Army Captain Michael Carvelli, a combat engineer, has a guest post at Tom Rick’s blog about women in combat:
Are we really incorporating women into combat, or just coming to the realization that they have been in combat, just not the way in which we envision or define? I have six women in my engineer company and four of them have performed combat missions day after day. The definition from 1994 of combat is not completely in-line with counterinsurgency, but its intent is well received. These four women conduct route clearance, searching for improvised explosive devices on routes every day. Three of them signed up to operate horizontal equipment like bulldozers and dump trucks. The other is an officer, technically not a combat engineer, but no engineer officer specializes only in combat engineering. Nowhere in their contract did it say “to perform engineer missions, except those which involve direct combat.” They are out doing the same tasks as their male counterparts. They drive vehicles, shoot crew-served weapons, and lead soldiers for every mission.
With these six women in my company, I have yet to have a sexually related incident and I hope I never do. We have received a lot of guidance on sexual assault and sexual harassment in the last few weeks. I never accepted sexually related activities as part of my company. I do not enforce the standard any harder than I had before Congress put the spotlight on the military. I have been unwavering in my stance: It has no place in my life, my soldiers’ lives, or in my company.
The male soldiers in my company have verbalized no issues with any of the women in the company. We are doing well as an integrated team. Yes, there are men, and yes, there are women. No one wears blinders or tries to ignore each other’s gender. We just fill the gaps where needed. One of my drivers sits on a foam roll because she is short. She is not a bad driver, she is just height disadvantaged.
Read it all here.
Charles A. Blanchard
United States Air Force