I held off on posting about this subject until I figured out exactly how best to illustrate the problem with putting women in the military. Instead of citing cold statistics, or facts about the biological differences between men and women, or even the cultural aspects of this issue, I’ve decided I can do a better job of illustrating the problem by sharing a story with you. As a former Marine, this one is part of our collective heritage. It’s from the Viet Nam War:
I have forgotten the year or the unit, but there was a story in the Marine Gazette some years ago about a Marine platoon that got pinned down by an NVA Company. That is 60 Marines vs more than 120 Vietnamese regulars. The Marines took cover behind a rice paddy dike where they stayed until dark. During the night, the NVA charged the Marines’ position. By this time, there were 12 marines left alive, but they fixed bayonets and took to the top of the paddy dike to defend their position. The ensuing fight was hand0-to-hand, it was savage and it was devastating – for the NVA!
The next morning, there were 8 Marines left alive, and the bodies of some 60 NVA soldiers littered the area. Following the blood trails from where other NVA wounded had been drug off, the Marines found an NVA major propped up against a tree at the base of the hill opposite the dike where the Marines had made their last stand. He had been disemboweled and was delirious with fever and near death. He was muttering “Mad dogs, mad dogs” over and over again. He was talking about the Marines (the Germans called us devil dogs for a reason).
Now here’s the point. In a hand-to-hand fight such as this, do you want a 200 pound, hard charging, highly motivated, rough, touch, can’t get enough devil dog next to you – or do you want the girl next door watching your back when 3, 4 or 5 enemy soldiers charge up the dike behind you?
But remember: it’s about the mission — not equality, because I can tell you from first hand experience — we’re all equal in death…