While candidates talk about the possibility of women being drafted, and a couple of generals recommend it, I’m not sure drafting anyone is a good idea. I wondered what veterans thought about it.
Over the last couple of days a number of veterans from several branches of the military, and from different eras, responded to my query: what do you think about women possibly having to register for a draft? Here are their responses.
Former USMC Sergeant, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
When I think on this issue, I’m reminded of two quotes from American icons.
First, George Washington said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” As the integration study from the United States Marine Corps revealed and the Pentagon ignored, incorporating females into ground fighting units decreases readiness and effectiveness, which, in the end, means more Americans killed in combat.
Also, Dwight Eisenhower said, “I hate war as only as soldier who lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, futility, its stupidity.” I’m not a supporter of combat unit integration for reasons stated above, but see it as a step in the misguided evolution of this administration’s social experimentation on today’s military.
Melissa Garrett, United States Navy, 2003-2009, OEF, Naval Information Operations Command
I believe women should be required to register for selective service. SS is intended to be used to fill combat positions and now, finally, women are allowed equal access to these positions. This equality should run across the board. Being in favor of women registering for the draft does not mean that I am in favor in general of the draft. The paternalistic motivation to protect the country’s “weak, pure, frightened” womenfolk from the horrors of war is rooted in misogyny rather than humanity and compassion. If it were the latter, we wouldn’t be so disgustingly enthusiastic about sending our nation’s men to be bullet sponges in a far off conflict. So yes, allow us into the draft. And then protect all of your citizens from being called to engage in a violent war for dubious purposes.
Patrick Krilla, United States Army, 1982-1987, 7th ID & 8th ID
In my opinion since women in general are wanting equal rights then yes they should register for the draft. Take Germany for instance, everyone males and females have to serve in the military for 2 years after high school. I think that this would be great for our country as well.
Tean Phillips, United States Marine Corps
Now days women should have the right to do what they feel they should do. It shouldn’t be a factor of if they can or not. To me it shouldn’t even be a conversation. I’ve served with many strong great women who volunteered just the same as the men. Our country is strong because of that. I think it’s not a question of women having to register, but are we going to try to stop them?
Paul Fries, United States Air Force
I am more opposed to the idea of women serving in any and all combat roles than I am simply the draft.
David Tarpley, United States Navy, 1990-1994, USS McKee (AS41) and USS Acadia (AD42)
I don’t believe woman should have to sign up for the draft. I am fine with women choosing to join but not being forced to join. My ships had women on them. Out of my 2 tours to the Gulf, 20+ out of 500 women got pregnant when they found out we were heading to a combat zone. If pregnant they automatically get sent home for light duty. Most of those were not married. Just think how many women would get pregnant to stay out of the draft.
Marge Olmstead, United States Army Aviation, 1983-1990, 101st Airborne
I hate the thought of mothers being ripped away from their children and sent off to war. It’s one thing when they volunteer, but moms need to be there to nurture their kids. I don’t like it at all. Many aren’t emotionally cut out for it, either. Trying to force equality this way wasn’t the kind of equality God intended for men and women to have.
Joshua Breland, Louisiana Army National Guard, Colorado Army National Guard
This issue is of particular interest to me because of my background. I voluntarily served in a Combat Arms role in the United States Army National Guard. I am also the son of a Vietnam War draftee. I am familiar with the ins and outs of both voluntary service and draft service. Lastly, I am the dad of two daughters. The thought of my daughters becoming of age to register for selective service is much more real after the recent GOP debate.
In my opinion, requiring women to register with selective service and thus be eligible for a military draft is bad for the military and against my beliefs as a Christian.
Requiring women in the United States to be eligible for military draft service is, in my opinion, not in the best interest of the United States military. While I acknowledge and celebrate those women who have voluntarily served in our country’s military, forcing women to serve as “armed forces” is not helpful. Sure, most roles in our military will not see direct combat, but the fact remains that every service member is, to our enemies, an enemy combatant. This is true whether on the battle field or inside the F.O.B. (Forward Operating Base).
It is my opinion that requiring all eligible women in our country to be combatants in our military will weaken our overall military capabilities. It defies common sense that every military age female in this country has the full capacity to serve as a combatant.
Tim Ansel, United States Navy, Active Duty, Patrol Squadron 62
I personally feel like it isn’t a big deal either way. I feel like women having to possibly register for the selective service should not be as big of a surprise as some people are making it out to be, especially since we now live in a day and age where gender equality is as big of a deal as it is.
I serve with plenty of females that are more than capable of performing at the same level, and in some instances even better than their male counterparts. In a lot of instances females even outnumber males in certain job fields in the military. Males over the age of 18 have to register for the selective service, so if anything, females having to do the same should really not be that big of a deal. You would think that it would even be embraced in certain respects.
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