I wanted to write this blog because I feel that there is a major perspective missing from most professional discussions on military matters. While I do not like becoming anyone’s punching bag, I’m offering my experience, my opinion, and my story out here with my full name (Jeannette Gaudry Haynie) and rank (Major USMCR) because I believe in the truth and importance of what I write. You may not agree with what I have to say or with the conclusions I draw, but these are my experiences, and I stand by my posts.

Counting the four years at USNA, I’ve been in the Navy/Marine Corps for about 18 years now. Most of my fleet experiences were as the lone female pilot in a squadron, and eventually one of two. While I haven’t been in the military since the Stone Age, I’m no spring chicken, either. My professional record can speak for itself.

Many of these arguments and questions posted in earlier comments and mentioned when topics like these are broached are practical, common sense questions with valid points to them, ones worth debating. And others are not. I hope to address the former and briefly touch on the latter.

I’m basing this blog on what I learned early on in the fleet when I ran into friction from others because of my gender. People say and think some dumb stuff based on biases, preconceived ideas, and rumors, and I saw a fair amount of this over the years. The best way to answer that was to just do my job as best I could and eventually everyone forgot about the whole “girl” thing and I was just another pilot plugging away. This only failed me once, which means only one dude out of about, I don’t know, 5,000, couldn’t get past my gender.

Same for this blog. If I write about my experiences, which are like those many men and women face midway through their careers, maybe we can explore some other options. And maybe when my kids grow up they won’t have to choose either-or for family and ambition. Because I’m a woman, and because of my particular experiences, this means we’ll go through the women-in-the-military questions as well. Which is fine.

Please read the entire post before haranguing me for a sentence or paragraph here or there. And it may take a few minutes, because—as I’ve said before—I am prolific.

So here goes.

A couple basic points:

–I mentioned sabbaticals and greater-than-reserve contributions as some options in my last comment. But I do not want to limit this discussion to those alone. Let’s assume that there is nothing in existing policy that prohibits or discourages dual active-duty families. If this is the case, I contend that we are not doing a good enough job holistically looking at all avenues to facilitate the success of these servicemembers. This is not specifically about my responsibilities, it’s about the responsibilities of a family and a service. If my husband and I have a child while both are on active duty, we are both impacted. Active duty families are more commonplace, and will continue to be so.

–I do not feel that the military “owes” anything. I do, however, believe that the military will face a growing problem with retention of educated, loyal members OF BOTH GENDERS if it does not seek out some alternatives to the all-or-nothing ones currently in place (see above paragraph). This is the backbone of my argument.

–While women tend to bear the brunt of the family work (we can have a deeper discussion about this later), both men and women are affected when starting a family. Everything I am suggesting should be applicable to both genders. Both civilian and military members have increasingly begun to ask why things aren’t different, and why we haven’t worked out some more options. This will not abate anytime soon. And I think that is a good thing.

–Women, unlike men, can’t have children later in life. So is it right that my choice, since I was born female, should be to have or forgo children right at the time in my military career that it matters most? It’s not like I can put it off till I’m 42, despite what women in Hollywood do. Women, too, have ambitions and want to serve their country in unique and challenging ways. Yes, some families make it work, with the help of other family members or special circumstances. The majority do not, despite plenty of trying.

–As a few readers pointed out, the civilian workforce is trending toward more family-friendly policies and options. Telework, flex days, sabbaticals, while not possible in all jobs, are more commonplace now than 10 years ago. The military is not a normal civilian entity (let me say that before someone else does), but that doesn’t mean it can’t take lessons from the civilian workforce.

–Concern over the impact sabbaticals or part-time work would have on the force: I can’t remember off the top of my head which posters asked about this, but the gist of the comments were that we can’t waste billets/boat spaces on part-time people and have an effective force. One word for you here, though: RESERVES. We already do it. People drill 2 days a month and 2 weeks in the summer, and then they go deploy and are actually effective. But as a current, drilling Reservist, I can attest to the inefficiency of some of the ways Reservists are used. We can and should use taxpayer dollars and Reservists’ experience more efficiently. If someone can drill 38 days a year and then go competently into a deployment, why would it be worse if they drilled 76 days a year? Or 114? The point is, we already exercise a similar type of program, and have for years. But that program fails to take advantage of some of the best qualities of its members, and does not attract enough outgoing active duty folks. We can improve on it.

–I’m not advocating a constant sabbatical, nor am I asserting that I can stay in part-time and still be on the cutting edge or tip of the spear constantly. But all-or-nothing is no solution, either. The military loses a wealth of experience in the loss of mid-grade enlisted and officer members (again: of both genders), and will continue to do so, at an increasing rate. Do we “have” to do any of the things I suggest, or think about them at all? Of course not, but we’d be shooting ourselves in the foot. We have an opportunity to make it better, why not use it?

I’m going to use a few quotes from the comments section on my first post and directly respond here.

“I don’t want to get into the discussion on here, but do you really want your kids in child care long enough for you to be a full-time Marine and a mom?” Of course not, but neither do any parents, mothers OR fathers. The idea that my priorities should be different because of my gender is not valid. My whole point is that it makes sense to have better options available to servicemembers both with—and without—families. Those without often realize 5-10 years in that a family might be a good idea, but for females in this position, waiting until retirement is not an option. Neither is it for many men.

