Where is the Army I Joined?

Updated: November 19, 2013


By Steven Hildreth Jr.

I recently attended drill with my Guard infantry unit. Turns out, there has been a shakeup at the highest levels. There has been a pattern of misconduct and unprofessionalism that has brought great discredit upon my state’s National Guard. The new head honcho has been brought in by the governor with a directive to fix it or lose his job. In addition to Army-wide directives, such as one by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to include sexual harassment on NCOERs and OERs, the penalties for any sort of misconduct have been made more severe.

Sounds good, right? The problem is that the burden of proof is upon the accused to prove that they were not in the wrong. If the accuser is offended, then the accused is as good as guilty, especially if the accuser is a female and the accused is a male. The mantra that is being passed around by the new head honcho is, “How is this going to increase your lethality on the battlefield? If it won’t, then you should not do it.”

I would not have a problem with this if it were not coming from a place of hypocrisy.

I could talk about how training has become lax, how tools traditionally used to discipline soldiers have been taken from leaders, but the best example of this hypocrisy is a hot-button topic: political pressure to not only let females apply for combat arms units, but to ensure an “acceptable” number make it into these units.

My first experience working with a female soldier was when I arrived at my first unit. As an infantryman, I did not have any females training alongside me, nor did I have any female drill sergeants. There were no females at my line unit. Out the gate, I was tapped to attend a Combat Life Saver (CLS) class. This class includes a block of classroom instruction on how to treat emergency issues on the battlefield, some hands-on demonstrations on dummies, and then a mock patrol where all of those skills are put into practice.

I was one of a couple of infantrymen in the class. The majority of the people there were combat service support, admin types that would never venture outside the wire if deployed. I was placed in a patrol group and I was the only grunt in the ranks. Being the eager infantryman I was, and being that patrol ops were my bread and butter, I volunteered to lead the patrol. Instead, they picked a very obese black female E-4 type with a weave whose ACUs barely fit her to lead the patrol. I shrugged and went with it. After all, they taught her the same things they taught me in the first eight weeks of her training, right?

She took point, and I waited for her to throw back a wedge sign. Nobody did anything, so I took it upon myself to look back and throw back the arm-and-hand signal. The pogues looked confused, so I had them just go to a staggered column and spelled it out for them. We walked down an alley and we reached an intersection. I expected the patrol leader to call a halt and set up security, or at the very least clear down the intersection on both sides before continuing on. What did she do? Waddled right through the intersection without clearing her corners. I looked to the cadre member as if to say, “Sir, are you fucking serious?” He just shrugged and motioned for me to continue patrol. Fortunately, the point man was “killed” in rather short order and I immediately took control of the patrol, where we fared much better.

soldier3I wish that was a stand-alone incident, but the more time I’ve spent in the Army has taught me that this actually happens to be the norm. The vast majority of female soldiers I have encountered think it’s some sort of game and view the Army as a playground for them. Despite what anybody says, the Army is very much still male-dominated, and rather than aspire to show they can do what the males do, the average Army female adopts that playground mentality and engage in a variety of unprofessional conduct, the most common being flirting and sometimes sleeping with upper ranks. A female E-4 I encountered during in-processing to my first duty station had told me stories of sleeping with lieutenants and captains and her philosophy was that rank only applied on duty.

To segue back into the topic at large: it’s no secret that the Army is going to force combat arms to accept females amongst their ranks, as mentioned above. The Army will make it happen, even if they have to lower standards to do it. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that if females could not make it into combat arms due to none being able to meet current standards, then why did the standards have to be that high?

I’ll tell you why the standards have to be high: because this is combat. This is war. You must be capable of moving from point A to point B, through any terrain, under any condition, wearing between forty-five to one hundred plus pounds of kit, often on little sleep. If we take contact and I get shot, I have to know my buddy is capable of grabbing me and dragging me to cover. Lowering the standards to enforce a politically correct standard is going to get people killed. When it’s not getting people killed downrange, it will wreak havoc upon morale as the problems of combat service support are unleashed upon combat arms.

