Thursday, August 05, 2004

Band of Sisters 

Marine Corps Times - News - This Week's Marine Corps Times

RAMADI, Iraq — When Marines on the hunt for insurgents here kick in the door, Spc. Shannon Morgan isn’t far behind. She’s part of “Team Lioness,” a small group of women proving itself in one of Iraq’s hottest combat zones.
Women are serving throughout the war zone, but the soldiers in this band of sisters are unique. They’re joining male Marines and soldiers on offensive ops, taking part in raids, security patrols and vehicle checkpoints.

The women are not walking point or leading infantry squads in the assault, but their secondary role is no less important to the success or failure of a mission here. They accompany the infantrymen to conduct body searches of Iraqi women, allowing U.S. forces to hunt for insurgents while not offending the citizens they seek to win over.

These women are helping to win the peace in this still restive city, but the significance of what they’re doing goes beyond the war zone. By joining men on the offense, they are blurring the traditional lines that have kept women in combat-support roles and out of harm’s way.

But in the counter-insurgency fight now being waged in Iraq, a war with no front lines and no traditional “rear,” just about anywhere outside the wire qualifies as “harm’s way.” And the women here are in the thick of it.

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