This week's Gazette Golden Pen Award winner is a U.S. veteran and mother whose son is serving in the Air Force. Thanks to Hester Jacobs for her insight on mothers serving in the U.S. military.
Parents have freedom to choose military career I read with interest the Associated Press article "Critics question single mothers at war." I am a retired female Naval officer who raised two children in the service. During the 1991 Desert Storm, I was assigned to a four star admiral's staff and my husband was assigned to a naval vessel.
Questions about women's role in the military always arise before and after a conflict. One of the major points the articles do not address is the difficulty in personnel management if "special conditions" exist for certain service members. The military is trained for use on short notice to defend this country. I would hate to think the military could not do its job because single mothers assigned to a unit could not go to war. This single mother could have a critical skill necessary to her unit. If she does not go, then the personnel manager is required to find someone available with the same skills to replace her, whose departure from his/her unit would not affect their ability to defend the United States. To prevent this would require the military to close all the combat or combat support fields to women which would be the majority of jobs. What happened to equal rights?
And why just single mothers? What happens to all those children with single fathers? Is the military member's single parent status caused by divorce, death or some other reason? Do we further aggravate the problem of the personnel manager by subdividing single parents into groups - those who have another parent to take over and those who don't?
We must remember that the military is an all volunteer force. There is no such thing as a "peace time military." When you volunteer for the military, whatever branch of service, you are volunteering to go to war. You swear an oath to "support and defend the Constitution." You cannot do this if you are not willing to fight for it. So these service women have chosen to join the military service. Are we going to regress and take away their right to choose their career path and job because there are people who think this is wrong?