Remedios Cruz joined the Marine Corps in 2013 as a supply clerk. One year later, she completed infantry training, and in 2017, made history when she became one of three females to join 1st Battalion, 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Now, Cruz is awaiting separation from the Marine Corps after pleading guilty to maintaining a romantic relationship with a subordinate. Cruz, 26, eventually married the person, who was a lower-ranking Marine in her unit, according The New York Times. “The biggest mistakes I’ve made in the infantry were from my personal relationships,” Cruz told the Times. “I really want to move on.” Cruz was reduced in rank from sergeant to corporal and restricted to the base after pleading guilty to fraternization as part of a broader plea agreement. The commanding general of 2nd Marine Division will now decide if she will be forced out with an other-than-honorable discharge, according to the Times.
As the first female airplane pilot in Afghanistan, Niloofar Rahmani became a powerful symbol of what women could accomplish in the post-Taliban era. But in the ultraconservative country, the limelight also brought threats, sending her into hiding from insurgents and vengeful relatives. Now, more than three years after she earned her wings, the 25-year-old Afghan air force pilot hopes to start a new life in the U.S. where she has applied for asylum, saying her life would be in danger if she returns home. Capt. Rahmani went to the U.S. in the summer of 2015 to train on C-130 transport planes with the U.S. Air Force. The course ended Thursday, and under the terms of her training stint, she was due to go back to Afghanistan on Saturday. She won’t be going. “I would love to fly for my country—that is what I always wanted to do,” Capt. Rahmani said from Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, where she completed the flight training. “But I’m scared for my life.”
The first female soldier to participate in the Army’s initial training for the Green Berets — side by side with men — failed to complete the course, The Washington Times has learned. The enlisted soldier is the first woman to attend U.S. Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection, the first step toward earning the Special Forces name and the coveted green beret. Since Defense Secretary Ashton Carter opened all combat jobs to women in December, a number of female troops have applied for direct combat roles from which they had long been banned. No woman has achieved the qualifications to become an Army Ranger or Green Beret, a Navy SEAL, a Marine Corps infantry officer or an Air Force parajumper, among other combat specialties. The first woman to try out for the 75th Ranger Regiment failed to complete the course this month, The Army Times reported. Three female soldiers have completed the Army’s Ranger School but not the qualification for the special operations Ranger regiment. In July, The Times reported that two female officer candidates had been accepted to attend a Special Forces Assessment and Selection class that begins in the spring. On Sept. 2, the unidentified female enlisted soldier reported to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She passed the physical fitness test and the first half of the grueling, 21-day weeding-out process, during which 10 percent to 15 percent of her classmates dropped out. During the land navigation phase of the training, she either withdrew voluntarily, was medically dropped or was administratively removed for not meeting standards, said three sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Pending review boards, she may try again. Historically, only one-third of candidates pass the entire course. “An average class is 300 candidates, with a 10 to 15 percent attrition rate after the physical fitness assessment. The total attrition rate at the end of SFAS is 60 percent,” warfare center spokeswoman Maj. Melody Faulkenberry said in a July interview regarding the first two female officer candidates invited to Special Forces Assessment and Selection. Army officials would not confirm or deny that a female enlisted soldier was enrolled in the training. They would not release her name, rank, military occupational specialty (job) or deployment history. She did attend Airborne school because all Special Forces candidates must be Airborne-qualified. Army Special Operations Command would only release a statement about Special Forces Assessment and Selection. “The Special Forces Assessment and Selection process, and subsequent Special Forces qualification training are very challenging experiences — experiences that can be made more difficult with the additional pressure that often comes with focused media attention on particular individuals due to their race, color, gender, religion, national origin and sexual orientation,” Lt. Col. Robert Bockholt, the command’s public affairs director, said in an email.
