WBEZ | Marines http://www.wbez.org/tags/marines Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Former Marine says some combat roles should be off-limits to women http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-19/former-marine-says-some-combat-roles-should-be-limits-women-113413 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1019_lisa-jaster-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_94534"><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Maj. Lisa Jaster following an Army Ranger school graduation ceremony, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in Fort Benning, Ga. Jaster, who is the first Army Reserve female to graduate the Army's Ranger School, joins U.S. Army Capt. Kristen Griest and First Lt. Shaye Haver as the third female soldier to complete the school. (Branden Camp/AP)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/10/1019_lisa-jaster-624x416.jpg" title="Maj. Lisa Jaster is pictured following an Army Ranger school graduation ceremony, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in Fort Benning, Ga. Jaster, joins U.S. Army Capt. Kristen Griest and First Lt. Shaye Haver as the third female soldier to complete the school. (Branden Camp/AP)" /></p><p>The ban on women in combat was lifted in 2013, and now Defense Secretary Ash Carter has until the end of the year to decide which positions will be open to women. The Marines are asking that infantry and reconnaissance jobs be excluded.</p></div><p>In a series of conversations about women in combat,&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now</em>&nbsp;heard from a&nbsp;<a href="https://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/09/29/women-in-combat-debate" target="_blank">female Army veteran</a>&nbsp;and a&nbsp;<a href="https://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/08/women-in-combat-sebastian-bae" target="_blank">male former Marine</a>, both of whom believe combat roles should be open to women.</p><p>Today, host Robin Young hears from a <a href="https://twitter.com/primepaychad" target="_blank">former Marine</a> who has come to a different conclusion, and who believes including women in certain combat roles would be a distraction.</p><hr /><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Interview Highlights: Chad Russell</strong></span></p><p><strong>On comments saying that women should be banned from combat</strong></p><p>&ldquo;So I think the way that the argument currently is being framed is a little bit off. I think what a lot of people in the audience probably don&rsquo;t realize is that, you know, what does women in combat mean &ndash; what does that mean versus specifically barring females from the infantry specifically? So there&rsquo;s a big difference, so I&rsquo;d kind of like to throw that out there first.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On the argument that women help in combat</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Right, I understand that. And that&rsquo;s where I think it&rsquo;s more a matter of value and function, meaning I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s a matter of value. I think females bring an equal value to the military in general, but where I think the difference is, it&rsquo;s about our functionality. You know, if you don&rsquo;t mind, I&rsquo;d like to share something that I got from an anonymous person that has served a career in the military &ndash; still active. So this is what he says:</p><blockquote><p><em>&lsquo;The life of an infantryman is no glory. It&rsquo;s strictly about staying alive and keeping each other alive while defeating the enemy. And for all those who say females are already in combat, there&rsquo;s a big difference between being in a combat zone or in actual combat. Being in a combat zone or on a convoy once in a while exposed to an IED [improvised explosive device] is quite different than being in a sustained, direct action against the enemy up close and personal. </em></p><p><em>There&rsquo;s no comparison so please stop making it. I have killed from a distance and I have killed as close as a foot away and, more importantly, I&rsquo;ve watched good Marines who were great people and had bright futures ahead of them get killed. There&rsquo;s no glory in killing or being killed, not when it involves the lives of the futures of very good young people.&nbsp;</em></p><p><em>This is not a video game where you can press reset and combat is not about equal opportunities. It&rsquo;s about surviving and it&rsquo;s about defeating the enemy.&rsquo; </em></p></blockquote><p>So I think that right there frames the undercurrent inside the Marine Corps infantry and where maybe a lot of these sentiments are at, at this current point.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Are you saying a woman can&rsquo;t perform in combat?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Absolutely not. Of course, they could do those things, but it&rsquo;s a matter of is this a necessity to do this or is this a political desire coming from an outside influence? And that&rsquo;s where my biggest beef with all of this is, is that we have so many things going on in the military, why is this something that is being forced on the infantry, in my opinion.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Do you think women won&rsquo;t be safe in combat?