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Equal chances, not dress code

May 31, 2008

Re "Next president likely to confront women's combat roles," May 27

On May 11, one of the best kids I've ever known was killed in Iraq. Jessica Ellis was a combat medic serving her country on her second tour. Her recruiter told her dad that a female medic would never be placed in a dangerous position. But every position in Iraq is potentially deadly.

Forty years ago in Vietnam, a 9-year-old boy placed a grenade in my pocket, and an old woman walking a dike raised an AK-47 as we flew past and opened fire on us.

Women are more capable than men of dealing with stress and G forces as fighter pilots. Physiology is not exactly what Joe Jock Strap would have us believe.

If we are going to wage war, we should do away with all hypocrisy. When killing is "equal opportunity" and the rich and poor, as well as women, have to fight wars, America may wake up.

Doug Troutman

Lakeview, Ore.

I am a female disabled veteran. I believe that women should be allowed in some combat roles but not all.

I take great issue with The Times' article regarding the comment made by the female Air Force officer who called for eliminating dress-code and grooming distinctions.

The majority of my fellow female soldiers feel that we do not need to cut our hair or get rid of our pantyhose to feel that we are serving our country. In fact, allowing skirts and pantyhose lets women continue to be women.

Masculine dress and hairstyles do not make you fire a weapon better, fly faster, improve physical fitness or enhance writing or speaking skills. Being a true patriot, serving with your heart, showing leadership and having pride in yourself make you a good soldier.

I did not want to look like a man when I served, nor did I want to give up my femininity to prove a point.

Candice Gutierrez

Alexandria, Va.

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