Essay about Women's Roles in the Military

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Women's Roles in the Military

Before World War I, women assisted the military during wartime mainly as nurses and helpers. Some women, however, did become involved in battles. Molly Pitcher, a Revolutionary War water carrier, singlehandedly kept a cannon in action after a artillery crew had been disabled. During the
Revolutionary and the Civil War, a few women disguised themselves as men and took part in hand-to-hand combat. The first enlisted women served in World War I as telephone and radio operators, translators, and clerks. But it was not until World War II that women became part of the regular military. Each service had its own women's corps commanded by female officers. The first of these units, the Women's Army Corps (WACs),
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Consequently, college ROTC programs and officer candidate schools became co-ed. In 1976, the first female cadets entered West Point and the other service academies. Soon, female officers began commanding men, a concept that had been ridiculed as unworkable only a short time earlier. During the Gulf War in 1991, about 40,000 women served in the combat zone. This was the largest such female deployment in U.S. military history. During this short war, five women were killed in action and two taken as prisoners of war. The important contributions made by women in uniform during the Gulf War led to a reevaluation of the combat restrictions on females. Starting in 1993, the bans against women serving aboard Navy warships and flying combat aircraft were lifted. Today, there is a small but growing number of women trained and qualified to fly fighters, bombers, and attack helicopters. Fully 53 percent of all career fields in the military services are now open to women. The military careers still off-limits are those in all combat situations. There are those who question the idea of integrating women into nearly all military jobs. Brian Mitchell, author of The Weak Link:
Feminization of the Military, contends, "What we've got is a policy that says we want women in these jobs not because it's good for the military, but because it's the political will. . . ." Other critics worry that men and women
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