Posts tagged ‘women in the military’
Wednesday (August 26) was Women’s Equality Day, commemorating the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution — which gave women the right to vote in the United States. In other words, living up to that document’s opening words: “We the people of the United States …”
Women comprise at least 14 percent of the U.S. military. Recently the first two women soldiers completed the challenging Army Ranger course, earning the respected “Ranger” tab. Now the Defense Department is wrestling with how to implement a 2013 decision that could lift the ban on women serving in combat units like armor (tanks), artillery, infantry and special operations.
So here at 4GWAR we thought this would be a good time to show the tough and dangerous jobs women in the services already do.
After looking a dozens of photos of women in the services doing work that puts them in harm’s way — helicopter and fighter pilots, medics and forward area nurses, truck drivers, aircraft carrier deck crewmen, mechanics and helicopter door gunners — we found this photo. We think it’s the best, and most dramatic illustration of women doing hard jobs, dangerous jobs and scary jobs.
It shows Navy Electronics Technician 2nd Class Amanda Craig greasing the ball bearings of the primary marshaling radar for aircraft on the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The technician is performing routine maintenance work high above Teddy’s flight deck. Notice how small the people look.
It’s also worth noting that the intrepid photographer who shot this picture from a perch almost as high up as Craig is also a woman: Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Jennifer Case.
The Roosevelt is deployed in the Arabian Sea, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve strike operations in Iraq and Syria.
Meet Chief Master-at-Arms Cris Miller of the U.S. Navy. This photo was taken in December at Port Al-Shuaibah, Kuwait. At the time she was conducting anti-terrorism/force protection dives while assigned to the Commander, Task Group 56.1.
Task Group 56.1 divers look for and dispose of underwater mines, unexploded military ordnance and and improvised explosives. They also do salvage-diving and perform other underwater tasks to counter terrorists and protect the ships and personnel. They are attached to the U.S. 5th Fleet, which is responsible for Navy operations in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean along the east coast of Africa from Egypt to Kenya. For some more photos of Chief Miller at work, click here.
The Navy master-at-arms rating is responsible for law enforcement, anti-terrorism, force protection and expeditionary warfare duties.
To mark Women’s History Month, the Defense Department has an extensive array of photos, videos and articles about the accomplishments of women in the armed services past and present. To view it, click here.
SHAKO: On the Job in the Service
U.S. military leaders often talk about the “tooth to tail” ratio between combat troops (the tooth) and the forces needed to support them (the tail). Planners are always looking to reduce the size of the tail to economize — without reducing the effectiveness of the fighting forces.
Simply put, it takes a lot of truck drivers, cooks, clerks, technicians and mechanics to support the trigger pullers, the so-called “sharp end of the spear.”
But today is Labor Day in the United States, a public holiday that honors working men and women. Here at 4GWAR we thought we’d take the time to pay tribute to the working men and women of the armed services, who have plenty of guts — working long hours around dangerous chemicals, machines, fuels and ammunition, often in difficult circumstances — without much glory. When was the last time you saw a movie about a cooks or ground crews?
Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard perform maintenance on mooring lines Aug. 30, 2011.
Airman 1st Class Ashley Taylor checks the signals on a satellite receiver/transmitter at Hurlburt Field, Fla., on July 7, 2011. Taylor is a mission systems journeyman assigned to the 1st Special Operation Component Maintenance Squadron.
Staff Sgt. Donald A. Bartlett, manager of the Camp Schwab mess hall in Japan, performs a line inspection before opening for the next meal. Bartlett, assigned to the 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, has been recognized as the Marines’ 2011 staff non-commissioned officer food service specialist of the year.
Air Force Airman 1st Class Roger Walters (right) and Senior Airman James Perry pack parachutes at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti on Oct. 12, 2010. They are both aircrew flight equipment journeymen with the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron and support pararescuemen by maintaining and issuing flight equipment, night-vision goggles, oxygen systems and parachutes.
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Hector Floresdiaz demonstrates firefighting techniques to students attending the Center for Naval Engineering Learning Site Pearl Harbor at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Floresdiaz teaches naval engineering, basic and advanced damage control, aviation and machinery room firefighting tactics at the Center for Naval Engineering.
