talked about a lot of things, about rivers and bridges, you talked about saving people and victimization.”

I remember this part. The Capt. brought up an image of a river with rapids on the giant projector screen. She asked us, in paraphrase, “If you were sitting on the edge of the river and saw someone drowning, would you jump in to save them?” Everyone agreed that they would. “What about two?” Everyone agreed again. “What about 100 people drowning?” Of course that granted some strange looks, but the message she was about to share was paramount. So, what DO you do when you have 100 people drowning in a river? You go upstream to find out the root of what’s causing all of these people to drift down the river and drown.  That’s what SARC is doing. They are trying to find the root cause and pick out those elements so that we may use it to prevent sexual assault and harassment. All the while, increasing the access to care and providing a vector for reporting without fear of repercussion. As a matter of fact, SARC is doing a pretty good job of doing just that. Look at the reports HERE and HERE.

You called me strong. You told me, and everyone else who was listening to you this morning that I had a right to dictate what they said. That I had a right to dictate what they looked at. That I had a right to dictate what they listened to. “

This is where you get it wrong. YOU, as a female, do not dictate what anyone says; no one does. This portion of the briefing was about workplace decency; thinking about what you say before you say it.  THAT is genderless. Conversations of a sexual or harassing nature should never be had at work. Period. If the wrong person, regardless of gender, walks in at the wrong time, you have to be willing to answer for your behavior. If you aren’t willing to accept that risk, keep it to yourself.

That they can’t listen to the radio because they might play the Beatles, or Sir Mix-A-Lot, and that I might be offended. That if someone plays a Katy Perry song, I might have flashbacks to a night where I made a bad decision.”

You clearly missed the message here. When they played these songs over the shoddy sound system in our sardine can auditorium, we all sang along because they have a good beat and a catchy chorus. When she clicked the slide and the lyrics showed up, it wasn’t to say we shouldn’t listen to it, it was to show that negative messages can sometimes be masked in the name of entertainment. At times we ignore references to sexual assault and harassment when they appear to be in good nature.

“When I walk into a room and people are laughing and having a good time, you are the reason they take one look at me and either stop talking or leave. They’re afraid. They’re afraid of me, and it’s because of you. They are afraid that with all of this “power” I have, I can destroy them.”

The power you have is the power to protect yourself from workplace violence and harassment and is not to be abused. Your coworkers should not be jesting in a crude manner to begin with. To make that permissible is to perpetuate uncouth behaviors in a professional military working environment.

“When I can only deploy with another woman ‘buddy’ you are telling me and the people around me that I can’t take care of myself.”

I have traveled extensively during my 7 years of service, I’m actually TDY as I type this. I have NEVER been told that I had to have a female wingman, battle buddy, or whatever you want to name it. Since technical school, every deployment, or PME (Professional Military Education) course I have attended that required having a wingman, the same requirements applied. It was for males and females alike and my battle buddy could be either gender. Also, as it stands, I am tasked to deploy; guess what? I’m going by myself.

“When you forbid me from going into my male friends room to play X-Box on a deployment with the other people on my shift, you isolate me.”

Actually, no. You are perfectly within your limits to visit living quarters assigned to the opposite gender unless it’s between the hours of 0000 and 0500.

Here’s an excerpt straight from General Order 1B – Prohibited Activities for Soldiers:

  1. Cohabiting, residing, or spending the night with members of the opposite sex within any building or living quarters. Soldiers will not enter or remain in the living quarters of members of the opposite sex for non-official purposes between the hours of 0000 and 0500. The fallowing exceptions apply to this prohibition:

(1) Lawfully married spouses will be permitted to reside together in the same living quarters, provided such arrangement is consistent with mission requirements and adequate living accommodations are available; and

(2) Situations during which military exigency necessitates mixed residency arrangements (e.g., transient housing at air terminals).

As I read your letter, I thought back to all the SARC/SAPR briefings I have ever attended and one thing has remained constant; they change. No single briefing was the same as the last and one thing that has arisen in the past few years is how gender is referenced. They have always provided the latest statistics for both male and female, talked about sexual assault and harassment for males and females, and when talking about sexual assault they used gender neutral pronouns.

I can’t speak for the briefing you attended, but during mine, the Captain was as professional as can be, avoided gender stereotypes, and always utilized gender neutral pronouns.

In closing, I ask that you step back and take a different perspective. Inform yourself and educate yourself. We both serve in the same Air Force, fighting for the same freedoms, and we have different opinions. Our Air Force is the best Air Force; commend them for spear-heading an issue long since ignored and be thankful you have the protections now afforded to you.