Femme Fatale 2010
AIR AND SPACE POWER JOURNAL MAXWELL AFB AL
Pagination or Media Count:
Women have always participated in armed conflict, most often as active supporters of the armies they followed. Some women, usually the wives of soldiers, served as nurses, laundresses, cooks, and seamstresses. Others chose active participation in battle, including the famed Mary Hays McCauly, who earned the moniker Molly Pitcher during the Battle of Monmouth in 1778 when she provided medical care and pitchers of water to Continental Army members fighting the British. After shrapnel struck her husband, McCauly took up his position as a gunner so that the artillery crew could continue to fight. Gen George Washington rewarded her bravery by making her a noncommissioned officer. The story of Molly Pitcher symbolizes the realities of women and war, which has always affected them to some capacity, despite civilized societys best attempts to protect the gentler sex from wars brutality. Yet, regardless of Molly Pitchers successes on the battlefield, American culture has traditionally denigrated female participation in war. In most cultures, even today, the idea of a woman engaged in combat operations is anathema. History, therefore, has either completely dismissed female contributions and participation in armed conflicts or relegated their involvement to scandalous supporting roles, such as prostitutes or pillow-friendly spies. In an effort to explore whether current US laws and policies excluding women from combat remain valid or need amending, this article reviews three case studies that demonstrate the variety of ways women have participated in modern armed conflict. The first one examines the experiences of World War II female Soviet pilots in their more traditional involvement in armed conflict. The second analyzes the asymmetric aspects of female participation during conflict, focusing specifically on terrorist activities.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations