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NCO speaks of Army as 'home' during Army birthday celebration

NATICK, Mass. (June 18, 2012) -- If you had to pick one person to blow out the candles on the cake during the Army's 237th Birthday, you couldn't do better than Staff Sgt. Sharalis Canales.

In less than seven years, Canales, 27, has transformed herself from a homeless New York City resident to a well-respected NCO at the Natick Soldier Systems Center. Putting on her nation's uniform literally changed her life.

"I am proud of the woman I have become," said Canales, speaking at NSSC's Army Birthday celebration June 14. "We each have our own reasons for enlisting in the Army, but I know that none of us could have expected how it would have changed our lives forever. I stand before you as someone whose life was changed because I joined the Army."

Canales was living at the Covenant House shelter in Times Square when she enlisted in November 2005. Prior to that, she had spent ages 14-20 in a group home after her divorced mother had given her up.

While others struggled to adjust to Basic Training, Canales shrugged it off -- she had already lived with far more people in the shelter. It didn't take long for the 4-foot-8-inch Canales to stand out in the crowd, and she has done so ever since.

"The Army molded me to become fearless," said Canales, "a leader and ready to face any obstacle thrown at me."

Canales, training NCO for the NSSC Headquarters Research and Development Detachment and president of the installation's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, said she was humbled to speak on the Army's Birthday so near to its birthplace.

"What better place to celebrate than to be here in Massachusetts, a few miles away from where our Army was first put to the test?" Canales said. "Today, we celebrate the generations of Soldiers who followed in the footsteps of those colonists who left their homes and embraced our nation's call to duty."

After she spoke, 60 future Soldiers from the North Shore Recruiting Company reaffirmed their oaths of enlistment, and a ceremonial cake-cutting took place. Canales, however, had shown everyone at Natick what the Army is all about.

"The Army is my family, my home, my life," Canales said. "I will continue to serve for as long as the Army will have me. I am thankful to be wearing this uniform today."

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Women's Combat Roles Evolving in Iraq and Afghanistan

Although U.S. military policy prevents women from taking certain war zone assignments, they are increasingly filling dangerous jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan. An author, Army sergeant and retired Navy captain discuss the changing role of women in combat.

One more casualty of the war in Iraq brought home to Decatur, Illinois, last weekend. In this case, the soldier's vehicle was hit in Baghdad on June 21st by a rocket-propelled grenade. But this death is one of those that makes this war unique, for it was a woman, 22-year-old Army Specialist Karen Clifton.

She is one of the most recent of more than 80 women who have so far been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, a figure nearly double the number of American military women killed in Desert Storm, Vietnam, and Korea, combined. Some 500 have been wounded, many grievously.

American women are serving in the U.S. military today in ways and numbers unthinkable a few decades ago. They are now eligible to fill more than 80 percent of military jobs, 250,000 different assignments, often serving side-by-side with men.

So far, women have served some 167,000 tours of duty in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than four times the number in the first Gulf War. They are not assigned to infantry units, to tanks or submarines, and Pentagon policy officially precludes them from serving in so-called "combat occupations." But in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, where no clear frontlines exist, such distinctions are often hard to make.

Women in both theaters today drive Humvees and trucks, escort military convoys, serve as military police, even pilot helicopters and planes on the battlefield, all of it done under the very real -- and constant -- threat of attack. And like men, many women of the U.S. Armed Services have by now served several tours in the war zones.


More roles for women

JUDY WOODRUFF: For more, I'm joined now by: Kirsten Holmstedt, author of "Band of Sisters," a book profiling 12 female soldiers and Marines during their tours in Iraq; Carolyn Schapper, a sergeant in the Virginia Army National Guard, she participated in nearly 200 combat missions in Iraq from October 2005 to September 2006, as part of a tactical human intelligence team; and Lory Manning, she is a retired U.S. Navy captain and director of the Women in the Military Project at the Women's Research and Education Institute, a public policy research group in Washington.

Thank you all three for being with us.

And, Kirsten Holmstedt, I want to begin with you. You're the one who's written the book about this. Why are there more women serving now in the military?

KIRSTEN HOLMSTEDT, Author, "Band of Sisters": Well, I think because there are so many more roles open to women in the military, and they're serving, like you said in the opening, they're serving on trucks. They're driving trucks. They're pilots. They're medics. More than 80 percent or 90 percent of the positions are open to women now, so they're all over the battlefield.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And women are enlisting to fill these positions?