“You are basically saying that since they opened the door to you and allowed this disruption to occur, we should make more allowances and disruptions in service to further make life easier for women to be in the military and have families.” I’m going to address the first half of this statement further below, so moving on to the second half: anyone who has been in the fleet knows that men cause their share of problems. I served with both male and female enlisted Marines, and proportionally the men caused more problems than women did. Are DUIs not disruptive, especially when they come on the eve of a deployment? What about domestic abuse, alcoholism, and the 22-year-old who got arrested making donuts on somebody’s front lawn in Oceanside while drinking beer? The month before a deployment?

Pregnancy, which, by the way, is an amazing thing, not something to be cursed at or wished away, is way down there on the list of things that can disrupt a unit about to deploy. What about the SSgt who pops positive two months before a deployment? Or the Marine who steals a car in Okinawa and gets arrested by the Japanese police? The senior officer and department head who gets a DUI? The Marine whose mother gets terminally ill? The conscientious objector that appears right before a deployment? Of all of the incidents and disruptions a unit faces prior to and during a deployment, pregnancy can certainly be considered one, but it’s by no means even among the worst or hardest to get past.

So let’s get past pregnancy as an awful thing that should somehow ban women from the armed forces, or as something that women should avoid at all costs or be ashamed of, heaven forbid.

Yes, there will always be those who abuse the system, just as with any system. But we don’t ban single 21-year-old men from the military, even though they tend to get in trouble easily. The abusers, while legendary in many people’s minds, are actually fewer and further between than one might expect from the discussion.

“So, now the military has already given up spots to women to be trained in most aspects of military life.” This line of thinking has been around for awhile. Given up spots to women? I was ranked first in my winging class, which was how I earned my chance to fly Cobras in the Marine Corps. And I am not unique. Just like men do, women work incredibly hard to get where they want to go. My spot belonged to me because I busted my butt for it.

I jumped around a bit in this post, but the gist of it is that women are not going away, and the changes I’m proposing and problems I mention are not really unique to women, either. Since I’m on page 3 here, I’m going to quit for now. Here’s this last bit in closing:

The vast majority of the comments have been professional, and that is appreciated…and also expected. In reading the comments, I ran across a link to a blog written by Sol, one of the commenters. If you want to read it yourself, click on his name on the comments section and it’ll take you right there. You’ll read some pretty derogatory comments, a personal attack on my sex life and choices. You may need to skip to page 3 or 4 by now, because he made these comments back on the day I made my first post. Here’s one of his thoughts:

“She was pregnant at the time. PATHETIC! Personal opinion but few things disgust me more than to see women walking around pregnant in Cammies.”

This is not conducive to any kind of educated, informed discussion. Rather, it’s a hostile personal attack. But why? Hostility usually hides ignorance, fear, and/or general intimidation. If the above statement reflects the average opinion of single, 21-year-old male Marines (pretty sure it doesn’t), give me one married Marine (of either gender) over 10 of ones who think like that. Maturity, responsibility, and patience tend to increase with parenthood. Let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot. It’s not political correctness, it’s common sense.

Posted by Jeannette Haynie in Marine Corps, Navy

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  • Sol

    Nice to cut off the entire statement lady.

    This is it…

    “Personal opinion but few things disgust me more than to see women walking around pregnant in Cammies. Its a freaking combat uniform. You ain’t fighting nothing but morning sickness if you’re in a maternity uniform”

    Oh and I don’t back off the statement.

    But you and others like you parse statements so that you can achieve two goals. To marginalize the true intent of the person making the statement and to somehow show yourself as a grieved party.

    Much to your surprise I’m sure, you did not have global support for your position. To that I say OUTSTANDING. Some still remember what the Marine Corps is all about. Its a warfighting organization not a place for family to be raised. There is a famous poster that states “We didn’t promise you a rose garden”…I recommend that you stop trying to plant one in the Marines. Do or don’t but stop complaining.

    Choices were made and most people live with the choices that they’ve made and move on. You choose instead to transform the Marine Corps to fit your desired endstate. That’s selfish and self serving.

  • Leatherneck

    Thank you for your thoughtful post, Major. I have not read any of the (apparently) previous discussion, so I’m cherry here.

    I grew up in the Corps as an attack pilot in Vietnam, when we treated Women Marines differently. In fact, in a way that today would be a mortal sin. I remember about ten years ago riding in the jump seat of an MV-22 from the VACAPES Op Area to New River hearing a female F/A-18 pilot checking into the net. One male pilot turned to the other and muttered “female attack pilot.” I was a bit puzzled by his reaction because I was then aware of how terribly hard that Hornet pilot had to work to get where she was that morning.

    All of that to say that I’m personally completely supportive of females in combat arms. Even if I were still on active duty I would be so. But not everybody is. You’ll have to deal with that. (And I expect you already have).

    I would suggest to you that your post comes across as articulate whining unless you include some recommendations; what do you want changed? Who should do what? Do your homework and think and talk to others about it, and recommend a course of action.

    Superiors never appreciate a simple statement “there is a probelm” from a subordinate. You need a policy-type recommendation and a POA&M. Without, you’ll never gain traction.

    Best wishes, and Semper Fi.

