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One Video Shows The Role Women Have In Combat
TED recently released a talk delivered by noted journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, highlighting the women warriors who made history by joining special operations units in Afghanistan.
In the talk, Lemmon specifically honors the subject of her most recent book, 2nd Lt. Ashley White, a cultural support team member who made the ultimate sacrifice alongside two Rangers in October 2011 while serving in the line of duty. Lemmon’s book, “Ashley’s War,” is in the process of being adapted into a movie produced by Reese Witherspoon, says Army Times.
The book centers around a team of women who deployed in support of combat operations in Afghanistan, where it can be incredibly difficult to reach the female populace due to taboos revolving around gender norms.
Lemmon says,“If you want to understand what's happening in a community and in a home, you talk to women, whether you're talking about southern Afghanistan, or Southern California.” Therefore responding to the need to acquire more information to aid the operations in the region, the U.S. began the process of developing cultural support teams in 2009.
These teams were extremely valuable not only in winning hearts and minds, but just as importantly, in ascertaining nearby threats that otherwise would go unnoticed by the Ranger units operating in the area. Lemmon offers examples of cultural support team members uncovering threats from hidden insurgents lying in wait, to discovering the roadway they were meant to take was littered with ordinance. The role these women played in special operations units was undeniably valuable, and likewise unprecedented.
Cultural support teams were made up entirely of women who “at this time in the war … would be seeing the kind of combat experienced by less than five percent of the entire United States military,” while women were still officially banned from combat.
“These may well be our own Tuskegee airmen,” Lemmon adds among loud expressions of affirmation, referring to the first all-black pilots to serve in combat missions during World War II. Her comparison draws parallels between the removal of restrictions on minorities serving in the armed forces and the ongoing fight for inclusion of women in combat roles.
Lemmon concludes by honoring the progress of these women pioneers, and shares a moment from White’s funeral, where a stranger told White’s mother, “I brought my child here today because I wanted her to know what a hero was, and I wanted her to know that heroes could be women too.”
Watch the whole video below:
Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.
Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.
Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.
"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.
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Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.
Some Fort Bragg paratroopers who left for the Middle East on a no-notice deployment last month came home Thursday.
About 3,500 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team were sent to Kuwait beginning Jan. 1 as tensions were rising in the region. The first soldiers were in the air within 18 hours of being told to go.