“Women prove themselves in grueling Army course”
I’ve written a lot recently about choices and opportunities for women past and present, so this story immediately attracted my attention. (Link to the full article is at the end)
DH was an Army combat engineer like the soldiers in this report. I remember his basic training, and it was nowhere near as physically demanding as the special program described in this article. We lived in an apartment off post and he came home every night.
Some main points:
“Sapper Leader Training” attracts only a small percentage of that branch of the army (Corps of Engineers).
Sapper: Combat engineer who can “move through the toughest terrain to blow up obstacles or clear mines.”
“For more than a decade the Army has quietly put women through this course, putting them through the same training as the men.”
“The integration of women here caused barely a ripple.”
“The fact that we didn’t change the training standard is what has made it frankly so successful.”
“Only a small number of women have volunteered for the school. Though their graduation rate started out lower, it’s now roughly the same as men’s: about 50%”
I don’t have a military background and never had any desire to test myself in this way, but I admire those who do and am pleased that some women are strong enough mentally and physically to be successful.
I know there are many concerns about women in combat and many are expressed in the article itself. I will leave that to those with more knowledge and experience than I.
However, consider that:
Once women were discouraged from pursuing weight training.
Through most of the 1960s girls were considered too delicate to pay full court basketball. The RULES of girls’ basketball required them to play 6 on 6 and never cross the center line. Two dribbles and you had to pass the ball.
The first woman to register for the Boston Marathon was dragged off the course. Only men were considered strong enough for such a distance.
This was all “for our own good” we were told.
So, is it any wonder that I’m happy to see that training like this is available to those women, ready and able to test their limits?