Wednesday, December 28, 2005

In the Sandbox...

‘Women Are Not Infantry’
I was shocked when I read Anita Powell’s “Women on a mission” (article, Stars and Stripes, Dec. 21). You need to be sure to differentiate between fact and fiction.

As soldiers or reporters, you cannot blow things out of proportion. These women are not infantry because they traveled with infantry soldiers outside the forward operating base. Being an infantryman is not some Velcro label that you can attach to just any soldier — it belongs to the men who signed on the dotted line to “close with and destroy the enemy.” It is a lifestyle taken seriously by those who proudly wear the blue cord and who answer the call “Follow me” without hesitation and with complete disregard for their own safety.

I understand that people are performing duties outside their primary military occupational specialty, duties that may be considered regular infantry-type missions, but let’s be clear — this does not make them infantry. I have soldiers who work on their vehicles in the motor pool — they do not call themselves mechanics.

Powell’s article was very vague when it came to describing the events in which these two female soldiers were nominated for the Combat Infantryman Badge. What did they experience? What happened? Without any details, it appears to me they have been put in for the CAB just because they left the wire.

De’Cassalyn Sanford even said, “It’s not like I went out and did anything special.” Maybe she is just being humble. Maybe she killed three insurgents — great, but I need more information. Why didn’t she include quotes from other infantry soldiers — their silence speaks volumes.

Phillisha Darby’s quote, “I think every female and everybody should get a chance to get that experience” implies that the infantryman’s job is a game or some type of field trip. It is not for enjoyment that we perform our duties — it is due to a deep sense of honor that we willfully go into harm’s way.
-Sgt. Michael Reed, Baghdad (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...the girls at Ft. Hood...
one, two, three, four, five, six

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