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"Never, ever let anybody use your gender as an excuse."

"Women get flustered under fire. They're too fragile, too emotional. They lack the ferocity required to take a life. They can't handle pain. They're a distraction, a threat to cohesion, a provocative tease to close-quartered men. These are the sort of myths you hear from people who oppose the U.S. military's evolving new rules about women in combat. But for women who have already been in combat, who have earned medals fighting alongside men, the war stories they tell don't sound a thing like myths" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 25, 2013 - 49 comments

Team Lioness - Female Soldiers in Combat in Iraq

Team Lioness is the name given to a group of female soliders, (and the documentary about them) who were some of the first women in modern American warfare to engage in frontline combat — something that is officially forbidden by the military. "The female support soliders were assigned to the 1st Engineer Battalion and they were recruited to accompany Marine units during raids. Originally, the female soldiers were there to search and detain any women they came upon and to guard the unit's Arabic interpreter. Over time, however, as the situation in Ramadi deteriorated, the Marine units transitioned into a more offensive role, baiting insurgents into firefights in order to draw them out. Until officers higher up the chain got spooked over the possibility of a female soldier killed in combat and quietly disbanded the unit, members of Team Lioness were often right in the thick of things, including some of the fiercest urban firefights of the Iraq War."
posted by nooneyouknow on Nov 14, 2008 - 22 comments

...another less attractive but probably more realistic version of modern warfare in Iraq today ...

Pentagon to Soldiers: Don't Post those Trophy Videos Online ... another said it made him feel good to bring the gruesome reality of a soldier's life in Iraq to those living safely behind their "clean, white picket fences at home". ...the taking and posting of trophy video served as some kind of relief from the psychological stresses of serving as a soldier in such a violent and acutely dangerous place. ... and from PBS' Mediashift: Your Guide to Soldier Videos From Iraq
posted by amberglow on Aug 5, 2006 - 13 comments

Citizens Support Where Pentagon Fails

Marines recall faulty body armor. In yet another blow to the struggle to supply soldiers with adequate armor, 5,277 defective vests were recalled today from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In response to the armor shortages, new Oklahoma legislation would create "Patriot Plates," a $35 license plate of which $20 would go to supply body armor for Oklahoma soldiers. Soldiers have been lacking this armor for months now. According to an April GAO report: (PDF)
Because of the shortages, many individuals bought body armor with personal funds. The Congressional Budget Office estimated (1) that as many as 10,000 personnel purchased vests, (2) as many as 20,000 purchased plates with personal funds, and (3) the total cost to reimburse them would be $16 million in 2005. (P. 78)
Another continuing problem is a lack of adequately armored HMMWVs. "Current HMMWVs are protected only by canvas tops and have no additional armor protection." (P. 122) In this case, for protection from ambushes and roadside bombs, an add-on armor kit is required. However, "as of September 2004, the Army supplied 8,771 of the 13,872 Add-on Armor kits required by CENTCOM but still needed 5,101 additional kits to meet all requirements." (P. 121) Attacks on vehicles have accounted for as many as 40 percent of the 1,037 deaths attributed to hostile action.

But at least we can sleep soundly knowing that manufacturers are seeing record profits from all of this.
posted by ScottMorris on May 10, 2005 - 31 comments

Front-line troops disproportionately white

Front-line troops disproportionately white, not black. While blacks are 20% of the military -- compared with 12% of the U.S. population -- they make up a far smaller percentage of troops in combat jobs on the front line. In a host of high-risk slots -- from Army commandos to Navy and Air Force fighter pilots -- blacks constitute less than 5% of the force, statistics show. Blacks, especially in the enlisted ranks, tend to be disproportionately drawn to non-combat fields such as unit administration and communications. ''If anybody should be complaining about battlefield deaths, it is poor, rural whites,'' says Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University in Illinois.
posted by dagny on Jan 22, 2003 - 48 comments

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