The Marines have long had women among their ranks but the Iraq War is changing women's roles. The Lioness program, referred to as the "pride of the Corps", was originally developed to provide culturally-sensitive searches on Iraqi women but has also given women more equality on the front lines. Unlike the woman in this WWI recruitment poster, female Marines today have actually seen and taken part in combat. Sometimes peacekeeping missions run into ambushes and as one veteran so aptly said in a NYT article, "When someone is shooting at you, you don’t say, ‘Stop the war, I’m a girl.'"
The Marines have discovered how valuable the Lionesses are in obtaining information and cooperation from the Iraqi people, whether by befriending the women or subtly intimidating the men - an American woman in uniform carrying a rifle is a jihadi's worst nightmare.
So, on the eve our own Independence Day, here's to our brave women, fighting and dying alongside our men while bringing hope and freedom to the rest of the world. Thank you.
p.s. My good friend, frequent commenter, and self-proclaimed #1 fanboy Mad St. Jack gifted me with a copy of Band of Sisters by Kirsten Holmstedt the last time I saw him. It's a great read, I strongly suggest it.