“But they’re professionals! They should be able to keep it in their pants!” There are two problems with this train of thought: it places the blame entirely upon male soldiers, and it assumes that an eighteen-to-twenty-two year old person is capable of such maturity across the board. The truth is, the average person in this age group is fresh out of high school, on their own for the first time, and their hormones are raging to the nth degree. Throw in stress and you have a guaranteed formula for comfort sex. This is not just the males’ faults, either. Sure, they can’t keep it in their pants on average, but just as common, the females can’t keep their legs closed.

Now, there are exceptions to all of the above. The best example as far as a female soldier who takes the job seriously would be a CST I’ll call Bobbi, who was interviewed by SOFREP for her experience working alongside SOF units. She approaches the job seriously, she is technically and tactically competent, and she carries the same kit as the male soldiers and does not fall out. If all of the females I’ve met in the Army were like Bobbi, then there wouldn’t even be a discussion. Unfortunately, she is the exception to the rule and not the rule.

And yes, I can hear the feminist screaming in the background that a lot of the sexual misconduct in the ranks is rape. Yes, the military has a rape problem, particularly with abuse of authority to the end of rape. That is not because the military is some rape-promoting machine. The fact is, the military is a coarse reflection of the United States. There is a rape problem in the United States, by developed world standards. People like to say, “Would you like your daughter to join the military knowing she is at risk to get raped?” By that logic, I should lock my theoretical daughter in my basement and have her live there. She is very much at risk to be raped at college, where alcohol and rohypnol are readily available. The military is just a convenient target of blame because of its status in society. Want to reduce rape, then teach your sons to seek consent and what consent is, and teach your daughters how to defend against the predatory mindset. But I digress.

Females in combat arms units and lowering standards to that end…tell me, O Exalted Brass, how in the hell is that going to increase my lethality on the battlefield?

Those words are disingenuous at best. They truly don’t care about fighting wars, not anymore. They’re more concerned with creating a politically correct Thought Police state within the military, where soldiers spend their time worrying whether they’ll offend somebody and attending sensitivity classes when they could be spending time honing their skills in closing with and killing the enemy. They’re worried about getting their next billet or star by way of showing their political puppet masters they can dance and follow orders with the best of them.

The Army used to be a place where boys were turned into rough men. It used to be a standard of how an army was supposed to operate. What the hell happened to the Army I joined? Where did it go? Can we get it back? If current trends become permanent patterns, then I fear the Army’s best days are behind it.




  1. JoeC

    November 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    SNAFU: Women have fought for equal rights for decades. When they get them they realize it isn’t the great deal they thougth it would be so they start fighting for privelege. Then they get privelege and everything goes to shit.

    • ToriiC

      November 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Most of the women who fight for equal rights legitimately want equal rights. It’s the women who “support” equal rights that don’t want them. I think that women should have a shot at any position, anywhere. But I also don’t think the standards should change. Equal is equal. Step up or step out, but don’t expect the standards to change so that you can feel equal.

  2. JoeC

    November 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Just to be clear, when I talk about the ones fighting for equal rights I’m talking about the ones marching up and down the street with signs in their hands on one day, then the next they wear a short skirt to work to get their boss’s attention so they can report him for staring at their legs.

  3. Jake

    November 19, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    These past couple of months have really been distressing. I’ve wanted to join since I was 12. But the new fucking bullshit has convinced me that it’s either the Marines or the 75th, not the regular army. Honestly entry standards from my point of view are so low that they barely exist. I’m 15 and I got a 100 score on the Army’s PT test.

    • nelson

      November 22, 2013 at 12:26 am

      Its true that standards have been lowered, but make no mistake, you do not have to lower yourself to them. Still go above and beyond. Like in combat, not everything goes to plan, and the biggest lesson we are taught is to simply adapt.In any branch and unit there will be bs that you will not agree with and might discourage you, but it only becomes an issue if you make it one. And do you mean a 300 on pt? Cause 100 is failing it. You would need 71 pushups, 82 sit ups (both within two minutes and correct standards. In my civilian job im a personal trainer and most of the athletes I train don’t know proper form that we are taught) and a sub 13 min two mile.I dont mean that last part to be insulting, I was just curious

  4. Boris

    November 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Didn’t you know that war is now going to be won by having conversations with the enemy? We’ll all sit down over tea and biscuits and discuss our feelings, then hug it out.
    Typical wartime scenario of the 21st C according to politicians:
    “Hey Ahmed, I apologise for shooting at you. I know this must have hurt your feelings, and I’m truly sorry for having offended you. I promise not to do it again. Can we be friends?”

