More Women than ever enter West Point

Just_A_Mom

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071004/ap_on_re_us/west_point_women

More women than ever enter West Point
By MICHAEL HILL, Associated Press WriterThu Oct 4, 7:41 AM ET


Cadet Karyn Powell falls in with the guys at midday formation. Same gray uniform. Same straight-ahead stare. Same dressing down from the platoon sergeant for the plebes' imperfectly kept rooms — except for the bit about long hairs in the sink.
"I understand your guys hair falls off," he tells Powell and her roommate. "Clean it up."
Powell is among 225 young women who joined the Long Gray Line this year for the Class of 2011. That is the highest number of female cadets in a single class since women first came to the U.S. Military Academy in 1976 and the highest proportion for any class: 17 percent.
West Point administrators are greeting this milestone with little more than a shrug of their epauletted shoulders. The increase is slight, they say, and women have lugged the same heavy rucksacks as the men and chowed down next to them at West Point's Harry Potter-Gothic mess hall for three decades. Expectations are the same for every cadet.
But in this history-drenched institution on the Hudson River that has produced generals such as Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur and Norman Schwarzkopf, some female cadets say they still feel the need to prove they measure up.
"You don't want to give the reputation to girls that 'Oh, she can't do it because she's a girl.' And you don't want to appear like you get special treatment because you're a girl," said Karina Quezada, a 19-year-old plebe from Las Vegas.
"And don't whine!" added Diane Leimbach, a plebe from Quincy, Ill.
Quezada and Leimbach roomed together this summer for "beast barracks," West Point's six-week shakedown of in-your-face orders and long marches for incoming cadets. No leeway is given if you are, like Quezada and Leimbach, petite.
"I didn't want to quit because I didn't want to be 'that girl' and I didn't want to appear weak in the eyes of my squad leader, my squad mates," Leimbach said.
"As a female, you have to win the respect of the males sometimes ... And I did."
President Ford signed legislation in 1975 opening the nation's service academies to women applicants, leading to 119 women studying at West Point the next year. The proportion of women at the academy hovered in the 10-12 percent range until around 1989, when it jumped to 14 to 16 percent, where it has stayed since then, said Col. Deborah McDonald, associate director of admissions.
That's in line with the proportion of women in active military duty.
The challenge now is recruiting at a time when troops are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. While McDonald said the academy has been able to meet recruiting goals for women, many parents now are "tentatively holding back."
"There's a lot of concern for the sons and daughters out there," McDonald said, "but especially for daughters."
West Point has made accommodations to women over the years. They can wear stud earrings and makeup. McDonald, Class of '85, thinks the best idea was to let female cadets wear long hair, providing it's kept above the collar. Hair buns do the trick. Often, the most obvious gender clue among the gray-clad cadets walking around the maze of granite buildings here is the knot of hair poking from under some caps.
"All the guys are kind of like your brothers," said Powell, 18, of West Harrison, Ind. "You kind of help take care of them and they help take care of you. I don't really think there's any difference between being a guy and a girl here."
West Point has been spared the sort of high-profile sex scandal that hit the Air Force Academy earlier this decade. But a Pentagon task force in 2005 found that inappropriate treatment of women — including offensive comments, repeated and unwelcome propositions and offers to trade academic favors for sexual acts — persisted at West Point and the Naval Academy.

West Point officials say they have made a number of changes since then, including the institution of a confidential reporting system and annually bringing in women who were raped to speak to cadets. New cadets said they were made to memorize reporting procedures.
"Our awareness of the situation has grown in the last two years," said Col. Jeanette McMahon, special assistant to the superintendent on human relations and a member of the Class of '83
McDonald said it is better for women at West Point compared to the early '80s when she and McMahon were cadets. She notes that today's female cadets regularly meet women who have had successful military careers, like McDonald and herself.
Quezada, the daughter of Vietnam veteran, can look for inspiration from the 61 military women at the faculty. And if she needs a boost of confidence, she can think of her sister, who graduated West Point in May.
Though a dozen female plebes had dropped out by late September, Quezada is confident she'll make it. "I'm not going to be 'that girl' falling out," she said.
 

Just_A_Mom

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I know I posted the above article - I would like to see it as inspirational for any young woman considering a military career.

The problem is - it opens itself up to all sorts of condescending reactions and conclusions. These range from amazement that the "girls" can actually keep up with the guys to the "girls" are the reason for the sexualt assault "problem" in our Service Academies and cause scandal.....

Just this morning on www.military.com is posted an idiotic 3 question poll in response to the Article:

1. ...I marvel at the progress towards true equal rights between the genders. Women prove daily that they can fight.

