I've been battling on Facebook the last week or so about two very prominent command appointments of women in the US military. The USAF has 17th AF Commander and now Air Component Commander for AFRICOM (in operations against Libya) as MGen Maggie Woodward. The USN has RAdm Nora Tyson as in charge of a Pacific Fleet carrier battle group.
The problem is that Gen. Woodward has never flown a tactical jet, logged a minute of combat, or trained in modern tactical systems. She is undoubtedly a capable pilot as she logged several thousand hours in tankers and training jets and she is a very capable staff officer evidenced by her rise in the ranks. But is she the best available to command what is essentially a fighter operation?
Adm. Tyson has limited sea duty, no combat experience, and once again the question comes up; is she the best available for a very heavy responsibility?
My position is that women are fully capable of assuming these roles and I know several who are working the career ladder currently that will be excellent combat fighter commanders. I would be proud to serve with them. It isn't sexism that makes me question Woodward and Tyson, it is experience and qualification.
That's why this great item from Brigid at Home on the Range jumped out at me this morning. It tells much about the relationship between men and women and the way we deal with each other. Take a few minutes to read it and think about the nuances:
Chivalry Isn't Dead Yet
We are in a world where the United States needs heroes badly. Gender is not a prerequisite for that job, not is it a disqualifier.