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Women in Combat:

Australia puts women in front line

by Paul Ham

THEIR muscles may be smaller, their lung power may be
less. But women can be every bit as ruthless as men,
according to the top brass of Australia's armed forces. Last
week they announced plans to let women join combat units.

If senior officers get their way, women will soon be slashing
paths through the jungle and learning to bayonet the enemy.
They will even be considered for entry into the special forces
if they can run two miles in 16 minutes in full combat uniform
while carrying a rifle and a 66lb backpack.

Admiral Chris Barrie, chief of the Australian Defence Force,
put forward his proposals after a review of the role of women
in the military. In response, the government is expected to
overhaul employment laws that bar women from joining
combat units in the army, navy and air force.

Military commanders say they must appeal to women if they
are to arrest a decline in the number of recruits, which has
fallen by 20% in 10 years. While the initiative has been
welcomed by female recruits, the prospect of training women
for hand-to-hand combat has put some men up in arms.

"It's a load of rubbish," said a major in the army's training
division who served in Vietnam. "I have a daughter and I
wouldn't like to see her in the front line.

"The nature of the male beast is that he can drop the shutters
and kill. Can a woman do that?"

The answer is yes, according to Karlene Oliver, 17, a lock
forward in her high school rugby team - "It was great fun
smashing up other girls without getting into trouble" - who
enlisted in the army last week.

"I don't doubt that women can do what men can do," she said
as she headed off for a six-week basic training course in
Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. "I don't think women are
the weaker sex psychologically."

Oliver joined another new recuit, Alexi Dranna, 18, from
Brisbane, Queensland, who aims to enter a combat unit. "If I
pass all the physical tests, why not join the frontline troops?"
she said.

Should she succeed, Dranna will become one of the few
combat-ready women soldiers in the world.

Canada, which allowed women into combat units in 1987, is
believed to be the only western country that recruits them
specifically for the front line. Fewer than 100 have trained as
battle soldiers, serving in peace-keeping roles in Bosnia,
Congo and Rwanda.

In Australia, the most controversial aspect of the military's
plans is the possibility that women will join the Special Air
Service Regiment (SASR), the nation's most elite combat
unit. No other country has entertained the notion of women
serving in crack squads of this calibre.

The SASR, which fought behind enemy lines in Vietnam, is
regarded as one of the world's toughest military outfits,
renowned for the intensity of its training in the deserts of
Western Australia.

If Dranna attempted to join the SASR, she would be
expected, on day one, to run 1 1/2 miles in 9 minutes 30
seconds and to do 60 press-ups and 100 sit-ups.

The rest of the course includes running and walking for up to
60 miles across desert dunes, arduous underwater diving
exercises and a series of free-fall parachute jumps. Recruits
learn how to "engage the enemy" and destroy them using
bullets, bayonets, knives and bare hands.

One woman has already proved she is up to the physical
standard required. Major Robyn Fellowes recently
completed the cadre commando course, an endurance test in
the outback that is said to be as tough as the SASR's.
Fellowes enlisted for the intelligence service but still had to
undergo commando training. "Many men couldn't have done
it," said a senior officer.

Although many in the military establishment have no objection
to women in combat units, some remain hostile, particularly
older soldiers. Michael O'Connor, executive director of the
Australian Defence Association, a military think tank, warned
against the proposal.

"I don't like it one bit, frankly. The liberal elites, the feminists,
are driving this. They're trying to change the role of women,"
said O'Connor, who saw combat as a military policeman in
Papua New Guinea in the 1950s.

"Fighting in wars is not a role for women."

Some military women in Australia have nevertheless shown
themselves undaunted by physical obstacles. Last year
Natalee McDougall, 22, became the country's first female
helicopter pilot.

"I don't think the process of getting women into combat units
is gender-related," said Admiral Barrie. "What we have got to
focus on is: are the individuals capable of doing the job?"
So now the question : What do you think of women as snipers ? The Russian had them in WW II.
Are there real limitations to a female sniper team ?
I dont think CoEd would work, but belive that a Woman could in some situations actually be the better Sniper.