KIRSTEN HOLMSTEDT: They are, absolutely.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And in the numbers the military is looking for or is there a way to tell?

KIRSTEN HOLMSTEDT: Well, I think they'd like more men and women, but there are many, many women in the military now.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Captain Manning, what are the jobs these women are doing? How has their role changed from what it used to be?

LORY MANNING, Retired U.S. Navy Captain: Well, they used to be mostly not in a combat zone, except for the medical women, the nurses, the physicians, that's how it was, say, in Vietnam. During Gulf War in the early '90s, we used a lot more women, but not on the frontlines.

There are a lot more women in the military now since the changes that were made after the Gulf War, and women are doing what they call "combat support jobs," driving trucks near the front line, MPs, those sorts of things.

One of the reasons we're seeing them in so many roles now and so many casualties is because there is no frontline in this war. It a whole different kind of war than the U.S. has fought before and because the laws and the policies have changed, that changed in the mid-'90s.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Help us understand a little bit better about what is permitted, in terms of the roles that women may fill, and what's not permitted?

LORY MANNING: That's a good question. And allow me a little time, because there are some little complexities. The basic policy comes from a memo written in 1994 by the secretary of defense. And it says, "Women can serve in any role in the military except for units smaller than brigades" -- so those are things like battalions or companies -- "that have a primary mission of ground combat," which boils down to infantry, tanks, short-range field artillery and special forces.

And that's the basic secretary of defense level, but each service refines it. And what the Army did, and to an extent the Marine Corps, is say, "We're going to narrow it a little bit further and say that women also cannot serve in units or positions who normally would co-locate with infantry units." That's a very technical term, co-locate.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Meaning live with?

LORY MANNING: Live with, essentially meaning a woman medic can't be serving with the infantry. That's the thing that has gotten so garbled in Iraq; it's impossible to really enforce that.

Handling dangerous situations

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Kirsten Holmstedt, what we're talking about, then, is, yes, there are restrictions, but women are doing so many of these jobs, and they're firing weapons.

KIRSTEN HOLMSTEDT: And they're co-locating, just like she said.

JUDY WOODRUFF: They are co-locating, you're saying?


JUDY WOODRUFF: Meaning they're living, they're in the same...

KIRSTEN HOLMSTEDT: The first story of my book is about two young women, lance corporals in a Marine Corps, who were in a firefight. They attached, I think is the word they used, to an infantry unit so that they could help the infantry when they went house-to-house to search women and children. And so they co-located, and they stayed in the same house or they stayed outside with them, wherever they were sleeping.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Carolyn Schapper, you were in Iraq, we said, from 2005 to 2006. What did you do? What was your assignment? And was it clear to you going in that you were going to be how close to combat or not?

CAROLYN SCHAPPER, Sergeant, Virginia Army National Guard: I'll start with the second part first. I was aware that there was never any surprise that military intelligence, which is what I do, goes out and talks to the locals. And that was my primary mission, was to talk to the local people and find out what their concerns and address those issues.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And that meant, what, you were armed?

CAROLYN SCHAPPER: I was armed. I would go out almost every day, and I would go into the villages and the cities, and get out of my truck, and walk into their homes.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And you were in dangerous situations.



CAROLYN SCHAPPER: Oh, every day is a dangerous situation. You never know what's going to happen. But I had seven significant events occur to me. That includes IEDs, sniper fire, and mortars, not to me personally, to my team.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And how did you -- do you think that you and other women you were alongside in Iraq deal with these things differently from the men?

CAROLYN SCHAPPER: Your training comes into play. I'd say you almost have a lack of emotion. You do what you need to do to get your people out and safe and back to the base or take care of the enemy. But, unfortunately, there's rarely an enemy to take care of.

And I would assume that's true for every individual, not necessarily a woman or a man, that your emotions are put aside and your training comes to the front.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Even when your comrades are hurt?

CAROLYN SCHAPPER: Yes, even more so, I would say so, because your first priority is to make sure they're safe.

Acceptance of women

JUDY WOODRUFF: Captain Manning, what does your research show? How are women doing in these jobs?

LORY MANNING: That's the biggest surprise of the war. Before this, people only guessed, and they guessed that the women would fall to pieces, that they wouldn't be able to rescue fallen comrades, that, if they were shot at, they wouldn't be able to shoot back because they'd be so nervous.

