US Air Force Chief of Staff General Dave Goldfein has announced that the third verse of the Air Force Song — most often sung alone, during memorials or at the end of Service Academy games — is now officially gender neutral:
At the Air Force Association’s conference in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, Goldfein recalled attending a women’s volleyball tournament at the Pentagon last year, when the U.S. Air Force Academy thoroughly beat the other service academy teams.
As Goldfein sang the Air Force Song with the female cadets, it was apparent that the lyrics left them out…
So, Goldfein said, he’s ordered the song to be tweaked slightly, to reflect that fact that women serve in the Air Force.
“These are the women we will ask to go into combat and fight, just as women have done for a generation…Yet this version of the song, their alma mater, was not about them…It is time for us to change.”
This is far from the first time the Air Force has neutralized Read more
A women-only mandatory briefing held by the 82nd Training Wing at Sheppard AFB a couple of weeks ago has already gained some notoriety on social media both for its content and the manner in which it was held. It apparently had good intentions:
Five NCO’s [sic] and the base’s director of Military Equal Opportunity stood at the head of the auditorium ready to lead an honest conversation about being a female in a male dominated career.
But you know which road they say is paved with good intentions.
Some joined the online conversation to call the very concept of the meeting unwise, if not discriminatory. (Consider, for example, if the Air Force had officially called a mandatory meeting of only white Read more
On average, there tend to be physical and other physiological differences between men and women…
[The Services must] mitigate the potential for higher injury rates among women…[to] maximize effectiveness in the fight and increase readiness.
The Secretary of Defense’s statement on opening combat roles to women appears to affirm the US Department of Defense’s counter-cultural conclusion that men and women are not the same. Read more
Update: It seems the US Marine Corps had some thoughts on these unusually frank articles. While they are still posted at their links below, each has been edited to indicate it is an “editorial,” and all are now preceded by official disclaimers.
In an unusual media burst, the US Marines released six articles written by young enlisted troops on rather unusual topics — and generally critical of their own Marine Corps in unusually frank tones. Three of the six articles were uncredited, though they were all published through AFN-IJ (Iwakuni), and the three that had by-lines were all written by AFN-IJ staff members.
In the first, Corporal David Bickel wrote in favor of “Vaping in Government Facilities,” in which he criticized the ban on using nicotine vaporizers in government buildings, saying
The reasoning behind the rules against vaping in the barracks have [sic] little to no ground to stand on as well as little relevancy to the topic of tobacco smoking, which the government classifies as regular cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and vaporizers.
In the second, an uncredited troop sarcastically bragged that Read more
The 552nd Air Control Wing, which flies the E-3 Sentry, went out of its way to find 19 female Airmen to fill the flight deck and mandatory crew positions of the AWACs. They “made history…by fielding an all-female flight crew.” The wing pulled women from every unit, including Reserves, to find enough female Airmen:
The crew, comprised every operational flying squadron within the wing, took to the air on Aug. 23, in what is believed to be the first sortie flown by an all-female crew from the wing.
The “all female” flight routine has been done — and lauded — several times before, in other units and at other levels. It appears precedent has been set for every unit and airframe to make a “historic” gender-specific flight.
In an awkward twist, the four men onboard the aircraft appear to have been ignored so it could be called an “all female” crew: Read more
The ACLU and four female servicemembers have sued the Department of Defense because the DoD officially excludes women from (some) combat roles. (This is the second such suit to be filed this year, though “ACLU” may get a little more attention than “University of Virginia.”) The justification is largely similar to that which supported the repeal of DADT and the recent legalization of marijuana in some states: People are doing it anyway, so it might as well be made official.
In fact, the ACLU almost explicitly borrows the DADT mantra Read more
According to the Air Force Times, the all-female F-15E Strike Eagle combat flight orchestrated as part of Women’s History Month “spark[ed] debate” over the issue of women in combat. The article is largely composed of reader inputs to the Times’ calls for comment. Most of the comments support lifting restrictions, and most (including women) also say the standards should be the same for men and women.
The ironic part of that statement is men and women aren’t currently held to the same standard; for example, in every service women have different Read more
Remember that conversation about the military not always hyping gender?
With an eye to Women’s History Month, an F-15E Strike Eagle unit in Afghanistan recently orchestrated an “all-female” mission. Two F-15Es were flown by two female pilots and two female weapons systems operators. Though not all the other personnel are named, the rest of the mission support, generation, and planning was also “carefully planned” to be done “entirely by females:” Read more