November 3rd, 2011
04:49 PM ET

New frontier for military women: serving with elite unit

By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reporting from Ft. Bragg,  North Carolina

Editor's note: CNN was the first television network to be allowed to film this elite training, for a story airing November 3 on Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer 

There's plenty of grunting and groaning during the early morning workouts in the gym at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  But suddenly among the young men in special forces units doing pull-ups and lifting weights, there are dozens of young female troops - running an obstacle course, pushing and pulling hundreds of pounds of kettlebells, running laps.

These women are part of a groundbreaking and controversial program that for the first time is selecting, training and assigning women to join up with special forces units in Afghanistan. Their job: to do what the men cannot.

In the socially conservative Afghan culture where the sexes do not mix, these women are on the front line of dealing directly with Afghan women and children.

So-called female engagement teams, or "cultural support teams," have been used increasingly in recent years by the U.S. military. But the difference here is that these women are selected to team up with elite special forces.

Afghans deeply resent special forces units' raids on their homes and villages when they are searching for high-value targets.  The military women, it is hoped, will ease some of that resentment.  Once a raid has secured an area, the women will move in and be the ones who search Afghan women, something male troops cannot do without causing great upset.

The women also are living and working with special forces teams in small villages and towns, talking to women and helping with medical care and social needs.

Maj. Patrick McCarthy evaluates candidates applying to join the program and decides who will be selected for the rigorous six-week training course at Fort Bragg.

About half of those who apply don't get selected.

McCarthy says he is looking for both brain and brawn. And he wants troops who can make quick decisions in the murky circumstances troops often find themselves in on the front lines of Afghanistan.

"These women are a cut above the rest of the Army," says McCarthy, pointing to a group in a morning training class.

If this calls to mind the Demi Moore film "GI Jane," it is a comparison that Capt. Annie Kleiman, a team member, rejects.

"We're not going to be shaving our heads anytime soon," she says. But she is firm on one point: "We've got a bunch of strong, capable, awesome women who can take any challenge that's thrown at us."

The women know they still must prove themselves once they are in Afghanistan.

"This is the first time women have formally worked with special operations forces." says Staff Sgt Danielle Bayer, also part of the training course. "It's being acknowledged women can operate at this level."

It's a politically delicate issue. Women are not allowed to serve in front-line combat units. So these women - heavily armed - will only go into compounds after they are secured by assault teams.

"The women that are on raids, they're not deliberately part of the direct-action raid. They are there to help mitigate following the raid," says McCarthy.

But in a war with no true front line, these women will face risks being so far from larger, more secure military bases. Just last month, 1st Lt. Ashley White, who was a team member, and two male soldiers were killed during what the Army described as "combat operations" in Afghanistan.

The first death of a team member has made the program so sensitive that no senior Army special operations commander would talk to CNN on camera.

But the women did.

"This is a program that is going to keep going on," said Sgt. Christine Baldwin, who is just back from Afghanistan. "It's a need that needs to be met over there right now."

soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. DMC5

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    April 30, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  2. secure loan

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    February 9, 2012 at 9:18 am | Reply
  3. JinxieJo

    I understand where "some" of the guys are coming from, to the piont where possible rape is involved. Im 16 n female,ever since i was little I wanted to do some that invloved fighting for your country on the battlefield, im not saying that I know anything about everything. I grew up living with my grandparents (grandpa a vet), my grandma wore the pants in the family, i've always grew up in a head strong family. I've seen so many aggressive women that could beat a grown man down. But getting back on topic, all im trying to say is that I thought girls and boys were you know the same except for the between leg thing, so when I finally was getting so close to my dream I decided to do some research and what I read was very inconsiderate seriously... What would you do if I told you that your mother was just a bag of meat assuming you have mother because someone has mommie issues. I don't think you would liket hat but how would I know?What was I made for. To have some babies from a scum bag whos probally bangin everything with a hole rasing them on food stamps, with my mouth shut because some guy decides women are inferior. I mean really, what happened to equal rights? I've always dreamed of "Freeing the Opressed". Its true that most men are stronger then women. But all im saying is instead of pushing me down how about helping me up... And another thing is that its right for you to doubt that a person that weighs like 100lbs less than you to pick you up. All im doing is venting. And im sure that im not going to want to bump uglies with the sexy tatted guy on my team 😉 So whether its bad comments or good comments I don't care. Feel free to educate. With love to everyone male or female that served our country to their full abilities whether its the man who thinks women can't do crap... Everyone has their own opinions. Whether you agree to disagree you can still share!

    January 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  4. JinxieJo

    I understand where "some" of the guys are coming from, to the piont where possible rape is involved. Im 16 n female,ever since i was little I wanted to do some that invloved fighting for your country on the battlefield, im not saying that I know anything about everything. I grew up living with my grandparents (grandpa a vet), my grandma wore the pants in the family, i've always grew up in a head strong family. I've seen so many aggressive women that could beat a grown man down. But getting back on topic, all im trying to say is that I thought girls and boys were you know the same except for the between leg thing, so when I finally was getting so close to my dream I decided to do some research and what I read was very inconsiderate seriously... What would you do if I told you that your mother was just a bag of meat assuming you have mother because someone has mommie issues. I don't think you would liket hat but how would I know?What was I made for. To have some babies from a scum bag whos probally bangin everything with a hole rasing them on food stamps, with my mouth shut because some guy decides women are inferior. I mean really, what happened to equal rights? I've always dreamed of "Freeing the Opressed". Its true that most men are stronger then women. But all im saying is instead of pushing me down how about helping me up... And another thing is that its right for you to doubt that a person that weighs like 100lbs less than you to pick you up. All im doing is venting. And im sure that im not going to want to bump uglies with the sexy tatted guy on my team 😉 So whether its bad comments or good comments I don't care. Feel free to educate. With love to everyone male or female that served our country to their full abilities whether its the man who thinks women can't do crap... Everyone has their own opinions. Whether its bad or good they can still share!

    January 20, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Reply
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    December 6, 2011 at 2:19 am | Reply
  6. mike proctor

    I think its about time we stop treating our females sericeperson any difference than males serviceperson,in fact I have a feeling that they will out perform the males servicepersons. There are many Countries around the world where females serve on the front line in combat. It has been proven that females soilders made better warriors during war time-Queen Gudit,Queen Boudicca of Norfolk,Queen Thyra-Denmark,Harriet Tubman and many more have step up to the plate and proven their worthiness as a warrior. I'm happy the Army is coming into the 21th century in reference to our females warriors but keep growing to get rid of the stereotyping of our female warriors.

    November 7, 2011 at 10:12 am | Reply
    • Mister Jones

      You are absolutely off your meds and out of the looney bin. Sorry, but women do not, can not and will not make better soldiers than men. Ever. In any capacity. You have obviously never served.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Mister Jones

      Quit trying to impress whatever chick you are trying to get into bed, and just take her out to dinner. Everything that you said was wrong. How was Harriet Tubbman a "warrior"?

      November 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  7. Jon

    I think it sounds great that these women are training to be elite soldiers. And I do feel sad that they won't be fighting on the front lines. But there is one side that I am grateful. I couldn't bear the thought of seeing a dead US woman soldier lying next to me in combat. It would break my spirit. But good job ladies:)

    November 6, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      But you can bear the thought of a male soldier, Marine, airman or sailor next to you? there's no fucking difference.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:49 am | Reply
      • Mister Jones

        Yes. There is a difference. Men will naturally run to assist a fallen female before a fallen man. It is just how we are wired.

        November 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  8. travis fisher

    Lifes short why become hamburger so someone smarter can make money ordering you to your death to fight a fake war. women should be deprived the same opportunity to be controlled for the purpose of breeding more servants to the matrix

    November 6, 2011 at 2:29 am | Reply
    • Seropyan

      What the he** are you talking about they do it because thats what they belive in... it doesent matter what you think, Soon as im done with highschool im joining, Because thats what i feel is right, You can hate on the military that keeps you safe at night and day all you want but know this they dont it no matter what criticism you give because they still love you no matter what... And same goes for women this is what they want to do and believe its right in their hearts why does it matter... we may be servants but were servants with a purpose... Im sorry to say you disgust me.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  9. James

    Nice To See Women In Uniform. I Just Hope Our Military Takes Care Of Women Issues Like Rape Or Intimidation And Harassment Toward Them.

    November 6, 2011 at 1:34 am | Reply
    • Chuck

      Really? if they dont have it fixed now what makes you think they will then if anything it will be more prone to happen

      November 6, 2011 at 7:55 am | Reply
  10. travis fisher from california

    We should breed afgan children over there with our military women and either create allies or make their race even more unattractive which is the real reason we fight them in the first place they are envious of the hot civilian snatch we have and they dont which is why they cloak theirs like a cloth glory hole Lol .

    November 6, 2011 at 1:34 am | Reply
  11. Chuck

    Listening to most of you talk you have some good comments and some that are just retarded you can quote your platoon company or batalion motto all day noone cares to hear it you can be 101st 1st bct "noslack" yet be a supply sgt who never leaves the wire noone cares the point of this article isnt that women can perform better in combat because they can perform to the same standards if not better as men but what this article is saying that i feel most of you are missing is that they will be working with S.F. they will not in any way be affiliated directly to any special operation branch these women are only getting this opportunity to releive tension between the troops and the muslim non combatives on ground so for you men who feel threatend plz by all means dont get your tempers up and for you women who think you will be sf sry dolls you wont ever see a tab .....ever

    November 6, 2011 at 1:23 am | Reply
    • Scoat

      Say Chuck. Apparently you missed the point also, or you haven't been with a 101st, No Slack (and that's 2nd Battalion) unit in combat or any "Platoon Company" ( that would be Company Platoon) and especially on any A site with Special Forces. There are those who never had Special Forces (SF) training, but through necessity had to team up with an A or B Team to accomplish a Mission. Once they proved to be a valuable asset to the Team; they were taken in as full fledge members. The primary goal of an SF Team, is to accomplish the mission. All who help bring that about as part of a team; are just that; "part of the Team." These women train on Smoke Bomb Hill, just as any other SF member, so they pull their weight both physically and combat wise if the need arises. Every member on an SF Team is crossed trained to fill in for another member if they are split up or taken out. Not everyone can do all the jobs found on an A team; but together they all get the job done. These women fill a need that men have not been able to do as well when it comes to interaction with the indigenous women and children. They are full pledge members. Just ask any Team member. You say they won't be wearing a tab any time soon. A tab, is a candy stripper; one who has not been a fully trained member of an A Team with a specific job that completes the Team's ability to complete the Mission. Check out the full flash on the Beret the SF Trooper Sgt. Christine Baldwin, just back from Afghanistan has. She is a fully qualified member of what? Check out her left shoulder patch. That a Special Forces patch. Ask the Team members of 1st Lt. Ashley White if she was not a fully qualified member of the Team. Don't talk like a poser. Scoat

      December 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Reply
      • UMM

        Every pic I've found of SGT Christine Baldwin has her wearing a USASOC patch. Not an SF group patch. As for the flash on her beret, well i did not find a pic. But with a USASOC patch on her shoulder one can assume that it is not any group flash.