None of those bad guesses that women would go to pieces have happened: The women have held their own. They've done brilliantly well. And there's been no obvious differences, either over in Iraq or when people come back, the women's rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and those sorts of things are not that different from the men's. So what we have learned is, through real experiences, that women can hack it in the military.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Ms. Holmstedt, how are the men who, of course, make up the vast majority, how are they receiving, how are they accepting or not these women?

KIRSTEN HOLMSTEDT: That's interesting, because I think, no matter what their age, you will find men who accept the women and find men who don't accept the women. I've talked to young lance corporals, male lance corporals and corporals, who don't accept the women and some who do, all the way up to generals, some who do accept women and some who don't.

JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you mean by accept and not?

KIRSTEN HOLMSTEDT: Well, I talked to one general on the phone, and he said that, at a cocktail party, he might say that he's opposed to women in combat and doesn't like it, but, really, he does believe in women in combat and he thinks they're doing wonderful things.

So there is an outward support or lack of support. There's a contradiction right now. I just think people are really -- some men, and the ones who have been around for a while in the military, the older echelon -- I think they're more resistant to supporting women openly. And I think that that reflects all the way down, because women are still, I believe, treated like second-class citizens because of that male mentality.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask Ms. Schapper. Was that your experience? Were women treated differently? Were you treated like second-class citizen or not?

CAROLYN SCHAPPER: It depends who I was working with. Within my team, which was other military intelligence and the infantry that worked for us, no, we were team members. We rely on each other. You can't think anybody is not going to save your life if necessary. So there was a lot of mutual respect within my team.

But since I was on a small infantry base, I did have difficulties at first with the commanders I had to go brief or get debriefed by. But, over time, I proved myself.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Difficulties in what way?

CAROLYN SCHAPPER: Just that I didn't really know what I was talking about maybe because I was a female. But it all turned around one day when one of my gunners got shot, and I took command of the convoy to get him back. And I got high praise from the infantry sergeant major when we got back, and that's when it turned around. So I had to prove myself to them that I was capable of doing the same job as a man.

JUDY WOODRUFF: How much of an issue -- you mentioned in our talking with you ahead of time sexual harassment to some degree for the women. How much of a problem is this, do we know, Captain Manning?

LORY MANNING: We know it's a problem, but I don't think we have any idea to what extent. It's a problem for women of that age group on college campuses, no matter where they are. And it's more difficult to deal with over there, because particularly when it gets to full-blown sexual assault, you need to be able to have the evidence to prosecute a criminal in a court. And that has caused problems. I don't think it's like half the women over there or anything of that extent, but nobody knows for sure.
The future of women in combat

JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you see, just quickly, Captain Manning, for the future? I mean, does this mean that women are now inevitably going to be fighting wars?

LORY MANNING: It's inevitable, and it's not happening just in the U.S. There have been British women, Australian women, Ukrainian women in Iraq, a lot of Canadian women in Afghanistan. It's going on around the world, and, yes, they're going to be fighting wars, because they can. And most countries these days have all-volunteer forces, so that's who's volunteering.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Ms. Holmstedt, the restrictions that exist, are they the kind -- do you think they'll stay?

KIRSTEN HOLMSTEDT: Maybe those restrictions for a little longer, but I think women are really -- they like the roles that they're in right now. And some definitely want to push the boundaries. I've talked to some who...

JUDY WOODRUFF: Some women who want to do more, you mean?

KIRSTEN HOLMSTEDT: Some women who want to possibly be in infantry. But a lot of the women who are in the roles that they're in right now are very happy with those roles, as MPs and pilots and medics and logisticians.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Captain Manning, the fact that women can't technically, by the rulebook, serve in combat, how does that affect their ability to move all the way up through the ranks, to serve in the highest ranks of the military?

LORY MANNING: Well, it's not a factor at all for Air Force or Navy women, because they can, in fact, serve in every aspect of combat in those services. It is a factor for Marine Corps and Army women who might want to be, say, the command sergeant major of the Marine Corps or chief of staff of the Army without a combat specialty. That's not going to happen.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Mrs. Schapper, I'm going to give you the last word. What should the public know about what women are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan right now?

CAROLYN SCHAPPER: Women are doing the same jobs as men, the majority of the time, and they're doing them very well.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, thank you all three, Ms. Holmstedt, Ms. Schapper, and Captain Manning, thank you very much, all three of you.

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Women Army In defence of Finland

Stuff reports:

    Gerry Brownlee’s comments that Finnish people are uneducated and disrespectful to women have sparked outrage and made headlines in the European nation.

