By Major Van Harl
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- In the Marine Corps every Marine is a rifleman first, and then they practice whatever skill they have specialized in.
They may be flying or fixing aircraft, working administrative duties in an office, driving tanks or doing maintenance on vehicles.
No matter their day-to-day job, if the world gets overly dangerous for the Infantry troops in the Marine Corps, any and all Marines can be called to grab their rifle and move out smartly to render combat assistance to their fellow Marines at the forward edge of the battlefield. The Army also works on this concept.
In the movie Saving Private Ryan ( tiny.cc/5l376x ) there was a young administration type of troop who thought he would spend the war working behind the lines. Because he spoke French and German he was ordered to go into the heart of German held territory with an Infantry patrol to look for Private Ryan – every soldier a rifleman.
He went from typewriters to enemy tanks shooting at him in a matter of hours.
My big Air Force does not think this way. “Every Airman is a rifleman first” is not something you are going to hear come out of the mouth of any Air Force General. Even to this day the Air Force still routinely deploys Airmen to a forward operating airbase without a rifle in hand.
Oh sure, we require them to go to their home base firing range and qualify on the M-4 rifle, but we still send some Airman to war without weapons. You would not want to inconvenience someone involved with the flying operations. Making an aircraft mechanic tote around an M-4 rifle and his/her tool box might slow up the turn-around time of the next sortie.
However, what if the enemy attacks the flight line?
If all those maintainers could stop what they are doing, grab their rifles and help repel all boarders (old Navy term), they might just save a few lives and keep their own aircraft from being blown up. But again I say, this is not how the Air Force leadership, past, current or even in the foreseeable future thinks about ground combat.
Finally Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has made the Department of Defense a much more “fair” place for all to live and work and yes die, because he formally ended the ban on women serving in combat jobs.
Is that not just the cutest thing you have ever heard, gender fairness in dying? With the stroke of a pen your 110 pound military daughter, who is a wiz on an Navy computer or crawling into a very tight space inside an aircraft to fix that maintenance problem, gets to be an Infantry soldier. She now has the opportunity for her chance at her very own Red Badge of Courage.
Let me get something straight first, my wife is a retired Air Force colonel and my daughter is a reserve Air Force 2LT who will someday be a military doctor. I am a very big proponent of women serving in the military. I truly have no reservations with the number of American women in the military getting even stronger.
The problem is, when you take off all the restrictions on women serving in combat jobs, you also take away all choice for women.
Now female military members have to go anywhere they are needed no matter what. An Army unit a few miles from your forward deployed airbase is about to be overrun if no help can be sent. The only US assets are Airmen ( and women ) just up the road, so the joint command of the area orders the flying commander to send 200 combat-armed Airmen to move out, to aid the Army unit currently dying-in-place (DIP).
So you grab Airman Sally the admin troop, Airman Betty the maintainer and 30 or 40 other women Airmen, order them to gear-up for ground combat, and send them down the road to DIP along with their fellow male Airmen who also have limited, if any Infantry combat training. Not to worry, all jobs in the Department of Defense are open and awaiting all volunteers, or those who will be ordered into ground combat affrays. Leaving the comfort of their air conditioned tent and their GI computer, exchanging those for a battle rifle and hopefully some leadership that will not get them killed within the first five minutes of contact with the enemy that is massacring all the Soldiers, the Airmen were sent to save.
If all jobs in the military must be open to male and females then when are eighteen year old American young women going to be required to register for the selective service?
You cannot have it one way and not the other. Well, maybe you can because all those liberal types who demanded that women be allowed to die anywhere a man can, have no intention of their daughters ever being forced into harm’s way by something as mean spirited as a gender neutral draft.
But wait one minute, it now appears the Obama administration is considering changes in the Selective Service Act that would require 18-25 year old American women to register to be drafted. Is forcing women to go to war, in itself a war on women, or just equality?
Darn, there is that “be careful of what you ask for thing.”
Major Van Harl USAF Ret. / [email protected]
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.: Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]