05 April 2014

The Barracks: Female Soldiers

When you enter the science fiction section of bookstores or surf online book seller websites, it is easy to spot one of the strongest symbols of military science fiction: the full integration of women into the military, including combat roles. Women infantry donned in futuristic armor using futuristic weaponry is a staple of sci-fi and is found across all media. Some creators of these sci-fi proprieties sexualize the female soldier to garner more sales for their product. Others, like myself, present a more realistic idea of female soldiers in future military service. Until recently, women were mostly banned from the combat-center jobs in the military, and this used to be called the "Brass Ceiling".  However, the present is catching up the future, with more military organizations are lifting the ban between female soldiers and the combat roles. This even includes the infantry and special forces. With the altering of the modern battlefield and the burred frontlines, more women have seen combat in the 21st century, and this altering reality of modern warfare shifted the point of view on females in combat. While this blogpost has been in the draft since the founding of FWS in summer of 2010, I've waited to craft the right balance and depth needed to explore this trope of science fiction. Paired with the normal discussion of sci-fi's take on female soldiers, I've also included extensive information on modern female soldiers as well. Be warned readers, this is not an easy or funny blogpost, and some of the topics we're going to be discussing are difficult and painfully. It is my intention to education with this blogpost about the various issues facing modern female soldiers and how science fiction deals with the same topic. On a personal note, this blogpost has also been on the blog draft pile for some time, due to the difficult topics associated with female soldiers in modern military service. Also, this blogpost was a challenge to write due to the steer volume of information and the sci-fi examples I drew upon. Those examples took more than three weeks of research and writing, the full blogpost was more two months of work. It is my hope that with this blogpost that the world of female soldiers has been done justice.

Why Are Women Banned from Combat Operations?
Despite recent and upcoming changes to rules banning women from combat, I think it is best to discuss why female soldier are/were banned from serving in combat units? Some of the reason for the ban is cultural/historical traditions that limit the role of women in society, much less, women serving in the combat. Other reasons point to sexism. Male soldiers, as a rule, just do not think that female soldiers can endure the rigors and stress of combat operations, some even fear that women could not bring themselves to kill an enemy. Some of these male soldier cite out-and-out that a woman's place is not on the battlefield and they can get pregnant and they have periods. Some governments believe women lack the strength to pull a wounded male soldiers off of the battlefield.
Some groups believe that a woman's place is not on the battlefield, but at home,or in the rear. They believed that a society's duty is to protect women and not put a gun in their hand and ship them off to foreign battlefields. Still others worry about the treatment of female POWs at the hands of the captors, and how women coming in bodybags will effect the public support of a combat operation. However, it seems that is all going to change. During the writing of this blogpost, President Obama issued orders that all of the US military jobs should be open to women, and the military is gearing up for the 2015 deadline, however US Special Forces units being opened up to women is still undecided. The United States is finally catching up to other NATO allies that are open to female combat

The Belief History of Women in Combat

Despite modern basis against female soldiers in combat, our ancestors seemed to have less of an issue allowing women into combat situation. The first female warriors are known to us, but their names are not. Back in the dawn of our species, females and the young were left while the men hunted, and during those times, the women of the tribe were the only defense against aggressive animals and rival tribes. In the battle of survival and defense of their children, all women, no matter the era, are warriors and soldiers. The earliest archaeological evidence we know of female warriors dates back to the 17th century BCE, in ancient Egypt with Ahhotep I. She has been believed to be a military leader. During the 13th century BCE, we had the Biblical figure of Deborah the Judge, who led an army against the occupation of Canaan. During this same time period, we had the Arabic warrior-queens, like Zabibi, and the Lady Fu Hao of China, who led soldiers into battle. While warrior women were populate in Greek mythos, there is no evidence of female hoplite soldiers nor Spartan warrior women. While the ranks of the Roman legions were completely staffed (as far as we know) with male soldiers, the same cannot be said of the gladiatorial arena.