    “The story is flaming in the Finnish media,” Juha Parikka, counsellor to the Embassy of Finland said.

    Auckland lecturer Merja Myllylahti has even started a Facebook group, calling for Brownlee to visit Finland “to learn some facts”. …

    Brownlee’s spokesman said the  comments were made in humour, were based on OECD figures and were part of a general debate.

    Just you New Zealanders stop raping sheep, children and your Maori slaves, which is a satirical comment with a shadow of fact in it so no hard feelings, and we’re okay.

People are getting a wee bit sensitive over this. But just in case Finland declares war on New Zealand, I’d better try and make peace, especially as we have no combat airforce left.

Personally I’m very fond of Finns, having spent a few days in Vegas with four young Finnish politicians. Thankfully what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but let’s just sat everyone had a great time.

Now I’m also very fond of New Zealand, and Gerry is right that in several areas New Zealand is the better performing country.

But in one key area, I’m prepared to concede that Finland is the superior country. They clearly have a more impressive armed forces.

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Lifting Ban on Women in Combat


Throughout most of recorded history, war fighting has been officially considered a “males only” activity with laws and policy established to reflect and maintain that exclusivity.  Yet, women have always served, even if  “unofficially.” During the last fifty years significant changes have occurred both in the nature of war and in determining who is eligible to “officially” participate in those wars.  Technological advances in weaponry and the diminished desire of men to serve in the military coupled with the evolution of the societal roles of women emerge as pivotal components driving that change.  For example, the launching of an all-volunteer military force depended heavily upon women to provide the “manpower” for meeting the personnel requirements essential to maintain military readiness and end strength.  Today, women comprise about 14% of the active force and roughly 17% of the Reserve Components.


In recent decades, changes in both law and policy have altered women’s roles and the military jobs they are allowed to perform.  Evolutionary rather than revolutionary, several of the most dramatic changes occurred following the first Gulf War with the repeal of both the ban on women serving aboard combat aircraft (Title 10 USC 8549) and combat ships (Title 10 USC 6015).  Policy changes followed these legislative actions.  In 1994, DoD rescinded the “Risk Rule,” which had included a matrix assessing the threat of combat exposure on a linear battlefield.  This surprising action was followed by another directive from the new Secretary of Defense.  He directed the Army and the Marine Corps to study opening more specialties and assignments to women and to submit their expansion plans for his approval.   The outcome of this action effectively opened tens of thousands of previously closed military positions to the assignment of women.  However, the Secretary permitted significant policy restrictions to remain that will be highlighted later in this paper.  Nevertheless, there are no laws that restrict women from serving as combatants or that serve to protect women from risk or danger. 

The year 2010 heralded several notable changes for the assignment of military women.  In February, the Secretary of Defense notified Congress of the Navy’s intent to lift the ban on women serving aboard submarines.  This dramatic policy change was initiated and supported by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and both the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations.  This policy shift represented one of the last places in the military from which women were totally excluded.  Soon after in June, the Secretary of Defense again, notified Congress that the Department intended to expand the role of women in the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) by opening two previously closed military occupational specialities (MOS) to the assignment of women.  However, the USMC indicated that women occupying these MOS would be assigned to division level units or higher allowing its collocation policy to remain intact.  Lastly, in November the USMC announced that Female Engagement Teams (FET) are being assigned to Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU) “where cultural sensibilities can preclude male Marines from interacting with local women”.  This places women “shoulder-to-shoulder with infantry units yet, there is no mention of rescinding the USMC collocation policy.

In spite of these restrictive policies, military women continue to excel.  They are in leadership positions, they are earning Silver Star Medals and recently a woman was named as the Army’s 2010 “Soldier of the Year -- Best Warrior Competition”.

What is Combat? 

There is no one operational definition for combat because for each of the military Services, engaging the enemy takes a different form. While there are overlaps, the overall Navy mission and subsequent definition of combat differs significantly from that of the Air Force and the Army.  Certainly similarities exist between the Navy and the Coast Guard (maritime Services), the Marines and Army (ground Services), and aviators (regardless of Service), but the point that must be made is that combat is more than “boots on the ground.”

Women are eligible for combat duty and are combatants in the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard and in Navy, Marine and Army aviation specialties.  Since the early 1990s, women have officially been combatants so engaging in combat per se is not the restriction that limits military women’s roles.

