Essay, Research Paper: Women In Combat


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The idea of women in combat is not unusual anymore. Although American women
have, for a long time, served as nurses, and as other roles during wartime, they
were not officially enrolled in the armed forces until World War I. “During
this time women served as clerks and secretaries, some being assigned to
translation, recruitment, and other tasks which were usually assigned to men”
(Wekesser, 2). The women were not given rank or benefits, and after the war was
over they were not allowed to remain in the military. More than 350,000 women
served in World War II. During this war, the military once again encouraged the
recruitment of women. They established the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC),
the Navy Women’s Reserve, and the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. Any of the
women in these organizations were given benefits and military rank. “As in
World War I, the women served as clerks, secretaries, …” (Wekesser, 2).
“In 1948, a congressional law banned women from direct combat” (Wekesser,
3). They were not allowed in any jobs that were viewed as hazardously close to
combat, where the risk of capture is high. Until the late 1960’s, the status
of women in the military remained unchanged. It was then when the armed forces
began to open up more positions for women. The first women generals in American
history were appointed in 1970. By 1976, military academies were beginning to
open their doors to women. By the end of the 1970, all of the women’s
organizations were discontinued; women and men were officially integrated with
the military. During the Persian Gulf War, women were sent to the Middle East to
“fly helicopters, service combat, refuel tankers, and load laser-guided
guns” (Johnson, 31). They were assigned to battleships, aircraft carriers, and
marine support groups. Their performance has led the world to realize that women
are extremely useful in combat, and “they brought home their changing role in
the military” (Priest, AO1). “In 1994, the Defense Department ordered all
the services to open up thousands of combat-related support jobs to women”
(Priest, AO1). Today women represent more than fourteen percent of the Army’s
495,000 soldiers (Newman). The times have definitely changed over the years, and
much more will probably come. Who knows what lies ahead?

BibliographyJohnson, Julie. “The New Top Guns: In the wake of Desert Storm, the Senate
clears women pilots for combat.” Time 12 Aug. 1991: 31. Newman, Richard J.
“Army Sex Ed. 101.” U.S. News 11 Aug. 1997. Priest, Dana. “In a Crunch,
Ban on Women Bends.” Washington Post 30 Dec. 1997: AO1. Wekesser, Carol, et
al. Women in the Military. Greenhaven Press, Inc, 1991.
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