Although there are more than 2 million female veterans and active duty women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, little attention is focused on their service. Women pilot the Air Force's multi-million dollar F-35 aircraft.
Women are blown away by roadside bombs serving remote tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Women suffer disabilities, suicide, PTSD, family separations, and make the same sacrifices men experience. In addition, women endure unjust legal repercussions from the chain of command when reporting sexual assaults. They report devastating retaliation because the chain of command just wants it to go away.
Televised Senate hearings often reveal the Pentagon's inability to convict sexual assault perpetrators when evidence of guilt is unquestionable. Our military women deserve the same respect, recognition and legal representation as men do.
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Hillary Clinton supported the “Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act” to the National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment to that bill would have removed sexual assault out of the chain of command and alter the Uniform Code of Military Justice(UCMJ) to ensure rape victims receive justice.
A Senate pro-Pentagon filibuster prevented the act from being passed, although the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff admitted their inability to protect and provide justice for our female members. Hillary has the fortitude, skill and experience to ensure justice for all.
I am a six-year female U.S. Air Force veteran. Doors in the 1970s were legislatively kicked open for women to have a military career. I am thankful for my military experience. Being on the forefront of women going places never allowed before provided many benefits – a career, equal pay, equal training, developing job and leadership skills, the G.I. Bill, health care and a retirement plan with medical benefits.
In addition, we were authorized to marry and have children. Prior to this legislative act, women were automatically discharged.
Women are entering more and more combat roles and serving with valor. I strongly believe and trust Hillary Clinton will open another door as our next commander-in-chief and president.
Hillary believes, as I do, in a strong national defense that is not used to promote war. Our military must be used when no other option is open.
Hillary understands terrorism, dictators and humane treatment. She will use our military strength as needed. As a veteran, military wife (whose husband served 28 years on active duty) and a former Department of Defense civilian employee myself, I trust Hillary to kick open the next door and take command.
The writer lives in Conway.