Women serving in the military can now choose to serve in combat roles, thanks to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. He recently repealed a 1994 ban restricting women’s jobs in the military.
There seems to be no clear-cut answer as to why this decision was made. One New York Times article states that the reasons may include a desire from the Obama administration to further equal opportunity or a call from the military encouraging an end to the ban.
Sophomore Missy Lloyd currently serves in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps with John Brown University. She is personally excited to see how this recent decision will affect a woman’s role in a squadron.
She said women have grown in leadership positions throughout history and in the military. If women can be in combat, then they will also be in a position to lead a squadron in which men will be underneath their charge.
Men will then have to look to a woman as a leader, she added. This could create a change in the dynamic of a unit between men and women.
John Brown III, president emeritus, is a former soldier and the father to four daughters. He said he does not believe that the issue of women as leaders will be a problem for the men.
“Men will work to help women succeed,” he explained. “Military training is designed to give a sense of camaraderie.”
He saw this camaraderie develop during his own training after being drafted to the Vietnam War.
Brown said that the military would need to take precautions when trying to put this new practice in place.
There need to be “clear rules about how you live and work together,” he explained.
According to another New York Times article, the United States military plans on looking at how Israel integrates women on the front lines and the rules they put in place.
Israel Defense Forces holds the same physical standards for men and women in combat. The U.S. military stated that it plans on doing the same.
A combat position is voluntary to women, which means that not all women will volunteer and not all women will make it past those physical requirements.
Brown made the point, though, that even some men do not meet the physical requirements needed.
The male University students serving in the Reserves declined to comment. No other male students were willing to go on the record with their opinion of the matter either.