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Women in combat

After reading Elaine Donnelly’s tirades against female soldiers in combat (“Stealth plan for women in combat,” Commentary, yesterday), I must say one would think she would have something more to offer than an inexperienced opinion.

Being a war veteran twice over, I never cease to be amazed when armchair critics get more editorial space than people who know what they’re talking about. Throughout my 29 years of combined service, I have endured the same hardships, dangers and demands as my male counterparts. I have lived and worked in austere conditions, lifted and carried heavy equipment and never hesitated to assist in the effort to help the enemy die for their country.

SCUD launches, mortar attacks, bunker sweeps, minefields and bullets were shared by everyone, regardless of gender.

Mrs. Donnelly’s one-woman mission against female soldiers is puerile and baseless. Women have been in war since time immemorial, and anyone who requires proof need only do a little research to find copious historical facts about female warriors, both individual and organized.

Contrary to Mrs. Donnelly’s comments, all soldiers are prepared for land combat through training, from boot camp through permanent duty assignments. That’s what the Army does.

Dismissing our service with inane pejorative terms such as “politically correct” and “feminist dreams” doesn’t give much credit to the women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in this and every war fought by the United States.

Mrs. Donnelly’s commentaries are rife with contradictions. On the one hand, she says, “Improved training on how to evade or survive ambushes makes sense.” Then she does a 180-degree turn in the same breath and opines about “interchangeable men and women in or near land combat.”

In her convoluted logic, a bullet fired in defense is not the same as a bullet fired offensively. What nonsense.

Whether you’re ambushed, mortared at your base camp or on patrol, that, ladies and gentlemen, is combat.

Mrs. Donnelly’s philosophy reflects ignorance of history, no cognizance of the bravery of women in the war on terrorism, and a conspicuous lack of respect for those of us who do what Ms. Donnelly has never done — walk a few miles in combat boots.

SGT. 1ST CLASS

CHERYL MCELROY

U.S. Army

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