    Tom Carter

  • Grandpa Bluewater


    Pregnancy is indeed not a disease. In terms of readiness for full duty, it slowly becomes a handicapping condition, albeit temporary, and if managed correctly, a tolerable one, for the most part. It does mean loss of a trained crewmember to the command. It is therefore a burden, if not an unendurable one. Perhaps we could deal with it better, if it could be spoken of.

    Assuming a predictable deployment schedule and good personnel managers. Large assumption there. The devil is in the details and there is no one size fits all guaranteed solution. Regrettably, it has been a significant nuisance to commands in preparation for overseas movement, much less combat, for over 25 years. No discernible progress has been made, the losing command knows it must cope and without complaint, lest the command element’s kids suffer the penalties of a parent’s blighted career. No change expected. The guys do the heavy lifting, literally and figuratively. Just a fact of life.

    A woman who embraces the Cub Scout Motto (“Do your best”) moves rapidly from the “now what?” category of WIN (obsolete term – woman in naval service – don’t ever use it, or you will be on the carpet with the DACOWITCHES duty witch, and getting unwelcome attention from the higher higher) to the “so what?” category.

    As your post notes, quite correctly.

    Now in any given cycle, the number of command billets, or billets in any pipeline, Cobra, Nuclear Power, Corpsman, Advanced Electronics field or what have you…are a constant as well as an integer. Powerful players attempt to improve the selection percentage of those they favor. A fact of life. The deleterious effects of this ubiquitous game are clear, let those who have eyes, see. Even in 1955, no system was perfect, nor the bad effects of foolish prejudice, whatever the direction, uniform. Some really talented people survive for a surprisingly long time, to the organization’s unplanned and often lasting, good.

    What to do? Stay in the “so what” category. Some day you get to play XO/CO and will look at it, as Ms Collins so beautifully expresses, “from both sides now”. Likely, pretty quickly, for a lady of ,mmm, “a certain age”, like yourself (how did I get to be so old?).

    None the less, in an age of ever shrinking manpower authorizations for uniformed personnel, the Navy has no overwhelming need of women in uniform. Actually, in terms of combat effectiveness, none at all, as carriers of two x chromosomes per se. Which is not to say it can’t, or shouldn’t make use of them as best it can. What that is, well, opinions vary. My position is all women volunteers able to serve without limitation as assigned are welcome. NO sniveling allowed (that’ll be the day).

    Opinions not with standing, there are limitations on the use of women. As you noted, as there are with men. The job is to use them to the utmost of THEIR potential and abilities. It isn’t all running about the mountains of nosebleedistan in full kit.

    In any case, in your case, with three small children, you likely made the right decision. IMHO.

    Leave of absence? As shorthanded as we are going to be? Really?

  • BJ Armstrong

    WRT Leave of absence:

    If an officer (USMC or USN, M or F) was able to take 2 years sabbatical to complete the course work for their PhD in history, international relations, or strategic studies, then return to the career at the same point they were previously…would the services benefit? Today officers like ADM Stavridis are the exception that proves the rule (the rule=it can’t be done, but would be great if it could), and GEN Petreaus/BGEN McMasters demonstrate that different personnel policies (the Army’s different approach to Academy instructor duty/graduate education) are worthy of discussion. I submit that such a “break” would probably benefit the service.

    So, take the argument further. Officer takes sabbatical. Officer A uses the time to lay the foundation of a family. Officer B uses it to work on PhD work. Officer B’s education probably will give them a leg up when they come back WRT getting orders to career enhancing jobs and assisting decision makers, which should translate to promotion potential. But does that mean Officer A shouldn’t be afforded the same opportunities? There’s a damn good chance that Officer A is going to learn more patience and potential inter-personal leadership lessons (something that many senior officers repeatedly demonstrate a deficiency in).

    An “Open Architecture Personnel System” (did I just make that up? I think so) is certainly something to consider in the 21st century. Historically speaking our personnel system has essentially remained unchanged since the Naval Personnel Act of 1916. What else do we do in today’s Navy/Marine Corps that is exactly the same as we did a century ago? (How many times have we changed something as basic as our uniforms since then?) For different reasons LT Kohlmann and his disruptive thinkers have hit on the same issue.

    This is a discussion that is well worth having.

    (Some of the folks in the milblog world appear to have studied in the Schools of Classical Misogynism, complete with women in the kitchen and serve me coffee references as well as accusations of misquote when they consistently do the same. And we wonder why there’s discussion of the death of the milblog genre?)

    Keep it up Snake Driver.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Well no one can say your posts are being ignored! 🙂 I concur with Tom Carter that, outside of the generalized suggestion to expand and refine the “sabbatical” program, it would behoove you to further discuss suggested solutions, and anticipate objections to their implementations. I do know personally one Navy CDR who took 24 months after a successful CO command to finally become a mother. I noted at the time that her husband had left the active Navy so that one of the two of them would always be available for their child. that’s their decision to make.

    Those who know me from other venues know that I have on occasion made reference to the fact that my spouse, a.k.a. “The Doctor” wore Army green. In point of fact, during her Army active duty she was one of only two women in her specialty in the entire Army and faced similar issues, albeit on a lesser scale, Medical Corps being, well, Medical Corps. 😉 She realized early on that she could chose either to be offended by “the boys’ club,” and face isolation from off-duty social interaction or, having survived being a Navy squadron wife, become “one of the boys.” She chose the latter and her life was richer, a lot more fun and we made friends who, as you well know, stay close to this day. Plus, she learned to shoot a mean game of eight-ball and drink beer. Not bad, I’d say.

