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Are we prepared for results of putting women in combat?

I am sure that combat veterans in the region have their own convictions about women serving in combat roles. Personally, the egalitarian view of letting them have a chance to achieve the same standards as infantrymen is noble, and I think most agree with them afforded the opportunity. But what are these standards? I know that my experiences in the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 were the toughest mental, physical and emotional experiences I’ve ever had. Sleep deprivation for days at a time. Dysentery. Intense combat situations with a never-ending operations pace. Death and prisoners and casualties. Without showers for three months because the infrastructure was not yet built. Constantly carrying a combat load of 50 pounds or more at all times. Few men and women can do the aforementioned.

But two more fundamental questions must be raised: (1) how will unit cohesion be affected and (2) are we ready to see a female body count at accelerated rates and female prisoners of war? I was in An Nasiriya with the 2nd Battalion 8th Marines during the Jessica Lynch ordeal, and it wasn’t until afterward that I realized the press coverage it received. Are we as a nation ready for more Jessica Lynches?

David Thomas

Tonawanda