2. ...I wonder what's happened to our national resolve that we've caved to the powers of PC over everything else. Our readiness is in jeopardy.

3. ...I wait for the sex scandals that will certainly follow in the coming years.
So folks, women at our service academies are supposed to elicit one of 3 responses - they cause us to marvel at their ability to keep up, they are the result of PC thinking and putting our national securtiy in jeopardy, or the CAUSE of sex scandals.....

Is this freakin' unbelievable or what??????????
Seriously, has nothing changed in 30 years? :mad: :mad: :mad:
 

Zaphod

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Stupid choices to chose from...

While I am happy that more women are choosing the challenges of West Point, I am not going to stand up and applaud, either. I am one of those old-fashioned types who believe that the battlefield is the purview of men simply because women are too valuable to waste there.

Flame on.
 

USNA69

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If I were the Secretary of the Army, I would ban women from West Point. I spent a year in ground combat and do not believe it is a place for females. I also believe that it is a waste of money to train anything other than combat arms at a SA. Transportation, Logistics, MPs, etc can more effectively come from our civilian colleges.

With that said, I feel that USAFA and USNA should accept all women who are qualified. The Navy can accomodate females very well on both ships and in aviation. And, in my experiences, they actually performed, as a whole, better than their male counterparts. Women never really made any inroads into the fighter community and are very under represented in the strike fighter community. I don't know if the fact that prior to SecNav Webb, they were prohibited from entering either of these career paths has caused this or perhaps something else. Soon after they were admitted, a female crashed, killing herself and her RIO, attempting to "manhandle" an F-14 on a landing approach. All the negative publicity surrounding that particular mishap may have turned off a lot of female prospects. The F-14 also was a ***** to fly compared to the F-18. The E-2/C-2 and Helo communities are well represented and several have achieved command. The females are also represented well in the surface community and do a great job. I would imagine it is the same for the AFA.
 
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Just_A_Mom

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While I am happy that more women are choosing the challenges of West Point, I am not going to stand up and applaud, either. I am one of those old-fashioned types who believe that the battlefield is the purview of men simply because women are too valuable to waste there.
Zaphod - Traditionally, women have been spared combat from an anthropologic standpoint - continuation of the species. The number of offspring that men can beget is only limited by the number of fertile females -
this argument is probably outdated however.
 

Just_A_Mom

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USNA69 -
Come on, seriously.... at least do your homework. Obviously, you know nothing of the Army.

The mission of USMA:

"To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army."
This says nothing of preparing officers solely to lead troops in ground combat. That training however, is not wasted on those who never see ground combat. Those lessons carry over to all officers leading all sorts of troops in all sorts of situations.

The Army has 17 branches -16 of those are available to Academy grads (the Nurse Corps is not, for obvious reasons) - the vast majority of which do not involve ground combat.
95% of all jobs in the Army are open to women. It is ridiculous to keep women out of USMA because a few jobs are not open to them by law.
Using that logic - women should be banned from USNA since they are not allowed to go Subs.
 

USNA69

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Using that logic - women should be banned from USNA since they are not allowed to go Subs.
No it isn't. All women at USNA have opportunites, actually are required, to go unrestricted line. No women at all at WP are allowed to go combat arms.

I am not against women at the SAs. I am against curriculi becoming to general, encompossing supporting career paths that can be just as easily taught in civilian schools. It is a survival instinct. Every 10-15 year, an administration will question the necessity of SAs and why ROTC cannot do the same job much cheaper. ROTC can teach the most of the ancillary career paths. The SAs must concentrate on operational combat issues. Not to do so, may be their demise.

This is not limited to WP. Why should the AFA allow grads to fill technical career billets, such as computer technology, when they can have them attend a much better computer type college through the ROTC program?
 
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sealion

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Of all the images that have come out of Iraq, one of the saddest that I've seen and remembered was a picture of a soldier in her mid-twenties hugging her two year old.

She had hooks for hands. Her own hands were destroyed in an IED incident.

The sadness of it defies rational explanation. It could have been a man in the photo but somehow it was worse because it was a mom.
 

Zaphod

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Traditionally, women have been spared combat from an anthropologic standpoint - continuation of the species. The number of offspring that men can beget is only limited by the number of fertile females - this argument is probably outdated however.
Whether it is outdated or not, it is still valid in my mind. In my opinion, it is a basic part of being a gentleman.

REAL men dive between women and bullets. When ships go down, REAL men say "Women and children first!". I will stand by such beliefs until the day I die, no matter how "outdated" some may claim them to be, and I will make no apologies in the meantime.



