Real qualitative differences must be weighed over women in combat

AS A veteran armor officer of the US Army, I have noted the Globe’s continued opposition to excluding women from military combat specialties, most recently in the Jan. 6 editorial “New uniform shows reality.” A realistic discussion of women in combat should include the review of articles like the one in the same day’s Globe that reported that women were uninterested in front-line combat jobs because they believed they would be unable to do them (“Women’s military roles slow to evolve,” Page A9, Jan. 6).

A better review of the policy requires one to consider the physical requirement of actual combat roles, as opposed to being exposed to combat situations while serving in non-combat roles. Living in an M1 tank, a Stryker, or a foxhole for weeks at a time presents physical challenges for which the average-sized man is better suited than the average-sized female. Being in a combat role on a day-to-day basis requires tasks that the average-sized female cannot physically do.

This is not the same as the illogical arguments once made for excluding African-American men. This policy is about the actual physical capabilities of the average individual.


Please don’t imagine that I am some Neanderthal in my thinking. I am the proud father of three athletic and educated young women, whom their mother and I have raised to believe that they can do anything that they want to do. Not being a combat arms soldier will not prevent them from being the leaders that they aspire to be.

Sean P. Hurley