        January 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  12. travis fisher in california

    I think it is a beautiful mind game. if we can kick their butts with our women they might give up out of humiliation i know if i got beat by and 8 year old for example id move on to something else. unfortunately the only move they have is to catch one of our prized bettys and behead her on utube like mr pearl To punish us for trying to beat them with our bench strength.

    November 6, 2011 at 1:05 am | Reply
  13. rangerbain

    Look, I don't care if it's a male or female who does the job as long as the mission gets accomplished. If it becomes a problem with females in spec ops, then we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I don't think they should be put into these positions just to make a political statement or to prove a point. They can do jobs that men can't do with the muslim culture and should be allowed to do it as long as they are willing to accept the consequences when the crap hits the fan. The standards, both mental and physical, should not be lowered to accomodate females in these units. If they can keep up, let them. It's about time women shared the same dangers as men and reap the same rewards. I am both Ranger and SF qualified and am only 5'5, 165 lbs. It's not the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog. We'll see how the public feels after these soldiers begin to die or suffer worse fates. Until then, let them fight and earn their due like the men.

    November 5, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Reply
    • rangerrick70

      Roger that.....I don't care who does the job, as long as mission accomplishment is met. I really don't give shit about females actually being assigned to SOF. I have one rule about all male units, or any unit for that matter, that requires you to fight along my side, "AS LONG AS YOU CAN GET ME AND MY EQUIPMENT OFF OF THE BATTLE FIELD IF I AM EVER INJURED....SHIT....YOU CAN FIGHT ALONG SIDE ME ANY DAY", I've served with men who can't even do that. In closing, I really don't give a shit if they allow women to go to Ranger school, SF, SEAL, ect. and be assign to those units, as long as they meet current standards(SAME AS FOR MEN), able to keep up in training once assign, and able to get me/battle buddy and equipment off of the battlefield, that's all that matters...........HOOAH

      November 6, 2011 at 5:26 am | Reply
  14. Carbine

    Folks don't get ahead of yourself. These women are not SF, their not completeing any of the q course, sage or any of the like. Not to take away from them however. But when one of these "bad ass" women are captured and raped by a muslim extremist sadist and broadcast on Al-Jazeera, i don't wanna hear anything from those promoting this placement of resources.

    I hope these women perform better than some we had tag along with us for same reason in Iraq. Always had to slow down for them, remind them of basic soldiering skills and check their selector switch etc... etc...

    November 5, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Reply
    • mike proctor

      There a few problems with them but I tell you what, if I got into a fire fight I wouldn't want anyone else beside me because in a tight situation they will fight to the death because its in their DNA to be vicious. In security work 90% of the guard dogs are females and if you hit one up side the head they will come back again,again again,until you kill them or she will kill you. Check out your girl friend and think how she would reacted if she saw you with someone else or tell her you are leaving her for someone else. I bet you did not go to sleep that night if she was a live in and if you did you was a fool.

      November 7, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply
  15. rightospeak

    Right on. Put them on the front lines in combat, first to ingage the enemy. Men have been doing it for centuries and dying – AFFIRMATIVE ACTION , you know-get them out there.

    November 5, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
  16. kerry

    Excellent idea. Even in India when I went to the doctor he would not speak to me directly but spoke to the guy I was with because of their traditions. It was weird and I was resentful of it at the time, but could see how strongly the people felt about their beliefs. Especially so in a strict Muslim country, One must obey the rules of conduct and tread softly when possible.

    November 5, 2011 at 9:14 am | Reply
  17. arsh

    They are mediocre as men and disgusting as women

    November 5, 2011 at 8:24 am | Reply
  18. Christopher Dycha

    Long overdue and I hope all the success in their efforts. Regardless of someone's job, vocation, calling or assignment, I like to think that people regardless of gender want 2 things: a fair opportunity and to be able to contribute. Give it a fair chance w/o bias, evaluate effectiveness along the way and adjust accordingly (if necessary). Either way, thanks to all the service people for your sacrafices. Christopher Dycha

    November 5, 2011 at 7:40 am | Reply
  19. TeaPartyIdiot

    I want to see them pee up a rope!

    November 5, 2011 at 12:42 am | Reply
  20. redman83

    Good to read. Muslims do not like infidels to touch their women. Too bad.

    I was led by the title of the article to believe that they would be actively operating just like the females in EOD do already. Those women are the total package: Smart, fit, gorgeous, but will rip your throat out when in combat. Most EOD women I've seen while I was "in" were pure killers if they needed to be.

    November 5, 2011 at 12:32 am | Reply
  21. RAKKASAN3/187th

    ladies feel free to serve your country how ever you want. Don't forget to make the bad guys fear American woman. Hell I am American and I fear the wrath of my ol' lady lol. You all make true patriots proud and make them hodgie bastards bleed. HUA!

    November 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Reply
    • solarsails

      ...maybe you should run for president.

      November 5, 2011 at 1:15 am | Reply
    • Tom

      I'm sorry but do you even know what a "hodgie" is?

      November 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  22. RAKKASAN3/187th

    why not just let them women be. I am proud that they are willing to even take a step in that direction. It shows bravery and pride. Half you all with your negative posts never stepped on a battlefield and are quite frankly just shovanistic punks. I haue 4 tours, and I would take a woman to have my back any day over yall shit talking sheltered bitches. HUA! 3/187th 3dbct 101st Airborne. Ne Desit Virtus.

    November 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Reply
  23. AL

    With us in America not wanting to see a military member killed, it will an even louder outcry if a female is killed in any action, as such is why there are no females on the front lines, and if their unit is deployed to the front lines they will not be anywhere near that front line, but will get credit for being there. I wonder who the rocket scientist is that though this would be a viable task for a female. Is the pentagon willing to waste that money to train someone that will never be allowed to be either behind enemy lines or in the front lines?

    November 4, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Reply
    • glenn robert

      Where are these front lines you keep mumbling about? We had a front line in Korea (1953) but that is ancient history.

      November 5, 2011 at 1:46 am | Reply
      • Redmaddox

        You're on the front line when you cross into enemy air space and you're on it until you leave.

        November 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Tom

      As far as i'm concerned, if a woman is as qualified both physically and mentally to do the job without changing the requirements at all just because they are a woman, then by all means let them. I am sure there are females that can out perform me in combat no doubt, but it's when the standards are lowered that it endangers others. No military member does what they do for publicity.

      November 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • Chuck

      Dude plz just shut up honestly if you have been there then you know as soon as your boots hit ground you are on the front lines and shit can pop at anymoment man or woman ive happily defended that shit hole at warhorse in iraq next to several females who actually have a few confirmed kills and done a damn well job getting them

      November 6, 2011 at 1:28 am | Reply
  24. P.Datz

    Those women have more to worry about from the military guys they'll be keeping company with than the locals.

    November 4, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  25. Jackie

    God BLess YOu all! No ifs ands or buts about it! Its going down regardless of what you or anybody else thinks.. When its all said and done FETs & CSTs are in full effect and will carry on regardless of what any of you think. Control what you can. These Professional female Soldiers will go out conduct the mission and accomplish the mission. They don't have to prove anything to any of you, they work hard, and train hard. Their perserverance and drive is done by doing not talking.. God Bless all of you and good night.. CST.. Hooah!!

    November 4, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Reply
    • solarsails

      I, for one, would certainly pay to see some of those towel wrapping freaks in need of a good diuretic, get a full can of whoopass delivered by a female special forces. That would rule.

      November 5, 2011 at 1:12 am | Reply
  26. Dan the man

    Fine bring em on, expose them! But be prepared for a lot of girls coming home in closed coffins! Then be prepared to watch the Moms and the Dads cry on national TV! Oh my daughter didn't sign up for that, she just wanted to be a medic etc, etc! What kind of men were they in her unoit who allowed her to be killed/mutilated/ gang raped by those terrorists!

    November 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  27. Fed-up

    Are you serious? When will end? how many people must die before all of you learn that WOMEN will never ever be a mans equal....They have the same value but are made for different roles. Yes this sounds spiffy and out of a combat setting it would work

    November 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • hank lechter

      I must have missed what your military experience was; how long was your service and how many deployments to a combat zone have you been on?

      November 4, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  28. Steven

    These women will fill administrative positions and non-combat roles. So don't get all excited either way. Alot of them will see supply and logistics roles as well communications. So boys don't get upset your feet will still be on the ground shootin' and lootin'. No offense ladies, just the facts. Wearing the green beret that I wore for 5 1/2 years coincidentally is a huge physical task and most men do not do it long. But it is a start, I would have to see the training regiment for the women. If you are not training exactly like the men then you are not earning your tab.oorah.

    November 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Reply
    • Chuck

      I agree with you but remeber they will never be green berrets and never wear one or even wear a tab they will be working side by side with sf but as i said never be one

      November 6, 2011 at 1:31 am | Reply
      • Scoat

        Chucky boy, still running off at the mouth. Check out your six. You have an over-load. Scoat

        December 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  29. Tlocken

    This is nothing new women have been serving in the special ops community for years 10yrs on CAT Teams (civil Affairs teams) and Psyh-op teams. Our female soldiers have come in handy multiple times

    November 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  30. iraq vet

    The only thing I can attest to with women in the military is that they are usually better at shooting on the range dut to their calmer breathing. But that's just on the range. I can't comment about their performance in real combat. As a prior service (army) enlisted soldier, I don't think I would be too comfortable with a woman in the front lines with me only because of the strength factor. If you can pick me up over your shoulders and get me to safety effectively, I don't think you'll be a good battle buddy. Just my opinion.

    November 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • 18D

      Can you pick me up over my shoulders? Are you in Special Operations? Then STFU.

      November 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  31. D

    Let's hear it for the girls!
    They train hard for that service and die just like the boys.
    Let's hear it for the girls!!

    November 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • hank lechter

      To paraphrase Patton; your job is not to die for your country, your job is to make some SOB die for his.

      November 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  32. 11BravoPapa

    God I hate when civilians with no military experience or no idea on how the military works chime in their worthless 2 cents on stories like this.

    November 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  33. MacDaddyDC

    wow, as a former member of 10th group, I'm astonished at the ignorance, misogyny and absolute myths and misconceptions being spewed forth here. Women have "hacked it and packed it..." on an equal footing in the Israeli Army for years in both peacetime and combat actions. There's no double-standards allowed and if they're available, women might get separate bathing/toilet facilities.
    It seems to me there are way too many "men" out there who are threatened by the fact that a woman could out-perform them in some manner that would embarrass or emasculate them somehow.
    I don't know about those men and can't quite seem to grasp their arguments ... I've always been part of a team effort when it comes to putting bullets on targets. Maybe it's because we train indigenous peoples to fight alongside us and believe me when I tell you, the rest of the world is not corn-fed and "robust" (read fat) as we Americans but, they can certainly make the difference in any fire-fight.
    There are enough hurdles for the female members of our team to try and overcome, why would you add your own ignorance and intolerance to the equation? That's as stupid as caring if gays/lesbians serve alongside you.
    And if you think any woman that's ever served in an SF battalion in any capacity is somehow inferior, I invite you to not only say that to their faces, but also ask those of us who were supported by them if we could've accomplished any missions without them.
    By policy, women were not permitted to actively participate in combat roles but, I'd have no such reservations ... and neither should anyone else with an IQ higher than an ashtray.
    "De Oppresso Liber" is our mission statement and it looks as if we still have a considerable amount of work to do on most of the males who've sounded off here in opposition.

