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COUNTERPUNCH

Women in SEALs Training? Get Real

September 01, 1997|JERRY O'BRIEN | Jerry O'Brien produced and directed "Rites of Passage" and co-wrote and co-produced the upcoming "Night of the Hyena."

Am I the only person in this world who sees? Is this what our feminist politics have led to? Do the film industry and Kenneth Turan see the danger created by applauding the efforts of a film like "G.I. Jane" (Shipping Out With Demi," Calender, Aug.22) Movies are powerful media. Be careful what you preach; it causes reactions in people.

I speak from experience. I joined the Army in1974 with a guarantee of trying out for the Airborne Ranger School. Do you want to know what one of the main reasons was for my joining? I saw the movie "Where Eagles Dare," (1969). In it, Clint Eastwood is an American Ranger in what I now see as a wholly unbelievable scenario in which he is brought in to work with British secret agents, including Richard Burton,to take over an Alpine castle that must have had 400 highly trained German soldiers in it.

Needless to say, Clint and his pals win. When Burton says of the Eastwood character, "He's one of the elite American Airborne Rangers," I thought, "Get out of my way! I'm going to climb mountains and attack Alpine castles!" I was in my late teens when I saw "Where Eagles Dare" and was in the Ranger battalion by the time I was 20.

So now, I'm sure, we're going tohave a whole couple of generations of girls who think they can take on the SEALs and win.

Wrong.

Again, I speak from experience. In my Airborne school in the mid-'70s, we have five women and they all got their wings. But they did push-ups with their knees on the ground, among other breaks the men didn't get. And one of them got by on five instead of six jumps because she was "PMSing" badly on the day of her last jump (she had found a jump sergeant who likedher).

But that's Airborne; they'll let women slide. But they will not let women slide in the Rangers or SEALs or Special Forces (Green Berets). SEAL training is something no woman ever has or ever could complete-at least not at current standards. And Rangers and Green Berets? Forget about that, too. There are no women in these units. Why, they can't even complete Airborne without flitting their eyelashes to get out of the hard duty; what makes people think they can do the real thing in SEAL training? I would say that 99.9% of the world has no idea-no idea-how tough and mentally demanding this training is. Thank God most will never know.

Why can't filmmakers show something more plausible, maybe a lowly farm kid or something in the same scenario instead of a movie star like Demi Moore? That would prove more believable to Americans and the world that this beautiful woman hooey. But there are people who will buy "G.I. Jane's" director Ridley Scott's and Moore's antics. God help those poor girls that try-and those poor commissioned officers and non-coms who are going to have to walk on eggshells around them while they get their little breaks.

You insult all of the men who achieved their SEAL badges when you imply a woman can do it, or did it. You insult every man who died trying. And you really insult all the good men who tried but failed (whom no woman on Earth could touch in terms of physical ability).

I'll state the facts, since I seem to be the only one seeing clearly nowadays. Women will never, ever,not in the next 100 lifetimes, ever be able to do the training that men do in the SEALs or Rangers or Special Forces. Women will never equal men in strength. Ever. It's physically impossible.

I think women's liberation is fine, but there are parameters. A lot of people now are going to get this little seed in their heads that women can be SEALs, and pretty soon the training will be lightened for them. Then everything is going to fall down a few nothces, as usual.

Women need to know their place, I don't know where that place is for sure (they choose so many), but I'm sure I know where it is not-and that is at the training facilities at Coronado, Calif. (SEALs); Fort Benning, Ga. (Airborne Rangers); and Fort Bragg, N.C. (Special Forces).

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