You know, I really loved my time in the Navy. I mean, I absolutely cherish the memories made over 20 years. That may not be a big surprise to many of you out there that know me. As much as I loved being in the Navy, I am glad I am retired from active duty. Sure, I'm happy with the fact there are no more duty days, deployments, inspections, GMT (General Military Training) and the myriad of other annoyances for me. Overall, though, I had a great time.
There is one thing that makes me especially happy to be out now. I hated being short-handed for a deployment because some stupid sailor did something to make him or her ineligible to deploy. I remember the extra hours worked and increased stress resulting from the loss of a sailor by way of a completely preventable condition. When I first joined the Navy, it wasn't a big deal, really. All the warships were male only and the only coed ships were the tenders, which basically were floating shipyards. Even back then, though, it was possible for a male sailor to be denied shore duty and sent to a tender because some female got pregnant...just before deployment...gee, I wonder why that happened?
Which is why I agree with and applaud Major General Tony Cucolo. I like the policy concerning females getting pregnant in a war zone. Being in the military is hard work, folks, and I would be lying if I said I enjoyed leaving my family to deploy for six to nine months. No, leaving your wife and/or kids is agonizing but you sailor up and do it because that's what you get paid to do.
Too many times I have witnessed women who get pregnant two months before deployment and become ineligible to deploy. I remember back in 1992; I was on shore duty, stationed at a SIMA (Shore Intermediate Maintenance Facility). My command was dubbed the Little Creek Maternity Ward because of the fact we had over 20 pregnant female sailors. Not every one of them was previously stationed on a ship; no, there were some who timed their pregnancies so they could go back to sea when their shore tour was up. Those women I have no problem with; they were true comrades-in-arms because they took the time to make sure they didn't negatively affect any other sailor.
In fact, ever since General Cucolo announced this policy, he has been vilified in the press and by women's rights advocates like the ever worthless Senator Barbara Boxer. Senator Boxer has never served in the military and has held the military in contempt for as long as I can remember. I vividly recall the time when she ordered Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General Michael Walsh to call her Senator rather than Ma'am because she worked so hard to achieve that status. Maybe he SHOULD have called her Senator because she sure ain't a lady who deserves to be called Ma'am. Senator Boxer, you are a complete idiot who has absolutely no idea what impact a missing Sailor, Soldier, Marine or Airman has on their unit when it deploys without them.
Since you have no idea of that impact, I suggest you SHUT UP. This Iraq pregnancy policy is nothing more than an amplification of existing regulations. All service members are made aware of this policy when they sign their enlistment contract and raise their right hand for the oath. Males who "shoot themselves in the foot" just before a deployment are punished for their dereliction of duty; it is HIGH TIME we held female service members to the same standard. The General did not single out women, he is holding BOTH males and females responsible for their actions when it results in pregnancy and a ticket home for the female. This is NOT about infringing on "women's rights"; it is about ensuring EVERY member of that command, unit, squadron, platoon, etc. is ready and able to answer the call. In the military, the "rights" of the individual are trumped by the needs of the unit in this scenario. It is selfish and reprehensible for one to deliberately make one's self unable to deploy or remain deployed.
This is much like the idiots who tried to get out of deploying for the war by claiming "conscientious objector" status. WRONG AGAIN. Again, I will say this; WHEN one raises one's right hand and swears to defend this nation from all enemies foreign and domestic and obey the orders from the people over them, one is BOUND to obey orders and deploy. There is NO EXCUSE for any of these attempts to get out of doing one's job. If one has an active duty military ID card and is being paid for serving in the military on active duty one MUST perform their duties to the best of one's ability! Kowtowing to "women's rights" to excuse dereliction of duty, yet punishing males for dereliction of duty is discriminatory at best and criminal at worst. There should be no distinction between the two.
In short; YOU raised YOUR hand, YOU signed YOUR contract and YOU are collecting YOUR pay. Therefore YOU will deploy and perform YOUR duties. If YOU do not deploy or get YOUR tour abbreviated by YOUR actions YOU will be held responsible. Simple, ethical, legal. So, Senator and women's rights activists, I say this; if you have never served in the military, you have no idea what you are talking about and, therefore, should mind your own damned business and let the military do its job.