From the time of the Roman Republic to the Empire, women were part of the bloodsport and known as Gladiatrix. The first historical account appearance of the female Gladiatrix were during the bloody reign of Nero from 54-68 AD. Women were pitted against women in gladiatorial combat, along with mixed sex combat as well. The practice was common throughout the imperium according to archaeological and historical recorders. It was banned in 200AD with little success, and only the end of the Roman Empire bought an end to the practice due to the massive popularity of the girl-on-girl combat. The same cannot be said of the enemies of Rome. On foreign battlefields, the Roman legionaries would square off against female warriors used by the enemies of Rome. One of the most famous was the Iceni Queen Boudicca, who led her warrior around 60 or 61 AD.
While Boudicca was successful at first, it ended in tragedy at the battle of Watling Street, and it is believed that she died by her own hand rather than be captured again. In 2004, a tomb of a warrior with a sword by the bones was found, when the DNA results were run, this 2,000 year old warrior was female. More graves of female warriors from around 1st AD, have been unearthed around the Caspian Sea and the Sea of Azov. In the 3rd century CE, we see Lady Trieu of Vietnam, who led mixed sex armies against the invading Chinese. In 2006, a discovery was made of a 4th century CE South American warrior woman from the Moche Culture buried with war clubs and spears. When we examine the Dark and Middle Ages, we that there female warriors in pre and post Islamic middle east, with examples like Kahina, Nusaybah bint Ka'ab, and badass Umm Hakim, who, legend as it, killed seven Byzantine soldiers during the 634 AD battle of Marj al-Saffar. 
Along with the celebrated and famous Amazons of Greek lore, there is the Scandinavian Shieldmaidens. According to the historical sagas of Leif Ericson and Ragnar Lodbrok, women fought along side the men in battle, and were accepted as warriors. There some western accounts of these female Viking warriors. It is very likely that the Shieldmaidens give rise to the mythic Valkyries. During the 971 AD Siege of Dorostolon, female Viking warriors were discovered among the dead. During the Viking Colony in Newfoundland (or Vinland) around 1000 AD, the legend is told of the daughter of Erik the Red, who defending her home against Native American warriors while bare breasted and pregnant! Damn! Don't fuck her with! There were women on the 3rd Crusade, and Isa of Formbach-Ratelnberg of the "Fainthearted Crusade" of 1101 AD, who led an army the Isabel of Conches who donned Knight armor and was compared to the Greek Amazons. Around the 12th century, we saw on the finer examples of female Samurai (Onna-Bugeisha): Tomoe Gozen. She fought in the inter-clan war called the Genpei War, and praised for her skills with the bow and sword. However, the most famous female warrior of this era was Joan of Arc.
Living in the 15th century CE, this French girl was just 12 when she received her "vision" and "guidance" from the Archangel Michael for her to aide Charles VII's struggle against the English in France. By the time she was 19, Joan was on trial for her life after being captured by the English during a battle in 1430.  Joan of Arc was the veteran of several battles, and did achieve victories of the French against the English. She was executed on May 30th, 1431 in Rouen by the English for the crime of heresy. Joan of Arc is probably the best known example of a female soldier, and much like all female soldiers, she was endanger of rape by her captors. During the 16th century, the Sikhism religion allowed for female warriors allowing for a strong tradition of female Sikh warriors like Mai Bhago and Princess Bibi Rajindar Kaur. During the conquest of the New World, there are examples of female conquistadors, called conquistadoras. One of the more famous was Ines de Suarez, who fought in the conquest of Chile. She would be on the frontlines of the battle of Santiago, where she nursed the wounded soldiers, and during a desperate moment, she beheaded native warriors to demoralize the attackers when male soldiers would not perform the grim task.