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s one aspect of it. It&rsquo;s tough to get an idea of this when you&rsquo;re out in the civilian world and you&rsquo;re trying to understand where these riflemen, infantrymen are coming from. And since I lived it, and I did three combat tours in Iraq, and I was engaged in direct combat with the enemy on every deployment that I was on &ndash; I&rsquo;ve really thought about this and tried to stay objective. It&rsquo;s tough when you&rsquo;re in the Marine Corps and it is all guys and you&rsquo;re around all guys. However, there seems to be this push, and regarding these test results that came out, the secretary of the Navy &ndash; he is already decided. He kind of showed his hand and we kind of saw that with the Sgt. Maj. LeHew and the Marine Corps in a private Facebook post. I don&rsquo;t know if you saw that or not.</p><p>Actually, I have an excerpt of that if you don&rsquo;t mind me sharing it. He was one of the top Marines in charge of the training, and this was a part of what he said here:&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p><em>&lsquo;This was as stacked as a unit could get with the best Marines to give it 100 percent success rate as we possibly could. </em><em>End</em><em> result, the best women in the test as a group in regards to the infantry operations were equal or below in most all cases to the lowest 5 percent of men as a group in the test study. They are slower on all accounts and almost every technical and tactical aspect, and physically weaker in every aspect across the range of the military operation. Secretary of the Navy has stated that he has made up his mind even before the release of the </em><em>results,</em><em> and that the United States Marine Corps test unit will not change his mind on anything. </em></p><p><em>Listen up folks, your senior leadership of this country does not want to see America overwhelmingly succeed on the battlefield. It wants to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to pursue whatever they want regardless of the outcome on national security.&rsquo;&rdquo;</em></p></blockquote><p><strong>What about those that argue women offer a softer and important side to war &ndash; reaching out to communities and speaking with them?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Right, and I understand that. And you know, as an attachment asset, I can see that. But there&rsquo;s a big difference being exposed to an IED, right, going out and being an attachment versus being in a sustained combat role day, after day, after day in these high-stress environments. It really boils down to that bottom line of &ndash; we have a saying in the Marine Corps &lsquo;complacency kills.&rsquo; Every deployment I was around females and my last deployment was on ship, there was&nbsp;females there and there was&nbsp;little relationships blossoming on the ship. I mean I just was like, I stayed away from that stuff, but I could see it happening, because in the air wing in the Marine Corps, you&rsquo;ve got females on the ship. I&rsquo;ve served three tours and most of the time I was not around females in the infantry. On deployment though, if we were around the army base where females were, every time we were around females, I mean, the radar &ndash; beep, beep, beep, beep, beep &ndash; goes up on the guys, because we&rsquo;re all, you know, pent up. We&rsquo;re young guys. We have a strong sexual drive and we are noticing them and going out of our way to notice them. So it does create a distraction. I can&rsquo;t imagine going through Fallujah and, you know, having a bunch of females in the platoons. I just can&rsquo;t imagine it.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/19/women-combat-chad-russell" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Mon, 19 Oct 2015 17:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-19/former-marine-says-some-combat-roles-should-be-limits-women-113413 Morning Shift: How service members seek conscientious objector status http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-24/morning-shift-how-service-members-seek-conscientious <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Marine-Flickr- United States Marine Corps Official Page.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Now that the armed forces is voluntary enlistment, we may think that service members no longer seek conscientious objector status. That&#39;s not the case. We learn more about the application process for conscientious status.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-29.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-29" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: How service members seek conscientious objector status " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 07:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-24/morning-shift-how-service-members-seek-conscientious In Afghanistan, Flowers Call The Shots http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-13/afghanistan-flowers-call-shots-86496 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>For years the Sangin District in southern Afghanistan has been one of the deadliest areas of operation. For the British, who controlled the area until U.S. Marines replaced them last year, the focus was securing the road that ran along the Helmand River, on the edge of the lush farm fields.</p><p>The Marines have taken a different approach since then. They have pushed deep into the river valley from the desert to get at the heart of Taliban control and movement.