Your opinion on women in the infantry doesn’t matter
By Nick Palmisciano
The President of the United States has decided that women will serve in every job in the military starting in April. Some of you are one hundred percent in support of this monumental shift. Some of you are passionately against it. I’m personally torn between an honest desire to remove ceilings for people who can do a job effectively and have the same drive I had as a young lieutenant, and a concern about female physicality not being sufficient. I could tell you otherwise, but those are the two things warring inside me right now.
But none of our opinions fucking matter. The decision is made. It will never be unmade. The new reality of the military is that women will be infantry. They will be armor. They will be in special operations. And this leaves everyone currently serving in these roles with a fundamental choice: lead them to become the best infantrymen they can become or be a bitch about it.
The ladies, they are a-comin’ and you gentlemen get one shot to set the standard and tone of what it means to be part of our community. You set the physical standard. You set the discipline standard. You set the combatives standard.
Yes, the military will try to fuck that up by pretending that the infantry isn’t made up of a bunch of animals. Yes, there will be majors and sergeants major and a bunch of clowns floating around blathering about what leadership really is and how you shouldn’t do this and that and the other thing that we’ve been doing for hundreds of years. Yes, it will be challenging and a pain in the ass at first, but you’re forgetting about our biggest ally in this fight to keep the infantry elite: the women joining the infantry.
I know in moments of frustration like this, it is easy to make this an “us against them” situation. I’ve seen a lot of people calling for women to register for selective service. I’ve seen a lot of people post things like “let’s see how they like it when…” with an insertion of something shitty that infantrymen have to do. And yeah, it annoys me too when some of the loudest voices in this fight for female integration have been from women that could not have, on their best day, been an infantryman, yet now that they are out, they’re pretending they would have been some kind of CAG operator “if only that had been available to them.”
But the women coming are not those women. The women coming are athletes. They’re trained. They’re determined. They don’t want to be “let” into the infantry. They want to earn their infantry status. They want to be hard as fuck, just like all of you.
So embrace that. Teach them to be hard. Teach them our craft. Set them up for success. You want this first crop of women to be successful. You want them to adopt our standard. More than that, you need them to.
The first reason for this need is obvious: you have to be confident in their ability in a combat situation. Selfishly, you should want any woman coming into the unit to be incredibly trained.
The second reason may be less obvious, but it is perhaps just as important long-term: these women will set the standard for all future aspiring female infantry. If you train them correctly, if you invest in them, if you ensure that our pride in service becomes their pride, they will never allow that standard to drop. They will be hard on future generations of female infantry and demand that their standard is maintained. When some pathetic female (or male) that never should have even breathed the word “infantry”, never mind joined it, complains to the chain of command or begins a congressional because she can’t meet the standard and she doesn’t like your mean words, you will need your sisters in arms there. They will have your back, because they will demand that the infantry standard be met, not some weaker version of it.
There are a lot of reasons women shouldn’t be in the infantry.
There are a lot of reasons women should be in the infantry.
But that’s all moot now. Women are in the infantry.
Given that fact, the “us against them” arguments are worthless.
So you either get on board with that and devote yourself to making the infantry standard “our” standard, or we all lose.
And I fucking hate to lose.