Army Capt. Rebecca Carden (left) calms a horse as Pfc. Angela McCormick prepares to give it a vaccination during a veterinary visit to a farm in Costa Rica during a humanitarian mission Aug. 22, 2010.
Marine Corps Cpl. Robert Calderon prepares to test a pair of night vision goggles at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, on July 6, 2011. Calderon is an avionics technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Miranda DaRae, assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), hooks a cable to a crane while unloading a rigid-hull inflatable boat while underway in the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 12, 2011. The New Orleans and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Maritime Raid Force are conducting pre-deployment work-ups as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Antonio Hart, assigned to Helicopter Marine Strike Wing 70, scrubs down the tail of an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG64) underway in the Atlantic Ocean Oct. 24, 2010.
Army Spec. Daniel R. Tohil (left), a mail clerk with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade mail room, delivers a package to Army Sgt. Nicole Trevino, a 10th CAB paralegal on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5, 2010.
Army Sgt. Tyler Clausing, a truck driver with Company E, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division (try saying that three times fast!), hooks up a trailer to a Palletized Load System truck after dark, June 11, 2010, Camp Khalid, Iraq.
SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Woman 2 Woman
The U.S. Marines – the people who pioneered doctrines like close air support and amphibious warfare – have another good idea: Female Engagement Teams.
That’s what they call female Marines and other servicewomen (see below) who accompany patrols and try to make connections with Afghan women, to learn their needs, the needs of their village – and maybe pick up some valuable intel about strangers in the area.
The idea is to leverage the influence that Afghan women have in the home and in the village – in a culturally sensitive way. It is a taboo in Afghan culture for women to even speak with strange men. That makes it impossible for male Marines to search, question or provide care for Afghan women.
Enter the Female Engagement Teams.
The concept, which grew out of the Marines’ Lioness program in Iraq, has been so successful in Afghanistan – there are now 40 teams – that it has been adopted by the U.S. Army and other nations’ militaries.
“The demand far outweighs the supply that we have,” says Army Col. Chadwick Clark, commander of the Counter Insurgency Training Center at NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. And that’s why the U.S. military is looking to standardize and expand training for FET members, he says.
Right now, FET members — who are all volunteers — come from different specialties, like mechanic, clerk, driver, military police and medic. “They go through varying degrees of training, depending on how they’re going to be employed,” says Clark.
For example, the Marines that are deployed in Helmand Province go through four months of training that includes combat skills. They also take classes on Pashtu culture and language, techniques for engaging the locals, observation techniques, tactical questioning, personnel searches and planning engagements.
“They do have to be able to move, shoot and communicate while they’re out there [in the field], so there is some physical abilities that they have to have to do the job,’ says Marine Corps Col. Sheila Scanlon, an advisor to the Afghan Interior Ministry who joined Clark on a conference call from Afghanistan with bloggers.
While not strictly combat troops, members of the FETs are armed and have to be ready to support fellow Marines if attacked. “Every time we leave our camp, we’re in the combat zone, and even in our camp we’re in the combat zone. So the women are in a support role down there [in Helmand] supporting the infantry, but that doesn’t mean that they’re out there on the line in an offensive nature,” Scanlan says.
Other FETs that are partnering with women in the Afghan National Army and Afghan National at hospitals in Bagram. The U.S. women go through a seven-day course taught by the civil affairs and human-terrain team in Bagram.
Female Navy hospital corpsman serve as medicos with the FETs. There are also Army FETs. Jordanian forces have two FETs of their own. The Swedes and Norwegians have one each.
Although most of the Afghan women they will be dealing with are wives and mothers, there’s no push to recruit women who are married or have children as team members. “We don’t discriminate,” says Scanlon. “They come in all shapes and sizes – married, divorced, single, single parents. We take anybody as they are, as long as they can do the job.”
Part of that job requires “good social intelligence,” Clark adds. “So that you’re able to read people and understand what the meaning is, that you have empathy, so when somebody’s talking to you, that you can understand their feelings.”
He said standardized training is expected to start in January. Marines currently serve in the FETs for seven months. Soldiers in the FETs serve for a year.
UPDATE: Getty Images has some really nice photos of one of the Female Engagement Teams you can see it at MSNBC.