Hell Hath No Fury: Female Soldiers in Combat Units

Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal | Marine Corps Gazette.

… As a combat-experienced Marine officer, and a female, I am here to tell you that we are not all created equal, and attempting to place females in the infantry will not improve the Marine Corps as the Nation’s force-in-readiness or improve our national security.

Extremely well written, succinct, and thoughtful. I almost completely agree with her, except for the part where I don’t. This calls for a considered response, not midnight stream-of-conscious meandering, so it’ll have to wait until I am in a more appropriate venue and mentality.

Read the whole damn thing, because it NEEDS to be addressed by people who understand the ramifications, and not just the tools with Ph.d’s and soft pink office feet.


Horse. Barn. Door.

There are times when I start believing the conspiracy theorists who speak of the military-industrial complex as pulling the strings on politicians. Then my alarm goes off, reminding me to take my happy pills. This article is discussing the British Forces, and their “efforts” to improve force protection, but the heart of the matter goes to the delays in implementing a technology that has apparently been around since before I was born. Why not just screen-print the flag on the uniforms, as it will save money on coffins?

This is disgraceful, but not (unfortunately) surprising.

EU Referendum.

The tragedy, says Cavanagh, is that it has come five years too late. But the even greater tragedy is that the Army had recognised the need for mine protected vehicles in Bosnia in 1996 when it had bought six vehicles for the NATO implementation force mission, only to dispose of them in 2004.
Even more ironically, the Army had pioneered mine protected vehicles in Aden in 1966, which were then used in Omanbetween 1970 and 1973, making the British world leaders in the field. The technology was copied by the Rhodesians, then the South Africans, re-acquired by the British and then exported to the United States.Forty-six years later, mine-protected vehicles are back on the British Army inventory in force. With their arrival, defence secretary Philip Hammond said: “this Government has spent £270m on 300 of these hi-tech, British-built vehicles to help keep our troops properly protected. Our servicemen and women deserve the best protection we can get them”.

Social Media and the dangers of over-sharing

MOD Security Risks – Think before you Share – YouTube.

A British Public Service Announcement that is equally vital regardless of your location.

Think about what type of information you are passing on about your loved one, whether they are deployed or at home, to the public.

Everything you could want to know about the proper use of social media as a family member of a someone serving their country

There is an old saying from WWII: Loose lips sink ships. It still applies.

h/t  Ghost of a Flea: the hoopiest frood, this side of the galaxy

Heroes saving lives: 214th Medavac Aviation Regiment

Blood and Dust – People & Power – Al Jazeera

This video is difficult to watch, as it shows wounded soldiers and civilians. The narrator of the film is an asshole; posing questions that I found to be ridiculous and offensive. The video concentrates on what an amazing job these guys do and how committed they are to doing it.Yes, it is Al Jazeera, but it is important to get the perspective of other cultures, even if it is the one you are fighting.

It’s just too bad that politics are preventing them from doing it.


Positively Military

Makin Island Sailors, Marines Volunteer at Hong Kong Animal Shelter during Port Visit

A group of 24 Sailors and Marines from amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) spent a day at a local dog shelter as part of a community service project in Hong Kong, May 27.

Sailors and Marines volunteered to bathe dogs and perform yard work at the Hong Kong Dog Rescue Center during the ship’s May 25-28 port visit.

Airmen advise Afghan women officers, instill hope

The Afghan air force Kabul Wing was the first to graduate six female Afghan maintenance officers in 2012.

“We are here to give oversight and support along with technical expertise,” said Maj. Jennifer Bradley, 440th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron flightline maintenance adviser, who is deployed from Detachment 510 at the University of New Mexico as an Air Force ROTC instructor.

“We show them new aircraft and how to maintain it,” Bradley added.

But, it is not only about learning the job, but showing the women there is someone they can look up to and see they have succeeded, said Capt. Vanessa Vanden Bout, 439th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, gender integration adviser and force support squadron adviser, who is deployed from 3rd Air Force, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

“Bradley has shown them they are not just females but individuals,” continued the Vermilion, Ohio native. “She is giving them both courage and hope to serve their country. It’s plain and simple mentorship. That’s what she’s teaching them.”

The major wanted to show the Afghan female officers the capabilities of women.


Texas National Guardsmen Inspired by Burundi Soldiers

MUDUBUGU, Burundi (May 14, 2012) — It was the first time U.S. Army Sgt. Idalissa Hernandez set foot into a Burundi national defense forces training center. For the soldiers she helped mentor there, it was the first time a female Soldier came to share best practices with them.

Hernandez and Staff Sgt. Michael Easdon, Task Force Raptor, 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment, Texas National Guard, were invited by the Burundi Peoples National Defense Forces to participate in a Peace Support Operations Soldier Skills Field Training course held here from April 9 to May 11, 2012.