There is nothing funny about combat. Anyone who has ever been in the fight will tell you that war is not a joke or a subject for a punchline. This was the case last week when the liberal media and several late night talk shows made light of an amendment I proposed to an annual defense bill to force a debate on the merits of integrating women in the infantry and special operations and therefore requiring they register for the draft. It was branded as a “joke amendment,” by one late night show host. Another called it a “sarcastic” exercise. Clearly it struck a nerve. Good, I say. It is about time that liberals take an interest in our military, even if for just a moment to defend the social experimentation that is being imposed on the services. In doing so, however, they egregiously misrepresented the basic substance of the argument on whether women should or should not be required to submit for draft registration. Women have long been exempt from the draft—and for right reason. In 1981, a challenge to the exception was heard by the Supreme Court, which determined that the practice of registering men only for the draft was constitutional. The rationale was that since women were excluded from ground combat, they should not have to register. Congress agreed and subsequently reaffirmed the exception. More than 30 years later, the Obama administration turned things upside down when it demanded that women be integrated into all combat specialties, including infantry and special operations. The Marine Corps resisted, arguing that all specialties can be opened with the exception of the infantry, which is assigned the duty of finding and killing the enemy, often through close-quarter combat. The Marine Corps even produced an independent and peer-reviewed report to make their case. The report was ignored. Not long after, during a Senate hearing in February, both the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Army Chief of Staff endorsed the idea of women registering for the draft. They conveyed a point similar to what the Supreme Court concluded decades earlier. If women are in fact integrated in combat roles, then they should eligible for the draft. The Secretaries of the Army and Navy said the issue should be discussed. The time to have that discussion is now. The services have already begun integration and it will take up to three years until it is final. Before Congress decides whether to permit full integration to go forward in this time, it must also consider every issue—good or bad—that comes with the Obama Administration’s desire to fully integrate infantry units and special operations. Having served in ground combat as a Marine Corps officer, including a tour in Fallujah, Iraq, I am more than willing to be the person to force the conversation, because if I do not, who will? Will the late night talk shows do it? Not a chance. How about liberal talking heads in the media? Keep dreaming. When I proposed my amendment, I even did so with the intention of voting against it. It passed by a vote of 32-30, with Democrats on the Armed Services Committee uniting in support. They are now on the record as upholding draft registration for women—I am not, along with 29 others who voted no. Let me be clear: I don’t support women in the infantry or special operations, nor do I support women registering for the draft. One of my Democratic colleagues even referred to the amendment as a “gotcha” effort. That was hardly the case. The issue of integrating women in combat specialties is far too serious to ignore. So are the consequences of opening these specialties and the draft is one of those consequences–like it or not. Liberals have even suggested there was some grand strategy in order and the amendment backfired. Not even close to true. The strategy, if one existed, was to force members to go on the record and state a position, rather than hide. In Congress, we are asked to make tough decisions all the time and we must embrace that responsibility. Though it is far from certain what will happen to the provision. In all likelihood, it will be removed from the bill through the floor process or during House-Senate negotiations. Worth noting also, Representative Charlie Rangel once voted against legislation of his own that reinstated the draft during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His legislation was strongly opposed in a floor vote. To his credit, he succeeded in forcing a debate that was worth the time and attention of the American people. It is a fact that women have been placed in combat situations through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that is much different than serving in the infantry or with a special operations unit—especially in a conventional setting, which is unlike the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism missions of the last 15 years. Of course, there are surely some women that can meet or exceed the standards, though Congress will need to consider whether that should necessitate accommodating such a shift in military culture and mission effectiveness. Something tells me that the late night hosts and liberal media pundits who have found humor in this issue have never served a day in their lives—or even given the idea thought. The military is not for everyone. But they do a great disservice to all of our military men and women by trying to ignore the effects of the Obama Administration’s decision making. Count me as one Marine Corps veteran in Congress who won’t let that happen. – Republican Duncan Hunter represents California’s 52nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hunter is a Marine Corp combat veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He is the first Marine Corp combat veteran of these wars to serve in Congress.
Outstanding!! As a fellow former “field grade” officer who has served in a combat theater as well, I wholeheartedly agree with Congressman Hunter’s (R-CA) assessment here, and his position. While we BOTH agree that there are some outstanding women who serve honorably in the armed forces, being in the infantry or special operations forces is an entirely different discussion altogether. And, it’s a serious discussion that is WAY overdue now that the agenda-driven, extreme liberal Obama administration (with the support of the liberal media, HollyWEIRD, and Democrat politicians) has forced it upon us…at a time when they’re drawing the military down anyway. As we reported here at The Daily Buzz… The U.S. Army has been gutted to levels not seen since WWII…and now Obama wants to, at the same time, inject his politically correct social engineering into the mix.