    Like your situation, things changed upon the advent of Son #1. I think for us, it really hit home when we had to fill out the forms about what we were going to do if we both deployed simultaneously. It was then we mutually agreed that one military career in the family was enough and we’ve not looked back. I appreciate your dilemma, and as I said previously, welcome your willingness to engage. Toujours bontemps roullez!

  • John M. Andresen

    I am conscious that women make up approximately 15% of AD. The military is accustomed to dealing with attrition for whatever reason. Its a cost benefits analysis. As opposed to disciplinary actions in response to unplanned events, pregnancy is ideally a planned occurrence especially when professional officers are concerned. An accommodation which would suit the Major’s personal needs may very well not be in the best interests of the force. The priority of the military is to kill people and break things. The priority of motherhood is to nurture and raise children. Motherhood and Fatherhood are not the same. I say that Motherhood is not compatible with Active Duty.

  • Diogenes of NJ

    In 1979 a movie came out that in some way may be relevant to the discussion at hand. The name of the movie is “The Great Santini”. My initial suspicion was that the movie was about a magician; well in a certain way that is true. Actually, the movie is about a Marine fighter pilot – who is a bit of an anachronism given the time and place of the setting in which he finds himself (I can pretty much identify with his dilemma).

    Robert Duvall plays Lt. Col. ‘Bull’ Meechum (F-4 driver) and Blythe Danner plays his spouse. The tag line from the movie’s poster is: “The bravest thing he would ever do was let his family love him.”

    So in 1979 the members of the USNA class of ’98 were 2? Actually the movie is set circa. 1962 so that would make them… let’s not go there. In ’62 I was a junior in high school and Grandpa Bluewater was a 2nd class (you’ve always been 1st class in my book Grandpa).

    I guess that if there were to be a 21st century re-make of this flick (and there will be as there are no new ideas in Hollywood). We could have a role reversal and the son (Michael O’Keefe) could be dealing with issues of “coming out”. Some how, I just can’t see Blythe Danner pulling that stunt at the “O” club in Rota (maybe it’s because I just saw her in an osteoporosis commercial).

    Why bring this up now? Here’s my point – sacrifice is nothing new. What is new is a sort of entitlement mentality creeping into our services that dwells on personal sacrifice and wallows in the self pity of being unfulfilled (a.k.a. articulate whining). If only the Navy were wise enough to permit sabbatical leaves… that’s the ticket, why I could dust off that old political science thesis, with a feminist bent, and turn it into a dissertation that would prove beyond a shadow doubt that Female Leaders Can Bring About World Peace!


    Whatever could be next? A Nobel Peace Prize nomination perhaps? (I’ll let you know how that goes as soon as Bennie gets finished with my nomination.)

    I fear gentlemen (and I mean that in the most gender specific way) that we are being played.

    “Buenos días, rust pickers.”

    – Kyon

    [Admin edit: I created a tinyurl for the second link in this comment, since the other url was running off the page]

  • Two of the more successful female officers I’m pals with, one a SUPPO the other an NFO, have been able to pursue a career … by having their USN husbands leave for the USNR. I also know females with many kids continue to serve in the Reserves and our nation is better for it. The hard points are active duty and trying to reach the upper levels of leadership while having the “2.3 children.”

    Interesting decision points for both my pals and their spouse. They literally compared FITREPS as LTs and said, “Who has the better path?” Both the women did and off they went. Both have two kids, but “Mr. Mom” or “CDR Mom, USNR” does most of the kid-work.

    I have generally been a fan of the “take two years off and come back” concept … but there is a downside. There will be people of certain designators/warfare categories (mostly men) who will say to themselves, “Wow … I am in a crowded Select Group full of some top talent – two Select Groups back the numbers are much thinner and the Goober-factor is greater. If I can get a couple years off and come back as a SGXX-2, then I will be in a much better position.”

    I don’t think your best players will think that way … but enough will to try to game the system. I think the best thing for things such as BJ states would be to simply reward such behavior more than we do now – but that doesn’t help those who want time off to do what only women can really do well – have children.

    As for having a kids and a full military career? With a normal sea/shore/deployment/etc cycle – folded in with the fact that many to most people cannot get pregnant in the right Fiscal Quarter (even using all the “normal” best practices not to be discussed in a family blog) to meet their gates/career milestones – besides 1 or 2 kids. It is exceptionally hard to do and biologically impossible for many/most. For a female, the prime ages to have children (18-35) are also the years that require the most work, most deployment, and the most personal life sacrifices in order to rise to the top. If you wait until you are after 30 to have your first, even more difficult. If you want to have more than two kids … good luck with that if you only have single births.

    From someone who has to try to manage the conveyor belt of FITREPS – if you have someone lined up to get the right positions and timing to “take care of them” at the right point of the cycle; if they come to you a cycle-out and say, “I’m having a difficult pregnancy and cannot do X, Y, Z.” Can you really look at the rest of the wardroom with a straight face and make that person – who hasn’t carried their load for the last 6-months – the #1 or #2?

