16 Aug 2009

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Music - Metallica)
Easing back into Reality Camp. I think the best way to get into the swing of things is to go hardcore. And since we're right about at HMS' second birthday, we need to celebrate!

Metallica - The Four Horsemen

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Army - Combat Infantryman)
G.I. Jane Breaks the Combat Barrier

As the convoy rumbled up the road in Iraq, Specialist Veronica Alfaro was struck by the beauty of fireflies dancing in the night. Then she heard the unmistakable pinging of tracer rounds and, in a Baghdad moment, realized the insects were illuminated bullets.

She jumped from behind the wheel of her gun truck, grabbed her medical bag and sprinted 50 yards to a stalled civilian truck. On the way, bullets kicked up dust near her feet. She pulled the badly wounded driver to the ground and got to work.

Despite her best efforts, the driver died, but her heroism that January night last year earned Specialist Alfaro a Bronze Star for valor. She had already received a combat action badge for fending off insurgents as a machine gunner.

“I did everything there,” Ms. Alfaro, 25, said of her time in Iraq. “I gunned. I drove. I ran as a truck commander. And underneath it all, I was a medic.”

Before 2001, America’s military women had rarely seen ground combat. Their jobs kept them mostly away from enemy lines, as military policy dictates.

But the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, often fought in marketplaces and alleyways, have changed that. In both countries, women have repeatedly proved their mettle in combat. The number of high-ranking women and women who command all-male units has climbed considerably along with their status in the military.

"Iraq has advanced the cause of full integration for women in the Army by leaps and bounds,” said Peter R. Mansoor, a retired Army colonel who served as executive officer to Gen. David H. Petraeus while he was the top American commander in Iraq. “They have earned the confidence and respect of male colleagues.”

Their success, widely known in the military, remains largely hidden from public view. In part, this is because their most challenging work is often the result of a quiet circumvention of military policy.


Just like always, the nay sayers like the Center for Military Readiness are proved wrong. It's time to open all parts of the military to all Americans who can meet the challenge.

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