    November 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • James Davila

      I believe women could not be, or ever be infantry, nor Spec/ops. Does this make me ignorant? No, because I think before I talk. Let's play this scenario out! My buddy Bob has just been badly injured in combat, ive been given the order to retreat. But enemy is pushing forward at a alarming rate, now I have to grab Bob, and get out asap. With all his gear, Bob roughly weighs, about 250lbs. Me being a male who happens to weight 210, and goes to the gym everyday, I say I could grab Bob, and get out easy. But a women who weighs 130lbs would find it pretty difficult. I'm not ignorant, I just know what women are capable of in war.

      November 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply
      • LTC S.

        Yeah, but.... How about Joe, another 11B, who is 150 soaking wet, and humping all of his own kit? Can he get Bob out single-handely? What if Joe and Bob had just arrived in country a few weeks ago, and just finished climbing 6,000 feet on a dismounted patrol, and then Bob gets hit. Joe's going to be busy enough just trying not to cough up a lung to carry Bob over his shoulder.

        The problem with this line of logic is that it pre-supposes everyone in the infantry right now is capable is single-handedly extracting every other Soldier in the infantry single-handedly. We ain't there.

        November 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
      • Maya

        It also pre-supposes that all women weigh 130 lbs and have the same level of strength.

        Actually, studies were commissioned some time ago to investigate this very issue. Those studies found that with proper conditioning, women are entirely capable of meeting the physical requirements to be in the infantry.

        November 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
      • Scoat

        Say Davila, have you ever been down in da vila, in a real shoot, pick-up and scoot situation? I think not. For one, if you could not carry the weight; you would strip Bob of at least 70lbs of gear (Cache or destroy it) then carry 180lb Bob to safety. Now let's say you too are wounded, and your 210lb, goes to the gym body, can't even lift a ruck-sack; but can get his own body back to safety. Does Davila hop-scotch back to safety or as any female combat trained medic would do; stay, stop the bleeding, treat for shock, and fight to the last bullet to protect Bob; who you in all probability left behind.
        You have no idea what desire to serve, training, and being in a combat situation does to both male and female. Blood may be thicker than water; but; Esprit De Corps is thicker than both. Scoat

        December 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  34. armaund fowler

    I think it is great. The one thing I worry about is the special forces group is a different world in the mililtary. There,not going to change because there r women. Coming from a former recon marine

    November 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  35. Marine

    Marine Corps has them beat already. They have been doing this for a few years now. The Female Engagement Team (FET). Camp Pendleton, Ca I MHG

    November 4, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply
  36. Terri

    "We're not going to be shaving our heads anytime soon" is the quote you think is the take away for this story? Why would you pick that for your banner as the story is run on CNN?

    November 4, 2011 at 9:02 am | Reply
    • bro madness

      i can not say my name for obvious reasons but congrats on say what people should shut up about pop there thumb out there mouth and think.

      November 4, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  37. michaelfury

    November 4, 2011 at 8:46 am | Reply
  38. oneofthem

    cultural support teams are not female engagement teams. they are assessed, selected, and trained to operate directly in support of special operations forces. for now, FETs have no particular skills other than being a woman in a deploying unit. just like all selections, some less-than-qualified performers slip through the cracks. but overall, CSTs are motivated, competent, and ready to work. they can hang with the SF guys when patrolling through the mountains of afghanistan. the same can't be said for some infantrymen...believe me, i've seen it. get over yourselves if you think these women go through hell just to be close to SF dudes...they do it because they believe in the mission and they want to contribute.

    November 4, 2011 at 6:20 am | Reply
    • Epidi

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! Ignorance knows no bounds it seems.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Reply
      • Female Marine

        FETs are well trained. I was choosen to serve on a FET after I was already in Afghanistan. I had to do humps with full gear with the infantry guys on base every other day, I went through language training, IED training, medical training, shooting ranges, weapons classifications, brief on top of briefs. If you think the FETs are not trained you are wrong. Plus every Marine is trained before we enter the we are bad asses before even start training for FET. Every officer goes through a 6 month platoon commanders course before we get to the fleet.

        November 6, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  39. yo yo

    Here we go again, women pretending to be offended by "sexist" remarks and attitudes, like they really give a s*it about what some chick does with her life half way around the world, what a joke!

    November 4, 2011 at 2:11 am | Reply
    • Epidi

      Why would we be offended when being dissed by a p u s s y? I was born with mine – what's your excuse?

      November 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  40. Brandon

    I'm glad to see that the Army is implementing a program where the woman have to make the cut in order to perform these specialized missions. Being a current Army soldier in Afghanistan on the "frontline", my unit has a FET (female engagement team) that performs, but not as well as they should. The women in the FET here are weak-minded. I often see them scared to conduct their job (to the point where they are taken off mission), they cry tears to our Commander if things don't go their way, they're treated special by the male soldiers, and overall, we need those tough soldiers (mentally and physically) that the Army is obviously trying to create or weed out with this program. As for the factor of can a 130 lbs woman lift a wounded 220 lbs man in combat...well, a lot of males weighing around 175 lbs cannot even do that. But we have teammates and plenty of tools that can assist in circumstances like that.

    November 4, 2011 at 1:58 am | Reply
  41. Brandon

    Wow, for once the military is actually thinking outside the box.

    November 4, 2011 at 1:54 am | Reply
  42. Cup O' Joe

    Im tired of these feminist liberals trying to degrade our military.There is a reason why women in the military dont perform direct combat operations.Most women in the military can be easily overpowered by a big enough male civilian(6'2" and around 230 lbs),so I cant imagine what one of these towel-heads would do to them if they ever caught them sneaking in their village.What happens if a soldier goes down and has to be rescued?Do you really think a 5'6",130 lbs female would be able to throw a 6'1",220 pound man on her back and escape out of harm's way?This is not taking into consideration the 75 pound gear and the 10 pound rifle BOTH the women AND the men have to carry.Face it – women are physically inferior to men.Always have,always will be.

    November 4, 2011 at 1:06 am | Reply
    • MartyB

      6'2" 230 ? Please, For The Sake Of Argument, Would You Be So Kind As To Post A Link, Maybe, That Presents A Statistical Tally On How Many Afghans or Iraqis Are Running Around Sporting Such Impressive Height and Weight ? Simply Curious. Or A Picture Maybe ?

      You Be Amazed At What Females Are Capable Of Doing When They Are Shot At, It's "Biological" You Know. You'll Admit It's Amazing What A Man Can Do, When He's Confronted With His Mortality ("Biological"). Why Not Then ? Why Are These Woman Not Capable, "Biologically", Of Such Great Feats ? It Is, After All, Simple Biology (Fight or Flight).

      November 4, 2011 at 1:33 am | Reply
      • Brandon

        I have the statistics for you.... Hardly any. It was rare to find Iraqi bigger than me when I was in Iraq and I am 6ft 215lbs

        November 4, 2011 at 1:55 am |
      • MartyB

        Agreed, and Thank You For Your Service.

        November 4, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Jay USAF

      Cup O' are an idiot. Just as any female can be overpowered by a 6ft 220lb male so can males. I'm 5'6 170lbs and just like many of my brothers most of us are not huge muscle machines. Think before you write. Get over it...women just like men are fully capable of taking the fight to the enemy. I have seen it first hand. It may be true that men have certain caracteristics that make them stonger but when sugar truns to shit, women can do just as good.

      November 4, 2011 at 11:23 am | Reply
    • CLM-2

      I am a 150 lb 5'9" girl and I carried a 250 lb guy up a 1/2 mile 25-40 degree incline on my back after a 4 mile run and finished with a 4 mile run with sprints. I really don't think some people realize the dedication and determination some women have. Having been part of a small group, I say you as a female set the tone. My men are my brothers therefore my family, and the one thing people we encountered learned quickly was don't ever eff with my family.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • just me

      So what you honestly think Cup O' Joe is that all combat arms males are 6'2 250#, where do you get that from? I am currently deployed; there are men serving in these positions of all different sizes. But what is obvious is that you disagree to women serving in combat, which is pretty normal- is there a reason why you can't just plainly state that without making women seem inferior. Women wanting to serve in these roles has nothing to do with feminism, it's about wanting to be a part of the team that is making things happen. Just like other men in Service Support roles feel. The Army is made up of way more Combat Support and Combat Service Support positions than direct combat positions. I know plenty of males who were not selected for a Comabt Arms MOS that wish they had been. Is the point of the training these females go through to prove that they can perform to the same standard? I will say if the standards are different than the training needs to be changed. And to the point that keeps getting put out there over and over about how a 130 lb woman can't carry a 250 lb man; ever picked up someone in the Fireman's Carry; a 130lb female can most definitely pick up a 250lb person, man or woman that way. And frankly a 130lb man would have the same difficulty as the 130lb woman. We don't have cookie cutter molds for infantry men, they are human and they come in a variety of sizes.

      November 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  43. MartyB

    Don't Really Wanna Take A Side Here, Rather, I Would Distance Myself From Some Of What Has Been Said By A Few. I Think I Can Find Something Worthy Of Agreeing With, From All Of You.

    I Sense We Have A Lot Of Vets Posting Here This Evening, and I Was Surprised At How Quickly Some Of You Became So Foul In Your Disagreements, Very Immature, Very Inappropriate, and It Is A Little Disappointing. If Those Of You Who Claim To Be Vets Are Turning On Fellow Vets Over Simple Ideological Disagreements On A Harmless News Thread; I Fear That We Should Reassess These Integrated Forces. Fear Not Though, I Know Some Of You Old War Horses Are Set In Your Ways and Your Venting, Some Of You Male "Veterans" Would Never Publicly Voice These Wildly Degrading Comments Towards Female Soldiers . . . Not In Uniform, and Not In Any Unit That Had A Duty "Wall-To-Wall" Counsel That Ass. Please Conduct Ourselves With All Due Respect, Regardless Of Our Opinions.

    That Being Said, I Have Seen A Petite Female Soldier Pull A Fellow Male Soldier From Harms Way In Direct Combat. They Were Both Support, Guy Probably Weighed Twice As She, Neither One Of Them (On A Perfect Day) Should Have Been In Direct Combat – Nor Did They Expect To Be, But We Can't Always Get What We Want and That Day, In The Face Of Great Adversity, That Small (Female) Soldier Saved A Big Guy. I Know Everyone Here Knows It Can and Sometimes Does Happen. Lets Have and Enjoy An Intelligent, Peaceable, Debate.

    Some Of Our Best Soldiers – Especially In The "Special Forces" – Would Make Shitty Athletes. Some Of Our Countries Best Athletes, Would Certainly Make Shitty Soldiers. This Too, All Of Us, We Must Admit. Male Or Female, The Soldier We Need and The Soldiers We Want, He or She's Strength Comes From The Heart and Of The Mind, Thats Why We Train.

    Now Lets Disagree With Each Other A Bit More Politely and Represent Ourselves As Civilized American Citizens and Soldiers. I Enjoy Contemplating Others Ideas and Opinions. Some Of The Before Mentioned "Nonsense" I Would Not Want My Children To Read.