“When I first was asked to go up in front of the group to share what I knew, I was nervous and didn’t know how they would receive me as a female,” said Hernandez, squad leader, 702nd Military Police Company, Task Force Raptor. “Once they realized that I knew what I was talking about, they quickly accepted me as a mentor and a Soldier, regardless.”

Hernandez is a military police instructor at the Texas National Guard Regional Training Institute, back home at Camp Swift, near Bastrop Texas. She noticed many similarities between mentoring U.S. and Burundi Soldiers.

Lots of good photos of Burundi troops getting trained by US Soldiers. I know our forces regularly train with other nations, but this is the first that I’ve heard of it occurring in a non-South African nation. I’m not surprised by it, though. It is likely that it has been going on for quite a long time, probably since Somalia.

You should read each of the articles, as I only post highlights.







Dad of The Year

Jeremy Hilton: US Military’s First Male Spouse Of The Year

Hilton’s advocacy started, as most passion projects do, at home. Many of the programs and support systems for Americans with disabilities are administered on a state-by-state basis, often with long waiting lists. In Virginia, where the Hiltons currently live, while his wife is stationed at the nearby Joint Base Andrews, the waiting list for Medicaid waivers is some 15 years long. “If I was a civilian, my daughter would hopefully be provided some support by the time she was an adult,” Hilton explains. Instead, because the family has to move so frequently, “we go from the bottom of the waiting list to the bottom of the waiting list.”

For Hilton, the cause is much more important than breaking gender barriers. “I don’t want to be applauded for being a man. I want to be applauded for what I’ve done,” he says. “I don’t want to be known as the first male military spouse of the year. I suspect the first female fighter pilot was like, I’m a damn good fighter pilot, and that has nothing to do with my sex. It’s because I’ve worked my butt off. ”

(emphasis mine)

Good on him! Apparently the dude was in the Navy, which explains why he fled when he had the chance…I KID, I KID!

This made me want to go find out more about the Military Spouse Magazine, as there was no such thing when I was a dependent. I found an interview about the online forum/community and it had the usual blah-blah-blah except for one question that I found interesting. Not because it was a new thing, but because they acted like it was a recent phenomenon.

Battleland Blog

What, if anything, does the creation of Military Spouse tell us about the split between the nation’s civilian and military populations?

A very tricky question, indeed. In short, it tells us that the gap is there. I think the fact that the magazine is so well received, has become the flagship for the entire community and has led the way for other efforts (non-profits, DOD programs and studies, etc.) to be born says that there was a need waiting to be filled. I think it also underscores that mainstream, civilian publications and resources cannot provide the unique requirements of our community. In other words, what we need is different than what was available.

Tell us some things about military spouses that most non-military spouses would be surprised to learn.

I think civilian spouses might be surprised to learn that we don’t travel for free and that our educations are not paid for — I get that a lot as a spouse of a Navy service member. On a serious note, I think civilians might be surprised that while the Internet does significantly allow for more communication between a family and a deployed service member, it is by no means the same as when people are stateside. Usually, phone calls and emails are limited to one or so a day on average, and even less often when a member is in a “hot zone”.  Finally, I think civilians would find it interesting that as military, we all speak in acronyms and really only understand each other. Ha!

That split has existed since the Vietnam war, prior to that wars were fought on manpower and honor, so every able male signed up to fight as soon as there was a fight to be had. This is merely an impression, without any factual information to back it up, but the US is probably the only country where joining the military is not considered a valid career choice. Even for those countries that have mandatory service, I doubt parents are dismayed by the idea of their children serving their country in this manner. Only in the most successful republic on the face of the Earth, is joining the military considered shameful. That contempt falls on military spouses as well, and on their children no doubt.

I’ve always done what I could to counter that contempt with examples of the proud men and women who serve our country, and the spouses who stand by their sides. There seems to be a lot of misinformation regarding the demographics of who joins the military. It’s good to see these false assumptions being addressed head-on.

Dedicated to anyone deployed

…and anyone who has fought for our country. But most of all to my pal, Jeffrey, somewhere at an FOB in Afghanistan.

Deep in the ocean, dead and cast away,
where innocence is burned… in flames.
A million mile from home, I’m walking ahead.
I’m frozen to the bones, I am.

A soldier on my own, I don’t know the way.
I’m riding up the heights… of shame.
I’m waiting for the call, the hand on the chest.
I’m ready for the fight… and fate.

The sound of iron shots is stuck in my head.
The thunder of the drums dictates
the rhythm of the falls, the number of deaths,
the rising of the horns… ahead.

From the dawn of time to the end of days,
I will have to run… away.
I want to feel the pain and the bitter taste…
of the blood on my lips… again.

This steady burst of snow is burning my hands.
I’m frozen to the bones, I am.
A million mile from home, I’m walking away.
I can’t remind your eyes, your face.

h/t Ghost of a Flea who first introduced me to it.