    Even on shore duty – I don’t care if you are male of female or how good you are. If work needs to be done and of the say three people that need to do it – one “has to leave” at 1701, while the other two just make a phone call and push through to 2235 to make it happen – who are my most important people? Who are my most valuable people? When it is time to rank those people – who is running for the #1 spot?

    Is it fair to the person who “has to leave” at 1701 two out of five days if that fact is taken in to account? Perhaps. I do know that it is not fair to not take in to account the extra effort of the two who consistently stayed to 2235 to do both the extra work I needed them to do, but also the extra work of the person who “had to leave” at 1701.

    Like my father would tell me; “No one owes you a living and if you think life is fair, you are a fool.”

    You don’t have to have a church van full of kids to be a fulfilled woman. You don’t have to be a Col. to be a successful Marine. They are both valid choices … but hard to have both – or expect that you should have both.

    In the balance though – life is about choices. You only have one go-round and there is no re-wind button. You make your decisions and make the best play you can. You can’t have it all – that isn’t possible or even desirable. Everyone makes trade-offs, as I did, to make the military a career. Pick your path and don’t look back. Especially in the delicate nature of reproductive biology – there are few if any second chances.

  • Edwards

    Just for the record, here is the Sol post she is referencing:


  • Jeannette Haynie

    Thank you, everyone, for the interest and ideas/thoughts. I’m glad there is so much, on both (or all) sides of the issue! Mr. Carter, thank you–you are right about the tone and impact if no solutions are offered.

    So far, I have mentioned three ideas, but they are buried in my comments on my first post so are hard to see. I will do my best to remedy that in future posts. I can’t keep up the current tempo (and it’s been fast!) so will slow it down a bit, and will refine the order and flow of my ideas, since a whole bunch of stuff came out at once. This really for me is about throwing everything I’ve been thinking for years at the wall and seeing what sticks, and hopefully adding/cutting/refining with as much input as possible from other professionals. I haven’t quite got the hang of the best order/way to cover it all yet, so please bear with me.

    Looking forward to more discussion with those interested!
    Thanks, Jeannette

  • Madam

    As a long time civilian; an ages ago Marine, I simply value your contribution to our military; and have no particular bent regarding your concerns about the subjects raised.

    However…all formalized religion aside…..do you not feel some spark of, call it “divine” power inside yourself? As a MOTHER, you pass that on in the lives of your children. This generation, and the next, and the next, and the next…..a far greater contribution and responsibility and gift than any military position or career could ever approach.

    See the big picture Marine. “MOTHER” is the highest rank of all creation.

    Semper Fi

  • F/A18 2 C-40

    I think Sal more eloquently (maybe more PC-ly) said what I said in response to your last post, but you pulled a lot of my quotes out in small pieces to paint my post as mysonginistic instead of realistic. I don’t know if that was by design or by accident. I have similar timing and very similar experience to you. I have been in squadrons with women. I have trained women. I lead women literally every day. I do not think you would find a female sailor that I have ever worked with that would/could show an example of being treated in any way differently from her male counterpart.

    ==“I don’t want to get into the discussion on here, but do you really want your kids in child care long enough for you to be a full-time Marine and a mom?” Of course not, but neither do any parents, mothers OR fathers. The idea that my priorities should be different because of my gender is not valid. My whole point is that it makes sense to have better options available to servicemembers both with—and without—families. Those without often realize 5-10 years in that a family might be a good idea, but for females in this position, waiting until retirement is not an option. Neither is it for many men.==

    I chose a wife based upon her views of how children should be raised. She knew that when we were ready to have children, she would stop working and raise her children because that is what we considered best for their development. I eventually changed from active duty to FTS at the detriment to my hard-earned standing in my former community. I will not be a CAG or have any chance at Admiral now, but I will also very likely never spend 6 or 9 months on a boat again either. But, when I had a child and decided that 9 months on the boat was not what I wanted as a father, I did not ask the Navy to move all the hornets to shore so that I didn’t have to go back out to sea. It doesn’t matter if you think having parents in the military is good or bad. There is a mission. It takes boats and planes being deployed overseas for long periods of times to get that mission done. It takes constant training to stay proficient at the mission. If your position in life does not allow you to do both, then you make sacrifices at home or at work.

    ==“You are basically saying that since they opened the door to you and allowed this disruption to occur, we should make more allowances and disruptions in service to further make life easier for women to be in the military and have families.” I’m going to address the first half of this statement further below, so moving on to the second half: anyone who has been in the fleet knows that men cause their share of problems. I served with both male and female enlisted Marines, and proportionally the men caused more problems than women did. Are DUIs not disruptive, especially when they come on the eve of a deployment? What about domestic abuse, alcoholism, and the 22-year-old who got arrested making donuts on somebody’s front lawn in Oceanside while drinking beer? The month before a deployment?==

    I did not imply in any way that men do not cause problems. I have had many sailors, men and women, who have gotten in trouble. We punish those people that disrupt good order and discipline. You may not have intended to say that those punishable offenses are the same as getting pregnant, but you are correct that they have similar effects on readiness in the unit. I do not believe that pregnancy should be an embarassment or have a negative conotation. I believe that is is a detriment to readiness.