    November 4, 2011 at 1:05 am | Reply
    • Chuck

      Thank you I totaly agree with you 6 years 3rd group med retired

      November 6, 2011 at 1:43 am | Reply
  44. stanley

    "Women are not allowed to serve in front-line combat units. So these women – heavily armed – will only go into compounds after they are secured by assault teams."

    I see sexism is still rampant in the military.

    November 4, 2011 at 12:33 am | Reply
    • Don

      Never been in the sand box yet, eh?

      November 4, 2011 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • Bob

      It's not sexism it's biology. The average man can run faster, further, is stronger and can carry more. Compare men's and women’s times in the exact same event at an elite level like the Olympics or a typical level found at your local High School. Bottom line is that soldiers are tools. But if a woman can qualify and is willing to except the extra risks if captured, and doesn’t expect special treatment or separate quarters in the field…let them have at it.

      November 4, 2011 at 1:15 am | Reply
      • MartyB

        You Should Respect What "Biology" Can Make A Threatened Female Capable Of. Why Is It So Amazing When (Average) Males Contribute Great Feats Of "Biological" Strength, But When Using The Scientific Method, Some Of You Deny That Woman Are Capable "Biologically" Of Such Similar Feats. Once Again . . . . Fight Or Flight (Biology) Does Not Discriminate, When Pumping The Body Plum Full Of Epinephrine. Just Saying, You Want The Biological Argument ?

        November 4, 2011 at 2:15 am |
      • Leo

        Yeah, the AVERAGE man is stronger and faster than the AVERAGE woman... but let me tell you, the women who take on the challenge of the armed forces are NOT AVERAGE. I've served with female Soldiers who outperform plenty of the men. The Soldier in our battalion who did the most pushups was a female, not a male. Females participated in the Ranger Challenge competition with great success during our time as cadets. The best rifleman I ever served with was a female – if you told her to shoot a target through the eye, she'd ask "Right or left?"

        What people like you are REALLY afraid of is that some of these elite women would make you look pathetic. I, for one, was proud to serve with anyone who could do the job, and I didn't care what they had between their legs.

        November 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
      • Tom

        Yea, but the army is garbage.

        November 5, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  45. Wil

    I was in the Afghan theater several years ago, and something like this is long overdue.

    Whenever we needed a female medic or security screeners, we would, as often as not, have to get them from the Kiwis (hoorah NZ!), because the US female medics would not be cleared to go on anything less than a major operation. Smash and grab, scoop and scoot, low low lever stuff, not easy. (not that the US female folks were not eager volunteers)

    It was literally easier to "borrow" a couple from the Kiwis than go through the BS to get our own.

    November 4, 2011 at 12:22 am | Reply
    • Don

      Ah yes... The Kiwis...

      Them are some burly chicks!

      November 4, 2011 at 12:40 am | Reply
    • Wil

      I wouldn't say that, necessarily. It is more the mindset than anything else. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Kiwis: whenever we needed something from them, even with their military as small as it is, they never turned us away. Never met an incompetent Kiwi in the forward area. Ever.

      Politics aside, they were/are very good friends to us, indeed.

      November 4, 2011 at 1:39 am | Reply
  46. chilldwind

    By the headlines I thought women were in the actual special forces. Then it basically explains that special forces still do the combat, clear, secure, and only then, these ladies swoop in to do searches. This kind of article is demeaning to women. But please do praise women in military for what they actually do, not some CNN piece trying to mislead readers. When women are allowed to serve in SF and goes through the same standards for admission, please roll out this headline again with all the credit and praises those females deserve.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Reply
    • mike

      How is it demeaning? There are reasons why woman are not allowed in direct combat jobs, that will never change. I think woman in the military are just happy they get to be around SF guys. Jeesh you get an inch and you want everything.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:27 am | Reply
      • stanley

        "There are reasons why woman are not allowed in direct combat jobs, that will never change."

        Like? If you say/imply one word about how an "average woman" compares to an "average man", you've shown your stupidity. The military, just like every selective organization in the world, doesn't choose average people; they choose the very best. Unless you can prove that no woman in the entire world is better than at least 1 man in the entire world in a direct combat job, your argument is fallacious.

        November 4, 2011 at 12:41 am |
      • Don

        You don't know how true that is...

        There weren't many dumpy chicks on the SF compounds. If there were, they must have been hiding them somewhere.

        November 4, 2011 at 12:43 am |
      • Danielladear

        Ok. What on earth makes you think these women would put themselves through rigorous training, countless days of sweat, blood, and hard work, just to be AROUND SF men. Firstly, although SF is definitely something to be revered, there is nothing about the green beret that makes me want to be around that man more. In my experience sadly, it was the opposite, at least for anything other then a work-related task. Secondly, there is such a thing in the military now called 'professionalism'. Not every woman in the military is only thinking about what guys she can get, and how to get closer to them. Come on this isn't high school, its the Army.

        As for the FET's, I think that its a great concept that needs a little tweaking. I served in Civil Affairs for 3 years, and I was selected to go through the training to become a part of a FET. I turned it down because I already reenlisted to go to Germany, but the fact is that I've worked with countless USASOC forces, and I have never come across a man that would outwardly accuse a woman of doing something as challenging, and dangerous, as a FET just to 'be around SF guys.'

        November 4, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  47. skyfe

    All the people who are talking about lowering PT standards to fit women are completely wrong. First of all, if there are male and female PT standards in place then there is no excuse for lowering the male PT standards because of a female. I know it’s hard for you "men" to admit but you aren't as tough as you once were. Just because you look muscular and strong doesn’t mean that you actually are. Second, I know many women who outperform men on their PT tests even though women are held up to lower standards. And just because a woman can outperform some men doesn't mean she is not feminine enough it simply means that she goes to the gym and takes care of her body. A lot of you are unknowledgeable about how the military and the Middle East relations actually work.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Reply
    • Don

      Yes, there are some females who are tough like guys, and fewer who are tougher than most guys. Very rare in deed.

      There was a need to establish two separate scoring systems based on gender because it was realized that we would have had to drop the standard so low just to be inclusive. With this being said... it's not reasonable to take these same 'qualified' women (using lower standards), and expect them to perform to the same level as men in required physical battle tasks.

      Then there's the emotional aspects... as females are generally (again, generally) more 'emotionally' driven than their male counterparts. We need to keep that crap separate. I don't want my men around that. I want them focused and putting bullets on target.

      I need them focused. Period.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      You seem pretty emotional about this issue and you seem to believe men cannot control their emotions when it comes to seeing a women harmed.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Reply
      • Don

        You've got to be kidding me. I'm laughing my A$$ off at some of these posts.

        I never said anything about how a guy would feel when they come across a wounded female. Nothing of the sort. I personally could care less as long as she can shoot straight, can carry her own load, doesn't whine, and maintains the same standard as the rest of us.

        With that being said, even though I would see her as a man-chick, and treat her like any other man... I can't say the same for the other soldiers. Some of them poor saps would try to make a move on a man-chick just because of curiosity, despiration, boredom... you name it. Regardless of how repulsed I would be by it... some sad sack would make a move like that. Or, little miss man-chick would become flirty with the guys and cause problems that way... Or... if she doen't get her way, she uses the 'rape' card... or the 'I've been sexually harrassed' card... or the 'I've been descriminated against' card... etc.

        We don't need that crap with our fighting men. I need them focused. PERIOD.

        Female soldiers bring a value... if it's done correctly. Women's Army Corps (WAC).

        And to shoot down stupidity before it surfaces... I don't care what a soldier's race, national origin, sexual preference, etc... is. Gender is a very separate issue. Women are not men. Men are not women. Transgendered are not Men or Women, but something in between. Some would say confused... but I would just say that they are different and unique.

        Just to throw it out there... (being silly) when are we going to start having Transgendered soldiers anyway? I'll take one of them big berly man chicks that can actually man-handle a man or a ruck when it's necessary. But then again (sigh) we'd have to create another corps for the other reasons referenced. The Transgendered Army Corps (TAC)... that would be an interesting outfit. (LOL) "Haaaaaay!!!"

        November 4, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Dan

      Women in general can not perform the same as men in physical standards in the army. I'm all for equal rights, but in the military, that is not the case. There are too many weak female soldiers that think they are soldiers, but most of them are not. Too many times do male soldiers have to pick up the slack for their weaker abilities and lowered mental toughness. Don't get me wrong, males have the weak ones as well, but as overall, it doesn't even come close in comparison. I for one, do not help the weak ones.
      ***Here's a good reason why the women PT standards should be the same as males:
      If I get shot and need to be buddy carried out(Fireman's Carry), can Pvt Smith(19yr old female) can she carry me out? I weight 210 pounds plus my combat gear, plus hers.... most females, NO
      If were ruck marching through the mountains, can she carry as much weight as me over uphill and uneven terrain and be able to do it for long distances? most females NO

      If you have not served, don't even argue.
      If you have served in a cushion job and think differently cause your a strong female or you have strong females, good for you, but for every strong female there's 10+ females that aren't! And I'd bet my paycheck and BAH on that one!

      But in any case, I hope realist and non liberal feminists do a study on this and eventually come up with a standard that treats males and females the same, cause that's what it should all be about, BEING A SOLDIER! ONE STANDARD! ONE TEAM! ONE FIGHT!

      November 4, 2011 at 12:23 am | Reply
      • Don

        I agree with you. Spoken like a true soldier.

        It would be interesting having a bunch of Transgendered Soldiers performing these tasks though... oh... but... then many of them would be guys dressed like girls but doing the things that guys do...

        Oh, I'm so confused!

        November 4, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  48. smdahl

    CNN is a criminal organization.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  49. Bill

    Doin' what you do best.

    Thanks for the military propaganda, CNN.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Reply

    First of all CNN, there is only one Special Forces in the US. Military and that are US. Army Special Forces, our head gear is the Green Beret. I’m sick and tired of Wolf Blister and the rest of you at CNN using SF when you should be saying Special Operations.
    Second, these Female engagement teams are nothing more than support troops, nothing special in what they do. As a matter of fact we have used Female MP for years now. Their whole selection and training process is only two weeks longer then the Special Forces Assessment selection course, where at the end of 21 days of hell you get to walk 25+ miles with a 65 lbs. ruck sack. And if your luck enough after all that they might let you go on to the SF Qualification Course. And after the Q-course (which last 9-12months or longer) you finally get to on an operational A-team. So it is just a little demining to compare these Female engagement teams to what a real SF solider goes through.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      Then you read far more into this story than I did. I thought they made it quite clear how much training they received and that they will play a purely supportive role. They certainly did not imply that they were on par with Special Forces.

      Looks pretty clear to me:
      ""This is the first time women have formally worked with special operations forces." says Staff Sgt Danielle Bayer, also part of the training course. "It's being acknowledged women can operate at this level."

      It's a politically delicate issue. Women are not allowed to serve in front-line combat units. So these women – heavily armed – will only go into compounds after they are secured by assault teams.

      "The women that are on raids, they're not deliberately part of the direct-action raid. They are there to help mitigate following the raid," says McCarthy."

      November 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Reply
      • Don

        You've obviously never been to the sand box.