Key Issue I:  What is Direct Ground Combat?

If women are “in combat” and have been for over a decade, what is the issue?  The topic that receives the most attention concerning women and their combat participation involves “direct ground combat” (DGC).  Since 1994, DoD has defined  DGC as:

“…engaging the enemy on the ground with individual or crew served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile force’s personnel. [It] takes place well forward on the battlefield while locating and closing with the enemy to defeat them by fire, maneuver, or shock effect.”  [Emphasis added]

 The criticisms leveled at DoD’s definition of DGC are that it is not relevant and makes no sense when describing the asymmetric battlefield of today.  The phrase “well forward on the battlefield” implies a linear array of military forces that were envisioned during the 20th Century Cold War and not today’s conflicts in the middle-east and other hot spots around the world.  In short, the wars waged in Iraq and Afghanistan bear no resemblance to this definition – does that mean they are not DGC?

Flawed as it is, there are two policy matters that emanate from the DGC that have an impact on military women and where (and how) they may be used. The first, the ground combat exclusion rule, dictates that women may not occupy any assignment (in any capacity) to a unit below brigade level which has the primary mission of engaging in DGC. This restriction allows the Army and the Marine Corps to retain their existing policies excluding women from serving in Infantry and Armor, with the Marines also excluding women totally from Field Artillery.  The Army excluded women from serving in Special Forces (including aviation).  Interestingly, the Army, unlike the Maine Corps, did not totally exclude women from Field Artillery using this rule.  But for the most part, this restrictive policy is clearly understood and easily defined.   However, the second policy restriction adopted by the Army and the Marine Corps, referred to as the collocation policy, is not clearly understood and is frequently the subject of debate and review as follows in the next section.  

Key Issue II: Collocation Policy

Primarily the collocation policy refers to the placement of combat support and combat service support positions relative to DGC.   However, the term collocation seems to mean different things to different officials and/or commanders.  The 2007 RAND Monograph Report, Assessing the Assignment Policy for Army Women, documented two definitions operating for collocation:  one that uses proximity exclusively as a determiner and another that uses both proximity and interdependence to be considered as collocation.  The Army policy prohibits the routine collation with a unit whose primary mission is to engage in DGC.  Introducing the term, routine without a common definition makes the situation needlessly more complicated.  NOTE:  The Army also specifies that the collocation policy prevents women from serving in the Army Combat Engineers and portions of the Field Artillery.

In short, Army and Marine Corps policy is and remains more restrictive than DoD policy.  In 2005, it was the collocation policy and how the Army implemented that policy that precipitated then Chairman the House Armed Services Committee to seek broad legislative restrictions on how Army women were assigned and deployed.  The proposed legislation was later expanded to restrict all military women, but failed to gain support outside of the House Armed Services Committee.   While the restrictive legislation was unsuccessful, it served to resurrect the issue about how military women would serve and where they would serve.    

Women are in combat – this is nothing new.  They serve in Afghanistan and Iraq with pride and honor.  In both war zones, many of the distinctions regarding combat have constantly blurred because there are no front lines, and DGC is not isolated to being well forward on the battlefield – it is asymmetrical.  Current DoD and Service doctrine and policy have outlived past usefulness, and obviously beg revision to reflect actual practices that are essential to wage this type of war.

The time to re-examine the policies that govern women’s military service that were established nearly 15 years ago is overdue.  Laws, policies and practices change in wartime as military exigencies require – this was true during WWI, WWII, Vietnam and other conflicts.  “Lessons Learned” are available today and we do not have to wait just because the “War on Terror” is a different kind of war.  It was during Vietnam that women were first trained as Naval aviators and after Vietnam that women were first permitted on Naval vessels and the Women’s Army Corps disbanded to allow the integration of women into the line Army.  After the first Gulf War, combat aviation was opened to women and the combatant ship exclusion was repealed.

Today, we are seeing changes in the policies that govern military women and how they may be assigned.  Recently, the Secretary of Defense opined that he envisioned a day when women would serve in the “elite special forces” but that it would be a “careful step in that direction”.  Soon after the Secretary of Defense statement, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs told an audience at the US Institute of Peace, Women and War Conference that resources for women were lagging behind those for men and that “the military system does not yet understand the unique challenges of women in uniform”.  The Chairman went on to promise that while there are only two women who have achieved 4-star rank, “many more are on the way”.  At this point, it is probably fair to ask “how” these changes will occur when the changes aimed at affecting direct ground combat and collocation appear “piece meal” without any integrated thought or joint planning. 

