Women may now be used in combat according to new military rules. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/01/women-combat-process/ Accordingly, there is no job that a woman cannot do in the military as long as she passes the same tests as men are required to pass to be assigned to such work. For some women this is another step on the ladder of equality but I wonder.
I was in basic training for the military in 1962. At that time the barracks next to ours was a female quarters. They participated in many of the activities, except the standards of measurement were different and some of the specialties were not available to them. I can recall that a bunch of young men who had been pent up on the base in a grueling schedule of physical and mental training looked forward to the occasional 3 AM fire drill when the women were required to exit the barracks with whatever they had on. We were in Texas in the middle of July, so the clothing was light, if non-existent. But aside from this experience, I didn't serve with a lot of women in my six year tour of duty. As it was, I was never in combat and any woman could have done my jobs.
As a young man I was taught to respect all women, as nuns were my first encounter with education. I honored my mother and have always treated my wife and daughter with a reverence that exceeds that which I showed my sons. I suppose the code of chivalry run deep in my bones. I have worked with women and for them, as my last boss was female. I never had a problem viewing women as equals, although I felt a deep rooted responsibility to provide and protect the female of the species.
But the thought of women in the throes of combat, attempting to kill or be killed, bothers me a bit. I also shudder to think of what might happen to a woman captured in the field, with the lack of standards that our enemies have exhibited. The prospect is grim. But women have been captured in combat before and survived. It is an assumed risk.
I just question this new found freedom for the women of America to fight their own wars, wallowing in the jungle slime or braving the desert heat to kill America's enemies. I did my part when I was called but don't envy the task.