Following Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s recent announcement that all combat jobs would now be open to women, results of a survey given to more than 7,600 of America’s special ops forces have been released, showing an overwhelming majority of male commandos are opposed to the decision.
The voluntary survey, conducted by the Rand Corp. between May through July 2014, showed 85 percent of respondents do not want special operations jobs opened to women, with 70 perecent opposing having women in their individual units. According to AP, more than 80 percent said women aren’t strong enough and can’t handle the demands of the job while 64 percent believe they aren’t mentally tough enough. One respondent said, “I weigh 225 pounds, and 280 pounds in full kit, as did most of the members of my ODA (a 12-man Army Green Beret unit). I expect every person on my team to be able to drag any member of my team out of a firefight. A 130 pound female could not do it, I don’t care how much time she spends in the gym. Do we expect wounded men to bleed out because a female soldier could not drag him to cover?”
Most of the respondents were young, white married men who are worried that the presence of women in their small teams could create complications in their home life, sexual harassment or affairs. They believe the risk could affect the family-like trust of the group.
“There will be no exceptions,” Carter said at last week’s news conference. “They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men.”
After Carter’s announcement, Gen. Joseph Votel posted a memo detailing the decision and noted that women have already moved into special ops jobs, such as helicopter pilots and crew, members of cultural support teams in Afghanistan and in civil affairs and information operations. The decision has opened about 220,000 military jobs to women.
In the memo, Votel explained, “If candidates meet time-tested and scientifically validated standards, and if they have proven that they have the physical, intellectual, professional, and character attributes that are so critical to special operations, they will be welcomed into the special operations forces ranks.”
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