The New York veteran who started the nation’s first Veteran of Foreign Wars post for women said she had no problem with them being considered for the elite units, as long as they meet the stringent requirements and that the standards are not lowered for them.
Making allowances for a female soldier would be ‘‘a detriment to the team,’’ said Marlene Roll, who served with an Army Reserve medical unit during the first Gulf War. But, she added, ‘‘If she can make it through the course and she can graduate, hell yeah.’’
Female veterans hope those who follow in their footsteps appreciate the opportunities.
Linda L. Bray said her male superiors were incredulous upon hearing that she had led dozens of male military police officers through a three-hour firefight during the 1989 invasion of Panama.
Instead of being lauded for her heroism, she said, higher-ranking officers accused her of embellishing accounts of what happened. Congress debated fiercely over whether she and other women had any business being on the battlefield.
‘‘I think it’s absolutely wonderful that our nation’s military is taking steps to help women break the glass ceiling,’’ said Bray, of Clemmons, N.C.
‘‘I hope the women who attempt to take on these challenges in the military don’t do it because now it’s OK for them to do it,’’ she said. ‘‘I hope they do it because they really want to make a go of being a man’s partner in going to war.’’
Watson reported from San Diego. Associated Press writers Chris Carola in Albany, N.Y.; Juan Carlos Llorca in El Paso, Texas; Michael Biesecker in Raleigh, N.C.; Dan Elliott in Denver, and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington; contributed to this report.