However, one of the most interesting female soldiers of the 16th century to me is the curious case of Catalina de Erauso (1585-1650). From the age of four, Catalina was in service in New Spain as a nun, and would leave behind her old life at the age of 15 and become a mercenary (sounds like a Quentin Tarantino movie). Catalina would pass herself as a man and very success, too. Her own brother did not recognize while she was in service to him during the Arauco War. It is known that she killed in battle and was skilled with weaponry of the time. Her sexual identity was discovered by several, causing her to flee from her life and restart elsewhere. Pope Urban VIII allowed her to wear men's clothing. Throughout her life as a mercenary, Catalina, like many female soldiers throughout history, would portray herself as a man. Female soldiers served in combat units during the 18th and 19th centuries in some of the largest military organizations, like British navy. The catch is that for these patriotic women to service, they disgusted themselves as men. Such was the case of Royal Marine William Prothero onboard the gunship Amazon (irony!), who was discovered to be a female after nine months of service onboard the ship. Another Royal Marine, Hannah Whitney served for five years until discovered and jailed. The story is repeated with a 19 year old woman serving onboard the Resolution as “Arthur Douglas” and Mary Lacy who posed as “William Chandler” and served  as a shipbuilder in the 18th century. 
Two of the more famous cases of 18th century females hiding their sexual identity were Angelique Brulon and Hannah Snell. Angelique was born into a military family in France in the late 18th century. With her husband, a soldier as well, they fought in the defense of Corsica in 1792-1799, with Angelique disgusted as a male soldier. Her deception did not last long, however, due to the deeds in battle she was allowed to serve, and achieved the rank of Lieutenant and the French Legion of Honour. She was the first women to ever be awarded this honor. Then we have Hannah Snell, who posed as “James Grey” and joined the marines. A series of tragic events fueled her desire to join the British military and escape the sadness. Her daughter died, and her husband ran off, and then was executed for murder. She would serve for years, and be out’ed to her fellow sailors and soldiers in 1750. Snell would sell her story and open a bar. 
It is believed that 400-1,000 women served in the American Civil War masquerading as men in order to serve alongside their husbands or simply answered the call to duty. Some of these female soldiers were discovered after battles when the bodies were cataloged and others during medical care. While this practice was common through military history, it became hard when some military organizations required medical exams prior to enlistment. President Lincoln even came to the aid of a female soldier that had been revealed to be a man after being wound in the shoulder. Mary Ellen Wise was denied her back pay on the account that she was a women serving as a soldier, which was illegal. The President ordered the decision reversed, and the story was printed in 1874. Why were so many women, especially for time, risking everything to serve in the brutal combat of the Civil War? Some knew that if their husbands went off to war, they would never see them again. Some served because of the stakes of the outcome of the war, and others out of economics...combat pay was higher than of the military jobs that accepted women. 
During World War One, there were female soldiers serving in secret, much as they always have. Some served openly, like the Turkish snipers during the battle of Gallipolli, and British lady Flora Sanders, who served with the Serbian army in trench warfare and engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Loretta Walsh was the first woman that served in the US Navy as something other than a nurse. She would serve in the USN from 1917-1919 as mostly a clerk. The majority of the women in the military during the Great War were nurses, however, there was the 1st Russian Women's Battalion of Death, commanded by Maria Bochkareva. These World War One Valkyries were an PR stunt to fuel morale of the men fighting on the frontlines. Over 5,000 women served, but only two units were allowed to fight. These were a rare sight in this age. 
While these Russian female soldiers did well in combat, the men were angered by these females prolonging the war by injecting fresh blood. Why the units were disbanded, some of these experienced female soldiers were folded into the Russian civil war. The between-wars-period, around 1936, at the age of 23 year old Sabiha Gokcen would become the first female combat pilot in the world, and would go on to fly over 22 different planes during her service in the Turkish military. In the 3rd Reich, Hanna Reitsch was a test pilot in the Luftwaffe. She would be a part of the Do-17 and Ju-87 test flights, and the Komet Me-163. During testing the Komet Me-163, Hanna was badly injured, and was awarding some of the highest awards in the Luftwaffee.  