Torsten <>
G3ermany - Tuesday, January 12, 1999 at 03:21:15 (EST) 

I agree with you about women snipers. From my limited experience, I find that girls are much easier to train than men in the art of shooting. Men grow up thinking they already know everything there is to know about shooting, and develop many bad habits. Women, on the other hand, go in knowing that they need to learn, and have no bad habits to unlearn. It really is a shame that more women dont enjoy the shooting sports, In some ways they are naturally built for it. For example, in offhand rifle, a lower center of gravity is an asset.
Steve <>
S.C.D.H., Ohio USA - Tuesday, January 12, 1999 at 07:07:29 (EST)

Nato Steve,

jep your right about that, exept the low center of gravity. I showed our club presidents 18 year old daughter the correct offhand position with a Feinwerkbau Air Rifle, you know hip froward, supporting arms elbow on the hip, etc. When I looked down to see if she was placing the elbow correctly I saw that her hips ended about three inches above my bellybutton, and I´m 6´2´´ ! What a set of legs !!! and she was´nt wearing Gooches pumps ether !

Torsten <>
scrounging G3 parts for the guy´s, in G3ermany - Tuesday, January 12, 1999 at 09:11:59 (EST) 

Women snipers and in combat in general -

Sure why not. Makes the hide a lot cozier. If it gets real cold the sharing of body heat thing would be great. And we'll just time our offensive action to when they go on the rag every month. And all of the rapes and sexual harrasment charges that will be floating around will improve the good order and discipline in the grunt units. Also the lowering of standards which will no doubt happen can make it easier for all men and women to get in elite units so that our armed forces are a reflection of the sheep that we protect.

I trained women recruits in small arms at Parris Island for almost 3 years. Sure they were easier to teach, if you didnt accidently touch one wrong or have one fall in love with her coach. Even had one have an orgasm one time while a coach chewed her ass out on the firing line! They cried when it got cold and wet, they could barely handle the rifle cause of its length, had a hard time grasping an M9 pistol because of its grip size and some couldn't press the double action trigger with one trigger finger. Half of them couldn't see out of a fighting hole and had to have help gettin out of said fighting hole.

Almost every female DI I talked to said that women should not go to combat.

Why do women want this? They dont!! THE POLITICIANS DO!!!! Its all a continuation of the Pat Schroeder agenda now being carried on by Barbera Boxer and Diane Feinstein. Its the old equal rights thing. I dont want men to go to combat much less women. WHy do they treat the duty of going to war and killing and being killed like a civil right comparable to equal pay and pregnancy leave?

War is a terrible thing. No one should have to go. Leave the women out. Sure the Russians had women snipers. THey also had 10 and 12 year old boys too. Thier country was being over ran and everything had to be thrown at the Nazis. If we ever get down to the same point the Russians and Germans got to in WWII or get in a situation like the Isrealis(?) we would have to do the same thing.

In case you didnt know the Canadian Armed Forces are a bigger experimentation ground for social change than even the US military under Clinton. THey are even giving sex change operations to soldiers!! No lie guys.

Why should we want to do as some of these other countries. We are the USA. Last time I checked we were the leaders not the followers.

gooch <>
USA - Tuesday, January 12, 1999 at 09:26:17 (EST) 

Gooch buddy you have me almost in tears today. How could I agree with you more. First I'll say women in combat are about as good as female Cops in a knock down drag out fight. You have to read between the lines since the chief can censor what I say.

Calif. USA - Tuesday, January 12, 1999 at 20:03:39 (EST) 


Don't hold back, what do you really think about women in combat?

IMHO, there are some things in life (combat, fire fighting, subdoing thugs, etc) that women should just not be a part of (.) They get in the way trying to do somthing that they can't physically do and they put others at risk when they need help. My wife and I lock horns on this issue on ocasion but over the years she has come to understand that I can't abide guys that are talkers but not doers either!

I don't care which but you need to: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of My Way!

Stay Safe!
Depity Dave <>
Thawing out at last in, Magnificent, West Virginia USA - Wednesday, January 13, 1999 at 01:54:27 (EST) 

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