A Father supports his Real Life “GI Jane” – The ever changing role of Women in the Military


I just had a comment posted on a prior post I made back in May. That post, Women on the Front Line, was my thoughts on the current effort by Congress to prevent women from serving in combat situations. It seems we have a real life “GI Jane” out there. I know this father’s letter will inspire you all as it has me. Read on:

I find myself in an interesting position. My oldest daughter is in the Navy as an NFO in the E2 community. She is currently in training, but within 18 months, I expect her to be deployed. She wanted to be in FA18s, but staffing did not work out that way. Despite completing as the top Navy student in her class(s), CNATRA decided that they should put 2 men in the FA18 program, and send her to E2s. So, she is unhappy. She has decided to challenge the established rules and ask to be transferred to SEALs. Sound ridiculous? When she went through boot camp, she expressed an interest in SEALs. Her instructors explained to her that this was not an option, and that women were simply incapable of performing up to the standards necessary to be a SEAL. When she graduated, four separate instructors approached my wife and I while our daughter was talking to friends. All four of them commented that they had believed what they told her when she entered boot camp. However, they considered her in the top one percent of the candidates being considered for SEALs. At the time, the only things stopping her from going into SEALs was the ban on women in the front line positions, and the fact that she was going nuclear, and they needed her there. Since then , she has changed track, becoming an officer subsequent to completing her Bachelors’ Degree in Nuclear Engineering (cum laude).

So now, she wants to be a SEAL. She feels the track she has been shoved into does not give her the challenge she needs to perform at her best. If she gets her wish, she will be in harms way to a much greater degree than as an NFO on an E2. However, she used to BASE jump (the NAVY does not approve, so she does not do that anymore), she skydives, she speaks fluent Russian, and some Chinese. She represents the Navy as a triathlete. Honestly, I think she would love it. She does not ask for different standards, she wants to compete to the same standards as all other candidates. The only reason she will not get a chance (hopefully, she will find a way) is rules against women in front line military positions, which I would submit has already been found unconstitutional. So as a father, the ban helps to protect my daughter. However, that protection comes at a hideous price: The elimination of many highly qualified candidates to a program that has proven critical to the safety of our country. I can be afraid for my daughter, but I believe she is right is seeking this appointment, and that if the Navy refuses her application based on her sex, that it is Congress and the Navy that are ultimately betraying our country.

Paul Degenkolb said this on October 18, 2007 at 5:41 pm

As a parent, I understand this father’s views. I admire his courage to support his daughter.  I wish his daughter God speed. May she realize her dreams.

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~ by devildog6771 on October 19, 2007.

8 Responses to “A Father supports his Real Life “GI Jane” – The ever changing role of Women in the Military”

  1. First off, thank you for your service. I understand what you are saying. Perceptions are very hard to change. I was the first hired into a previously all male job field. I won’t say it was a pleasant experience. I had to work two to three times harder for than the men just to be accorded the same respect. Many never changed their views and frequently tried to sabotage my performance until they were caught!

    The cost to me personally was very high. But I stuck it out by focusing on my job and those who benefited from my work.

    The seals are not for every woman just as they are not for every man. However throughout the world women are standing side by side in other nations’ military as equals. I find it amazing a developed nation such as the United States has such backward views with regard to women. The performance of our women in the current campaigns ought to be an eye opener for us all. Still, many focus only on the failures and completely ignore the noble and brave contributions of the rest of our women who now serve.

    Women will fail, crumble under pressure, commit treason, be unfaithful to spouses while deployed, and the many other offenses we see with our male military members. After all, they are only human. However, those offenders do not represent nor should they, the successful sacrifices and service of the overwhelming majority of our service members.

    I say if a women wants to be a seal, then give her a chance. Test her fairly. Make her meet the same high standards any male would be required to meet. If she is up to the challenge and succeeds then the give her the distinguished title, SEAL, which she has earned.

  2. As a former member of the teams i dont believe that women will ever be allowed. If they do allow them the quality and reputation of the seals will suffer

  3. Well, they already have women performing in the field across the nation in several different branches of law enforcement. It is another job that is challenging and takes a unique individual to perform!

  4. Why not encourage her to try at EOD?

  5. Thank you. What a great Dad you are. Your daughter is very lucky. Best wishes to you. her. and your family!

  6. Devildog Thank you for the repost! Just an added note. If anyone reading this agrees with the idea of allowing women to compete for front line positions, I encourage you to write your congressmen and ask them to encourage SECDEF to repeal the “Ground Combat Exclusion Policy”.

    Thank you all for your support!

  7. I thought so too. What a dad! And, what a daughter!

  8. This is one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever read.

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