January 29, 2013

Woman In Combat: Perspective Of A Woman Who Was In Combat

There is no "I told ya so!" to this story. Women who volunteer for the armed services have the same love of country, dedication and commitment as men and are a valuable resource. What follows is a blunt, honest appraisal of a women's role in combat and the long-term risks involved. This was written by Marine Corps Capt Katie Petronio.
[...] I was a motivated, resilient second lieutenant when I deployed to Iraq for 10 months, traveling across the Marine area of operations (AO) and participating in numerous combat operations. Yet, due to the excessive amount of time I spent in full combat load, I was diagnosed with a severe case of restless leg syndrome. My spine had compressed on nerves in my lower back causing neuropathy which compounded the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. While this injury has certainly not been enjoyable, Iraq was a pleasant experience compared to the experiences I endured during my deployment to Afghanistan. [...]The physical strain of enduring combat operations and the stress of being responsible for the lives and well-being of such a young group in an extremely kinetic environment were compounded by lack of sleep, which ultimately took a physical toll on my body that I couldn’t have foreseen.

[...] At the end of the 7-month deployment, and the construction of 18 PBs later, I had lost 17 pounds and was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (which personally resulted in infertility, but is not a genetic trend in my family), which was brought on by the chemical and physical changes endured during deployment. Regardless of my deteriorating physical stature, I was extremely successful during both of my combat tours, serving beside my infantry brethren and gaining the respect of every unit I supported. Regardless, I can say with 100 percent assurance that despite my accomplishments, there is no way I could endure the physical demands of the infantrymen whom I worked beside as their combat load and constant deployment cycle would leave me facing medical separation long before the option of retirement. I understand that everyone is affected differently; however, 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 [emphasis mine ~ sig94].

[...] For those who dictate policy, changing the current restrictions associated with women in the infantry may not seem significant to the way the Marine Corps operates. I vehemently disagree; 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.
H/T Wintery Knight


Doom said...

Yes, true. Actually, even with women not engaged in combat, but in the service, the rate of medical retirements is much higher as is. I can't remember the numbers, but they are already staggeringly lopsided.

While it is fine that this woman served her country, I think she has ended the one career through it that would truly have been of value, that of being a mother, through her misguided dedication. I will pray that her story reaches more women before they become 'another statistic'.

jay son said...

first off let's thank her for her service. those of us who served KNOW it is very physically demanding.

i pulled out and old APFT score card to show the wife last night. it did not take her long to recognize that women already have relaxed standards for the physical fitness test.

she as well as i, wonder how much more the standards can be relaxed to achieve the desired politically correct results, while not compromising the mission.

sig94 said...

Doom - the number of females washing out of military programs that demand physical toughness is also three or four times times higher than the rate for men.

I just find it very troubling that the gals get hurt so much and much of it is long term debilitating injuries that interfere with their family planning. But we see the same thing in sports also.

Woman are stronger than men in certain things, but when it comes down to pure ass whopping, no.

sig94 said...

jay - I saw the same thing in the physical abilities testing for the PD. There was a bunch of us guys looking at what the gals had to do (actually didn't have to do) and we couldn't believe our eyes. Plus the female county personnel employees were giving them all kinds of breaks on sloppy push up and pull ups that th eguys were not getting.

I have heard that the relaxed standards for female pilots is responsible for some fatal crashes, particularly on carriers.