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    Editorial: Why females belong on the front lines



    Courtesy Story

    AFN Iwakuni

    Editor's Note: The views expressed in the following entry are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Marine Corps, Department of Defense or the U.S. government.

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan - Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recently announced that all combat-related jobs across the military are now open to females.

    According to Carter, if a woman can complete the task at hand, that’s all that matters.

    Writing that his decision has been very controversial is an understatement. Think what you want, but I believe while females may not be as physically strong as males, a woman with strong will, determination and perseverance can surpass the physical limitations of her body and accomplish the mission at the end of the day.

    Another female Marine who agrees is Lance Cpl. Lilia Ponce De Leon.

    “I wasn’t the fittest at (Infantry Training Battalion)," explained Ponce De Leon, who recently became a motorman in the United States Marine Corps. "At the same time, there were females more fit than me, but still (dropped on request) because they couldn’t handle it. Saying that you can run a 21-minute three-mile or an 18-minute three-mile doesn’t determine whether or not you can make it through hikes or shoot an M-16. It all depends on if you want it.”

    To select the best course of action when it came to potentially integrating women into combat-related jobs, the Marine Corps conducted studies over two years to determine how we could perform alongside their male counterparts. More than 1,000 females went through the study with only 200 hundred successfully completed the training.

    Ponce De Leon was one of those 200 and earned the right to say “I belong on the front lines.”

    Overall, if you set your mind to something, you can accomplish anything regardless of whether you’re a male or female. According to the article Women In Combat: Pros And Cons, “as long as an applicant is qualified for a position, one’s gender is arbitrary. It is easy to recruit and deploy women who are in better shape than many men sent into combat.”

    But it takes a very special type of woman to walk into a recruiting office, sign her name on that dotted line and make the commitment to serve our country. When most of those females walk into a Marine Corps recruiting office, they have already been working on getting themselves into shape realizing that it’s not going to be easy.

    “I (trained) five times a week because I wanted to be in the best shape possible for when I went to boot camp,” said Cpl. Gionna Yuhas, a female Marine and artillery graduate.

    The physical capabilities of women compared to men has always been a primary argument for why women shouldn’t be allowed in combat roles. However, Time Magazine writer Mark Thompson wrote that “Carter’s bottom line echoes what advocates of opening up front-line combat jobs to women have long argued: that while the average female soldier or Marine may be weaker and slower than her male counterpart, outstanding women can out-perform average male military personnel.”

    Regardless of what anyone says about Carter’s decision, it was a historic day for all females serving in uniform.

    “It’s a thrilling day for women serving in the military and for women across the country," wrote Thompson. "Thousands of women will now have the opportunity to be all that they can be and our nation’s military will be the stronger for it.”

    The Marine Corps has always set the bar high, but even more so when it comes physical standards. But when a 5-foot-6-inch male quits before a 4-foot-11-inch female during an ITB 20-kilometer hike, it shows that strong will, determination, and perseverance are more important that biological make-up.

    In conclusion, I'm not saying every female belongs in a deployed environment or on the front lines. However, if a woman thinks she can make it, she should be allowed to try.



    Date Taken: 12.21.2015
    Date Posted: 12.31.2015 00:56
    Story ID: 185511

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