Chapter 1: Women In The Army Humanity feeds and thrives off of conflict, and it always has. If one wants something, then they’re gonna try to get it, and sometimes other people want the exact same thing. Conflict is also caused when people come across or experience something that doesn’t line up with their values, and there is a lot of that here in the US. Speaking of the United States, perhaps the most crucial conflict occurs when two different places in the world decide to go to war. War has been going on for a very, very long time. The military is, in layman's terms, the body of people fighting the war for the place that they are representing. However, until very recently, most of those doing the actual fighting were male, and that’s not just a coincidence. Up until December 3, 2015 women were not allowed in any combat positions in war, and this is due to a multitude of reasons. Gender roles have played a big role in the military for as long as it’s been in existence. Gender equality wasn’t even considered until this day and age, so in the past, let’s just say things were very different. For example, in the Revolutionary War, women would follow their husbands when they went to war, and they would clean clothes, work as nurses, cooks, and undercover spies. As time went on, during the late 1700s and 1800s, occasionally women fought in the war secretly because they would dress up as men. This continued on for a while, and then in the 1900s more opportunities started to open up and policies started to change. During World War I, women started to be recruited into the Army officially as nurses and support staff. Over 400 women died during their service. Decades later during World War II even more roles for women in the military started to open up. Approximately 40,000 women served in official roles such as mechanics, pilots, clerks, nurses, ambulance drivers, etc. However, there’s a noticeable trend here: none of these roles involve combat. As time went on women inched closer and closer to being able to fight in the army. It took up until 2015 for the Pentagon to make the historic move that changed the course of gender equality in the army. On December 3, 2015, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the US military would open combat positions to women with no exception.
Women in third world countries sometimes fight in war, but honestly, women in combat was only ever controversial in the US and other superpower-esk countries. Tensye Murrell, who retired from the army as an MSG that was responsible for the health, welfare, and training of her 156 soldiers, joined the army to escape the small town that she grew up in and so she could make money to take care of her family and continue her education. When asked what she thought about gender roles in the army and why it took so long for women to participate in combat and she had some very interesting things to say. “I think it took so long because women require certain compensations for hygiene that cannot be ignored. Women are typically emotional and react differently when a comrade had been wounded or killed. They may go into the mother role and would want to stop and assist the injured. They may be more tempted to break down and cry whereas the men may be in the fight or flight mentality.” It was really interesting to her perspective, because even though she is a woman herself, she could still speak on both sides of the argument. “As a woman in that environment, I found myself trying to prove that I belonged there and could do what my male counterparts could do,” she said. “Not all men were judgemental butfor the most part, most were. They didn’t want to take orders from a female because they felt as if a woman’s place was in the office or better yet, at home. Because of their pride, they did not want to ask for answers or help. I had to be firm and stand my ground because the minute I showed weakness, they began to treat me differently and lose respect for me. There was a lot of discrimination because a woman’s place was not with the men. I was passed over for positions, like shooting the bigger weapons because I was “too small and too weak.”
Overall, equality in the army is something that has been a big topic of discussion for a while, but it’s good that things are finally starting to come together. P ublic opinion polls show that a majority of Americans agree with the change in policy and are glad women are finally able to participate on the battlefield. Hopefully, the instances of sexual assault and harassment of women within the military start to stop at a rapid pace as well. If one wants to serve their country, one should be able to, regardless of gender.
New soldiers just entering into the first phase of ranger school need to take a special fitness test that’s conducted for all age groups and is separate from the army physical fitness test. The test is pass or fail and it involves push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and a five mile run.
Up Close with with Kristen Marie Griest
Service/Branch: United States Army/Infantry Rank: Captain Awards: Ranger Kristen Marie Griest is one of the first two women to graduate from the US Army Ranger School on August 21, 2015. â€‹In 2016, Griest became the first female infantry officer in the US Army when the Army approved her request to transfer there from a military police unit.