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.