The House Armed Services Committee approved a measure Wednesday requiring women to register for the military draft, a move that comes just a few months after the Defense Department lifted all gender-based restrictions on front-line combat units. In a twist that presages how contentious further debate may be, the author of the amendment voted against his own measure. It passed the committee by a vote of 32-30. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a former Marine who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, doesn’t support drafting women into combat and he’s opposed to opening infantry and special operations positions to women. He said he offered the measure to trigger a discussion about how the Pentagon’s decision in December to rescind gender restrictions on military service failed to consider whether the exclusion on drafting women also should be lifted. That’s a call for Congress to make, Hunter said, not the executive branch. “I think we should make this decision,” he said. “It’s the families that we represent who are affected by this.” At times, Hunter evoked graphic images of combat in an apparent attempt to convince committee members that drafting women would lead to them being sent directly into harm’s way. “A draft is there to put bodies on the front lines to take the hill,” Hunter said. “The draft is there to get more people to rip the enemies’ throats out and kill them.” But if Hunter was trying to sway people against his amendment, his plan didn’t work. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said she supported Hunter’s measure. “I actually think if we want equality in this country, if we want women to be treated precisely like men are treated and that they should not be discriminated against, we should be willing to support a universal conscription,” she said. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a retired Air Force fighter pilot, said draftees aren’t exclusively sent to the front lines. There are plenty of other useful, noncombat positions for them to fill, she said. Hunter’s amendment will be included in the defense policy bill that authorizes the defense budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The full House will take up the bill soon.
This is a toughy.. We’re all for having women serve in the military. I’ve worked with, and for, several very competent women in uniform. That said, putting them in the infantry and special operations forces is a bridge too far for a variety of very legitimate reasons that the dominantly liberal mainstream media, and many agenda-driven liberal Democrat politicians, foolishly dismiss under the pretense of anti-woman bigotry…which, of course, is silly. Having women register for the draft is the wrong move. So, as someone who also has served in a combat theater, I’m siding with Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) on this one.
The Air Force’s vaunted Thunderbirds jet fighter aerobatics team is not diverse enough inside the cockpit. Brig. Gen. Christopher M. Short, commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, said in an email last month that of 15 pilot applicants for three openings, 14 are white. He asked fighter wing commanders to stir up more candidates who “don’t necessarily look like each of you.” He bemoaned the fact that, not only is there a lack of diversity, but the number of applicants to make the world-famous team has taken a puzzling drop in the past two years. “I am asking for your help in finding the right pilots for next year’s Thunderbirds team,” is how Gen. Short begins his email. “While we have several qualified candidates that many of you submitted, I am lacking the depth in talent we’ve seen in previous years and I am lacking in diversity of gender, ethnicity and [aircraft type] background,” Gen. Short wrote. His wing commands more than 100 combat aircraft, as well as the Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Thunderbirds. “As you look out at your wings, I’d also ask you to look at those pilots that may have the ability to reach our audiences that don’t necessarily look like each of you,” he said. All eight current Thunderbird pilots are white males. Of the eight, six fly the demonstrations, one flies as the lead and narrator, and one is the operations officer. They fly on the team for two years, and three of the six demonstration fliers are replaced annually. Gen. Short told the story of former Thunderbird pilot Caroline “Blaze” Jensen, the team’s right wing and No. 3 (now one of the openings), who was not only a skilled performer but also a public relations asset. The longest lines of fans seeking autographs typically formed in front of her. “Being a female pilot allowed her to make connections none of the other pilots were able to do,” Gen. Short said. “While she brought a different gender demographic — she was also a reservist — she earned her position on the team and, like each of the team members, did an amazing job representing our AF.” The general, himself an F-15 pilot, acknowledged that there may not be a sufficient pool of black and female pilots in the Air Force. “I don’t expect a huge push of diverse applicants, primarily because our pool isn’t very diverse,” he wrote. “But I need talent on the team as well, and some of the 15 applicants just don’t have the depth of record of our typical competitive applicant. I am hoping you have one or two you can engage and discuss the impact they could have on our Air Force by becoming a Thunderbird pilot.” He said he does not know why the number of applicants is shrinking. “If you have insights on why we are not getting the number of traditional applicants, I’d love to hear,” he said. “The challenge cuts across many [aircraft types] on the team, so I think it is a reflection of a slightly tired force — but there may be other factors I’m missing. I would really appreciate your help.” He added: “With over 200 days a year of [duty away from base] and a focus on retaining, recruiting and representing our AF, this has to be a volunteer, but I have found, and learned from others, that the reluctant volunteer often makes the best Thunderbird officer. I’d offer that those chosen for the team do very well in school and promotion competition — often they come in with the record that supports that — but we have taken very good care of those with excellent records.”
