Are recruiters, particularly in the Army and Marines, lying to (or at least misleading) young women who they try to recruit into military service? That’s a question which is asked and answered in the LA Times this week by two people who should know. Julie Pulley is a former West Point graduate Army captain and Afghanistan veteran. Rear Adm. Hugh P. Scott was a Navy medical officer and is an expert in medical physical standards. They discuss the current push to drive up the number of women going into combat roles and the unique stresses which the demands of those duties put on the bodies of women. The difference between the genders in this scenario is significant and worrisome.
The first example is based on nothing more than the fact that men produce a lot of testosterone, leading to larger hearts and more muscle mass.
[M]ales have 40% greater aerobic capacity, and higher endurance compared with females. Women’s smaller hearts require more blood to be pumped each minute at a given level of exertion because they have less hemoglobin in their blood to carry oxygen.
These differences will put women at a distinct disadvantage in newly opened infantry jobs, where they will be expected to carry 100-pound packs routinely, or in armor jobs, where they will have to load 35-pound rounds again and again.
If you don’t like the rather basic argument of “guys are just stronger” you might want to consider that the different body designs between the genders. These leave women open to more injuries and long term health problems if they have to endure that much physical stress over long periods of time.
Pelvic floor injuries are another gender-specific danger for female troops. Studies have found heavy load bearing and paratrooper training can contribute significantly to urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse among women.
Many of the consequences of taking on additional combat roles won’t be obvious until years later. Just ask Marine Capt. Katie Petronio, who wrote in the Marine Corps Gazette of muscle atrophy, endurance problems, weight loss and infertility she considers the results of two combat deployments. Women have proved themselves in combat, Petronio said, but in the most physically demanding roles, can they endure “and are we willing to accept the attrition and medical issues that go along with integration?”
There are more risks, such as bone marrow loss among women who take common hormone treatments to avoid menstruation while deployed. All of the wear and tear which does a number on the men to begin with is multiplied in women over long periods of time. The reason? I know that the SJW crowd absolutely despises hearing this, but as these expert author reaffirm for us yet again… “men and women are not the same.” Those difference are wonderful in so many ways and are woven into the fabric of human society around the globe, but they also put women at a severe disadvantage in certain high stress, physically demanding activities over the long run.
But even as the military pushes to drive up their enlistment numbers for women, actively recruiting female athletes out of high school and college, nobody at the recruiting stations are issuing them warnings about this. That’s despite the fact that the Pentagon has published studies examining these gender differences and the likely medical complications.
By way of full disclosure, I’m one of those old dinosaurs who doesn’t want women in combat to begin with and I’ve made no secret of that here in the past. But if we are going to have to go down this road (and it looks too late to turn back now) we should at least be honest with the young women who volunteer for this dangerous duty. If the training and rigors of deployment are posing a particular medical threat to them they should be going into it with their eyes open.