    ==“So, now the military has already given up spots to women to be trained in most aspects of military life.” This line of thinking has been around for awhile. Given up spots to women? I was ranked first in my winging class, which was how I earned my chance to fly Cobras in the Marine Corps. And I am not unique. Just like men do, women work incredibly hard to get where they want to go. My spot belonged to me because I busted my butt for it.==
    I believe that I may have used a poor choice of words. In no way did I mean to imply that you did not work hard for your spot as a cobra pilot. I was speaking in a grander scale, that the service opened up a spot for women to fly cobras (and hornets and vipers, etc). I have flown with a few competent female pilots, and I have flown with incompetent male pilots. My point was not whether women or men are better in the cockpit. My point was that women asked to be combat pilots. They want to be in the same positions as men to go fight wars. Great. But, what do I do as a Skipper when I have maintained your readiness, gave you flight hours and training for the past two years, and you get pregnant, planned or unplanned, within a year of my deployment? You are no longer useful to me for about a year, so did I waste those hours and training on you since I cannot use you? I would risk to guess that you would argue no. From a readiness and war-fighting perspective, I do not see how one could argue that it was not wasted since I cannot use you for that deployment. I’m not familiar with Cobra tactics, but I know that your sister in the Hornet command is now going to have to go bag to the FRS and get a refresher syllabus. Then, I have to spend at least a few months just getting her some training in all of our mission sets so she doesn’t kill herself. THEN, I can finally look at our T&R matrix and see when she will be a contributing member to our Readiness (big ‘R’). Now, how about those guys that want to take POM right before deployment but have no chance to because there are hours that need to be flown and one less body to fly.
    On a less hypothetical level, I run a maintenance department with very limited billets. When the Navy is nice enough to man them at all, we are still short-handed. My only AZ1 and LS1 are females. One is even my sailor of the year. No argument that they are both as good or better than many of their male counterparts. Except… both are now pregnant. Now I cannot deploy either of them. They are ‘administrative’ jobs, so at least they will be less affected in their daily activities than if they were mechs. The Navy is not going to fill either of those billets while the ladies are convalescing. For their sake, I hope they do not have a difficult pregnancy that puts them on bed rest or limdu for weeks or months before delivery. But, you can see why I might also have some selfish thoughts about that same topic. One shop will be manned at 50% and one will be manned at 80% with the absences.
    Maybe you could see from a leadership perspective how a woman in uniform might be viewed as a ticking timebomb. It’s not her fault, she was put into a position where she has to decide between family and service. She gets to make all of the decisions, but I have to plan for them. So, back to what I was originally trying to say: The military has given you the ability to serve in whatever capacity you desire. Now, you don’t like that you cannot easily make it to the highest ranks and get to be a full-time mom, and have your kids turn out the way we all want our kids to turn out. We all have to make hard decisions. Why should the military give up somebody like you with perishable skills like flying for a few years so that you can have a child? Is it really in their best interest?

    I do not have a problem working with women. I have a problem with women that want to be treated differently from men while pretending that it is because it is better for everybody. I have a wife at home to take care of my kids because at any given moment, I could be sent on a deployment or an IA and be gone for a year. I would argue that even as a reservist, you are not providing the readiness the Corps is counting your spot because if your husband got mobilized, you would tell the Corps that you were not in a position to also be mobilized. Well, I guess the single guy in your unit or a married guy that doesn’t have a military wife could just go instead.

  • F/A18 2 C-40

    Sorry for the typos… I was typing fast in limited time.

  • Frank Ch. Eigler

    Jeannette, are the raw data & analysis programs for your “female leaders / world peace” thesis available somewhere?

    • Jeannette Haynie

      Frank: They are. I used Stata 11 and all of the data sources are listed in the bibliography, and the whole thing can be downloaded for free via the link someone posted (from the Univ of New Orleans website). I refer you to that because it would take about 50x as long to type here, and the biblio is accurate. It’s of limited use, because there are still holes in the study and I am a newbie at academic work like this. With Stata, I used logit because of the dichotomous dependent variable, and clustered the standard errors, but still did find some support for it. It was actually pretty interesting to write and research, despite my misgivings (I went in skeptical, expecting to disprove a hypothesis), so if you have any interest, please read it. Happy to answer any questions you might have!

  • Matt

    Talk about birds would be more relevant to naval matters. At least bird strikes happen more often than pregnant pilots.

    I rarely see commercial pilots that are female. So this is really just a bland subject that’s not relevant and that has been talked about for the last four decades with zero to show for it but a few token females in various police, fire, Marine, Mil. and Civ. pilots and in many other physically demanding jobs. With all due respect.

    Pilots will be replaced by computers one day but should we just keep human pilots for the sake of being fair to mankind. I mean computers might be able to do the mission better but wouldn’t that be unfair?

  • Kennedy

    WOW! That is a lot of information to digest at one sitting. You are difinitely getting feedback. I have read both your contributions and applaude you for throwing it out there. Being a woman in the military has placed you in the crosshairs whether you liked it or not. Writing about being a woman in the military in this blog has placed you in the crosshairs yet again. Hmmm, I am noticing a trend here. I am sure that you are used to it. Might I suggest that instead of trying to eat the whole elephant at one sitting that you break it up to one bite at a time.

