Women in Combat
By PB Rose
Women in Combat. The Pentagon and the news media act as if this is a brand new concept. It is not. Women have served in combat in various forms from Molly Pitcher to General Dunwoody. Molly Pitcher filled in for her husband when he was wounded. Pitcher was reported to be pregnant at the time. Was Molly Pitcher a real person or a combination of several women who took their male partner’s (husband, father, brother, uncle, etc) place? Others know better than I.
Molly was not alone in serving her country, Deborah Samson volunteered to serve during the Revolutionary war. However, she dressed as a man and called herself, Robert Shirtliffe. She was wounded twice. And then she came down with brain fever. Doctor Binney, of Philadelphia, discovered her secret and sent her to his home for better treatment. When Samson had recovered, Binney spoke to her Commanding Officer and her secret was revealed. Soon Robert Shirtliffe was ordered to present a letter to General George Washington at headquarters in Washington. After pleasantries were exchanged, Ms. Samson received her letter of discharge, words of advice, and money for her voyage home.
Ms. Samson married Benjamin Gannett and had 3 children. Sometime later Ms. Gannett or Shirtliffe received a letter from General Washington asking Mr. Shirtliffe to come to Washington. During her stay a bill was passed awarding her a pension and some lands. The most important part of this trip was to tell her that she had been acknowledged as a soldier of the American Revolutionary War.
I can give more examples of women in combat, but a quick Google search will reveal up to
499 million hits and give you all the history lessons you may want or need. But the question is not about “are women able to be in combat?” or “are women physically able to do such rigorous jobs?” The lesson is society ready for this? Society has seen wounded female soldiers come home. Society has seen females in body bags. Even the Native Americans are acknowledging the women with the warrior feather. Can humanity handle a world in which women are considered an equal?
If it does, how does that impact domestic violence claims or equal pay for equal work claims and even the Equal Rights Amendment? Let’s not forget the abortion question. This could very well end the question of can a woman decide what she wants to do with HER body?