Women in Combat? Not So Fast, This Female Officer Says

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Women are slowly creeping into combat positions across the U.S. military. Bars on their service in fighter jets fell 20 years ago, and they’re now heading out to sea, under the sea, aboard submarines. The Army and Marines are both grappling with opening up even more opportunities in the classic front-line combat roles: infantry, artillery and armor.

Generally, support for wider combat roles for women comes from officers, not the enlisted ranks. So when a female Marine officer and combat veteran steps forward to say she and her sisters cannot take the physical punishment commonly found on the infantry’s front lines, she’s out of line with much of her cohort.

In painstaking detail, Marine Captain Katie Petronio — an Iraq and Afghanistan vet — spells out why sending women forward, at least in the corps, may not be a good idea. She makes her case in the latest issue of Marine Corps Gazette, an independent journal that covers the corps like a tarp.


As a combat-experienced Marine officer, and a female, I am here to tell you that we are not all created equal, and attempting to place females in the infantry will not improve the Marine Corps as the Nation’s force-in-readiness or improve our national security…

I can say from firsthand experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not just emotion, that we haven’t even begun to analyze and comprehend the gender-specific medical issues and overall physical toll continuous combat operations will have on females…

I am confident that should the Marine Corps attempt to fully integrate women into the infantry, we as an institution are going to experience a colossal increase in crippling and career-ending medical conditions for females…

…this potential change will rock the foundation of our Corps for the worse and will weaken what has been since 1775 the world’s most lethal fighting force.

Full rucksack here.