Dear Feminists: I’m already a Woman in Combat

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As I watched the video of General Martin Demsey announcing his endorsement of women in combat, I waited. I waited for the backlash. The backlash from the misogynistic males who already have a problem with any woman being in the service, unless she works in administration or the chow hall. The backlash from the “bible thumpers” pleading that we “think of the babies” and not place their mothers in harms way. But most of all, I waited for the feminists. The feminists always give the most entertaining responses to these new developments of the progression of females in the military. Controversial, passionate and interesting are their responses. So I was shocked to see some of my favorite girl power-based columnists and writers voting against the end of the ban. Well, I have news for you ladies: I’m already a woman in combat.

downtime during my last deployment

As a munitions specialist in the Air Force, I work with bombs, missiles and all things dangerous. This is what I do and have done for the past 12 years. I’m also an African-American women within this male-heavy AFSC, which makes me part of 3% of the munitions troops worldwide. With deployments (plural) under my belt, I can safely say that I’m in harms way every time I leave. If the enemy ever gets smart enough, my shop would be the first thing to go. Built-up live munitions just hanging out in open areas seems like the perfect thing to blow up in a war, so while I’m in that space, this is what I think of. As I build up yet another structure piercing air-to-ground bomb, I take it’s potential of destruction seriously. I’m in danger every time I work. Period. When a mortar hit the back of the tent while I worked my 12 hour shift on Christmas Day, almost blowing my whole crew to bits, I wasn’t thinking how lucky I was to not be a paratrooper. I was thinking that death was here and this was it. Don’t look past the obvious; we’ve been sending women into danger for all of the years of this war.

What I build, day in and out, when I’m gone

My thought is that these feminists speaking out think that they are doing us a favor. Please know this is not the case. Others are expressing that the General made his decision because of pressure to re-create our military to make it more “female friendly.” This is also not the case. I’ve heard comments most of my career stating “we don’t feel sorry for you or your children” and ” you chose this lifestyle, so live with it.” Well, I have. I also guarantee that the women who will pursue the military jobs that we were once banned from will do the same. Put down your pitchforks and just offer support, not oppression or judgement. That’s all we’ve ever asked for.

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

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  1. 1.28.13
    Lucrecer said:

    Preach it, sister! How is being on the frontlines more dangerous than handling bombs as you have been. You are so brave and I am proud to call you friend.

  2. 1.28.13
    SAK said:

    Exactly! Anyone who thinks women haven’t been in danger until now haven’t been paying attention. Thanks for all you do!

  3. 1.28.13
    Alex M said:

    Of course I think you’re the bomb — no pun intended (OK, maybe!). As a female who started in my career with very few other females, it was hard to get across to others that I did not want them to think of me as a “woman doing a man’s job” or even think of my gender at all. I wanted to be the best person in the job. No gender in play. I think it’s ludicrous that females have been undervalued for so long. I might not have had the muscles that my co-workers did (hey, I kept in shape better and longer and eventually was stronger!), there are other skills that were required where my size and agility gave me the edge. We are in a new world and the less we focus on perceived weaknesses, the stronger we will all be!

  4. 1.28.13

    I have heard that if there are two similar jackets, the one with “combat” experience will get the promotion, even if both people were in a combat situation. Is this not true? I think it is great that women are going to get the credit for being there, because as you said, they already are. I have heard no negative comments from other women, I am sorry you have.

  5. 1.29.13
    Anonymous said:

    I don’t normally comment on these sorts of things but I felt I had to add my support. You are quite right just because females do not appear to be on the frontline does not make their jobs in the armed forces any less dangerous. Thank you for protecting the rights of all (even those who should get back in their boxes and take a godd hard look in the mirror)

  6. 1.30.13
    Victoria from BHBH said:

    Feminist here, not sure if my comment will be any more interesting because of it.

    I’m also Canadian, which means I don’t know much about the situation.

    I’ve heard that opening up these positions will make it easier for women to get higher ranking positions. It’s too bad that they were not up for grabs already. Will this affect those in your field?

    I have heard as well that the danger women face is not just the opposition forces, but their own male comrades. I hope besides ignorant comments this is not something you have had to deal with.

    I like removing any ban that prohibits women (or transwomen/men) from following their dreams. Who am I to dictate what that dream should be?

  7. 2.1.13

    That is the one thing that always ticked me off when people talk about this topic. “not putting women in harms way” HA! what a load of crap. If they were really concerned about not putting women in harms way, then you wouldn’t be deployed multiple times. It’s just a stupid technicality. We have many female friends serving in the military, My husband’s driver in Iraq for 15 months was female. She was in just as much harms way as any man! She went on patrols, convoys, all of it right alongside the men! So that whole excuse of not wanting to put women in harms way just ticks me off.

    Thank you for your service. You do us as Americans honor, and we are grateful for all you do. I know it is not an easy job, and I honor you for it.

  8. 4.10.13
    JC Little said:

    Welp. I believe in equality…I think that anyone who breaks down barriers in any job, and particularly challenges barriers in people’s perception of that job, is likely doing a good thing.

    Thank-you for this post Amiyrah.

  9. 5.27.13
    Elizabeth said:

    Glad I got to read this again.

    • 5.28.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks Elizabeth!