Dear Editor:

I guess I am at the age now where it is becoming more and more difficult to adjust to the many extraordinary changes going on in our world today. Of course, this most recent change about to come about is the one to allow women to now be able to serve on the front lines in combat situations. For one thing, being a Vietnam combat veteran myself, I can not imagine any woman, who as I remember them always being more gentle, delicate, and totally against any kind of violence, ever wanting to be in combat.

It seems like in today's world, women want to be more like men, and yet in comparison according to how God has created men and women to serve in different capacities, how could they ever be physically equal to men. For example; How could say a 130 pound woman possibly carry a critically wounded man weighing 250 pounds out of harm's way during active combat involvement?

I think this change in the way women began to perceive themselves, all began to come about during the "women's liberation" movement here in America sometime in the mid 1960's. I had been discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps. in September of 1969, after serving my country for three years, and returning home from Vietnam in April of 1969. I was attempting to rehabilitate myself in the civilian world again, and I wanted to renew my mind with more intellectual knowledge through more education. I had enrolled myself in college under the G.I. Bill, and was struggling to acclimate myself to fit in with 17 and 18 year old students after being a war hardened 21 year old.

My first opportunity to experience how this new wave of young college women wanted to be treated was when I held the door open for two young girls to go ahead of me, and received the dirtiest looks, along with being informed that holding the door for them was very unnecessary.

This was a shock to my system, because in the era I grew up in the 1950's, young boys such as myself were taught by our parents and teachers in how to be gentleman, and to respect the young girls we would encounter, and to treat them as "ladies' with them being the physically weaker of the genders compared to us young, rough-tough boys. This was instilled in us all through our adolescent years of growing up, and even to this day I naturally want to treat all women as "ladies", and especially my wife, the woman I love and will always respect as a "lady".

From my own experiences of being involved in active combat during the Vietnam War, I feel it is a mistake to allow women to serve on the front lines with men, because as the gentleman I was raised and indoctrinated to be, I would more than likely end up going out of my way to protect the woman serving with me in combat, and would end up disregarding my primary orders and duties as required for me or my unit to survive in a critical combat situation. I don't even want to imagine what the enemy would do to a woman if she was captured alive, such as in the case of Jessica Lynch where at only 19 years of age she was sexually assaulted and brutally tortured by her captors.

John M. "Jack" Selby

Hometown