Copyright 2013 by John T. Reed

In the summer of 1976, my wife and I drove from Boston, where we were going to grad school, to visit friends in northeastern Pennsylvania. We were going past my undergraduate alma mater, West Point. I mentioned to my wife, who is a women’s libber, than the first class of women had entered the Academy on July 1st and asked if she wanted to stop and see them. I got a very enthusiastic yes.

I said one thing I expected they would have trouble with, because we men had trouble with it, is performing a manual of arms action called inspection arms. And guess what they were working on that day? Inspection arms. The cadets were scattered all over the Plain trying to master it. We were able to watch from 25 or 30 feet away.

The women were, just as I expected, have far more difficulty doing it than the men who were having the same great difficulty we had. One of my classmates who was stationed there as a professor at the time said they had to remove the spring from the rifles of the females and replace it with a weaker spring so the women could execute the maneuver. Some female grads have since told me that was not true, but I saw what I saw and my classmate was there all that year.

37 years, folks. Enough. It failed.

Anyway, that summer—1976—sort of marks the beginning of the big change with regard to women in the U.S. military. When I was in the Army back in the 1960s and early 1970s, the only women in the Army were WACs and nurses. Except for clerical work and medical work, they were separate from the men. They had their own female chain of command.

I have discussed women in the U.S. military elsewhere and published observations of current U.S. military personnel. Do a search for the words women and military at one of the search boxes at any of my web pages to read that stuff.

Here, I will just discuss the sexual abuse of the women.

The results of the previous approach to women in the Army—WACs and nurses—are in. It worked great.

The results of the experiment in integrating women men into the same barracks, units, and same chain of command are also in. It has been a total disaster. And the experiment has been going on for 37 years. It is a crime that it went on more than five or ten years.

Cannot possibly work

Fundamentally, because of human nature and the extreme power that military commanders have over subordinates, it is not possible to combine female and male military personnel in this manner.

Civilians have gone co-ed successfully, but not the mlitary

A similar experiment went on in civilian colleges from around 1969 on. That is the year many formerly all-male colleges admitted women. There had been many co-ed colleges for a century or so before that. But after 1969, they not only admitted females, they also integrated the dorms. My wife went to Drexel University and lived in an all-female dorm for one year; in an apartment with female roommates after that. My three sons all attended co-ed colleges with male and female students living in the same dorms without any separation other than separate bathrooms and no combining males and females in the same sleeping rooms.

The civilian college version of this experiment has no been problem free, but there is no talk of ending it.

But that is because of the absence of a military chain of command and inability to leave in the civilian colleges. If a girl in a civilian college is bothered by males, she can and generally will resist, complain, and/or leave the school or the job.

In the military, the personnel are indentured servants, literally. They sign up for a period of years and if they leave before it is over, they are AWOL or deserters which are the equivalent of a felony in civilian court.

Military superiors, even college student, have TOTAL control over subordinates

Furthermore, in the military, even in such mickey-mouse settings as basic training or a service academy, your superiors have total control over you. Anyone of them can end your career with a the slightest flick of the pen on your efficiency report—literally. Like checking a box about integrity in a negative way. I felt in Vietnam that I was repeatedly threatened by my superiors with being sent to a more dangerous location or assignment, and when I did not knuckle under to their various demands that I “play the game,” they seemed to me like they were actually trying to get me killed or captured by the enemy.

So when I say they have “total” control over you, “total” is exactly what I mean. I am not exaggerating.

At service academies like West Point, when I say chain of command, I am referring mainly to your fellow college students. There are grown-up tactical officers above the cadet chain of command, but it has not been the tacs who are sexually assaulting or harassing the female cadets. Rather it is their fellow cadets. At West Point, freshmen must call all upperclassmen “sir.” During their first sumer, they must salute upperclassmen.

Throughout your time at West Point, you are in a military organization with squads, platoons, companies, battalions, regiments, and brigades. That means you have all sorts of cadet commanders, namely squad leaders and assistant squad leaders, platoon leaders and platoon sergeants, company commanders and executive officers, and so on. These people literally write written reports evaluating you approximately quarterly. In the Army outside of West Point, it is the same albeit with perhaps less frequent written evaluations. But a superior at West Point or in the Army can write-up a negative evaluation of a subordinate at any time.

Military like civilian college athlets

There have been some incidents of male athletes in civilian colleges misbehaving sexually with female students. The entire military has the same macho, entitled mindset as many college athletes.

As I said, the results are in. Generally, civilian colleges have been able to handle integration of females into the dorms. The same is true to a large extent with graduate schools and fire and police departments.

My grad school, Harvard Business School, was all male until 1962. I entered in 1975; my wife in 1976. The women were a bit unhappy with things like the ladies rooms having a bunch of urinals with wooden boxes over them and not enough ladies rooms (since corrected). But there generally were no sexual problems like those in the military.

There have been some problems in police and fire departments—which are uniformed and macho like the military, but not the sort of mass problems of the military.

I’m done. Case closed. End it.

So I’m done with the U.S. military and integration of males and females. Go back to the WAC/nurse model. What about that excluding women from many important jobs that they can do? I am not opposed to broadening the number of jobs they can do beyond what WACs and nurses did. I am simply opposed to co-ed barracks and females being in a chain of command where their superiors are males. With the WACs and nurses, there were males in the chain of command, but only above the head female of the WACs.

Fundamentally, the military cannot handle having women integrated into male units. Civilian colleges can handle it, as can civilian grad schools and civilian police and fire. But the military cannot handle it and anyone who votes to continue the current situation is complicit in the ongoing rapes, harassments, and retaliations against females who spurn the advances of their male superiors. Any any parent who countenances their daughter going into the military is complicit in the rape or harassment of their daughter.

You have been put on notice repeatedly—not by me—but by the stories in the media. Only a willful suspension of disbelief can explain a parent today letting their daughter join the U.S. military. Initially, I figured it was due to the fact that too many U.S. military personnel are cretins of the drunken sailor/MASH “Major Burns” stereotype (although he was the same rank as “Major Hot Lips Houlihan”). But the service academy cadets and midshipmen are mostly non-cretins. They are disproportionately class presidents, Boys State Delegates, team captains, honor Society members, Eagle Scouts, and so on. The student bodies of the service academies are significantly better citizens, on average, than the student bodies of all but the most elite civilian colleges. If the service academies cannot handle having female cadets and midshipmen, and they clearly cannot as 37 years of experience show, forget about it.

Am I saying women should not be allowed to attend the service academies anymore?

Not at all.

I don’t care which gender is no longer allowed to attend West Point. But I am damned sure one gender needs to go.

Separate but equal academies and regular units

Since we have money to burn as a nation—at least according to how it is being spent by the government—go ahead and create separate-but-equal service academies. Or, since we ultimately need more men than woman in the military, just add one female service academy that supplies officers to all branches, namely, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. Whether the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy can remain co-ed is beyond my expertise. I do not know how the merchant marine operates. Actually, my understanding was that the unions were so greedy that the U.S. merchant marine ceased to exist. So I have no clue what the USMMA should be doing.

I’ll bet such female service academy(ies) would be excellent, highly competitive with the men, and would outperform the men in many ways. And they would have few, if any, sexual problems. They can co-locate them with the male service academies as far as I am concerned like St. Mary’s and Notre Dame or Columbia and Barnard back before they were co-ed. But no co-ed chains of command.

Here is a video clip of the head of the Australian Army reacting to similar issues:

John T. Reed