Words from senior leaders are important however, now is the time to act!  The Alliance supports the continued evolution of women’s military roles and service in a professional and rational way that best serves our nation.  The Department of Defense should immediately redefine DGC with the Army and the Marine Corps following suit to officially rescind their collocation policies.  The initial actions would begin to align DoD and the Service policies with accepted operational practices and procedures.  These immediate actions should be followed by significant changes in the remaining policies and regulations that govern the assignments, duties, training and developmental opportunities of military women.  Lastly, empirical performance standards should be established for military jobs to reflect actual job requirements eliminating the need for personal opinions.

The Alliance for National Defense provides educational material on the contributions of women in the military and related national security issues to legislators, decision makers, educators, and military members on this and other issues.

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woman army in gaza lines (Israel and Libanon)

The Israeli Air Force bombarded on Wednesday at dawn several areas in the Gaza Strip causing damage while at least four Palestinians, including two children sand a pregnant woman, were wounded. 


Local sources reported that that two of the four wounded Palestinians are women and that one of the women is pregnant. They were injured in three different Israeli Air Strikes targeting At-Tuffah and Ash-Shujaeyya , east of Gaza City.


 The first strike targeted a number of residents in Ash-Shujaeyya causing damage but no injuries.

The second trike targeted a Factory that manufactures plastic products, in Al Shaaf area in At-Tuffah neighborhood; four Palestinians, including the pregnant woman and another woman, were wounded.

Damage to the factory and some surrounding homes and building was reported.
The third strike targeted an area, east of At-Tuffah neighborhood causing damages but no injuries.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Palestinian man was shot and killed by the Israeli military near the Gaza border.

The army claimed that the man was armed, and was approaching the border when soldiers spotted him and opened fire. Yet, Palestinian medical sources stated that no weapons were found near the body of the slain resident.

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India Women Army in Military Training

India Women Army in Military Training

The reputation of the Indian defence forces is taking quite a battering lately. Lieutenant Sushmita Chakravorty's suicide in Udhampur had stirred up a hornet's nest. The whole issue of whether women are capable of handling the pressures within the military has been underscored by her death.


Having stayed away from civilian society and built up a kind of hermetically sealed world, the armed forces now find it difficult to deal with situations and people outside their gamut of defence services when it comes to social issues like these. And this has got proved in Sushmita Charaborty's suicide case. Look at the manner in which the Army has dealt with the suicide of a young, lady officer.

The Vice-Chief immediately reacted by saying that the Army was not yet ready to cope with women as officers. An honest admission, probably, but totally out of sync with the real world, where females have joined the work force in large numbers and have also proved to be strong leaders. Though the Ministry of Defence later said that he was misquoted, the remark brought to fore the problems that women are facing in the Army.

It is worth mentioning in this regard that though women have been serving in the medical corps of the military for a long time now, it was only in 1992 that the Army began inducting women for other duties as well. But there are cases where women have had to face indifferent, if not hostile attitudes, on part of the male officers.

According to many women, the problems are evident at the training level itself. The treatment meted out to men and women cadets are conspicuously different, with women getting "softer treatment".

On the other hand, their male counterparts are of the view that considering the fact that it's only been 14-15 years since women were inducted into the armed forces, it will take time for men and women to get used to each other. "I think the military is doing fairly well. These are initial teething troubles. Suddenly, one incident is being highlighted as an example to show that women are not treated well. After all, women doctors have been serving in the military for quite a long time and there have never been any problems," pointed out Vijay Sakhuja, Former navy commander.

In an article published by the United Services Institution of India in December 2005, retired Captain Deepanjali Bakshi, an alumnus of the academy, gives significant insight into the discrepancies. According to her, special concessions are made and physical standards are lowered for women. As a result, differences in assignments and attitudes continue throughout their service.

It is worth pointing in this regard that women are only trained for 24 weeks while gentlemen cadets are trained for 44 weeks, even though they cover the same syllabus.

In addition to this, separate accommodation, physical training, weapons training and even the marches at the passing-out parade only reinforce this feeling of gender bias within the service.

"These concessions, coupled with the mostly patronizing, derisive and sometimes supporting attitudes of men result in a plethora of integration issues cropping up," pointed out Captain Deepanjali Bakshi in her article.