To read the rest of the article, click on the text above.
At a time when U.S. special operations are devising plans for the mission of accepting women into the male domains of SEALs, Green Berets and Army Rangers, the terrorist-fighting community is facing a looming readiness problem. The new challenge is tucked inside President Obama’s 2017 defense budget. It states that U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and its 69,000 personnel are up against “training challenges” and is seeing “minor impacts to the forces’ ability to accomplish missions” that could grow worse. Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs face some limits on training due to cutbacks in fleet and training range operations, according to a budget overview document sent to Congress last week. As this happens, SOCOM is looking at a spring deadline to begin tryouts for integrating women into teams where 85 percent of men oppose the move, according to a Pentagon-sponsored survey by the Rand Corp. Nearly 90 percent say that blending the sexes will lead to lowered physical standards for missions in which high endurance and brute strength are vital. Some male warriors are so opposed that Rand scholars labeled them “extreme.” Special operations forces are deploying at one of the most frequent rotations in history during the war on terror, begun Sept. 11, 2001. After conducting hundreds of manhunts in Iraq against al Qaeda, they are back in that country preparing for raids on the Islamic State terrorist army. Special Operations Forces (SOF), who kicked off the invasion of Afghanistan a month after the 9/11 attacks, remain in that theater. They also are deploying to North Africa and other regions to conduct counterterrorism training and occasional raids. “We are a force who has been heavily deployed over the last 14 years, and our military members, civilians and their families have paid a significant price, physically and emotionally, serving our country,” Army Gen. Joseph Votel, SOCOM commander, told Congress last year. Training for these precise covert missions is critical. SOCOM’s budget is remaining steady at about $10 billion. But the money crunch comes from the four services that contribute funding for special operations personnel and training time. The Pentagon’s budget next fiscal year is $523 billion, not counting overseas war costs. That is about the same spending level as fiscal 2016 and less than the $528 billion of five years ago. “One of USSOCOM’s greatest concerns is the potential impact of fiscal reductions in military departments’ readiness, which directly affects SOF,” the Obama budget says. “The USSOCOM has already witnessed reductions to the military departments that negatively affect SOF in a variety of ways.” In other words, if the Army and Navy cut training time or operations, it means less access for commandos. Navy SEALs, the budget says, are already “seeing training challenges associated with lower fleet asset availability, which impacts readiness and interoperability.” It further states: “The Marine Forces Special Operations Command is experiencing reductions in access to some important school seats. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command is seeing a reduction in the military training specific allotment as well as reduced staffing at heavily used ranges. If further Military Department program reductions become necessary, SOF is likely to see more negative impacts to its capabilities.” SOCOM spokesmen did not immediately have cost figures for the looming women integration. While he works out details with each service, Gen. Votel asked Defense Secretary Ashton Carter for a slight delay for submitting a plan to the Pentagon for how the command will let women try out for about 15,000 previously closed military jobs. One challenge will be indoctrination programs to make sure skeptical male commandos accept them. Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness, said the warrior culture change is worse than budget cuts. “Men in special operations forces do indeed have another reason to feel stressed, for reasons worse than budget cuts and stepped-up deployments,” she said. “Vertical cohesion, meaning mutual trust up and down the chain of command, has been shattered by USSOCOM leaders who are failing to defend their interests at a time when Pentagon authorities are imposing social experiments that will cost lives and missions in special operations forces.” Ms. Donnelly also criticized the command for allowing Rand researchers to label those adamantly opposed to women in SOF as “extreme responders.” Leaders, she said, “turned deaf ears to politically incorrect opinions about gender integration that were expressed in official surveys and focus groups.”