USNA Failed Experiment - Are You Serious!


5-Year Member
Nov 18, 2015
It pains me when I read something like this. Naively I thought we have evolved beyond this type of thought.

My favorite sections:
"The time has come for an accounting of this poorly conceived, deeply flawed, dimwitted program of plunging young girls into an all-male warrior environment geared to the education and preparation of young men for combat command."
"Upon graduation where do all these women go in the fleet? What kind of jobs do they have? If those jobs are in cyber warfare, can civilians do the same jobs? How many actually complete their full commitment, or even start to? What is the overall attrition and retention rate for female academy graduates compared to men?

Lest anyone forget, we are a nation at war and we will be at war for the foreseeable future. The nation needs warriors, so the sooner we end this failed, politically driven social experiment, the better."
Well, when, in relation to the military, hurt feelings carry more weight than combat heroism and achievement, it is probably time for reflection about whether we're running a jobs program or a killing machine. Those protesters kind of made Jim Webb's point for him.
The "Women Can't Fight" article written by James Webb was published in 1979. Quite some time ago.

He long ago renounced his former views. The 1979 article was used against him by Democrats when he was nominated (and later approved) to be Secretary of the Navy during President Reagan's 2nd term. And again, this time by Republicans, after he argued against the invasion of Iraq, denounced the Bush administration, switched parties from GOP to Democrat and successfully was elected senator from Virginia, ousting 2-term sitting Senator (and believed to be in line for a 2008 White House run) George Allen.

While he won those fights against large political parties, he appears to have lost in 2017 to a "small but vociferous group of women graudates" ( who have successfully fought Webb's nomination by the US Naval Academy's Alumni Association for an award.

If the US Naval Academy Alumni Association can't give an award to somebody like Jim Webb, then who is better qualified?

Webb's history includes being an alumnus of the USNA, US Marine veteran of Vietnam War, awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism, plus the Silver Star, Bronze Star & two Purple Hearts, OCS instructor at Quantico, post-grad doctorate from George Washington University, best-selling author, Emmy-award winner, former Assistant Secy of Defense, former Secy of the Navy, former US senator, former US presidential candidate, key proponent behind the post 9/11 GI Bill (which was opposed by John McCain, among others), etc.

Still carries NVA shrapnel in his body to this day.

He should be enshrined in the halls of Annapolis for his signature novel "Fields of Fire", if nothing else.

Here are some excerpts from Webb's controversal 1979 article (

"Lest I be understood too quickly, I should say that I believe most of what has happened over the past decade (the 1970s) in the name of sexual equality has been good. It is good to see women doctors and lawyers and executives. I can visualize a woman President. If I were British, I would have supported Margaret Thatcher. But no benefit to anyone can come from women serving in combat."

"The United States is the only country of any size on earth where the prospect of women serving in combat is being seriously considered. Even Israel, which continually operates under near-total mobilization requirements, does not subject its women to combat or combat-related duty. Although some 55 percent of Israeli women— as opposed to 95 percent of the men— serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, the women have administrative and technical jobs that require little or no training."

"What are the advantages to us, as a society, of having women in combat units? I don’t know of any. Some say that coming manpower shortages might mandate it, but this country has never come close to full mobilization, and we are nowhere near that now. During World War II, 16 million men wore the uniform. Today, the active-duty strength of the US military is only 2 million people, out of a much larger group of eligible citizens. Furthermore, bringing women into the military does not mandate bringing them into combat."

Granted, the 1979 version of Jim Webb who wanted not just to keep women out of combat but also the Service Academies is viewed by 2017 readers as a sexist, misogynistic throwback to the "Mad Men" era, but his following statement should be read and re-read:

"We would go months without bathing, except when we could stand naked among each other next to a village well or in a stream or in the muddy water of a bomb crater. It was nothing to begin walking at midnight, laden with packs and weapons and ammunition and supplies, seventy pounds or more of gear, and still be walking when the sun broke over mud-slick paddies that had sucked our boots all night. We carried our own gear and when we took casualties we carried the weapons of those who had been hit. When we stopped moving we started digging, furiously throwing out the heavy soil until we had made chest-deep fighting holes. When we needed to make a call of nature we squatted off a trail or straddled a slit trench that had been dug between fighting holes, always by necessity in public view. We slept in makeshift hooches made out of ponchos, or simply wrapped up in a poncho, sometimes so exhausted that we did not feel the rain fall on our own faces. Most of us caught hookworm, dysentery, malaria, or yaws, and some of us had all of them. We became vicious and aggressive and debased, and reveled in it, because combat is all of those things and we were surviving. I once woke up in the middle of the night to the sounds of one of my machine gunners stabbing an already-dead enemy soldier, emptying his fear and frustrations into the corpse’s chest. I watched another of my men, a wholesome Midwest boy, yank the trousers off a dead woman while under fire, just to see if he really remembered what it looked like."
Yes, and?
Webb's old essay -- and his 'mistakes were made' apology (in which he regretted if women had been offended by anything he said)-- is factually in error on almost every point today. It was always wrong on the most important point: merit is all that matters. If you can do the job, you can do the job.
Embarrassed to say I have a subscription to The Capital, its a third rate rag whose editorial page has been turned into a rant column for every clown with an axe to grind. Its shameful that a small vocal minority of alumni bullied Webb into backing down from his appearance, the latest example of how our society now panders to special interest groups.
[QUOTE="important point: merit is all that matters. If you can do the job, you can do the job.[/QUOTE]

Then why are the PT numbers softened for women? We know that they typically can not run as fast, or lift as much as the typical male soldier. Battlefield conditions hold no such accommodations. That's what he was saying. And since, has sadly, backpedaled for political reasons.

Women can be smart and some are as dextrous as any man. Webb thinks as many do, that America does not need to put women in harm's way. We (men) are taught to protect our women. Drop them off at the door, then go park. We walk closer to the curb. First sign of trouble, we step in front of our dates or wives. We defend their honor and celebrate their femininity. It's had to turn off that switch and let them fend for themselves in a rugged, dangerous situation. These are not PC comments for 2017, but they were normal years ago. The rare occurrence of the all night ruck, the sanitary issues, carrying an injured friend, or even his equipment if he's down, cause concern. Too many take this personally I'm sure, when the intent is that as long as a fighting force has good leadership, we want the warriors to be the strongest and fittest we can muster. Should we dilute that just for the sake of saisfying gender quotas?
Women deserve equal rights. And Generals deserve the right to put the best kickass team in the fight. All of this from in m
y usual humble non-misogynistic opinion.

I guess writing a post like this will screw me over for a future political career, and possibly my shot at a forum moderator spot. ;-)
What Jim Webb described was one form of combat -- a small ground unit in the USMC during the Vietnam war. The fact is that, even then, combat was much broader than that single experience. The types of combat roles are certainly much broader now, 50 years later. Today, there are military folks manipulating drones from (essentially) their desks to kill bad guys. Folks on submarines, who really don't need to run fast or lift much to do their jobs effectively. There are pilots and NFOs who, again, aren't running or lifting or slogging through dirt. And the list goes on and on.

There are jobs in the military (and elsewhere) where certain physical standards are a requirement for doing the job. Not for demonstrating fitness but for actually performing the job. In those cases, there should be a single standard (or set of standards) for anyone wanting to do that job and the standards should be tailored to the actual requirements of that job. However, if the job requires more brains than brawn, then you choose a woman. :p Sorry, couldn't resist.:D Seriously, though, many roles in combat are not physically demanding, beyond being in good shape.