Monday, December 12, 2016

WOMEN IN THE MILITARY - Aspirations and Goals

"Part 1: These women aspire to combat roles — now they're training for them" PBS NewsHour 12/8/2016


SUMMARY:  Until recently, women were barred from U.S. military combat jobs.  Today females are volunteering for the most physically and mentally grueling Marine roles.  But is the Corps helping or hurting women recruits' readiness by separating training from males?  In a two-part series, William Brangham follows three female Marine recruits as they embark on tougher training than they have ever undergone.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  For decades, women have played important roles in the U.S. military, but, until recently, they were blocked from front-line combat positions.

But under orders from the secretary of defense, women can now try out for all combat jobs in all services.

Over the past several months, we have followed three female pioneers striving for these positions within the U.S. Marine Corps, considered the toughest of the services.

Producer Dan Sagalyn and correspondent William Brangham have the first of two reports.

DRILL SARGENT:  You should be standing at the division of attention.  That means your heels are touching, feet at a 45-degree angle.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  Eighteen-year-old Rebekah Wolff's life is about to turn upside-down.  She and a group of fellow recruits have just arrived at Parris Island, South Carolina.  It's day one of Marine Corps boot camp.

DRILL SARGENT:  Your mouth is shut!

RECRUITS:  Aye, sir!

DRILL SARGENT:  I said, do you understand me?

RECRUITS:  Aye, sir!

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  They now start thirteen weeks of grueling, disorienting, physically stressful training.

Rebekah Wolff is one of the young female recruits who wants to join the fight to go into one of the jobs that for generations had been blocked to women, until now.

Low-altitude air defense is what she wants to do.  It's basically shooting shoulder-fired Stinger missiles at enemy aircraft.

That's what you want to be doing, shooting Stinger missiles?

REBEKAH WOLFF, Marine Corps Recruit:  Yes.


REBEKAH WOLFF:  Because it'd be cool.


REBEKAH WOLFF:  Not a lot of females have had that opportunity until now, really, so that's exciting.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Of course, that's a long way off.  For now, she's not only got to prove herself at boot camp, but she will have to pass tougher physical standards than females have ever had to meet before.  On the first night, after filling out some paperwork, recruits are required to make one phone call home.

They're instructed to shout five scripted lines into the phone, nothing more.

WOMAN:  Thank you for your support!  Goodbye for now!

"Part 2: Female Marine recruits at boot camp strive to meet the same standards as men" PBS NewsHour 12/9/2016


SUMMARY:  For generations combat jobs in the U.S. military were blocked to women, but not anymore.  The question now is can women meet the same rigorous standards as the men in order to qualify for frontline jobs?  William Brangham has the second story on women in combat roles.

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