Will the SEALs brotherhood see strength defined by one's actions or one's gender?
Two female West Point alumni graduated from Army Ranger school this past Friday. Now that the dust has settled a little and people are getting used to the idea that women can actually go through intense physical and mental training, I assume people will take an extended look at the accomplishments of First Lt. Shaye Haver and Capt. Kristen Griest.
Simply put, these women are my heroes. But on a more in-depth note on the topic of women serving in units that were only once offered to men, I wonder what the commentary is within ranks. I served for five and half years on a Naval destroyer and there was that constant drone in the background that my physical standards were always lower than my male counterparts. The reasoning behind this was because women couldn’t physically do it, science gave proof. Our upper body is not stronger than men – at least, that’s what we were told. The funny thing is though, when I worked along all these men, I did the same work they did. There was no difference. There were days when I did a good job and other days when I failed as an electrician.
Now, the Navy is talking about opening up the legendary SEAL brotherhood to women. In an article in the Navy Times, they say that final approval is still pending and the timeline is unclear of when it will actually happen, but Adm. Jon Greenert Rear Adm. Brian Losey believe that if standards are met the doors should open for women to join the SEALs.
Navy leaders will be hard pressed to say no to women that do want to try out for the SEALS after First Lt. Haver and Capt. Griest paved the way for just the opportunity to choose to be part of the team. The point that these two women made with their success is not that women can do it; it is simply that they did it. They went through the course with the others and passed. It’s not because they are women that they did it, but because they had the drive and determination to get the job done. As individuals, as team members throughout their journey, they accomplished a goal they set out to do.
I’m excited to hear that the SEALs will be opening up and accepting their female counterparts. I hope that they see the strengths of the individual and not just the stereotype of females. One of the greatest things I learned while serving is teamwork. A team succeeds because they work together through their strengths and weaknesses, not because they are male or female, but because sailor Bob and sailor Susy had specific assets that helped them be successful. Whatever the buzz is out there among those that are still in, I hope it’s support for these teammates and for the future teams that will be built through their personal strengths.