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Yesterday it was announced that women would be allowed to serve in combat roles in the military. As a former member of a combat arms MOS 12B - Combat Engineer (basically an infantryman that has to carry more shit), I have two differing thoughts on this. In looking at this decision objectively and as a more mature male I applaud the decision and think it is harbinger of things to come in terms of labor and equality. It is something that should have happened long ago.

Now, of course that 21 year old stud that I once was is wondering if this is a good idea. My 21 year old self is not buying into the conservative arguments against women being in combat. No, my 21 year old self is thinking of a Metallica song called Disposable Heroes:

Soldier boy, made of clay
Now an empty shell
Twenty one, only son
But he served us well

Bred to kill, not to care
Do just as we say
Finished here, greetings death
He's yours to take away

It is bad enough that we send young men into battle to die, but now we are adding (or have added, it just wasn't official until yesterday) young women to the mix. The military, even during peacetime, changes you as a person. Some changes are good, and some are not so good.

It isn't just service members that my 21 year old self is concerned with, either—on my way into work this morning I was following a car with a gold star license plate. When I passed the car I saw the driver was a woman about my age. How tragic to lose a son or daughter at that age, or any age, to a war. Killing our fellow humans for what?

What a waste. If only humanity could find a way to stop using violence as a means to resolve conflicts. But that is but a pipe dream in this world we live in today. My 21 year old self and my 45 year old self agree on this point: we want to see a day where no one, of either gender, has to serve.

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