The Conversation

Placing Women in Combat has a Secret Cost--To the American Taxpayer

My fiancee, Kimber, is in the service. She recently opened my eyes to a fresh perspective on the topic.

"My concern lies with the demands of the MOS (military occupational specialty) that must be either altered or done away with completely. The military specifically identifies physical requirements for each MOS, from cook to artillery to human resources clerk. Yes, we all have to meet minimum requirements for load-bearing--for women, that's usually around 25 lbs. or more of gear. So we must be able to walk long distances carrying that weight. If you are, say, Signal (Radio/Communications), you must be able to carry your equipment for that as well. Radio equipment could go up to 20 lbs. 

That's more than 40 lbs., over rough terrain. And you cannot leave your gear under any circumstance.

It is common knowledge that a woman's hips are anatomically wider than a man's. I don't think I have to go into detail as to why that is. Over time, load-bearing over long distances can cause hip fractures. Across services, female troops are warned about our natural vulnerability to hip fractures while training. Most women in the service know a significant hip fracture as the death knell of their military career. 

If my fellow warriors deploy and sustain injury of that nature, they will have to separate from service. That is more than a loss in troops: That is a loss of the millions of dollars it took to train those troops. That is a loss of mission capability. That is a loss of vital experience that those women have. Troop turnover and replacement will increase, which again, translates to more money. If we are to place women in roles where the physical requirements are to the extreme detriment of their natural physiology, we must be willing to accept the consequences.

I'm not saying women can't fulfill Combat MOS requirements. But the risk for injury is greater than it is for male troops. This means more injuries sustained in the line of duty and increase in troop separation and turnover. This will ultimately cost the American taxpayer billions."


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