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Captain Rosemary Mariner Blogging Next Week on Women in Combat:

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, when introducing Kingsley Browne, I'm delighted to say that Captain Rosemary Bryant Mariner (United States Navy, Retired) will be joining us next week to present a view different from Prof. Browne's. Capt. Mariner is a Research Fellow with the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee Knoxville; she teaches U.S. military history in the university's History Department; she is co-editor with G. Kurt Piehler of a forthcoming anthology, The Atomic Bomb and American Society, from the University of Tennessee Press; and she is an oft-quoted expert on gender integration in the armed forces.

Before her retirement 10 years ago, Capt. Mariner was (among many other things) the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Professor of Military Studies at the National War College, where she taught national security strategy and joint warfare. Capt. Mariner is also a member of the first group of women trained as full-fledged military pilots in 1973, and the first American female aviator to qualify in a tactical jet aircraft, the single-seat A-4E/L Skyhawk, in 1975. During the Gulf War, she commanded Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron Thirty Four, becoming the first woman to command an aviation squadron and was selected for major aviation shore command. I much look forward to reading Capt. Mariner's thoughts on this matter.

Scott Scheule (mail) (www):
I look forward to it. And I congratulate on picking Kingsley Browne for your prior guest: for someone with no opinion on the topic, I found his posts interesting and well-argued.
12.14.2007 1:24pm
Scott Scheule (mail) (www):
The "someone" mentioned being me, of course, not Browne.
12.14.2007 1:25pm
SenatorX (mail):
Excellent! It will be interesting to hear things from her perspective.
12.14.2007 2:06pm
Waldensian (mail):
Excellent. Interestingly, this selection of a guest blogger goes right at Kingsley Browne's weak spot: women in combat aviation. His arguments against permitting women to fly combat aircraft were outrageously weak, particularly when pitted against their actual experience to date.

Meanwhile, what I wouldn't give to fly an A-4. A true sportscar of an airplane.
12.14.2007 2:23pm
Cornellian (mail):
"Mariner" is a great name for a Navy Captain.
12.14.2007 2:26pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
With all due respect to Captain Mariner's skills and experience (which are impressive accomplishments in their own right)...

a combat aviator probably doesn't have much experience with the worst forms of combat ... in the mud/sand/dust close quarter small unit infantry operations. Unless she was shot down in hostile territory and had to do a few days of E&E with the bad guys hot on her heels. (And even then, that isn't "normal" combat for most naval aviators.)

When combat means driving an aircraft and firing some missles or dropping some ordnance, anyone can do it. Push-button warfare.

So if her military experience is meant to make her an expert about women in combat, it would do well to remember how limited that experience really is.

That said, I also think her perspective will be interesting. Just not decisive. (Even if I end up agreeing with her!)
12.14.2007 2:34pm
C Thomas:
Jesus. She has yet to post, but already Capt. Mariner's view are being discounted. Tough crowd.
12.14.2007 2:51pm
Jim Hu:
And Prof. Browne's military experience was... ?

My reading of the post is that her experience is in addition to her expertise, and she's been invited for the latter more than the former. I'm sure that her experience informs her expertise, but I suspect that she will have a lot more than just personal anecdotes to share.
12.14.2007 2:53pm
George W. Obama (mail):
I hope readers are as skeptical of her claims as they were of Professor Browne's.
12.14.2007 4:07pm
Wondering Willy:
I am hopeful that ad hominem and appeal to authority is not invoked in favor of her arguments, though I have no doubt that it will be.
12.14.2007 5:01pm
Deoxy (mail):
I do look forward to her commntary, but I must say, someone with that particular pedigree speaking on this topic is very like having a life-long lobbyist for a certain position speak on it. I think that is why you are getting many skeptical comments even before she shows up: her opinion is already known.

In fact, if here opinion is anything OTHER than strong support for women in the military, I think the whole concept is loss - if she isn't a strong supporter, who honestly could be?

I still want to hear her perspective, but I don't have very high hopes of them being interesting or useful.
12.14.2007 6:03pm
SenatorX (mail):
I hope that the well is good and poisoned before she even posts here!
12.14.2007 7:22pm
PersonFromPorlock:

...the first American female aviator to qualify in a tactical jet aircraft...

I know it's a quibble ('qualify' surely involved quite a lot more than just flying in Capt. Mariner's case), but on 18 May 1953, Jacqueline Cochran broke the speed of sound in an F-86E, which was very much a tactical jet aircraft.

Incidentally, given the record you cite, the fact that she retired as a 'mere' O-6 ought to embarrass the Navy.
12.14.2007 8:53pm
Objective Commenter (mail):
Link 1

Link 2

Navy Faults Engine in Female Pilot's Crash

Published: March 1, 1995

Engine failure, not pilot error, caused the crash at sea that killed one of the Navy's first female carrier pilots, the Navy said today.

Rear Adm. Jay B. Yakeley said a formal Navy investigation had concluded that Lieut. Kara S. Hultgreen's F-14A jet fighter crashed last Oct. 25 as it approached the carrier Abraham Lincoln after its left engine lost power.

News organizations had received anonymous allegations that Lieutenant Hultgreen had not been qualified and had received special treatment by a Navy determined to prepare women for combat.

Lieutenant Hultgreen, 29, was one of the first two women to qualify for Navy carrier operations in the F-14A Tomcat. She was rated above average, the third of seven in her class, records show.

Admiral Yakeley called the crash off the California coast an "extremely rare occurrence."

At a news conference at North Island Naval Station, he said, "It's the first time I've ever heard of an aviator losing their engine at this critical stage."

During the Navy's four-month investigation of the crash, engineering experts examined the engine after the plane was raised from the ocean. Investigators also reviewed videotapes of the crash made from the aircraft carrier.
12.14.2007 9:07pm
Dylanfa (mail) (www):
Incidentally, given the record you cite, the fact that she retired as a 'mere' O-6 ought to embarrass the Navy.
Absurd. The record sited is that she held some fairly ordinary commands. The fact that she was the first woman to do so doesn't in of itself indicate some great genius deserving of flag rank. Someone had to be first to these achievements, and the odds are that the person doing so would not be in the tiny minority of those with such fantastic job performance or political skills necessary to earn flag rank.
12.14.2007 9:07pm
libertarian soldier (mail):
She will undoubtedly have interesting things to say about integrating women in the military.
But, as an infantryman, I have no interest in what any pilot has to say about anything called combat.
12.15.2007 7:23am
Randy R. (mail):
I'm sure she has some cute thoughts about women in combat, but frankly, is this something that she should worry her pretty little head over?

If they really want to serve in the military, I must invoke the Henry Higgins clause: Why can't a woman be more like a man?
12.15.2007 11:12am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Well, Randy. Maybe we could have men being more like women. Think that would help?
12.17.2007 8:57pm