Honoring Women in the Military
By: Sue Fearless
Women have been a part of the war effort since the Revolutionary War, but in the early days of our nation they had to disguise themselves as men in order to serve. When they were accepted into military, women were given auxiliary roles. In World War I the US Navy and Marine corps allowed women to enlist. More than 12,000 enlisted and nearly 400 died during the war. In World War II a total of 350,000 women served in the US military. 60,000 women served as Army nurses and over 14,000 served as Navy Nurses but in 1942, 67 army nurses were captured in the Philippines by the Japanese, leading the army reserves to be created for women. The Navy, Marines and Coast Guard also established reserves for women and in 1943, the Air Force created Women’s Air Force Service Pilots who served stateside while male pilots served overseas. Women continued to break ground in the US military after WWII. Over 40,000 women served in the Gulf War in 1991 and engaged with enemy forces on an unprecedented level.
As the weapons and methods of warfare changed in the late 20th century, the Pentagon began to realize that gender mattered less on the battlefield. Because of the development in war fare once the war on Afghanistan began there was no front line, where women can provide auxiliary aide allowing women to fight alongside men.
As this war commenced, there was a concern that Americans weren’t ready to see women coming home in body bags but this is not case, women have demonstrated courage and confidence while in combat, winning medals of valor in the process. Which shows that the contribution of women in war far outweighed the complication.
As of 2015, women make up about 15% of the US military. More than 165,000 women are enlisted and active in the armed services with over 35,000 additional women serving as officers. Today, more than 365,000 women serve in the armed forces including the National Army Reserve.
Post 9/11, females make up 17.4% of Military Veterans. More women have served in the post 9/11 era than in any single previous conflict of war. They are the fastest growing segment of veteran population.
With this all being said, it is time we stand and bring more recognition and honor to these brave women serving our country! Besides our military women not being given enough merit for their courageous efforts in war and the military, we also have to bring awareness as to how disgusting, abusive and selfish they have been treated over the years. Although women have shown they too can defend our country and work side by side with our male troops, they still have had to endure verbal abuse, such as being called a bitch, a lesbian, dirty, smelly, etc., there has also been too many victims of sexual abuse.
I read on this one case, regarding the Johnson family, in which they received news that their 19-year-old daughter shot herself in the head. After not accepting this judgement, due to them knowing their daughter’s happy nature and impossibility of her taking her own life, they found out that she too, like many others, had been victim of sexual abuse and killed. In 2012 there were an estimated 26,000 cases of sexual assault in the military. Sadly, only 3374 were reported.
In partnership with Hillary Clinton, who has spoken up against women military abuse and with the Preventative Units created in 2008 within every military base to protect against abuse, we too need to help put a stop to this and speak up in defense of our brave female soldiers!
These issues are a few among many which we need to bring awareness to when it comes to women in the military. They fight as hard as our men do yet receive less recognition, are mistreated and offered the least benefits as veterans. More than half of the female veterans in need of care use personal medical providers in addition to VA services and pay out of pocket. To make matter worse, many have trouble getting jobs in the military even though they have served for so many years and are highly qualified.
Let us keep in mind that as of 2009 more than 30,000 single mothers have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. They need help and care for themselves and their children!
They are Mothers
They are Sisters
They are Daughters
They are Veterans
They deserve their recognition!