    Regardless of whether we agree or disagree, thank you for your service. Keep stirring the pot, that makes the best stew.

  • Hey, “F/A18 2 C-40″said I’m “PC.” Mark your calendars!

  • UltimaRatioRegis

    No, he didn’t. He alluded that you were more PC than he was. Which may be like being the best hockey player in Panama.

    It’s all relative. 🙂

  • F/A18 2 C-40

    Maybe I should say, better spoken (or written). I’ll chalk it up to your years of ‘blog experience because I’m too proud to credit you with a higher intellect.

  • JP

    The reality is that to survive as a culture there must be children. If we as a force think that the children of service members add no value to pool of potential future officers and enlisted or to the greater society, there’s nothing wrong with our policies. If we think otherwise, there should be a reconsideration.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    I believe (based on the curve of history) that the USN is in the running (if not the front runner) of organizations destined to conquer space beyond the moon. There is quite a bit of evidence to back this up immortalized in fiction as well as the fact that the USN has provided a much higher percentage of astronauts than any other accession source.

    It’s pretty clear to me that the timeframes we’re dealing with given the limited progression of technology will require whatever agency that embarks on such an endeavor to include about an equal number of males and females and learn to deal with the consequences (challenges) and advantages (opportunities) of that advancement. I believe (in company with CDR S. on rare occasion) that the USN/USMC team might as well start now to develop the solutions for the inevitable. The discussion that’s going on via these blog posts are the birth pains (pun intended) that are required to advance the effort beyond what we know and believe now.

    Nice set of data on Jeanette’s part. I’m looking forward to seeing the data set advanced by the opposition.

  • JMH

    Very thoughtful, it took guts to write this and thank you for taking the time and posting it.

    Some thoughts from the ground side.

    -How does what you propose make the Marine Corps better able to accomplish the mission?
    -Does this make the Marine Corps more combat effective or just address an individual choice?
    -Is this for the Needs of the Marine Corps vs. needs of the individual?
    -Everyone makes personal sacrifices for the needs of the service, how is a woman leaving the service to have children any different than a man leaving the service so he can spend more time with his wife and kids?
    -To be fair, shouldn’t the service allow men to do this as well?
    -How does this carry over to the rest of the Marine Corps?
    -As manpower is always short, who decides who picks up the slack?
    -How should this be handled in the infantry? Other ground combat arms?

    Your post makes the argument that men and women are different and that special allowances should be made for females? Doesn’t this counter the current study the USMC is undergoing by sending female volunteers to the Infantry Officer Course, other ground combat arms units?

    Thousands of Marines, male and female, leave the Marine Corps honorably (EAS or Retire) every year because the service just isn’t compatible with their personal goals. I would argue that family is just as strong a reason for male Marines as it is for female Marines exiting the service.

    Thanks again for posting this &

    Semper Fi,

  • Someone

    @Frank –

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Statistical analysis will not change that.

  • Frank Ch. Eigler

    @Someone, I see what you mean (and there sure a lot of “women are viewed as more compassionate … prefer compromise …” sorts of commentary). But for sake of argument it’d still be interesting to poke at the data a little bit to see if it can rule out causal connections by looking for leading or lagging relationships between the various time series. Specifically, would the data be able to show an increase in female leadership *ahead* of conflicts (ie. the contrarian hypothesis being “does a feminized/pacified government invite attacks a few years later?”). It would be interesting if the same sparse data could support both hypotheses.

    Jeanette, the thesis does give URLs to the data sources, thank you. It may be worth considering packaging up & posting your own copy of the data & analysis scripts too, in order to ease reproduction of your results.

    Please excuse my amateur interest in all this as it’s dragging y’all off topic.

  • Jeannette Haynie

    Frank, can I email you offline w/more stuff? Don’t want to bog this down.

  • Diogenes of NJ

    This thread is moving on – but perhaps before we give up the ghost, a few final comments from a less credentialed but perhaps better educated generation would be appropriate for a close out, and as a legacy to posterity. These comments pertain to the Major’s master’s thesis DTD 17 Dec 2011. And while not originally offered up as part of the argument, it is relevant to her stated position regarding the role of women, and nonetheless provides some insight into her method of reasoning. I refer you to my link several posts back (that the admin was kind enough to refine).

    Please do not view this as baseless criticism – it is truly offered in the spirit of a useful dialog and may provide to all who choose to participate in this thread a perspective that they have not encountered recently. I would however do a disservice to the Major and the readers of this thread if I chose to dilute my arguments for the purpose of providing comfort.

    For those of you who never have had the benefit of training as an altar boy, and therefore were never exposed to Latin, I will provide a common sense explanation for the mysterious text posted to Frank above:

    Rosters crow just before dawn and are therefore the cause of sunrise; a premise that I can support statistically. Statistical analysis that is not based on a fundamental understanding of the underlying process is worthless, as are any conclusions drawn from such analysis. This error is common when one attempts to apply the methods of hard science to a soft science such as Political Science. I will commend the Major for the superlative effort that her thesis embodies. It is a highly favorable reflection of the work ethic instilled in her at the USNA. Had I been her advisor however, I would have pointed out that World Peace is a topic more suited to a high school essay, directed her away from a reliance on feminist reasoning and suggested to her that peace is not our Navy‘s primary objective (as I was taught it).