Like Bakshi, many women are of the view that women cadets need to be put through equal mental and physical rigours, so that they can pass out as equals. "There is an urgent need for a training programme, which will them tough and prepare them mentally to meet any challenge," said one woman officer on condition of anonymity.

All this does not mean that women at the moment are not playing a prominent role in the forces. They constitute the backbone of the Armed Forces Medical Services and the Military Nursing Service and have even risen to three-star rank. But breaking through the glass ceiling of the Combat arms doesn't even seem to be any closer to the horizon.

Unless the government does something concrete about treating women at par with men, not many women will feel encouraged enough to join the forces. And considering that the women have been contributing to the society in every field, there is no justification for women being denied the opportunity to serve the armed forces as well.

In this regard, statement of Defence Minister is a welcome sign. Insisting that there was no bias against women in the armed forces, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has publicly said that the members of the fair sex are being encouraged to join the defence services in large numbers. He also said that as of now, no view has been taken at the "decision-making" level on the issue of creating the post of combined Defence Services.

"I can assure you (that) there is no bias against the women officers. We are proud of them (women). They are making valuable contributions and we would like to encourage them to come (into the armed forces)," he confirmed.

When asked about the issue of women being given combat role, the Defence Minister assured that it depended on the women cadets if they were willing to join combat services even when it is evident that combat services mean a harder task. According to the latest statistics there are just 918 women officers serving in non-combat roles in the 1.1 million strong Indian army.

In fact discrimination starts at the very beginning. Women are recruited only on Short-Service Commissions of five to ten years and cannot rise above the rank of a Major. And even though this period of service has now been extended to 14 years there is still no information about the 'promotions' aspect. As of now, it is yet to be seen how this women power in army is going to prove its mettle.

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Indonesian girl army military exercises

Indonesian National Army (TNI) was born in the cauldron Indonesian struggle for independence  from the threat of Dutch maintain the ambition to colonize Indonesia again through gun  violence. TNI is an organization that started the development of People's Security Agency  (BKR). Further, on October 5, 1945 became the People's Security Army (TKR), and to improve  arrangements in accordance with international military base, converted into Army of the  Republic of Indonesia (TRI).

In subsequent developments the government's efforts to improve national army went on, as she  fought and fought for the upholding of sovereignty and independence of nations. To unite the  two armed forces is TRI as the regular army and people's struggles agencies, on June 3, 1947  the President authorized the establishment of mengesyahkan with the Indonesian National Army  (TNI).

At critical moments during the War of Independence (1945-1949), the military managed to  manifest itself as a people's army, soldiers of the revolution, and the national army. As  the strength of the newborn, in addition to the TNI organize themselves, at the same time  must also face many challenges, both from within and from abroad. From within the country,  the military face-undermining undermining both the political dimension as well as military  dimensions. Political insurrection comes from communist groups who want to place the  military under their influence through the â € œPepolit, Bureau of Struggle, and the Army- Community:. While the challenges of domestic military dimension of the TNI to face an armed  uprising in some areas and the PKI in the Madiun rebellion and the Darul Islam (DI) in West  Java that could threaten national integrity. Challenges of military overseas twice to face  the Dutch Military Aggression and organizations that have more modern weapons.

Aware of the limitations of the Dutch Armed Forces in the face of aggression, the Indonesian  nation implement the People's War of the Universe in which all military forces and society  and national resources were deployed to confront the aggression. Thus, the integrity and  existence of the Republic of Indonesia has to be maintained by military power along with the  people.

In accordance with the decision of the Round Table Conference (RTC), formed in late 1949 the  Republic of Indonesia (RIS). Correspondingly, also formed the Armed Forces RIS (APRIS) which  is a joint Army and Colonial Army by the TNI as its core. In August 1950 Indonesia RIS  disbanded and returned to the form of unitary state. APRIS was renamed the Armed Forces  (APRI).

Adopted a parliamentary democratic system of government in the period 1950-1959, affecting  the lives of Army. The interference of politicians who are too far in the TNI internal  problems led to the event October 17, 1952 which resulted in a rift within the army. On the  other hand, military intervention was encouraged to get involved in political activities  with the established political parties namely Supporters of Indonesian Independence  Institute (IP-KI) who took part as a contestant in the 1955 General Election.