        November 3, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
      • Steven

        Unfortunately women can not operate at the level of the real special operations units requirements. These women will go into an area after it has been secured to deal with the women of that village and to assist in medical care. These are not combat troops, I repeat these are not combat troops. They might as well be girl scouts for all of the good they will be doing. they are gonna go through some publicity shot training and then go to afganistan and wait for the real soldiers to clear and secure. Then they will walk in and take all of the credit.

        November 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Nope, my sister's handling our generations military service. As noted in the article they will likely be in harms way, but they are not training for the same role. Its called a new role. The world changes. Change with it or get left behind.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Reply
      • Don

        Remember that, and hope her FOB doesn't get over-run.

        You're right... things do change... and then again... some things remain the same.

        November 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  51. Frank Stronzini

    I'm a male combat vet, and relish the idea of chillin' by my TV and watching females hook and jab with the bad guys. I'll crack a cold one and let them put their money where their mouth is. Only rule should be, is that they must be subject to same standards (including physical fitness, endurance, and strength – no excuses). Let 'em go for it. No special treatment, no whining, no special accommodations (like the military has been doing for years).

    November 3, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Reply
    • Don

      I second that.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Reply
    • chilldwind

      Like you, I say let them serve if the want to, as long as the standards are the same, and there are no special conditions attached.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Reply
  52. Infamousdoc

    You need those women out there searching those afghan women cause you can turn a whole villlage againts your squad by just using a metal detector wand on one even thought you been told that their is a female in the area concealing weapons. (from experience)

    November 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Reply
    • Don

      Agreed. Bring in a WAC squad after the area has been mostly secured.

      Separate the men from the women and children. Search and secure the men. Have the WACs search the women and children separately.

      ID the elder and bring him along as a witness from a distance (after he's been searched) to add to comfort that nothing obsurd is being done with the women and children. It's really not that difficult, and its been done before. Unfortunately, without WACs, but the chick who had a revolving door and who used signals for when she was (ehmph) 'available.'

      But same results really... Fem on Fem... let them chat it up thru/with the terps, and secretly record the conversation to be analyzed by the intel types. (To insure that the Terps are giving it to you straight, of course).

      November 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  53. Female combat medic

    Of course there are many things that women cant do in combat that men can do.. but I have seen plently of "Army Joes" that arnt any bigger than me doing the same exact mission I was set out to do. If your ever in that situation you want someone that is bigger than you to pull you out of the "hot" zone yes, but guess what you might get little Pee Wee to sheld you so you dont substain any more injuries. SN: you might have a FEMALE medic on your convoy or mission is her "training" going to be good enough to save your life?? It might not be ideal for women to be in combat zones but it doesnt mean we arnt needed there.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Frank Stronzini

      Needed is relative. There are plenty who will volunteer, regardless of gender.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Reply
    • Don

      Oh don't misunderstand... there is a need. Back at the Main FOB Hospital.

      It used to be: (sigh) that when wounded, we would wake up in a hospital in a more secure area with pretty nurses taking care of us. There used to be pretty flight attendants when we went on R&R... (sigh)

      Those days are long gone now.

      Now we got some dude with a funny voice, man-handling us in the hospitals, and 200 pound crabby old women for flight attendants. Or that same funny sounding dude waddling up and down the isles on the planes. SCARY!!!

      It'll be a while before we return to simpler times... where women are 'ladies' and men are 'gentlemen.' Unfortunately, before we get to that time, we'll have a lot of societal pain to get thru first. We haven't hit bottom yet.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      You are lost so far in the past that you do not stand a chance in the modern world. Reading your posts is like watching a dinosaur blunder about wondering when the world is going to become hospitable again. I'm sure the dinosaurs assumed thing would get better for them too. See any dinosaurs?

      November 3, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Reply
      • Don

        Hillarious! Just pay attention to what's going on around you...

        Things weren't 'perfect' back then... but definitely simpler in some regards... like the one's referenced.

        Ain't that way any mo'

        November 3, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  54. Science

    Women dont belong in the military, and thats a fact. This aint G.I. Jane

    November 3, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Reply
    • 2LT S

      Not all of us ARE G.I. Jane. But hey, you need some fuel or a geared-up mobag, you let me know. Even thought I detest you for being a rampant sexist dragged kicking and screaming into the future, I'll still hook you up.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Reply
      • Don

        Interesting phrase... "I'll hook you up"

        November 3, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
      • MarkinFL

        That is because you do not have the intelligence to separate your nads from your thought processes.

        November 3, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
      • Don



        November 3, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • LT C

      Huh. Your logic would then dictate than I am NOT able to pass the male standards on the PT test, that I am NOT able to outperform more than half of the MEN in my company, that I am NOT able to shoot just as good as the guys, and that I should NOT be able to keep out of the type of trouble that gets several dudes article 15s every single week.

      However... I am capable of these things. How about you look at people who VOLUNTEER for our VOLUNTEER MILITARY as what they are, and judge them based on that alone – SOLDIERS.

      I don't expect every female to be able to handle the rigors of what it would take to actually become an infantry or armor Soldier. But I also know that not every male is able to handle those difficult jobs. However, EVERY male gets the chance to do it. Not every female does. I guarantee the Army is missing out on at least a few fine young Soldiers for those MOSs by not even giving women the chance.

      Sorry, but I'm the type of PERSON who wants to work for a living, and maybe come home to a nice home-cooked meal, and carry on the legacy left to me by my father, and his father, and his father. The fuck does it matter if I am a woman? I know the limitations of my physiology and spend plenty of time in the gym to make up for it – sure can climb a rope better than some of the muscle-car men I work with. Get your head out of your ass and get with this century.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:05 am | Reply
      • Don

        You'd make a good WAC OIC. Keep up the good work!

        November 4, 2011 at 12:47 am |
      • Jill

        You, my friend, are awesome. That was probably the best post I've seen on CNN probably ever. I applaud your service. As a female who tried to join the army (sadly I never got past MEPS due to a hearing problem of all things), I knew it wasn't going to be easy, and that there would be people who wouldn't see me as an equal because I wasn't a guy, which is total crap because as a former college athlete, I outperformed many of the guys I trained with. Anyways, thank you for doing what you're doing and showing people that we can be just as useful in the military as the men.

        November 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
      • UMM

        No one is trying to take away from your accomplishments as a female SM. I think it's awesome that you either have the natural ability, or care enough to keep yourself in good condition (as you should, it's part of you JOB as a soldier to be physicaly fit) that you are able to out perform many of your male counterparts. (though if you are in fact the one in charge I suggest you do something to motivate your male SM's a little more) But something you are not realizing, what many people here are not realizing, is that while you are fully capable to meet the physical requirements of a combat MOS, you are the MINORITY. By sheer numbers alone you must realize that most women who join Military service are NOT physicaly capable enough to meet the physically demanding requirements of a big army combat MOS, much less the MUCH higher physical demand of an SF ODA or a Ranger BN team. On the other hand while the majority of men in the military cannot meet the demands of SF or Ranger, they are perfectly capable of joining a big army combat arms MOS right off the bat without any training.

        January 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  55. SSG Shoutout Why did'nt CNN post this article as of yet?

    November 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  56. Karl

    After the American people have witnessed 235 years of horrific wars and conflicts, why is there such a strong desire to have women in combat? Most of the people clamoring to have women on the front lines are feminists who themselves will never see nor volunteer for combat! And frankly, women have less upper-body strength, less endurance and are less aggressive than men, all of these aspects are necessary in combat. When we have zero shortages of men to fill combat roles, why have women in them?

    November 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Reply
    • Guidedtouch

      women have less bulk than men but they have more efficient muscles. if you're going to try to stump us with science, don't be a moron. women in israeli and russian combat units have outperformed men under the same conditions and standards without being separated from the men they were training with. human muscles have slight gender differences, the bulk factor is a bad comparison in a military environment (long lean muscles perform better than big ass arnold schwarzenegger muscles, every modern military in the world follows this standard- and women build the same long muscles as men). even the army times calls your bs stating that the bulk muscle differences do not matter in combat between male or female.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Reply
      • Anon

        If that were true. Women would run marathons at the same pace as men because it is efficiency and endurance. But we know that to be a falsehood.

        November 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
      • santacraws

        Guidedtouch- wanna arm wrestle?

        November 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
      • MarkinFL

        Anon and Karl are both missing the main point here. Simply that men are not women. And even with the end of DADT they are still not as good at being women as women. (OK stupid joke to make a point).
        They need WOMEN for this role. That is the whole point.

        November 3, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
      • chilldwind

        Wow, how is that making up a story suddenly become scientific fact? You made that up, and the story about females in Russia and Israel outperforming males in combat roles. Your own "source" link you posted refutes what you claimed..... I'm all for gender equality, which obviously you are not.

        November 3, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
      • Don

        I notice there is a preference for using the Israeli model for your arguements. But no references to the many other militaries who also have women in their combat units. Like the Canadian Infantry Bit*hes (CIB) and so on...

        It almost seems like there is a word quota trying to be achieved or something. Let's see how many times we can insert the word "israeli" on any and every post that we can.

        Oh no!!! That must make me 'anti-semetic' now... crap.


        November 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  57. Kevin

    There is no doubt in my mind that female soldiers are capable of being on par with males mentally in terms of both intelligence and toughness. However, there are biological differences that make men able to physically perform at a higher level; women are on average smaller, weaker, and slower than males (evidenced in the Army physical fitness standards). Speaking from my own experience serving in Iraq, I would be uncomfortable conducting direct-action combat operations with a female in the assault force (can she drag my injured body out of harms way?). That being said, this article is less about women on combat teams and more about the Army adapting and overcoming obstacles on the battlefield by incorporating women in special operations. That's Army Strong and I thank those women for contributing to the fight in this way.

    November 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Reply
    • Guidedtouch

      the only prob i see with integration is rape. and if our government and this stupid soundoff board has shown anything, its that women need to accept rape as a part of life. i guess i had a good mother to know that women are not only just as good as men, but more important and better to be around.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      Your final point is well taken, but your first point focusing on "average" women weakens your argument since clearly "average" women are not going to be selected for these duties.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Reply
      • Don

        That was pretty obvious by listening to the Asian Airforce Captain at the begining of the clip.

        She sure had a purdy mouth... with an extremely manly voice coming out of it. I wonder what her testosterone count is?

        November 3, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  58. Anon

    How's this for a scenario. Two people go down. Ones male, ones female. The males a LT and the female, well she is only a pvt. But, the medics a male and who do you think he chooses to tend to? Probably, because I know I would choose the latter. Kinda screws up things.

    November 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Reply
    • somethingwrong

      Here's a thing.

      If you're thinking that in combat with two wounded soldiers in front of you, you're a bad medic and a bad soldier.

      Kinda screws things up.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Reply
      • Anon

        Most the time in high pressure situations you go in to instinct mode is all I'm saying. And yes I completely agree with you!!!!!!!!!!

        November 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Guidedtouch

      thats stupid. thats just a made up scenario. cite an actual event and not something you thought of abstractly. otherwise i could say

      "here's a scenario- two people go down, theyre both men, the medic looks at them both and thinks who to help, the one man or the other man. who do you think he'll help? kinda screws up things."

      a smart medic would help the one who needs it most or is closest. dont post about dumb combat situations if youve never been in combat outside of video games.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Reply
      • chilldwind

        That is a made up scenario Guidedtouch, but you shouldn't be bothered, since you also make up things and claims as scientific facts.

