Brave women join brave men; Revolutionizing the forefront of the U.S. armed forces.

By Erica Martelli and Brianna Spause
Copy Editor and Special Features Editor

Military history has been a long battle for women longing to partake in combat. Before 1918 women could only hold medical positions such as nursing, but that has changed majorly as the women of 2013 are given the opportunity to take the Combat Leadership Test.

According to an article from the New York Times, “Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, announced last week that the Pentagon was lifting the policy that had barred women from specific combat roles.”

The allowance of women into the front line of combat affects not only those women, but also the preexisting infantryman who will sub sequentially be most affected by the decision. By allowing women to serve in combat, men are forced into a cultural difference. Male Marines go through training and go into combat to form a brotherhood. To them that brotherhood isn’t the same with females being in the picture.

When men decide to go into combat the physical training is more rigorous. The main question most people ask is if women will be prepared with the same regimen as that of their male counterparts?

Currently the Marine Corps’ physical training program requires a dead-hang pull up for male Marines. For the female Marines; it’s a “flexed-arm hang”. The males are concerned that if the females are given lesser requirements then they will not be aptly prepared to handle combat.

The men who have served in combat have testified to the hardships of going into combat. The mentality is “to kill or be killed” and to be in combat that is the mentality that is needed to make it through. It isn’t only the physical and mental aspect of the war but it’s being in a completely different environment for the women.

Women need to be able to handle being with men at all stages along the way. They have to deal with the language and aggressiveness. Women shouldn’t be given special privileges because of their gender – especially not if they will be given the same, prestigious title. It is also inevitable that they will get picked on so thick skin will be required.

“I believe that the decision should be reassessed because women are going to be fighting an enemy that hates and degrades women. It wouldn’t be safe for them to be out there,” senior Matt Santilla said. Santilla, along with thousands of other new recruits enrolled in the Marine Corps will be faced with this stark new change to tradition.

The looming increase in sexual harassment is also a factor male Marines will be faced with. There weren’t any issues when the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” got lifted but there is a chance that this will be an issue, from both sides.

It’s admirable that the government is making an effort to lift one of the final limitations that women have today. When the government begins to decide to give more citizens an opportunity to serve in uniform, the country becomes stronger and more unified. This change can be especially seen in the armed forces. Over the past few months there has been a whole new level of respect established towards the leaders of the United States now that women have been given the ability to serve in all areas of the military.

Senior Jo McMahon interested in going into combat in the armed forces herself commented, “I think it’s great that women can go into combat. Women can do anything that men can do. It shows that we are not weak and we have power too.”