</p><p>Poppy is a key crop here, and in a way, flowers fuel the fight: The Taliban earn hundreds of millions of dollars from the drug trade, which supplies 90% of the world's raw opium used for heroin. Locals rely on the work it generates. But the government wants to end poppy production. So the locals, who need the work, support insurgents who will protect it. It's a deeply ingrained catch-22.</p><p>There are rules, even in the drug trade: Since farmers need to work the fields, fighting between the Marines and the Taliban are almost non-existent during the harvest, which happens at the same time every year, in May. It is a function of local economics, not a truce. Fighting could resume at any given moment. And it will.</p><p>Just like every other year, there is a strange quiet overseas right now in Sangin. The Taliban have, more or less, unplugged its IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and is lying low. NPR photographer David Gilkey, who was just embedded with the Marines, says that a nearby market — typically bustling — has been completely empty. Everyone, he says, is at work in the lush, green fields.</p><p>This is good news for the Marines: A lull in fighting provides an opportunity for face-time with the Afghan people. It's the Marines' main mission, after all, to secure the local population.</p><p>"But there is a tepid trepidation to all of this," says Gilkey. Just last year, more than 25 Marines were killed — and more than 150 wounded — in the fighting that followed poppy season. IEDs could be plugged back in at any given moment. And the Marines must be ready.</p><p>It's quite the juxtaposition: This idyllic scene of children roaming fields of flowers, and the knowledge that somewhere out there, insurgents could be stuffing bombs below the soft, fertile soil. For the Marines, it's a game of wait-and-see. Wait and see when the fighting starts again. Wait and see if anything changes as a result of Osama bin Laden's death. Wait and see what the next season may hold. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305292947?&gn=In+Afghanistan%2C+Flowers+Call+The+Shots&ev=event2&ch=97635953&h1=Taliban,Afghanistan,Marines,Afghanistan+Dispatch,Daily+Picture+Show,The+Picture+Show,Photography,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136213445&c7=1149&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1149&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110513&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=126926031,125938638,125936966,125406348,125399052,97635953&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Fri, 13 May 2011 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-13/afghanistan-flowers-call-shots-86496 Marines: "It Doesn't End The War For Us" http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-02/marines-it-doesnt-end-war-us-85944 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-02/afghanistan_7139837-copy_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The news of Osama bin Laden's killing was met with cautious excitement by many men from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marines in Helmand River Valley — allegedly one of the most dangerous regions of Afghanistan.</p><p>The event is a "notch in the belt," one Marine told NPR photographer David Gilkey, who is embedded with the group. The reigning sentiment was that this is positive, but that the fight goes on:</p><p>Here's what some of the Bravo Company marines had to say about the killing of bin Laden:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"We're still here in Afghanistan, Sangin is still very hostile, especially where we're at here, the enemy is still going to fight us, and we have to maintain our composure — not get complacent. Just because we took out the head honcho doesn't mean these guys are gonna throw up their arms and be done with it."</p><p>"There's still a lot of work that needs to get done here. It's a huge step in the right direction ... but we still need to finish our mission. ..."</p><p>"There's always gonna be insurgency, it's never gonna end. ... This fight's definitely gonna be a hard one to win, but I don't think it's impossible."</p><p>"What happens tomorrow? We're gonna just do the same thing. We're gonna wake up and keep doing what we're doing every single day until we're out of here. Because we've got a job here. We've got a mission to complete. And that's what we're gonna do."</p><p>"I think that everyone's gonna be real happy about the fact that it's one bad man that can't hurt anybody else, but ... It's one more day. ... It didn't end the war for us. ... I think everybody's just gotta stay focused on what they're doing."</p><p></blockquote> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304359948?&gn=Marines%3A+%22It+Doesn%27t+End+The+War+For+Us%22&ev=event2&ch=97635953&h1=Pakistan,Osama+bin+Laden,Afghanistan,Marines,Editor%27s+Pick,The+Picture+Show,World,Home+Page+Top+StHome+Pageories&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135920261&c7=1149&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1149&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110502&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=128701661,126934618,125938638,125936966,125399149,97635953&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 02 May 2011 12:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-02/marines-it-doesnt-end-war-us-85944