WOMEN

27 Candid Concerns From Special Forces Troops About Women In Combat

"It’s a slap in the face telling us that chicks can do our job."

A recent survey released by the Pentagon just proved how deep misogyny runs in the U.S. Special Operations Forces.

The research, conducted by Rand National Defense Research Institute in 2014, includes interviews from over 7,600 elite combat troops that work in Special Forces divisions such as the Navy SEALs, the Air Force and Army Green Berets. According to the survey85 percent of survey participants opposed allowing women into their specialty and 71 percent opposed allowing women in their unit.

If those numbers don't make it abundantly clear that the U.S. Special Forces troops are not super down to work with women -- the servicemen's candid concerns included in the survey definitely do. There were a few voices of reason, but many more men who expressed in no uncertain terms that they did not want to be anywhere near women in combat. 

The almost-300 page report includes dozens of remarks and concerns from those polled about allowing women into all combat roles. Here are 27 of them:  

Concerns about women being able to do the job: 

1. What is the benefit of adding a female to the team? What am I gaining by opening things to females that we don’t already have. -- E-5, MARSOC

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2. I want to know the reason behind it. That drives the process. If it is a capability gap, what is it: If equality, then it’s nonsense. Women are not created equal. I know bad-ass women, but even they can’t do it. -- E-6, Special Forces 

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3. I think for me, it’s always going to be in the back of my mind: Can this woman do the job? I don’t care what she’s shown me, what she’s done. There’s always going to be that trust factor in the back of my mind. -- E-8, SWCC

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4. Teaching women tactics is like training a 12 year old… During the event, when the firing began, the women put down their weapons and yelled, ‘Stop! It’s too loud’ -- even with ear protection. -- E-6, Special Forces

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5. Women are very protective. They nurture kids. Will a woman return fire and kill a child insurgent fighter? In Iraq, we were 10-15 kilometers ahead of the element. The female coalition soldiers would not return fire because there were kids in the crowd. It will happen in the ODA because women are protective creatures. -- E-5, Special Forces

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6. We [men] like to kill things and bang women. It doesn’t matter if she’s qualified. -- E-8, Special Forces

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7. This is a brotherhood. There are places for [women], but this isn’t one of them. They cause drama, especially on deployment. -- E-4, Rangers

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8. If you have a problem with other men in your platoon, you can just fight it out, or beat him up. But with women, they will pull the sexual assault card and that will no longer be possible. This will change the way business is done. -- E-6, SWCC

 

Concerns about the impact women might have on their image, both at home and abroad: 

9. You’d have to rewrite everything SEALs have worked for, the ethos: men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. Honestly, I feel like a female portrays weakness. -- E-5, SEAL

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10. It’s a slap in the face telling us that chicks can do our job. It’s not the physical aspect that bothers me. My issues are morale and retention. This wouldn’t be special to anyone anymore. -- E-4, Rangers

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11. This is an Alpha male specially selected environment. They believe they are the best of the best. Perception is reality -- people won’t believe they’re as bad-ass as they were. And adversaries will know that as well. It will degrade how we look at each other, but also how bad guys look at us. -- E-4, Rangers

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12. [Special Forces] will stop being looked at as elite. -- E-8, Special Forces

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13. If any of your sons or daughters are captured and held captive by evil people, do you want a bunch of girls to go get them or a bunch of pipe beating SEALs to rescue them? -- W-4, SEAL

 

Concerns that women may be a distraction: 

14. When I’m on a team and deployed, I want these guys… to be aggressive alpha males at all times. I don’t want them to shy away from that. Adding a female to the mix is going to be a distraction. They’re just going to try to impress the female, to compete for her attention. It will cause issues. -- O-3, MARSOC

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15. I deal with 21-30 year old guys in my unit. Half of them are single, getting in trouble and chasing women on weekends. It is hard enough to keep them focused. Now I would have to deal with this within the unit and we haven’t even gotten to mission preps and execution yet. -- E-6, AFSOC

 

Concerns that men will feel the need to protect the women: 

16. They’re sisters, not colleagues -- always something to watch out for. -- E-8, SEAL

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17. It’s in men’s nature. Women will get more attention. In combat, if a woman gets hurt, men may drop what they are doing to help her. -- E-6, Special Forces

 

Concerns about how having women around will impact troops' family lives: 

18. The men who join the SEALs are physical by nature and not so cerebral, so some may break down on deployments and cheat. There’s already enough drama amongst the wives. -- O-3, SEAL

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19. Me, I’m getting out [if women join]. I will walk away from years of service. A lot of guys will do that. There’s no way I’m going to explain to my wife why I’m going to share a hotel room with a woman. I’m not dealing with that. I deal with enough s--t. Them or me -- that’s the way it works. -- E-6, MARSOC

 

Concerns about women's health and hygiene:

20. A woman’s job, or purpose in life, isn’t to go do what we do -- kill and all. It’s to nurture. We sleep in the mud. A woman goes through that, it’s going to create so many problems on her body. -- E-6, MARSOC

 

Concerns about women's periods and PMS: 

21. And what about PMS and that time of the month? Do we just stock Midol and carry that around with us? There’s nothing good about that. -- E-8, Special Forces 

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22. I think PMS is terrible, possibly the worst. I cannot stand my wife for about a week out of the month for every month. I like that I can come to work and not have to deal with that. -- E-6, SWCC

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23. I have a wife. She’s very independent. But when that time of her month comes, she’s weaker. -- E-5, SEAL

 

Concerns about women getting pregnant: 

24. If she gets pregnant, she’ll leave the team. Men don’t leave the team. What if the Team Sergeant is a woman? Or the medic? Whatever cohesiveness is gained in training is lost, especially if the woman is in a key leadership position. -- E-7, Special Forces

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25. Now you’re taking someone we rely on. She decides to go out and get pregnant… If she even comes back after that -- because now she has a child to take care of -- I have lost an asset to the team who is not a one-to-one replacement. There is no one-to-one replacement. -- E-6, MARSOC

 

Concerns about what it would be like for men to watch women die: 

26. It’s inherent also, that seeing a woman die has a greater effect on a man’s psyche than seeing a man die. -- O-3, MARSOC

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27. We see men killed in a certain way. Females being killed will have a different political impact. There will be constant media imaging. -- E-5, AFSOC 

 

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