Women serving in the army have been a subject of debate. The demands have always been strong. Non-combat type positions are often left vacant during an active war. These positions are often occupied by women. This may be office type work or nurse and care providers. However, women have been known to participate in full on combat as well.
AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR (1775-1783)
Women have been involved in the US army since the American Revolutionary War but mostly in the roles of nursing the wounded, mending and washing the soldiers’ clothes, and preparing the food. Having women in the camp made the soldiers’ lives more pleasant. Women who were employed as nurses, cooks and laundresses were also subjected to the camp’s rules and regulations and they also shared with the soldiers’ difficult living. Women also slept in makeshift tents and had little compensation. Back then, it was seldom to find women in the army courageous enough to serve in combat. If so, they had to either dress as men or fight alongside their husbands. Those brave women in the US army exposed themselves to war death as spies, carriers of messages, transporters of contrabands, and even participating in shooting cannons.
THE CIVIL WAR (1861-1865)
For the war that followed, women continuously supported the US battle. Like in the previous war, most women served in traditional duties as nurses, laundresses, seamstresses and cooks. But there were some of them also who dressed as men and enlisted themselves in combat. All they would need to do was bound their bust and cut their hair short. It was very easy to pass through the recruiter’s assessment since less questioning was being done.
WORLD WAR I (1917-1918) AND INTERWAR YEARS
In the 1917, there was mass call out for women to take job positions in factories and offices. It was due to the great percentage of men being called to serve in the army and sent to the western front in France. The US had announced war on Germany and the women felt the impact of this momentous decision. Their men had to go and fight for the States, and it meant leaving not only homes but the industrial sectors that used to employ men workers. During this period, women started taking over their husbands’ jobs from the manufacturing of machinery, air combat elements, food, clerical and communication works, and stenography. These skills were all needed both in the home front and battle front, thus women in the army were again involved in another great war.
By this time, women were prepared for wartime duties. They were trained in food management, military drills, telephone operation, manufacturing of bandages, electrician works, clerical duties, accounting and other necessary skills to aid in the wartime period. There were about 21,000 women serving in the US Army during the World War I. They were performing valiant services in the camp and fighting front, both home and abroad, facing the horrors of possible death amidst the battle.
About twenty years later, policy changes were enforced to improve the rights and privileges of women in the army. The policy of “no women in units that are tasked with direct combat” was issued to end. To date, women have access to 78 percent of the posts in the Army. Unlike before, women are no longer limited when it comes to roles and jobs in the military.
Today, women are called to take part in the training course created by Combined Joint Task Force Paladin. It is designed to provide female soldiers further trainings on biometrics, forensics, homemade explosive tools, and evidence collection. Since the US Army has already lifted the ban on female soldiers fighting in the front line, women in the army need more rigid trainings and knowledge inputs as far as war fighting is concerned. The goal of all the policy changes is to fully integrate the female soldiers in all roles in the army by the year of 2016. However, countless women in the military are raising their voices over this matter, especially the combat veterans who have experienced the blood and horror of the past war. Men and women have differing traits on how they deal with the fighting scenarios. Disagreeing groups also stressed out that the physical differences of men and women have led the military to alter the physical training for women in able to fit in. The modified physical trainings may result in negative consequences on the battlefield, which ultimately made the women quite unfit for combat as far as their physical trainings matter.
It is still a debated issue for female soldiers to get into the battle front lines. Nonetheless, women’s roles and contributions in the US army are highly important since the wars in the US history up until the present times