Modern Marine Couple: Let Women into Combat Units

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DoD photo / Marine Cpl. Marionne T. Mangrum

Female Marines in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Marines will react to male and female Marines serving alongside one another in combat as they have reacted to openly gay men and women serving in their ranks: no big deal.

That’s the argument a pair of Marines – married to each other — make in the latest issue of Proceedings, the sea services’ independent journal. Dropping the ban on women serving in combat slots “will most likely have a similar effect” as ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” write Major Chris Haynie, an infantry officer and Major Jeanette Haynie, an AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunship pilot.

They maintain:

The implication that no woman can perform ably in combat, regardless of personal strengths and abilities, bleeds into every corner of the Corps today. If women cannot perform in combat, as the policy clearly declares, what else can’t they do? That is the unanswered question that the policy begs asking. It drags into question the capabilities of female Marines serving in every other MOS, placing an asterisk in boldface type after each “USMC.” This can result in highly negative consequences that damage the unit cohesion that we seek to cultivate, especially in combat. We have experienced this firsthand.

The Pentagon’s current combat-exclusion policy designed to keep women out of infantry, armor and other ground-combat units “institutionalizes the concept that all male Marines, based on gender alone, are capable of performing duties in the combat arms, while all female Marines similarly are not.”

(PHOTOSBeen There, Done That: Pentagon Formally Opens Combat to Women)

They argue that, like the gay ban, the notion of women in combat doesn’t generate the same concern among today’s Marines — 62% of the force is 25 or younger — as it does for earlier generations of Marines. Besides, they add, a decade of war has shown that the logic of the policy no longer makes sense.

Check out their case here.