Hmmm... In the past few days, there has been a lot of discussion about females serving in combat.I am reminded of years ago - the mid 1960s to mid 1980s, when it was a very “big problem” with females wanting to become firefighters. Nearly all California fire departments were all male at the time.
Similar to present day U.S. Navy Seals eligibility requirements, "the good ol' boys" at nearly all fire departments in California, and probably all the other states, thought up and developed rigorous physical requirements as part of the entrance testing. (I can remember on fire chief saying that it would be a cold day in hell before any female joined his fire department.) He did everything he could to make sure a female could not pass all of the physical requirements.
Such as, while wearing “turnout gear” or “bunker gear,” lifting and carrying a rolled 50-foot section of fire hose, climbing ladders, handling charged hoses, etc., in addition to being able to run a 440 track under a time constraint.
The “good ol’ boys” dreamed up all sorts of things, in the hopes that women would fail. (The facts is, very few of those "good ol' boys" would have passed their own requirements.)
However, the only real criteria should have been: Can you drag a firefighter out of a burning structure? In other words, are you strong enough to drag an unconscious person of 200 to 300 pounds to safety? Anyone who could do that, could certainly handle the rest of the duties. Today, there are many female firefighters – and, they do a great job!
I spent 13 years in the fire service - despite having a fear of heights. I was OK working on the roof of a one–story house, but not anything higher than that.
Every officer knew that. So, instead of climbing ladders at fire scenes, I footed the ladders, so other firefighters could safely climb. At drills, I would climb up to my maximum comfort level, about 12 to 15 feet. Then, I would interlock my left leg in the ladder’s rungs and hang off the side of the 35 foot extension ladder, so other firefighters could practice passing on a ladder.
Strangely, I had no problem being on the snorkel platform at about 50 feet in the air, because I felt safe doing that. Other firefighters who could practically run up and down a ladder, would not set foot on the snorkel.
Regarding women in the U.S. military participating in combat - they should have that opportunity.
Once again, the main criteria should be this: Can you drag your wounded battle buddy to safety? The second criteria, are you a good shot?The U.S. military should be an Equal Opportunity Employer.