Monday, August 24, 2015

Not My Infantry

In all of the attention given to the two women who graduated from Ranger School, we find some doubters who will never believe that a woman can qualify as a ranger without some favoritism.  As part of the discussion we have James Lechner, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and former Ranger, who questions whether the Ranger course adequately tested the female candidates under combat-simulated conditions and whether it makes sense to open all combat units to women.
“American women certainly serve with honor and distinction, provide some capabilities that males may not be able to provide,” Lechner said. “But when you talk about your fighting units, your combat arms units, especially the infantry . . . you don’t need to just have the minimum standards. You need to have as good as you possibly can get.” (emphasis added)
 Maybe the Army thinks like that now.  The Army sure the fuck did not think that when it assigned me to the infantry.  At my best either one of those newly-minted female rangers is far, far superior to me in infantry skills.  "As good as you possibly can get" was not the coin of the infantry in 1970-71.  It was more like "how many bodies can we process through nine weeks of minimal infantry training (more like familiarization, really) before shipping them off to Vietnam."

It was all about bodies.  Luckily, mine was not one of the bodies that came home in a bag.