Weatherford Democrat

Veterans' Corner

October 6, 2013

VETERANS’ CORNER: Time to change soldier perceptions, standards

By JIM VINES

An Army officer writing in a prestigious journal says the military services should not overemphasize physical strength when deciding whether a woman qualifies for direct ground combat.

Col. Ellen Haring, on the staff of the U.S. Army War College, says, “Commanders need to downplay obstacle courses and judge a service member’s ability to stay calm and think quickly.”

With the Pentagon lifting its ban on women serving in the infantry, tanks and special operations, the military branches are examining all the women physical standards in preparation for introducing women into these units in 2015. Some military analysts fear the Pentagon will discard some standards to ensure that a significant number of women qualify.

It is time to take a hard look at what really makes a competent combat soldier and not rely on traditional notions of masculine brawn that celebrates strengths over other qualities. If the going-in assumption is that physical standards are the only thing that needs to be examined, then we are also assuming that we have everything else just right. Fixating on physical standards is a tactical level approach that misses a strategic level opportunity.

In focusing only on physical strength in violent situations, we are diminishing the importance of what are probably more important traits in soldiers. The ability to remain calm, focused, creative and quick-thinking in times of extreme duress. These are the traits that we should be measuring as we assess soldiers for combat specialties.

Audie Murphy, World War II hero, is an example of a small person who came up big on the battlefield. Perhaps Murphy could not have passed the Marine Corps infantry officer qualification course. An obstacle course that relies on physical prowess tests none of the important qualities that Murphy possessed. Physical strength is important, but it shouldn’t be the most important trait that we assess, and it certainly shouldn’t become a way to filter out the Audie Murphy’s of our population.

Women, trained properly, can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any man. Check with local recruiters and determine whether the military has a future for you.

Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133.

1
Text Only
Veterans' Corner
  • VETERANS' CORNER: Vets get opportunity to work with lawyers

    The American Bar Association, in close coordination with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has started the Veterans’ Claims Assistance Network (ABA VCAN) to provide unrepresented veterans with pending disability claims the opportunity to work with lawyers. The lawyers will help the veterans complete their claims packages for expedited review by Veterans Affairs at no cost to the veterans. 

    July 27, 2014

  • VETERANS' CORNER: VA grants will expand transportation

    WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the White House Rural Council recently announced the award of eight grants, totaling $815,051.50, which will improve access to health care for veterans living in highly rural areas. The grants will assist over 11,000 veterans in seven states and 56 counties by providing up to $50,000 per highly rural area to fund transportation services for veterans to and from VA medical centers and other facilities that provide VA care. The grants are part of a program authorized by Congress to help state Veterans Service Agencies (VSAs) and Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) operate or contract for transportation services to transport veterans to VA medical centers and other facilities that provide VA care.

    July 20, 2014

  • VETERANS' CORNER: Preserving war memories through VHP

    The United States Congress created the Veterans History Project (VHP) in 2000 as part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. VHP’s mission is to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.

    July 13, 2014

  • VETERANS' CORNER: VA now processing same-sex marriage claims

    After close consultation with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is providing guidance to same-sex married couples on the benefits and services to which they are entitled under current laws and regulations.

    June 28, 2014

  • VETERANS' CORNER: Vets at risk from parasites in war zones

    Parasites are unpleasant, hard to face and sometimes hard to find. Sometimes the cure is easy and complete, sometimes not. The worst outcome usually comes from misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or no diagnosis. 

    June 21, 2014

  • Cell Phones for Soldiers, Inc.

    Cell Phones For Soldiers Inc. is a national non-profit dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 204 million “Minutes That Matter” to deployed troops.

    June 8, 2014

  • VETERANS' CORNER: Many retreat, camp opportunities for vets

    Over the past 10 years, different organizations have begun offering “retreats” or “camps” to veterans and/or their families. Often, the retreats/camps are offered at little or no cost and are intended to provide the veteran and/or family member an opportunity to experience a place and time specifically designated to them. Many of the venues have “themes” and many of those themes relate to experiencing connection with the natural world and with others who have gone through the same experiences.

    May 31, 2014

  • Veterans Corner sig NEW.jpg VETERANS' CORNER: Stricter requirements for military recruits

    Recruiters must reach potential recruits early to set them straight on enlistment today. Recruits think anybody can enlist. Many see the military as a last resort in a tough job market, always being an option. Truth is, the class of 2014 now leaving high school will face more difficulty qualifying for the armed services than ever in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force.  

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • VETERANS CORNER: AACD offers vets oral health benefits

    The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) is promoting a unique opportunity for our military members and veterans to improve their smile and achieve good oral health. This venture is being done through ‘The Smile Story Contest,’ offering the chance to win a smile makeover from an AACD member dentist.

    May 18, 2014

  • VETERAN'S CORNER: SGLI to increase premium rates

    The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program will adjust its monthly premium rate from 6.5 cents per $1,000 back to the 2006 rate of 7 cents per $1,000 of insurance, a modest increase to ensure the SGLI program remains in a strong financial position. For a servicemember with the maximum $400,000 of life insurance, this change will mean an increase of two dollars a month.

    May 11, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp