Heather Thibault Part One: Women in Combat


My dear, Heather. It’s not about YOU.

Heather Thibault was a medic in Iraq with the Army National Guard and recently returned home from Camp Anaconda, north of Baghdad. A profile of her in yesterday’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter was titled Limits on combat upset female medic. The subtitle: “Ready, willing and unable to fight.”

Because, of course, it’s all about Heather. Heather is, “upset.” Heather is, “feisty.” Heather is, “buff.” Heather is, “angered.”

Why is she angry? Because Heather has, according to the paper, “Right uniform, wrong chromosome.”


Heather Thibault

Photo Credit:

Meryl Schenker

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Well, before we get too worked up about that wrong chromosome, here’s another thing Heather is:

Heather is, “barely 5 feet” tall. Doesn’t say whether that includes her combat boots. It does say that Heather is, all of 125 pounds.

Her service to our country should be honored — the article says she has nightmares from her experiences caring for the wounded in Iraq. Her hands were bloodied in the care of wounded, as nurses did during Vietnam, and other wars.

But battlefield medics are charged with evacuating wounded. While the reporter is busy venting spleen over the big, bad “military policy” keeping Heather out of combat — as if engaging the enemy is some glorified Disneyland ride that they kept her from experiencing — the article doesn’t express any interest in Thibault’s ability, or not, to carry a 180 pound soldier (plus 80 lbs of battle rattle) out of harm’s way.

The article snears at this concern as a “weaker sex” argument. So be it. I wouldn’t bet my son’s life on her upper body strength.

NO one has a “right” to go into combat. We’re facing a relentless drumbeat from the media, with stories of individual women who “should be allowed” to go into combat. But it’s not about them. It’s not about the individual. Combat is about the mission, unit cohesion and survival.

Those men we do ask to risk their lives — and the hopes and dreams of all those who love them — by going into combat have the right to expect us to do everything humanly possible to give them the best chance of coming out alive.

That’s the only right we should be concerned about.

* * *

There’s a subtext to this story that is worth mentioning. The article mentions that since returning from Iraq, Heather has been visiting local schools to talk with young people. Here’s what she has to say about the war on terror:

We’re throwing rocks at a hornet’s nest, turning moderates into religious fanatics, and you’re going to inherit the problem. …

It kind of sucks when you piss off the whole world.

Maybe she forgot that whole World Trade Center meltdown thing. . .

* * *

Thanks Mrs. Greyhawk for Open Post at Mudville.

And check out Wizbang‘s Carnival of the Trackbacks. . .

Then dance over to Beth’s Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and her Open Trackbacks. . .

More women a-fighting at Shakespeare’s Sister at BlogWhoring.

Knowledge is Power has some thoughts and appreciation for sacrifice women make.


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5 Responses

  1. Dawn Patrol

    Chuck and the Angel Program [Two Babes and a Brain] Hey guys and new comers– Just want to let you know that the donation button to the right is for Chuck’s guys still in Iraq. When we met Chuck we…

  2. Froggy says:

    Excellent post. My mother is a Democrat who is against the Iraq war. She was a Navy cryptographer during VN. She called me the morning that those women Marines were killed last week crying. I hadn’t heard about it yet, and when she told me, I felt terrible as well. It’s almost as if the MSM wants women to be killed in battle so as to outrage the American people and turn opinion against the war. Very cynical interpretation I know, but I don’t put it past them.

  3. Rob says:

    The British SAS has a very sensible policy for entrance into that elite force. Anyone who passes the physical entrance exam may serve. Numerous women have taken the test. None have passed. But they all had their chance and all seem to think the process and policy are fair.

    As a former Marine officer, I always thought the British system was better than ours. Certainly the type of complaint you note would not be possible under their system.

  4. Aaron says:

    Repost originally to SisterTalk

    The only reservations I would have about women in combat is if the draft was reinstituted and the current administration attempted to use my daughter as cannon fodder, that’s just not going to happen while I’m still alive.

    That said, I think that the women’s movement was not just about women gaining rights, it was about women accepting the responsibility that comes with those rights. I will admit that I cringe when I hear about some cute girl getting blown away in Iraq, or when some promising female basketball player gets her arms blown off, but women have been getting killed as police officers across the United States for quite some time now, so I guess there’s little difference. In that sense, equality sucks.

    From a combat perspective, women can be just as effective as men in war, period. Some modern examples were seen in Vietnam when teenage girls, usually snipers, often wiped out whole squads of US Marines and Army Rangers.

    From a personal perspective as a martial artist, I’ve met a number of women, mostly Chinese, who were trained in Wing Chung and Kung Fu since childhood. These were easily some of the most dangerous people I’ve ever met in my life, and trust me I’ve met some dangerous people.

    Being small and quick is often a much greater advantage in combat than being large and strong, especially when that combat includes projectile weapons like firearms. But for the most part being effective in combat is a matter of will and training. It has little do with gender.

    Unfortunately I think the United States military has no idea how to use women in combat. The real danger that women pose, is their ability to subvert even the strongest male. I think they would be put to much better used if they were employed as infiltrators, especially when were talking about Al Qaeda. After all these men have been deprived of women their whole lives, with one of their primary motivations being the virgins they are promised in the afterlife.

    I know a number of Brooklyn girls that would make these jihadists forget all about those mythical women after one night of these sisters employing their feminine wiles. A couple of hundred of these maneaters could end terrorism in our time completely. Since as we all know, any man will forget all about their convictions after just one good lay.

  5. Dawn Patrol

    Chuck and the Angel Program [Two Babes and a Brain] Hey guys and new comers– Just want to let you know that the donation button to the right is for Chuck’s guys still in Iraq. When we met Chuck we…

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