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By: Jackson S. Wallace, Colonel, USAF Retired
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Women in Combat Cockpits or, Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.

The whole world loves women. We can't get along without them. They can be sort of pushy in these enlightened days but then maybe they have a right to be after centuries of repression. But look at them now.

They star in politics, the courtroom, at board meetings, in operating rooms, over 3300 of them in the pilot's seat of commercial airliners, a large number in many police forces, and are found almost anywhere else. Weren't' you impressed with Golda Meier, the prime minister of Israel and with Margaret Thatcher, the iron lady, the Prime Minister of Britain. And look at the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case, Marcia Clark. Did you ever see a more competent lawyer? Look at Mary Kay. Was there ever a more highly developed merchandiser? Look at Madame Curie whose name will be forever enshrined as a leader in medicine. And don't overlook the millions of women who raise families and take care of them with courage, beauty and grace. They are beautiful in a nurturing role.

Heavens. Did you ever see a more lovely sight than a young woman ankling down the sidewalk? No, and you never will. But, those same women can be found in an emergency room rising to the most horrible, bloody occasion with courage, competence, and compassion? Those courageous women are out there by the thousands. They treat the sick and wounded, they fly commercial aircraft, drive ambulances midst shellfire during the war, risk their lives for the sake of mankind and are we grateful? Of course we are.

You might be surprised to hear that all of our uniformed services boast of promoting women to star (flag) rank. Well, cast your eyes upon LGen Carol A. Mutter, US Marine Corps; LGen Claudia Kennedy, US Army; VAdm Patricia Ann Tracey, USN; MGen Susan L. Pamerleau, USAF. If that isn't an expression of gratitude, what is it? And, they are just the tip of the ice berg. It is said, for example, that by the year 2005, women will comprise 25% of the strength of the United States Air Force. Whew!!

No one questions their mental and physical ability to fly an airplane. They have demonstrated that with many wonderful examples over the years. You must recall Jacqueline Cochran and Amelia Earhart, two foremost examples. But ability to fly is not the problem here. To fly is one thing, but to fly in combat is another. To fly a fighter or a bomber in combat requires that the pilot kill people - women and children included indiscriminately. Will women ever be placed in that position? Who knows how likely that is? But, what we do know is that they are being trained in combat aircraft - if not to fly in combat, then for what reason do we spend the millions of dollars to train them for that duty?

Why is this happening? As all military pilots know, a military airplane is simply a platform from which we launch bullets, rockets, missiles, and bombs for the sole purpose of killing people. In the case of bombers, on a single mission, a bomber can kill thousands and thousands of people. So, the military can and must kill on command. Recall the fire raids on japan during World War II. Dropping incendiary bombs, the B-29 crews killed thousand and thousands of civilians. Look back on Coventry, on Cologne, on Berlin and remember what bombers can do.

Would you want your daughters to do that? The majority of men say absolutely and unequivocally not. Women should live their lives in freedom from the necessity to kill other people. Furthermore, many believe that is what most of our lovely ladies want, irrespective of the female liberation movement. Killing is a man's chore, the trenches belong to him. The cockpit is a man's domain where dirty pictures, pornographic literature and other matter should be free from a woman's faint heart.

Look at Blakey v. Continental airlines. Blakey found some offensive literature in the cockpit and was so outraged that she sued Continental Airlines for sexual harassment. If Blakey couldn't live with a bit of porno left in the cockpit by, presumably, a male pilot, how could anyone expect her or any woman to kill?

Women are simply not killers. Sure, there are exceptions to that rule. Consider Ruth Snider; look at Susan Smith who drowned her two children; louise Woodward. A dangerous baby sitter. And Karla Mae Tucker. Regardez vous Lucretia Borgia who was quick with a bottle of poison. And how about Lizzie Borden who took an ax and gave her father forty whacks and when she saw what she had done she gave her mother forty one?

Those are simply exceptions that prove the rule - women are not killers and our society should not try to turn them into killers. A few killers over the course of time do not make killers of the entire female gender.

How comfortable were you with the execution of Karla Mae Tucker? Did you have some troubling thoughts about killing her? A lot of people did. Why? Simply because she was a young woman.

Well, you ask, what's all this mess about if they are not going to be assigned to combat duty? Well, who knows whether they will, given the direction female liberation is taking in this world? After all, the Air Force is expecting that 25% of its personnel will be women by the year 2005. In any event, they are being trained to fly combat aircraft and if they are not actually going to fly combat, why spend a million bucks apiece to train them to fly combat aircraft? Count up the money. Right now there are 388 female pilots in the USAF and more are on the way every day! Well, there is one less now that Kelly Flinn has resigned from the Air Force. Where is the public benefit from the million dollars spent to train her to fly a B-52. A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon, to paraphrase Erv Dirksen, a long gone Senator, you are talking real money. For one, I am opposed to my tax money being used for the purpose of satisfying a woman's whim.

You can blame the female liberation movement and the perceived necessity to be politically and emotionally correct for the horrible possibility that we will turn our women into killers. After all, female votes are mighty important. Would it be politically and emotionally incorrect to deny the training to women just because it is a wasteful use of our tax dollars?

Tell me, what is your answer?

Back to Hangar talk

NOTE: Reviews and Opinions do not necessarily represent those of Landings, its personnel and employees.

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