The uniforms told the suits that it was time to admit reality – women are in combat and have been for a very long time, so they are owed the ‘perqs’.
People who have never been in the military don’t understand that every job is not treated or compensated equally in the military. Because of my specialty in the military I was paid more in special pay than base pay, i.e. my pay was more than twice what an NCO of equal rank working in an office made. My re-enlistment bonus was much higher, and I received promotions much faster than someone working in an administrative specialty.
While women could and did do similar work to my job, they were blocked from certain assignments that almost guaranteed a promotion, and included special pay additions. The system wasn’t fair, but the Air Force was better than the other services. Things were even worse for Air Force officers, because of the ingrained assumption that only pilots were qualified to be commanders.
Mary Edwards Walker was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for her service in the Civil War, but they changed the rules in 1917 and demanded she return it. She told them to stuff it. The insult was rectified in 1977 and she is the only woman currently officially recognized as a holder of the award.
You can ask Jessica Lynch about having a ‘non-combat’ job, or Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. The Army’s Combat Action Badge is a step forward, but promotions are still easier if you have a Combat Infantry Badge in the Army.
Women have earned the right beginning in the Revolutionary War, and it is well past the time for their rights to be recognized.
January 24, 2013 Comments Off