    Society has become too hung up on PC. Given the other side doesn’t give a flying fuck, things are only going to get worse!

  5. fr088ie

    November 19, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    As a female in the Army, I’d like you to know that you’re completely on point. Too many times, I see females cry out for equal treatment. Then get angry when the equal treatment isn’t what they expected it to be. If anything, most want special treatment, not equality. I’m happy sitting at my desk.

  6. CH

    November 19, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    I am plagiarizing my comment from a FB post I read earlier, but I could’nt sum it better if I tried: Anyone who has been in the Infantry knows that passing initial training is the easy part.

  7. Andrew

    November 19, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    You can’t throw around words like equality and fairness when you talk about war, because war is something that’s inherently unfair. It’s a profession built entirely on pressing every advantage you have to make it as hopelessly unfair for the other side as it can possibly be. This shouldn’t be about making sure people feel included, it should only be about winning and taking only as many casualties as you absolutely have to. It shouldn’t be called misogynistic to want the Army to have the highest physical and mental standards possible, especially when the people calling the shots on this stuff aren’t going to be the ones sharing foxholes with the fallout.

  8. MOPP

    November 20, 2013 at 3:02 am

    It’s not just the Army, but the other branches as well. I am active USAF, go ahead and insert remarks here, but at one time we were coming close to acting like a part of the military. Now, not even close, the worst part is that we have let it come to this. We didn’t enforce what standards we had and didn’t speak out/against the new standards they are forcing down our throats.

  9. krista berryhill

    November 20, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I was a female division MP…joined in 1998. left in 2003. What you say is mostly true in the post 9-11 army…hence why I left. ask any old school MP male the difference between division and corps MPs…we HAD to be harder…male or female. research the roles of the two…I always found it funny when Infantry rolled past the FEBA and were shocked to only find three MP’s holding a checkpoint, one of which had tits and a nice smile!

  10. Terry

    November 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    If you show up to my National Guard mortar platoon without a CIB, we smoke the everlasting dog shit out of you. I took 21 over on our last trip to AFG and brought 21 home. 3 BSMs and 4 PHs for a bunch of NG 11Cs. Our FSC females, drivers and FET, shared the same dangers and served with bravery. And are jacked up by me when hair isn’t within regs. The problem isn’t women in combat. They are already there. The problem will be women in combat arms units in garrison. BTW, I really don’t trust the politically correct leadership at any level. And I have a PHR!

    I don’t care if my 11Cs are male, female, gay, straight or zebra striped. You will be an Expert at your trade, your craft, or my E5’s will crew drill the shit out of them until they are. Failure is not an option.

    It does help to be an E7, over 20, with another job. My three daughters keep me grounded, too.

  11. Braeburngirl

    November 22, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I was 18 when they first changed the selective service form to offer a choice of “Check One: Male. Female”. After checking Female, I tried to turn it in to the postmaster but the guy at the counter just laughed at me and said “Now honey why would you want to do that when you don’t have to?” Well how about because I believe everyone should serve their nation!

    I never did serve, but my better half and my son both did and I’m proud as hell of them. But if I had done it, if would have kicked ass just the same as they did because I am truly merciless if you fuck with me or mine.

  12. Kent Newland

    November 24, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Blah blah blah. Show me some sources, cite some actual statistics. I view this as just more whining, and frankly, I don’t care what you think.

  13. B

    November 26, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Totally agree. Going from active to reserves the first thing i noticed was the female soldiers who were perpetually flirting with any and everyone. Great article.

  14. John

    November 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Great article! Exactly how I feel. I think there’s hope that our Army will fix itself. Unfortunately the scenario I see causing this future change to a more serious war winning army involves a lot of dead bodies.

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