    So before Bennie’s jaw drops and causes his picture of Captain Kathryn Janeway to fall off of his desk, let me explain to you that the primary objective of the Nation and the Navy that I have known is – FREEDOM.

    I cannot support this statistically; neither will I succumb to the tyranny of statistics nor to the tyranny of men (or women). Most of you reading know this instinctively. It is the very definition of what it means to be born an American. A free people will defend their freedom if they wish to retain it; at the sacrifice of peace if necessary.

    Now by feminist reasoning, women are equal to men in all respects, except where women are superior to men; ergo superior women in charge ought to be able to bring about World Peace (which has eluded mankind since Eve handed Adam the apple) by sensitive negotiations; the numbers prove it.

    Let me get something off of my (flat) chest – since the Major anecdotally cited Jane Fonda and her peace activism in this thesis. I lived those times! Lie to me about Vietnam at your peril. This is what I remember about the negotiations – there were two types of negotiators – the commie bastards and the spineless bastards (don’t get your knickers in a knot – Marines are familiar with the term). A principal player among the commie bastards was one Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, purportedly a woman. Now perhaps since feminism was in its gestational phase, the message of the sisterhood had yet to reach the highly progressive regime in North Vietnam and Madame Binh failed to realize that her role was to be understanding, peaceful and cooperative. If only Madame Binh had been present at the Hanoi Hilton when Jane Fonda visited to display a nurturing motherly concern for her imprisoned countrymen – why Jane could have passed the POW messages to Madame Binh who most certainly would have conveyed them on to the US peace delegation in Paris. Afterwards, Jane and Madame Binh could have plied their feminine wiles on the North Vietnamese guards that were beating the living shit out our men – thereby obtaining a distracting respite from the violence. You know, I really thought I was over that – but I’ll take the fact that Jane Fonda is still alive as the reason God gives me each day to pray.

    Understand this about the Vietnam War Paris Peace Negotiations – nearly three years were spent discussing the shape of the Golf Delta table. That’s right nothing more than the shape of the table (people under thirty cannot comprehend this ever happened), where they would place the flags and what it would say on the name tags. If there were more women participating in the talks, I’m sure that they would also have discussed the color of the rug and the texture of the drapes. Yes Major, I’m bitter. Go to the wall. You will find 58,272 names, including 8 women. The wall divides at 1968, which is about the time that the Vietnam War Paris Peace Negotiations started. Walk the second half of that wall and ply your hypothesis to their names. How you and your feminist sisters and Jane Fonda and the other 30% would have expedited that negotiation had you been given the chance.

    It gets even better gentlemen. The Major offers up – in the thesis title no less – former Speaker of the House, Representative Nancy Pelosi as the epitome of a female leader. The very same woman who on 9 March, 2010 told the 2010 legislative conference of the National Association of Counties: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” This woman and many others in Congress are guilty of dereliction of duty. Her statement along with statements such as “No, I don’t read the bills, and I don’t know why anybody would; they do come with a plain English summary, so I just read that” made by Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) are prima facie evidence to that effect. Fully nine months and eight days were available to the Major to reconsider this choice prior to publication. One would hope that the Major’s own dedication to her duty lives up the standard required of her at the USNA, least she be caught up in the spate of dismissals from command that are becoming all too common place in this “New Navy”. (BTW anyone like to run the statistics on that over the last 20 or so years?)

    Here is my offer to the Major should her opportunity for a sabbatical ever be realized. Discard this thesis. I will assist you in your research on a new thesis should you be willing to choose the topic of FREEDOM.

    Here is my proposal for a hypothesis – that the current material condition of the USS Freedom (LCS-1)
    is reflective of the waning understanding of FREEDOM, and of the purpose for which our Nation was founded, among the current generations of the American people, and to certain members of our Government and Military establishments – irrespective of their academic credentials.

    There is one additional concern I have pertaining to the usefulness of sabbaticals. Even the tip of a spear will fail to make contact with the enemy when wielded from the top of an ivory tower.

    I am too old to perform the acrobatic feat of transiting through a water tight door in a submarine in a fraction of a second, therefore I would not venture aboard a commissioned boat since I would be a hazard to others aboard, especially underway. I no longer fly as pilot-in-command since I can no longer perform the visual and acrobatic feats required by my flight surgeon. Major, the day will come when this will be your fate too. I only hope that whenever that day comes in the far, far future – that what I have discussed with you and the members of this blog here today reshapes your view with regard to your responsibilities and role. Your career (anyone’s career) is small by comparison in the overall scheme of things. You have been blessed with great gifts: your exceptional education, your outstanding work ethic, your family, your health, to name a few. Codgers such as Grandpa Bluewater and myself, say what we say because it is necessary; but it is also personal. It is personal because we would choose to have you as a shipmate.

    In the merry month of May we commemorate both Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. How sad it would to be to have to honor the same individual on both days. What a pity that no mother would be there to hang her son’s gold star in the window. Freedom has a price. Memorial Day draws near and my hope is that by then SJS will offer to the readers of this blog his sage opinion and the link to his most outstanding YOUTUBE video “Once to Every Man and Nation”. He didn’t mean to leave out women – it’s just the way things were.

    – Kyon