Adams, a 25-year-old from Hawaii, and two other female Marines form an FET, a first-time experiment by the Marines in Afghanistan to let women join all-male patrols on the frontlines. On another patrol, Adams and her team try to expand their reach to women by meeting with the village's only female doctor.
After several cups of tea with the Afghan man who owns the clinic, Adams politely asks permission to see the female doctor.
A few days later, the female Marines launch their most ambitious project in the village: opening a tiny school that would welcome girls. On the first day of school, the female Marines beam with pride as four little girls wrapped in green shawls enter the classroom.
The Marine Corps has ended its use of female engagement teams in Afghanistan, saying their work is now performed by Afghan National Security Forces.
Members of a Female Engagement Team assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, conduct a security patrol Jan. Sheena Adams, a young female Marine sergeant, drags herself out of a sleeping bag, grabs her muddy boots and steps out of her tent. Ballante, assigned to the Female Engagement Team (FET), holds a child during a patrol with 1st Battalion 2d Marines in Musa Qa'leh, Afghanistan.
Victoria Rogers, a member of a female engagement team attached to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, jumps over a canal on her way to a local school in Afghanistan. She's part of a Female Engagement Team (FET), a small group of women Marines who join their male counterparts on patrol. So while the female Marines may get unprecedented access to Afghan living rooms, for the time being Afghanistan's close-knit — and extremely patriarchal society — will still determine how much the women Marines can accomplish.


At Naval Station Rota, Spain, he recounted for a group of male Marines a recent discussion at a first sergeants course prompted by a female Marine who asked whether women would ever serve in combat units."I turned the question back around on them, because there was a lot of female first sergeants in that course," Kent said. But they also get the chance to do something their male counterparts never do, talk to local women in a part of Afghanistan where females rarely leave the home — much less talk to Americans.
Even the teacher — a literate Afghan security guard who kept his Kalashnikov at hand while he taught — isn't convinced that his village is ready for female students.
Those casualties include at least nine Marines, many of whom died in convoy attacks.Since the early stages of the Iraq war, female Marines have operated outside the wire alongside infantry units. At the point of the bayonet, these units attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.Hundreds of male and female Marines volunteered for nine months of tests with the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force. In 2004, the Corps created Lioness, which provided female personnel to military units to search Iraqi women. He oversaw 1,000 Marines, more than a quarter of whom were women.Murray said female Marines performed regular combat logistics patrols. Daisy Romero, part of a female engagement team, worked with infantry Marines in Afghanistan by engaging women and children in support of the International Security Assistance Force. During field exercises simulating ground combat, University of Pittsburgh experts used body-monitoring and other scientific methods to gather empirical data reflecting actual experience, not theory.A recently released summary reported that all-male task force teams outperformed their mixed-gender counterparts in 69 percent (93 of 134) ground combat tasks.
It countered a growing trend at the time in which female insurgents carried suicide bombs and other weapons, knowing that male service members would not search them because it was considered disrespectful in Iraqi culture.More recently, the Corps has assigned Female Engagement Teams in Afghanistan. Standards must be put in place to ensure that all Marines, male or female, are able to meet the demands of their jobs, he said."I support effective combat units," he said.
The ban remains in place, though, and its repeal faces stiff opposition from most men and many women in the Corps.Critics say the concept of women joining combat units is a politically correct idea fraught with pitfalls.


Commanders would need to worry about women who aren't strong enough for the rigors of infantry life, sexual temptations for men and women sharing tight quarters, and women being treated differently from men by fellow Marines while under fire, they say.The Corps' planning team is reviewing options in case the Pentagon repeals or revises that policy, said Maj.
She and her colleagues would cycle back to regimental headquarters at either Camp Dwyer or Camp Delaram for a few days before getting pushed out to another outpost.Women who haven't served in FETs may not understand how substantial the differences are between serving alongside the infantry and being a part of it, said Sgt. As of March 30, about 7 percent of the active-duty Corps — 13,673 out of 201,672 Marines — was female. Sex was against the rules, but it happened anyway."Young male and female Marines are hanging out. FETs have drawn comparison to female Marine units that deployed to Iraq under a program known as Lioness. However, where Lioness Marines focused on searching Iraqi women, FET roles were frequently broader.5. While bathroom breaks were no issue for male Marines, they needed a mobile bathroom shelter to preserve the "dignity" of the unit's lone female Marine, he said.
While participating in a 10-kilometer hike at elevations of more than 7,000 feet, the strap broke on another female admin specialist's pack.
When you're doing that with 1,000 grunts and some of them are falling out, that's how I know girls can handle it.



Blackout survival guide
Hurricane season


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