The United States has a solid force in the Gulf region of over 24,000 military men and women. The operative phrase here is men and women - working side by side, doing their jobs as soldiers, sailors, marines and pilots. It is not a gender separate operation in any sense - it is a military operation - and some of the military personnel happen to be female.
There are 22 Navy ships, some carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles. Women are a part of these crews, and some women are pilots.
There are over 200 military aircraft in the area, including B-52 bombers on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia. The B-52 bombers deliver air-launched cruise missiles.
Women are a part of these crews, and some women are pilots...and for them it is business as usual - it's not a big deal and shouldn't be spotlighted as one. Lt. Kendra Williams' reaction to the news that sometime during Desert Fox she became the first female pilot to drop bombs and launch missiles during combat was exactly the right one.
"I was just doing my job," Williams told reporters aboard the USS Enterprise. Two other female top guns are aboard the Enterprise, Lyndsi Bates and Carol Watts, fly Hornets - that's their job.
In the Air Force, 1st Lt. Cheryl Lamoureux became the first woman on a combat air mission as member of B-52 crew that fired cruise missiles - that's her job.
Lt. Carol Watts from Strike-Fighter Squadron THREE SEVEN (VFA-37) the "Ragin' Bulls" discusses her mission into Iraq with Lt. Lyndsi Bates which was launched from the deck of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65). (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Third Class Tedrick E. Fryman III)
And that's the way it should be - women and men in the armed forces are doing their jobs! My only reason for posting this is to acknowledge this. Finally in the '90s the real women in the military continue to do their jobs, continue to serve their country, and wonder why there is so much hue and cry, signifying nothing, over their willingness to serve. They perform with pride as soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines - and if that job is in a combat zone or on the moon - women will do it as well as men. All they ask is a chance to be an integral part of the Armed Services of the United States of America...nothing more... nothing less.
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