Period also called the Period of the Liberal Democracy is characterized also by a variety of  domestic rebellion. In 1950 some former members of the Colonial Army launched an uprising in  Bandung (Armed rebellion Ratu Adil / APRA), Andi Azis Rebellion in Makassar, Maluku and  rebellions in the South Maluku Republic (RMS). Meanwhile, DI TII West Java to expand its  influence in South Kalimantan, South Sulawesi and Aceh. In 1958 the Revolutionary Government  of the Republic of Indonesia / Universe People's Struggle (PRRI / Permesta) doing most of  the rebellions in Sumatra and North Sulawesi, which endanger the national integrity. All of  the rebellion can be crushed by the military with the strength of other national components.

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Indian army officers instruct the women village defence committee, VDC members during a training camp organized by Indian army to protect themselves and their homes from militants at Sarya village near Indo-Pak line of control about 140 KM from the Northern Indian city of Jammu, winter capital of Kashmir on 16 March, 2008. 27 women from Sarya village have been trained to use AK-47s and other heavy-duty weapons. Training of VDC members at regular interval would imbibe a sense of self-confidence and boost their confidence in dealing with an adverse situation, Indian army officer said.

Womes Cadres of VDC in Kashmir

Muneera Begam a women cadres of Village defense committee equipped with sophisticated AK-47 rifle holds position in the hilly areas of surankote in Jammu and Kashmir . The VDCs were first set up in 1994 in Doda district by the state government to combat militancy and lateron it was extended to other areas of Jammu and Kashmir .Each Village defense Committee Group consists of four to five members and is headed by a Special Police Officer, (SPO) .the VDC members are equipped with latest arms including AK-47 rifles and 303 rifles to fight militants in the respective areas .Presently there are more than 1500 VDCs operational in the state.

"I am proud to fight a Jihad [holy war] against marauders who have cheated us of our dignity and honor," says Shamima Akhter, the 30-year-old commander of this particular women's group.

"Militants who would force us to provide them shelter, food and at times to entertain them physically were harassing us physically and mentally. If we opposed them they would commit rapes or kill our family members. We wanted to confront them and the only way to do it was to acquaint ourselves with the basic functioning of guns and grenades," she added.

To avenge [the 2003 killings of militants], a Lashkar group in April 2004 attacked Kulali village and killed 14 women and children while the men were out on an operation.

Later, in June 2004, the militants executed another attack, which was repulsed by a woman, Khatoon Begum, who had learned to use a 303 Rifle from her son. Although she died in the attack her act helped save at least a dozen members of her family from Islamic guerrillas.

"Khatoon Begum's daring act lead to the foundation of all Muslim women VDC. We were supported by our husbands and fathers and thus trained ourselves in the operation of 303 rifles, SLRs, grenade throwing and other military aspects of how to react and repulse a militant attack", stated another women fighter, Shahnaz.

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Israeli Women Army in Military Training 02

An order of Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion on May 26, 1948, officially set up the Israel Defense Forces as a conscript army formed out of the paramilitary group Haganah, incorporating the militant groups Irgun and Lehi. The IDF served as Israel's armed forces in all the country's major military operations.

Basic training courses vary significantly depending on your job placement and the location of your course. There are different levels of basic training for Kravi (combat) soldiers, who are on training level 05 or 07, and Jobniks (soldiers who are not in Kravi units), who are on training level 02. Within each of these groups, the approach to basic training tends to be different on each base.

Despite the differences, certain elements are constant to basic training. Every course includes shooting skills and physical training, and requires soldiers to help guard the base. You will be trained in matters of discipline and expected to complete tasks during defined time periods; these tasks include how much sleep you get, your breaks, the time you spend eating, and even your speed at getting into line. There will be a sense of distance between you and your commanders, which means that you will need to learn how to approach them appropriately and ask permission for a range of requests.

Before you start basic training, it is important to speak to friends and hear their experiences, so that you will have a broader idea of what to expect during your course.

Keep in mind that ultimately, which basic training course you do depends on the job you are given in the army, and this relates directly to your Hebrew level and physical profile. Generally speaking, each job has its own course. Courses can be one month long, seven months long or longer, depending upon the job you are assigned.

The army organizes basic training groups using a numbered scale. You will receive a number known as your  Rovaeii, ????? (level of training). The numbers classify you as follows:

    * 02 training is for jobniks and could involve a 1 month course, or possibly longer

    * 05 and 07 training is for Kravi units and involves 7 months of basic and  advanced training

    * 08 training is for individuals who finish the commanders course for Kravi

    * 12 training is the officers course for Kravi

    * 13 training is for the pilots course

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