Every 10-15 year, an administration will question the necessity of SAs and why ROTC cannot do the same job much cheaper.
...and we're just about due, aren't we? :frown:
 
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WAMom68

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With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan there is no identifiable front line. Now we have cooks, truck divers, MPs, etc. being killed or wounded by IEDs and insurgent attacks. So, going with some of the arguments I see here, we shouldn’t have ANY women in the Army since they are at risk in non-combat postitions. :rolleyes:
 

USNA69

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You are probably correct. However, there is a huge difference between incidential fire, IEDs, etc. and an offensive tactical infantry push into downtown Falluah.
 

Zaphod

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So, going with some of the arguments I see here, we shouldn’t have ANY women in the Army since they are at risk in non-combat postitions. :rolleyes:
If that mandate came down from above tomorrow, I wouldn't slit my wrists over it.
 

Just_A_Mom

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Sexism reigns!!

Zaphod - you will rue the day when one of your lovely daughters announces that she wants to join the Army (Navy, or any other male-dominated career).
If you think they are too "girly" at their tender age - think again. It could happen to you. I will send you some pictures of my girly girl.

In my own ancedotal, personal experience in the game of life - I have noticed through the years that men:

1. who have only sons are least likely to support women in a male oriented career - especially when the career is perceived as dangerous.

2. who have only daughters are more likely to support their daughters in a male-oriented (dangerous) career.

I don't think it is because men with only daughters spend their parenthood wishing for sons but they see young women growing up as strong, independent young women unencumbered by male domination.
(How is that for the amateur sociology lesson of the day?)


About those pesky women in the Army - they have been there for generations and putting their lives at risk - think Army Nurses, treating the wounded and evactuating patients on the battlefield. This "career" choice seems perfectly acceptable - so what is the problem?

Would having a female soldier leading a MP platoon and protecting your butt while you advance on a tank crush your male ego? If you were a parent of an enlisted soldier in that MP platoon wouldn't you want the very best officer leading your son/daughter?
In any case, female soldiers are here to stay. They have the same desire and ability to serve, the Army needs them and our country needs them.
 

Zaphod

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Sexism reigns!!
Yeah. Right. :rolleyes:

It used to be that men were expected to work hard, provide for their families, and defend the homeland. Now, such beliefs are called "Sexism".

THIS is evolution? :confused:

I'll be happy to be called a sexist for my views, and I couldn't care less. There is a difference between believing that women shouldn't be in the Services for the reasons I've given, and actively preventing them from joining. Have you heard me take the latter position?

I still open doors (including the car door) for ladies. I still wait until all other ladies at the table have sat down before I do. I still offer my seat to a standing woman. I've been called sexist for those, too.

If being a gentleman and standing for the defense of women makes me a sexist in the modern age, then so be it. Just don't cry later when men begin treating women like garbage as a general rule.

Oh, wait! They already have! Thank you, feminism! :rolleyes:

My girls will be taught not to take crap from anyone, least of all men. OTOH, they WILL be taught to expect any man who wants to be near them to behave as a gentleman in the OLD tradition, and to look down on any man who doesn't.
 

Just_A_Mom

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It used to be that men were expected to work hard, provide for their families, and defend the homeland.
Women have been doing this for generations.

There is a difference between believing that women shouldn't be in the Services for the reasons I've given, and actively preventing them from joining.
What is the difference?


I still open doors (including the car door) for ladies. I still wait until all other ladies at the table have sat down before I do. I still offer my seat to a standing woman.
Changing the subject here- this has nothing to do with working along side the opposite sex. Would you "allow" a female attorney to defend you in a court of law? Would you open the door for her?

Just don't cry later when men begin treating women like garbage as a general rule
Do you seriously believe that because women desire to have a career they give their implied permission for men to declare open season on them?? Good grief. If men like you, so desire to protect women - is that only on the condition that they stay home and behave themselves??

My girls will be taught not to take crap from anyone, least of all men. OTOH, they WILL be taught to expect any man who wants to be near them to behave as a gentleman in the OLD tradition, and to look down on any man who doesn't.
Mine too. Teach them now Zap- you can never start too young.
 

Zaphod

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Women have been doing this for generations.
True, but only in the last generation have they told men they don't need to do it anymore. You can see the results throughout society, and none of them are good.


What is the difference?
One is an opinion and the other is an act.


Changing the subject here- this has nothing to do with working along side the opposite sex. Would you "allow" a female attorney to defend you in a court of law? Would you open the door for her?
I have on both counts.


Do you seriously believe that because women desire to have a career they give their implied permission for men to declare open season on them?? Good grief. If men like you, so desire to protect women - is that only on the condition that they stay home and behave themselves??
Of course not. Don't put words in my mouth.

However, I should not have to look to women to defend the homeland. The MEN should be standing up to do so, as they have done for thousands of years.