        November 3, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Anon

      Sorry if you can't handle thought experiments or.....thinking. so you cant think things out? you have to rely on past experiences?

      November 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • Maya

      That says far more about the defects of men than any failings of women.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Reply
  59. AmericanHistory

    I remember about a hundred years ago women would work longer and harder hours than men in a tractor factory where they were likely to die horribly before you guys smartened up and taught me this thing called "worker's rights" Too bad soon as the jobs started getting easier, men started to think they needed to dominate at work more than women. Didn't hear much complaining from the women, though. They just kept their chin high and soldiered on. Hey, isn't that what men are supposed to do? I thought you guys said "bitching" was a woman's trait? Yet history is full of men bitching more than women?

    Then stop your bitching, all over increased human rights. Sheesh, "man" up.

    November 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Reply
    • Kenneth

      Haha, touche.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Reply
    • 2LT S

      When men bitched to Queen Elizabeth I, she sent an armada after their asses. I wish I had an armada to combat the whininess...

      November 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Reply
      • chilldwind

        It is kind easy to send other to fight for you. It not like kings in the battlefield and/or actually fighting in the battle field. Or did Queen Elizabeth I was on board charging the enemy? Though so. No trying to devalue women, but that is a bad comparison.

        November 3, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Don

      Unfortunately, I agree... Men do need to 'man up.' But women need to 'Fem up' (become more femine)... we definitely lack that these days. It's an unfortunate clash that's being caused by our fragmented society. Family these days is a joke. 11 year old girls prance around in skin tight jeans (muffin tops) and/or take the yo yo boy route... or both!!! Our boys... are barely masculine at all in most cases. When they are, they are usually put down because they are 'jocks' or the like... wow... what are we coming to?

      We need 'MEN', respectful to 'ladies', yet whom are ruthless to our enemy when it's necessary. Bring in the WACs for the PC, feel good stuff, after we've made the area about 80% secure. Leave the fighting to us. That's what we should be doing... not trying to see who we can bag when we get back to the FOB.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  60. Odai

    A lot of you are too used to pom-pom Nancy. That stereotype of women some of you seem to have is not normal. A human female can do the same things a human male can in society. I imagine the guys who are advocating the subjugation of the female sex to their sexual fancies also don't believe in evolution. Keep degrading the opposite sex and evolution will weed our species out with weaker and weaker lineages.

    If women were good enough to do everything in society for Vikings and Spartans, your strange fascination with penises starts to become all too clear. Those societies were of equal domination by both genders, and those societies see the most penis envy. All too funny. Maybe if you'd start giving women more rights, you can feel more like men. Or just keep subjugating the opposite sex so that they legally can't prove you wrong or kill more deer than you, that way you won't have to worry about your weakened mojo.

    November 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • Manuel J.

      If you're so equal rights, then you won't mind requiring women who want to be in front-line units from taking the same physical fitness tests as the males. Currently, the criteria for women is a lower standard. Long story short, if he/she is unable to meet the physical demands of the job, they have no business being attached to such a unit. And by the way, I'm a U.S. Army combat vet.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Reply
      • LT C

        How many women do you know in the military who established the PT standards? Oh? None? Hm.

        The ESTABLISHED PT standards need to stop being used to put women down. I, for one, fucking IGNORE them. I base my performance on the male standards. Which I can pass pretty easily, by the way.

        I thank you for your service and for your chance to prove yourself in combat. But with the Army downsizing, we need quality Soldiers where we can get them. A man with a lower PT score than me on the MALE SCALE, who can't climb ropes as well or run as fast on me, shouldn't be given priority to be an infantryman by virture of his penis.

        Hell, make female-only infantry units. I'm not saying every female is cut out for the job (whiny females piss me the fuck off), but it's true that not every male is cut out for the job either (whiny males piss me the fuck off too).

        November 4, 2011 at 12:11 am |
      • Don

        LT C: If you are who you claim to be. That would not only be impressive, but would definitely earn most men's respect.

        November 4, 2011 at 12:50 am |
      • Maya

        As someone who is totally supportive of the idea of allowing women to serve in combat units, I wouldn't have it any other way. The military should be a meritocracy. If you can't hack it, tough sh*t. Standards shouldn't be lowered to make things "fair."

        That being said, the standards shouldn't be arbitrary and should be backed by empirical evidence that affirms that meeting those standards is necessary to perform the job.

        November 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Don

      You must have been around during those historical times you referenced! I'm awestruck by how old you must be to have garnered such 'experience.' Or perhaps is your reference based on what you've 'read' and not by experience at all. I can't say whether or not women were equal to men during those times... but what I can speak to is my own 'experience' in dealing with women on the battlefield... and the realities of war. The vast majority of women are not 'tough' at all.

      In recent years, the same can be said of many of the young 'men' (more correctly 'boys') that society has been giving to us in the military. A sad commentary due to lowered standards and less masculine men that come forward as volunteers. The best we can do is weed the worst of them out before we ship them over seas. The remainder of the wimps have to be weeded out along the way, taking up valuable time from the commands.

      This is a societal problem.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • Anon

      "A human female can do the same things a human male can in society." ....War brings in a certain athleticism. Men are stronger, faster. Common knowledge. I'm not saying there aren't the exceptions, but males are ordinarily more capable in that department.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  61. MilitaryRetiree

    When I was the unit Training NCO and NBC NCO in my unit at Ft. Bragg, all I heard was whining and moaning from the few females we had in our unit. They did not want to be issued a weapon nor a M-17 Protective mask because they were responsible from cleaning and maintaining it, and always whined that they are females and are not going into combat. Yet, our unit was a Military Intelligence Field Unit and would have to be as close as feasibly possible to "front lines" in the event of combat. Our unit, when with it full complement, was about 39 soldiers. Our area was in WWI barracks directly in front of the commissary (74-78), and the females were constantly in and out of the guys' barracks. And during lunch period, it was NOT unusual for the girls to be seated between two guys, pleasuring them til they went back to work. Ooooorahhhh ! ! !

    November 3, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Reply
    • Semperfi

      That's funny, I saw the same thing with 50 percent of the male recruits and grunts. Whining, and later pleasuring their fellow male comrades.

      Stay gay in the service, bud.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  62. Afemalesoldier

    CNN, please don't allow comments about military operations from fat lazy men who only have experience with the military through Call of Duty. If you take offense to that, you're probably guilty. I jump out of planes with guns before you get out of bed and stuff donuts in your fat face. I did more pull ups this morning than you have or will do in your lifetime. And, for those of you that have so much to say about what women would/should or could/couldn't do with bodily fluids during military endeavors, call me when you invade Baghdad and tell me where you pooped.

    November 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Reply
    • 2LT S

      But however did you manage?? Weren't there *giggle* boys around??

      November 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Reply
    • LT C

      I laugh so hard when I hear males talk about how "oh my gosh women need to shower every day or else they'll get sick and shit, so they shouldn't be in combat waahh!!!!!!!", like they don't get cheese behind their sacks and blisters on their feet after a sweaty week of patrolling in the mountains.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:13 am | Reply
    • arsh

      Please, show me how do you blow up on an IED !

      November 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  63. Tre USMC Recon

    99% of the people sharing their opinion have never served in the military.

    November 3, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  64. 2LT S

    I'm a woman in the military, and while I'm personally not interested in filling this role myself, I say more power to 'em! Those who are saying women aren't tough enough for war: Joan of Arc. Aisha, widow of Mohammad, commanding her troops from the back of a camel against a much larger army in the aptly named "Battle of the Camel". Dr. Ruth, for goodness sake! Woman was a flippin sniper! Sheesh. As it expressly says, women only enter the zone once it's been cleared and secured. Maybe read the article before you proudly display your misogyny?

    Anyone who knows anything about Middle Eastern, Southwest Asian and indeed, the Islamic culture in general, knows that failing to train US women to deal with potentially hostile women the same way we train US men to deal with hostile men is a huge mistake. If terrorists are willing to accept (or force) women into service, why can't the US? These naysayers are probably idiots who would've fought tooth and nail against letting women even serve in a medical capacity. What's wrong, fellas? Better seen not heard, are we?

    Ignorance, pah. Glad you're not serving in my military. Women who aren't trained in the sword can still die by it. Ask 1Lt White, who WAS trained. RIP, LT.

    November 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Reply
    • Don

      Yeah, yeah, yeah... history is littered with tough chicks who did great things. The same can be said about guys who have done great things but haven't gotten credit for it... they are afterall... guys. What's wrong with bringing back the WAC (Women's Army Corps)? Their needs to be some kind of parity in the training. Let's face it... there are some actual tough chicks who can out lift and 'rough up' the average man... but it's definitely not the norm. Regardless of how many try to be perceived that way. For those few actual tough chicks that can hang with the men and maintain all the standards. Have at it... But as we know... typically, this becomes a situation of quotas and 'adjusting the standards' to ensure that all (both genders) have a 'fair chance' at acheiving 'their dream.' This leads to a dangerous scenario where the standard spirals downward. Regular Army Anyone? Ever wondered why the standards are the way they are, and why they are so low in the Regular Army? It's because it has to be... Where standards cannot be lowered too low without becoming pathetically low, you create a gender based scoring. PT test standards anyone?

      You're right, our enemy doesn't fondle with this crap, and a bullet knows no gender. Nothing wrong with training, but there is everything wrong with keeping obnoxiously low standards to satisfy political nicities. We're at war and have been for a long time. We need to start acting like it, but I don't think this is the way to acomplish it... Bring back the WAC! Then establish and maintain standards among a common gender group. Let our men do our jobs without the feminine distraction...

      November 3, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Reply
      • 2LT S

        It's not my fault if men have a hard time keeping focused amidst all the "feminine distraction." Grow up.

        Your response is definitely more well-written than your initial comment. Yes, I do agree that putting a woman in a situation simply to allow for equality is idiotic. Yeah, I would definitely prefer a 220lb guy standing next to me in a firefight than a 110lb girl, because who's more likely to be able to carry me out if I'm injured. No contest.

        However, the fact of the matter remains that these women are going into SECURE AREAS. Read: SECURE. AREAS. The army is taking precautions to prevent them from unnecessary harm. However, if harm DOES befall them, they need to be prepared. Because we need US women trained to deal with Muslim women. This is a fact. It's going to happen. Are you suggesting that this requirement needs to be filled, but we send them in unprepared? That is wildly irresponsible and just plain stupid.

        Good on leadership for recognizing the requirement and filling it. It's not all "guns blazing". We're trying to approach this from a cultural perspective, and these cultures are not ONLY made up of men. Just because a woman wears niqab or goes veiled, doesn't mean she doesn't matter. It also doesn't mean she's not carrying a weapon.

        November 3, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
      • Semperfi

        Yeah, let our men rape more people in a foreign country. That's what men do, damn it! Oorah! And your precious "gender different standards" were brought into place by men, not women. In Russia and Israel, the combat units have no separation of gender standards when it comes to PT. So it's no surprise that US Marines get po'ed when a female special forces noncom outperforms them every time they do combined ops. US Marines are not good enough to earn IDF red boots, but female Israelis are. Hah, so much for your tougher PT standards.

        Get a clue you Hitler parody.

