PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Is there any job in the military — frontline combat or on special commando missions — that women can not do?
No, say military leaders, who are moving to end the disparity in jobs between men and women by mid-2015.
“Go for it. I think women can do anything that men can do,” says Alison Sacriponte of Friendship.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says sexual assaults in the military could be linked to male disrespect for females because they do ‘not’ serve in combat — something he wants to end.
“I think it’s about time,” adds Dwight Pritchett of West View. “I think it’s a good place for women to get the respect they really deserve.”
“That’s insanity, that’s insanity,” said Steve Dickson of Beltzhoover, a Vietnam veteran.
“They’re (the enemy) crawling up on you and you cannot see them until they get there. These women will have a fit. They ain’t going to have the strength or intestinal fortitude to grab one of them up here and put a knife in their gut — they’re just not like that,” adds Dickson.
“I don’t think it’s for a woman. Not because she’s a woman, but the mother of my child I would not want her to have post-traumatic stress disorder,” notes Henry Williams of South Side.
“The physical differences are so overwhelming that I do not believe it would be good for our military as a whole,” adds Richard Staley of Brentwood.
Despite those objections, the military is developing universal gender-free physical job standards.
Training could begin soon for women to serve as Rangers, Navy SEALs, and other commando jobs, but the proposals also leave open the possibility of excluding women if further testing and studies show an insufficient number of women qualify for these jobs.
But Pentagon leaders would have to sign off on that first.
Most say it’s a matter of fairness.
“People should always have the same opportunity as men to fight in combat if they really wish to,” says Marlee Beuke of Mt. Lebanon.
The Army should be training women as Rangers by mid-2015, and the Navy will train women SEALs by 2016.
The key is developing gender-neutral physical and mental standards for combat and special operation jobs.
And here’s something else that will change.
Of the 6,700 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 150 have been women.
That percentage will no doubt increase in future conflicts.