The only condition I place on women is that they act the part. I once opened a door for a woman entering a mall in Virginia Beach. She snarled at me, "I am QUITE capable of opening my own doors!"

"FINE!" I said, and slammed it in her face. :mad:

Want equal rights? Be prepared to take equal heat.


Mine too. Teach them now Zap- you can never start too young.
Already have, although I think the little one is already hard-wired that way from the manufacturer. :biggrin:
 

WAMom68

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Zaphod and USNA69 - I respect your right to your opinion that women should not be in the Army, as I hope you will respect my right to disagree.

It used to be that men were expected to work hard, provide for their families, and defend the homeland. Now, such beliefs are called "Sexism".
The only thing sexist about your beliefs is if you believe that ONLY men can “work hard, provide for their families, and defend the homeland.” Even if I didn’t work a job outside my home I would still be working hard and providing for my family…not with a salary but with my skills as cook, laundress, cleaner, and all the other things stay-at-home women do.

I still open doors (including the car door) for ladies. I still wait until all other ladies at the table have sat down before I do. I still offer my seat to a standing woman. I've been called sexist for those, too.
I like to have doors opened for me and all that but some women don’t like that. I believe they are also entitled to the right to ask that this not be done for them, but they should do it in a respectful manner. I don’t think being treated like a lady is sexist and I don’t understand women who do. I see it as a sign of respect just as I respect the man by saying “thank you” when he holds the door for me. I have seen my husband and my sons give up their seat or hold a door for a women and I have never seen them called sexist. A woman just better not do that in my presence or they will get an earful!

Just think how much better we would get along if people were more courteous to each other.

My girls will be taught not to take crap from anyone, least of all men. OTOH, they WILL be taught to expect any man who wants to be near them to behave as a gentleman in the OLD tradition, and to look down on any man who doesn't.
I hope that you will also teach them that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up and not to let anyone tell them that they can’t.
____________________
I have no doubt that women should be in the Army and are fully capable of being excellent leaders, but I am torn about whether women should be allowed into combat units. My husband and I have talked about this several times and he is also against women in combat, but not against having them in the military. He clearly explained to me the protective instinct that men have to keep women from this role. He also brought up the issue of women being “built differently” and so being out in the mud in the same uniform for weeks might become a problem for a woman before it would become a problem for a man. I understand his reasoning and it makes sense, but I was brought up to believe that if a woman can physically and mentally do a job then her anatomy shouldn’t stop her from doing it.
 

Zaphod

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Zaphod and USNA69 - I respect your right to your opinion that women should not be in the Army, as I hope you will respect my right to disagree.
I lean much more toward combat than a blanket ban. I think a blanket ban would be a waste of resources. I just don't want to see women blown all over the battlefield.


The only thing sexist about your beliefs is if you believe that ONLY men can “work hard, provide for their families, and defend the homeland.”
I never said that. I simply said that it's their job. The fact that society now seems to think it's OK for women to step into those roles is, to me, an indication that men have failed to do so.

Even if I didn’t work a job outside my home I would still be working hard and providing for my family…not with a salary but with my skills as cook, laundress, cleaner, and all the other things stay-at-home women do.
And you would deserve all the credit comensurate with those efforts. A LOT. Please don't think I either belittle that credit or limit you or anyone else to just those "homely" tasks.


A woman just better not do that in my presence or they will get an earful!
I bet that would be a sight to behold! :biggrin:


Just think how much better we would get along if people were more courteous to each other.
Sister, you ain't kidding. I'm not perfect, but MAN I hate rude people! :mad:


I have no doubt that women should be in the Army and are fully capable of being excellent leaders, but I am torn about whether women should be allowed into combat units. My husband and I have talked about this several times and he is also against women in combat, but not against having them in the military. He clearly explained to me the protective instinct that men have to keep women from this role. He also brought up the issue of women being “built differently” and so being out in the mud in the same uniform for weeks might become a problem for a woman before it would become a problem for a man. I understand his reasoning and it makes sense, but I was brought up to believe that if a woman can physically and mentally do a job then her anatomy shouldn’t stop her from doing it.
We're on the same page. :smile:

It's not an easy topic for me to nail down, because the old-fashioned side of me wants to keep them safe from harm, but the modern side of me knows that if they can do it, why not let them?
 

Just_A_Mom

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Already have, although I think the little one is already hard-wired that way from the manufacturer. :biggrin:
This has me in stitches - :shake:

Know why??? I have one just like that - guess where she is???

Oh Zaphod - my advice - when she is of that impressionable age of between 10-14 don't take her anywhere near USNA - haha ! She will be in awe and want to go there and you won't be able to stop her - but you would be a proud dad for sure! Then with your luck she will probably come out a Marine!
 
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