        November 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
      • Don

        Young LT... (2LT S) There are no "secured areas." It's war. This only shows your ignorance. We don't fight the way we once did. There are no 'front lines,' and no rules of war being observed.

        Our enemy comes thru our gates on a daily basis and intermingles with out Fobbit population. We call them friends and give gifts to them. They then scope out our defenses and plan their attacks.

        This is a PC story, meant to make people 'feel good' about the situation. Nothing more.

        November 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
      • 2LT S

        Wait... you're saying this isn't traditional warfare? What? You mean I don't have to wait to see the white's of their eyes to shoot? General George Washington is still in charge though, right? RIGHT?? Dammit, what ELSE haven't they told me??

        I may not have a ton of combat experience, but I'm betting to wager that I have more experience with the culture than you do. And I'm not talking "I was deployed to Iraq for a year, so I've had plenty of experience." I'm talking, actually sitting and talking with people and finding out what they think WITHOUT having to wonder if they're about to kill me. What I know is that of the Muslim people I've spoken with, one of the greatest problems they have is American servicemen touching the women. Yeah, it needs to be done. But we're supposed to be culturally aware, take all of this cultural training before we go, and then take a core belief and step on it. If we can manage the issue by training a woman to conduct the search, then why not? Who are you to say that a woman is incapable of pulling a trigger?

        While we're at it, let's get the women out of convoys, shall we? Because NONE of the female drivers I know are really brave enough to handle it. Nope, they just jump in there and bitch the ENTIRE time they're driving down a hostile road, without an escort, at 50mph. Obviously, they're incapable of performing that function, and why should they, when there are perfectly good MEN who can do it?

        We lost one of our people to an IED last year while she was driving a truck. She shouldn't have been there in the first place, though, right?

        November 3, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
      • Don


        Driving 50mph is nuts when you know what you're doing. It's basics... you can't out-run your 'electronics,' and you can't be driving so damn fast that you don't see an IED that was hastily emplaced. It's basics...

        Regarding cultural aspects. Definitely important. Assign a WAC unit as a trail. Make sure they are trained according to standards and you'd have a vote of confidence from most men. Lowering the standards to the lowest common denominator (usually due to female intervention) within a combat unit is a very dangerous thing.

        Sure, teach them how to shoot, and the basics of how to defend themselves. But don't integrate the women and men together within the same unit! This has only led to problems, and continues to do so.

        Men and women both have unique skills and abilities. These skills and abilities should be used to the advantage of the operation, not to it's detriment to satisfy the politics of a politically correct attempt.

        So to answer your question. Yeah, your friend should not have been there, and would still be here today if she weren't.

        November 3, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
      • Don

        Forgot something. Driving without an escort? Need I say more? Really?

        Similar story to female POW "I'm a soldier too..." when her portion of the convoy took a wrong turn and she was captured without firing a single round.

        Pretty interesting how quiet it's been about what really happened while she was 'separated'? We generally don't want people to know what happens to women who are captured. Or at least we try not to think about it.

        So again... without an escort? Really? (That's very smart)

        November 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
      • 2LT S

        The same could be said about anyone fighting in theater. If she hadn't been there, we would have lost – by your preference – a young man.

        That you'd think any KIA soldier, airman, sailor or marine would rather one of their buddies had been there instead... what an insult to all their memories.

        November 3, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
      • Don

        Exactly. We (men) were made to fight and die for our causes (if necessary).

        The reason why Men were so prized in the days of old were because they could provide physical labor and defense to their communities when it was necessary. Men were also understood to be more expendable than women are... yet at the same time, could provide leadership and direction gained by experience when they survived their encounters. This gained experience and leadership (for better or worse) gained power and influence for them as well. Thus heredity followed male lines in many cases, and marriages became arranged for the purposes of politics and power (nothing is perfect).

        Women were valuable in their own right because of their own unique qualities. (Initially you're thinking as property, I'm sure... that is what the feminists would like you to believe.) But... not as property in most cases. Women were those who nurtured and tought the young, and provided structure for families. Such a simple concept, yet we as a society are so far removed from these simple concepts in many cases.

        Regardless, these are different times and history has a way of repeating itself.

        November 4, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  65. Don

    Yep... this is just what we need. More "Tom-Chicks" added to our society. We have a pretty interesting situation here. Chicks trying to be "Tough" and attempting to make it in a man's world (war). As this is happening, our society further degrades... our boy's are tought to be sissy's, not men. Some of those sass-bags get manicures and have their eye brows plucked! What are we coming to? Our Men are becoming less like men, but more like women... and our women are becoming more like men and less like women... but we still have a ways to go before there is full 'equality' among sexes. In the mean time, us men (some of us anyway) will continue seeking out women from other countries who are actually feminine, sweet and caring for our true relationships. We'll continue having our flings with these boy-chicks when we're feeling loney while deployed. Ironically; many of these fem-nazi tom-chick Fobbits are out with their phones in hand, sneeking around in the early morning hours (without a battle buddy) trying to find guys like me to keep them warm on the coldest nights. They are boyish on the outside... but don't act that way when you get them alone. They'll do in the mean time, until we can get back to real women. It beats packing fudge anyway...

    November 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • 2LT S

      I can aim a gun and hit a target WHILE plucking my eyebrows, tough guy. Wonder if your mail-order bride could even find the trigger.

      November 3, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Reply
      • Don


        November 4, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Don NOTTS

      Women are not being "taught" to be tough. Step outside your patriarch household in suburbia and visit the world. That 2-tonne bear walking down a mud road in Turkey, carrying a log twice as long as you? That's a woman.

      Study more history, and you'll see that not only is what you say wrong, it's the argument of fascists and patriarchs throughout history. Where you see the "degradation" of a man's world (as if war is a sexual gender, you baboon) I see the proliferation of basic human rights. Stop subjecting your opposite sex you Hitlerite.

      November 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Reply
      • Don


        November 3, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Afemalesoldier

      Sounds like someone got burned! Hehehe.

      November 3, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Reply
    • 2LT S

      I feel badly for whichever teenage Filipino girl this gentleman decides to purchase on eBay.

      November 3, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Reply
      • Don

        Who said anything about purchasing? Perhaps you know something of this area?

        November 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  66. Tennis Ball

    I have a brother-in-law who was an Abrams gunner during the 1st Gulf War back in the early nineties. He was in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and then Iraq. He told me that one time he and his crew were "batten down" in their tank for 57 hours without being able to dismount. They had to "go" in bags.

    Now. . .how is a woman to feel if she is a member of a tank crew and gets batten down for any length of time?

    November 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Reply
    • Lelavertu

      Are you honestly – and publicly! – posting a comment that insinuates a woman should not be in combat because she might have to "go" in the same room with a man? Do you really think people do not have the professionalism and common sense to handle it? Or worse, that there is doubt they SHOULD have the professionalism and common sense to handle it?

      November 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Reply
      • Tennis Ball

        The inside of an M1 Abrams tank can in NO WAY (in my opinion) can be considered to be a 'room'.

        November 3, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
      • MarkinFL

        I don't care if its a refrigerator box. My sister would laugh at this "problem".

        November 3, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • 2LT S

      Uhhh, I'd deal with it, because there are bigger issues at hand? I dunno, maybe I'm the only one on this site that's not completely underestimating the professionalism of a military woman... I've had to use the bathroom in less than ideal situations. Guess what? Everyone Poops, as the book says. I know, a woman understanding basic anatomy, right? OH NO! When did they start letting us go to school?? OUTRAGE!

      November 3, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Reply
      • Don

        Yeah, yeah... educated huh? Read below.

        November 3, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
      • just me

        I for one would like to Second about every comment you have made LT; I am currently deployed, have been here before and have many female friends who have. In 2004-2005 it was common place for units to tactical road march from Kuwait; guess what, sometimes for 12 hours. That snarky remark isn't pointed at you; I know Don will undoubtedly read this. And I fully expect that he will make some wonderfully bright remark – I can hardly wait to read it. Females on these tatical road marches did what they had to do, pee'd in bags, pooped in bags, and the guys were professional about it beacuse that is what you do when you are in those situations- you deal with it and you don't make a big issue of it. To try and dispute Don and his argument that women are too boyish; well I for one can blend in with the crowd in uniform, with the exception of my bun of hair in back, but at the end of the day my little black dress fits my curves just fine, so how's that for feminine appeal you pig. My husband and I both serve, he has never made me feel inferior, and he never forgets that I am also very much a woman. But when I am on duty, I don't whine or complain, I pass my PT at and above male standards without bragging because I work hard and I want to do well, not because I'm trying to show anyone up. There are some ridiculously ignorant posts by people. To include the one that said 99% of the people posting on this topic aren't military- for fuck sake- that was posted by a supposed prior miltary member. People stupidity piss me off. Most of the people who are in or have been in, that are posting, say so- and there have been a lot saying that. Reading comprehension is clearly at an all time low.

        November 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Afemalesoldier

      He got a bag? All I got was the water bottle I drank out of- had to knife it in half and toss it out the window when I was done- all while we were evading an ambush. You try pooping into a fist size opening in a vehicle hauling balls off-road.

      November 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Reply
      • Afemalesoldier

        Yes, that day was very much an Imodium AD commercial. I'm really curious why THIS is the arguement that women shouldn't be allowed in combat. I mean, at least talk about the strength/lbs of muscle ratio or our nasty habit of getting pregnant just before deployment or something. Of all the things- bodily fluids can be dealt with. Sheesh.

        November 3, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
      • Don

        Case and point. You're not supposed to lower the windows when you're in the fight. Ever seen what happens to a HMMWV when there is a detonation near an open window? The blast pressure blows the other doors open.

        That's just the kind of thing that we DON'T want you to do. You put the rest of us at risk when you do stupid things like that.

        November 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
      • 2LT S

        Seriously, the misogyny astounds me. I'm not a hardcore feminist or anything, but the sheer ridiculousness of some of the things I'm reading compel me to respond. NOW you're trying to judge someone's military aptitude from a post on a flippin website?? For real?

        "That's just the kind of thing that we DON'T want you to do. You put the rest of us at risk when you do stupid things like that."

        Read: "I don't want women in combat because they all do stupid stuff like that and put us in danger." Holy crickey...

        November 3, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
      • just me

        are we talking up armored vehicles here; well my 1088 w/ armor didn't have windows that opened. I'm failrly certain that all up armored vehicles have stagnet she was clearly talking about a while back and I'm sorry but NO ONE wants to smell shit in an open vehicle, any man would have lowered the window and tossed it out too you fuck stick.

        November 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  67. santacraws

    Seriously CNN, check your terminology. Elite units, Special Forces? Last time I checked the Q course didn't consist of climbing over fluffy barriers and ducking under hurdles. If women want to do that job then I'm all for it, just put them through the same training. This is like putting glitter on a turd and calling it Christmas.

    November 3, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Reply
    • just me

      very well stated santacraws. You didn't even have to degrade the females involved to make it. And really, who knows what the circumstances were behind these pictures- when has the news media ever reported anything with 100% accuracy?

