Female Marine calls women in combat an ‘unnecessary risk’

By Kay Steiger
Monday, July 16, 2012 13:19 EDT
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Screenshot of Marine Capt. Katie Petronio
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A female Marine who advocates against allowing women to be officially allowed to fight in the infantry appeared on Fox & Friends on Monday morning, saying allowing women in combat is an “unnecessary risk.”

Capt. Katie Petronio acknowledged that there “there’s really no front lines anymore” and that women are already fighting in key war scenarios. But, she told Fox News co-host Gretchen Carlson, “The costs definitely out-weigh the benefits. It’s not going to help the individual and it’s not going to help the institution. We’re a war-fighting institution and I don’t think this change is going to help anybody.”

“There’s a misconception outside the Marine Corps that allowing women to take on these roles that it could possibly restrict opportunities for promotion. In the Marine Corps men and women are promoted at the same rate,” she said. “My concern, as I point out in my article, is there’s these gender-specific medical concerns that are going to come with opening these fields I’m not so sure we’ve thought about. And on the backside of that, there’s going to be costs associated with these medical conditions and are we ready to pay the price for that?”

Petronio said that she’s experienced weight loss, muscular atrophy and polycystic ovarian syndrome, the causes of which are not known. “It’s a type of combat environment these days that is very strenuous and I was only doing a portion of what our infantry brothers do. I’m physically fit, I’m definitely in the top of the females for physical fitness, however, I degraded, and I understand that every female’s going to break down at a different rate. But our male counterparts are breaking down also and I just think it’s an unnecessary risk that we could be taking on.”

The op-ed Petronio wrote for a Marine newspaper drew criticism from the Service Women’s Action Network, which told Raw Story earlier this month, “For the U.S. Marines to adopt a policy that ensures the best of the best, regardless of gender, are leading Marines in combat will improve the fighting ability of the Marine Corps and will not degrade readiness, or compromise national security.”

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) has proposed lifting the ban on women on the front lines of combat in May. “Our wars no longer have front lines and so everywhere is a combat zone. Our servicewomen fight in combat zones every day whether or not their assignment is technically classified as such. Many servicewomen have gained combat experience on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, and are unable to have this experience properly recognized. This prevents the promotion of female service members because combat experience is often required for career advancement,” she said in a statement.

Watch the video, broadcast on Fox News on July 16.

(h/t Mediaite)

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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