Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Women in combat: A vet’s message to today’s women about how to proceed

By Amanda Cowell Best Defense guest columnist What I would say to those women is this: We are the women who longed for this day and wanted it for ourselves. So, when the raw skin on your feet breaks and your boots slowly begin to slosh with blood during that 20-mile ruck march, we will ...

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Catie D. Edwards
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Catie D. Edwards
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Catie D. Edwards

By Amanda Cowell
Best Defense guest columnist

What I would say to those women is this: We are the women who longed for this day and wanted it for ourselves.

So, when the raw skin on your feet breaks and your boots slowly begin to slosh with blood during that 20-mile ruck march, we will be with you.

By Amanda Cowell
Best Defense guest columnist

What I would say to those women is this: We are the women who longed for this day and wanted it for ourselves.

So, when the raw skin on your feet breaks and your boots slowly begin to slosh with blood during that 20-mile ruck march, we will be with you.

When you have intentionally over-packed your ruck just to prove you can carry the weight and then have to have your battle buddy pull your hair into a bun for you because you can’t lift your arms, we will be with you.

When it finally hits you that you will never be able to stop trying to be twice as good, twice as funny, twice as smart, twice as fast, twice as strong, or twice as hard as every man around you, we will be with you.

When you climb that rope, when you go another day without sleep, when you don’t think you can run that last mile, when you are hungry, when you are injured, and when you make mistakes, we will be with you.

And the day you realize that it is actually possible to pee into an empty water bottle without a penis … well, we won’t be there for that one, but you can tell us about it later. 
I can’t WAIT to see you kick some ass.

Amanda Cowell served in the active-duty Army and Army Reserve from 2002 to 2010, during which she did two deployments to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division in military intelligence. She currently is living in Ohio and working as a stay-at-home mom.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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