      November 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  68. dave254usa


    November 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Reply
    • dave254usa


      November 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  69. Mark

    There are many attitudes on this subject. But I have a feeling there are simply two schools of thought.
    1. Females are too weak to be soldiers.
    Yeah, tell that to the millions of women and girls over the course of history that have fought in wars and simply to protect themselves and their families over the course of history. Wake up.
    2. Rape.
    This is a concern for many people, and a very real outcome of capture. Its unique in this topic because it happens regardless. However, what the Iraqi war has taught us is that sex isnt a factor. I doubt those that learned of the post death abuse of our male troops, or again, history in general shows, is that rape isnt limited to men in war.

    IMO, the next person that things a woman isnt tough enough for war, or to be in the military, walk up and grab Miesha Tate on the ass. Or read about WWII in Stalingrad. Queen Liz served during WWII. Hilary Clinton made up a sniper story.

    Sure, just like men, some, and even most do not have the genetic make up(no pun) for the rigors of the military, much less combat. Thats why drafts yield so many casualties. But there are those, and in great numbers, that are tough, capable, and will wreak havoc, regardless of the potential hazards. Its their choice.

    Im a man. I dont propose to know anyone, much less the other sex. But Ive seen all sorts of the other side to know two things. Ill never understand them, and that some of them are tough as nails, and more than able to serve in any military.


    November 3, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Reply
    • Lelavertu

      Thank you!

      November 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • PleaseUseLogic

      A few thoughts on those points. I don't want to undermine the idea of women in special forces units, but it's important to recognize and utilize their abilities for what they are and not to try to make them what they're not. I think female special forces units can be useful, but there are considerations, whether we like it or not, that must be taken into account.

      1. Rape/Torture – Much like an ant colony, the military acts as a unit. Each individual member is important, but is a link in the chain. This means that if they affect the rest of the team, whether by a person's own fault or not, that must be factored in. Results and outcomes matter, even if it's not fair. in a capture situation, men tend to react quite differently to a female member of their team being beaten, tortured, and/or raped than the same for a male member. Morale is far worse. it's a horrible but very effective threat or technique to disarm males by threatening to abuse their female colleagues. Whatever the reason, this effect s quite potent.

      2. Physical abilities – Men and women are similar, but different. If they weren't different, they wouldn't be different (ie why even small children can quite readily identify that someone is male/female). It doesn't make anyone better or worse, but different. It is what it is. Obviously there is wide variation within sexes - there are some badass women out there - but differences are readily obvious in specific situations. OUTSIDE of pure endurance sports, elite male athletes are often far superior to their elite female athlete counterparts. In fact, in many cases, the best male highschool athletes (in a given sport) regularly post better scores or times than professional female athletes. In elite athletic sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, Tour de France, Heavyweight Boxing, Special Forces) almost no females are able to compete with even the worst of the elite males. Alternatively, not a single male has ever birthed a child, which is also physically impressive. These things don't make anyone better or worse, but different. When utilizing a person's abilities in a team situation, it's important to use someone's strengths based in reality rather than in PC fantasy.

      November 3, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Reply
      • Maya

        That would be a fine argument, IF all combat soldiers had to meet the physical standards of world-class athletes. Unless I'm very misinformed, they don't. Combat isn't sport.

        November 4, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • guest qe

      how does a country repopulate if they send all the woman to war?

      November 3, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      1. This one refers to a failing of the male soldiers, not the female soldiers. I would hope they are better trained than that.
      2. As noted in this article, these women are not being trained to be on assault teams. They are effectively support for after the fight and they are being trained to work with the men and go on the missions, but not as primary fighters. New needs create new roles.

      And to the other poster: How would we repopulate if we sent ALL the men to die? Your question was just silly.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  70. Dan

    I have no problem with this. Its getting harder and harder to find a few good men. We have a generation of men who wear pick shirts and get their eyebrows waxed. I guess this is the result in part of an educational system that teaches young boys not to keep score, and any that act like young boys are put on drugs to keep them sedated. Good luck America

    November 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    • JarHead

      I wear "pink" shirts all the time and I served 30 years in the Marine Corps. No one ever gave me any crap about the color of my shirt.

      November 3, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Reply
      • 2LT S

        Good Marines support breast cancer awareness.

        November 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  71. Bert Bigdongle

    Well now somebody has to cook for those special forces units, now don't they?

    November 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  72. mark

    Just laughing too hard, so much testosterone running amok in many of the comments, some deluded, some trying to diminish their role; i have no issues with women in front line units if they are able and it's what they want.

    November 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  73. USN, SS RET

    Women bring special talents in a caulture that have such strong rules controling local women. They can relate to the local women and childern to ease their fears. GOD bless all our troops.

    November 3, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Reply
    • 2LT S

      This is literally what I've been saying the whole time. Good on ya, Navy!

      November 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • Don

      Bring back the WAC (Women's Army Corps)!

      Maintain high military standards yet maintain their feminity. Only then would they be more recognizable to the women of other cultures.

      Making Man-Chicks and trying to utilize them in this manner is ackward at best. Believe me, I've seen it first hand. Cultural sensitivities from a US Man-Chick trying to 'bridge the gender gap' with a foreign female. You should have seen the ackward looks the foreign females gave each other. You could almost see what they were thinking. "Yep, it's a female, I think... man she's got a deep voice, male? No gotta be female, but that voice... and those tatoos? These American women are very strange!"

      You should hear some of the Terps talking about some of these moments when you chat with them afterhours! Hilarious!

      November 4, 2011 at 1:00 am | Reply
      • Maya

        Why the hell would anyone rely on a man's opinion of what a woman should be? Who are you to set the standard of femininity?

        Reality check: we don't exist to please you. We don't want or need you to define us. If you like certain qualities in a woman, then by all means, seek out the women that have those qualities, but don't you dare go telling women that they are somehow substandard in their femininity because they don't have their qualities. No one asked you.

        November 4, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  74. Sammi

    Its about dang time!! Admit it or not, but women have been serving longside men in "front line" roles for many years now. It's not considered "combat" because they can't serve in combat, but they are definitely there.

    Mike – Did you even read the article? No one is pushing for equal rights. They are training those women so that the men will have an easier time as they are clearing the villages they come across. In Afghan culture having one of our men search one of their women is a HUGE issue. These women should solve that problem.

    Meme – I know many women personally who are in the military and other who are firefighters or cops. You are seriously deluded if you think that women in those professions weaken them. There are MANY situations when its actually better to have a female in those roles than males. You may want to do a little research into those professions before you make any more comments about that.

    November 3, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  75. Jay

    They are part of the special forces teams, but they are not a part of a direct action group. They are special operations support team members. They are doing a job that the men should not do if we truly want to win in Afganistan. We should have thought of this idea sooner. Just curious Meme or Mike have you served in the armed forces? The Israelis have had no major problems with women in combat.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • ODA A

      Actually they are NOT a part of the SF Team. They are just support personnel, like a cook or clerk. A team consists of Q course qualified personnel.

      November 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Reply
      • burnz

        Special Ops now has a cooking and cleaning division.

        November 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
      • Jay

        I am using the term part of the special operations team as a generic term. They like a task force that was designed during different wars and disbanded once the need was gone. The only difference is I have a feeling the need will alway be around.

        November 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  76. meme

    Women definately are needed in the armed forces but should not be allowed in a combat role. Just like our firefighters and police are weakened when we use women the same happens in the military. If you don't have the strength to pick me up and carry me out, you are a liabilty.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    • Fozzie


      November 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      I'll approve of having women in the front line as soon as men start giving birth to babies. The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld trio sent new mothers to die in Iraq because they signed up with the National Guard a few years earlier.

      November 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Reply
      • just me

        So Steve, of the three Army components, only the National Guard enlists women? What the?? Wow. Women service in every branch of military service and every component within each branch, Guard, Reserve, Active. And with the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, it didn't take a combat MOS for a woman to find herself in the line of fire. So like it or not women in MOS' that include freakin Human Resources find themselves riding in convoys which then put them in the shit. AND men too believe it or not. Men who are not "meant to be in combat" because they are a cook or a supply sergeant find themselves serving what the mission needs and getting killed regardless of their gender. Your post was short sighted and uneducated- so it seems.

        November 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • burnz

      Seriously though, if you get shot, you want the person who comes to grab you, to be bigger than you, since it makes you easier to drag/carry.

      November 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • 2LT S

      I can dead lift 200lbs. But you're right, I don't have the capability to serve in a combat role. God forbid I'm menstruating!

      November 3, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Reply
      • Don


        I don't think I'd want to meet you at a dimly lit bar!


        November 4, 2011 at 12:19 am |
      • CLM-2

        Here-Here. I am a 150 lb 5'9" girl and I carried a 250 lb guy up a 1/2 mile 25-40 degree incline on my back after a 4 mile run and finished with a 4 mile run with sprints. I really don't think some people realize the dedication and determination some women have.

        November 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
      • quinn

        the enemy can smell you a mile off. You will get many good men killed. Stay home and make babies.

        November 5, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Maya

      Fine. If you're ever in a burning building and half-conscious from smoke inhalation, remember to tell any female firefighter who comes to rescue you that you'd rather have a man.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  77. Mike

    Notice none of this training remotely comes close to what the men do, thats for a reason... most of those men have a hard enough time carrying a 200+ pound man with his gear out of a hostile area in remote places.... let alone a woman. Stop pushing for equal rights.. your just gonna get people killed.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  78. Don

    Join the Special Forces! Where the Men are Men, the WoMEN are too, and the sheep run scared.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Reply
    • ODA A

      Odd comment. There is no sheep in the SFG's. They are just training to meet a need in a current area of operations. Once we are done, there will nto be a need for us to have women around the teams. They fill a void but are NOT anything in the SPEC OP's community in regards to SOCOM. They are just support persons. Like cooks or clerks.

      November 3, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Reply
      • Don

        Yeah, I know... It does explain why the teams hire some of the hottest female interpreters to stay with them at their safe houses. I got to admit, I've been pretty jealous at some of the terps that I've seen hanging with them. But hey, I suppose I couldn't blame them. I'm a dude, surounded by other tough dudes... I'd need an 'outlet' too. So why blame them, eh?

        November 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Frank Stronzini

      Good Stuff!

      November 3, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  79. 44w434

    You call that a woman? disgusting.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Reply
    • Jay

      You are an idiot. Keep on topic.

      November 3, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  80. socalpimp

    A few of these women will get killed and the program will get shelved....the brass and Democrats dont have the guts to deal with women in coffins

    November 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Reply
    • Busted


      November 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • Fozzie

      False. We already have had women get killed and shot in combat.

      November 3, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  81. David

    Nothing really new here. Women have been serving successfully in Civil Affairs units for decades. I was in a FID/UW CA unit that was designed to support SF troops. We had femail soldiers that were very effective.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Reply
    • ODA A

      Yes they were effective. But they are just civil affairs not special operations.

      Civil affairs is not even combat arms.

      November 3, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Reply
      • Samantha

        Civil Affairs is actually spec ops. Are you aware of the reserve special operations civil affairs unit near ft lewis? the ones that provide heavy support to 1st group? or the ones at ft bragg that deploy with group for jsotf-p?

        November 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
      • Tlocken

        Active Duty CA is special ops and prob one of the most dangerous army jobs due to the nature of the work. No other mos deals so closely with the public in such small teams.

        November 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  82. lisa

    Running, jumping and training in gym shoes is a lot different than running, jumping and training in boots. Train how you fight oohrah.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Reply

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