In the most important and bloodiest war of human history, World War II, women would serve back home, in the rear, and on the front line. Much as been made and written about the women would worked in the war factories while the men were fighting. In the US, nearly 60,000 women served as nurses in all areas of war. In total, 350,000 women served, and 16 were killed in action. Despite the despite situation, the 3rd Reich wouldn't official allow female soldiers in the defense of the fatherland in the Volkssturm or "people's militia". The Red Army wasn't so picky. Nearly a million women served during the war, everything from nurses, AAA gunners, and snipers, but not official frontline soldiers. The most famous of these Soviet snipers were Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Nina Lobkovskaya, and the youngest sniper, Klavdiya Kalugina. 
Even the British royal family would allow for Princess Elizabeth II to join the Women's Auxiliary Territorial from 1944-1945. During her service, Elizabeth would drive a truck and aid in repair and transport.  When Israeli fought the war of independence in 1948, over 12,000 women served as infanty, but the practice soon ended, until the year 2000. During the Korean and Vietnam War, most women would serve in classical military roles for their sex, as nurses and clerks. However, Viet Cong used female guerrillas, as well as the NVA. In 1967, Republic of Congo trained 150 female soldiers as paratroopers, and based on the success, more were trained. I was unable to find that they were integrated into the mainstream army. 
By the 1970's, more roles were opening for female soldiers, however, combat roles were still blocked. European nations were more readily willing to open their air forces to female combat pilots. Jo Salter would become the RAF's first combat fighter pilot. It would take until 1993 with Jeannie Leavitt become the first USAF combat F-15E pilot. The IDF would follow in 2001, with Roni Zuckerman. During the 1st Gulf War, 40,000 women were deployed to the Middle East, sixteen never came home. USAF A-10 pilot, Martha McSally, would fly combat patrols in the no-fly zones in the 1990's as the first female pilot to fly combat missions. In 2000, the IDF formed the Caracal Battalion, the mixed sex combat infantry unit after the ban on females in frontline units. During the terrorist attacks on American in 2001, two female combat pilots were ordered to shoot down United Airlines Flight 93.
During the Iraqi Invasion, US Army specialist and Hopi tribal member Lori Piestewa was killed on March 23rd, 2003, making her the first female American soldier killed in the Invasion of Iraq. Piestewa was killed during an ambush of vehicle convey in Nasiriyah, Iraq. The bravery of Piestewa was followed by specialist Monica Lin Brown and Leigh Ann Hester. Specialist Brown, a medic, was awarded Silver Star for bravery for protected wounded soldiers after an IED attack on their vehicle. Military police officer Leigh Hester was awarded the Silver Star for her actions in a close combat situation where she and her staff sergeant flanked the enemy and engaged the enemy.
In 2003, the USMC developed the female engagement teams under the "Team Lioness" project, and the concept was picked by the US Army and other allies in the A-Stan AO. With the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, some military organization have been exposed to other military organizations that allow for genderless combat units, and with the blurred lines of modern warfare, the concept of female combat soldiers is gaining power and acceptance. In early 2013, the Pentagon will be lifting the ban on women in combat around 2016, after a three years of plan and study on opening most combat jobs to women. Just before posting this, the second Ft. Hood shooting occurred, and a female military police officer confronted the shooter, and engaged him as he took his own life.

Female Soldiers and Modern Warfare 
Women comprise around 20% of most modern military organizations, and are mostly in non-combat activities. Women make about 1-7% of combat units in military organizations that allow them to serve. The most popular fields for female soldiers are: medical, intelligence, and support. The two most popular branches of armed forces are the navy and air force for female servicemembers. At present, women soldiers are on the edge of be allowed to serve in combat roles, however, at the moment, it is county by county basis. Combat pilots are the most frequent female soldier role, in either helicopters or fighters.
Submarines and special forces are the most resisted and/or least popular fields for female soldiers. In the nations that do not allow direct frontline combat jobs to be open for females, they are roped into combat via their jobs in medical, military police, transport/logistics. Even in these restricted military organizations, the blurred lines of modern warfare have forced female servicemembers into direct action, especially in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, altering the opinion of female soldiers in combat. The most frequent type of job that female servicemember do that causes combat situations is military police. Since 2000, much progress has been made on opening up the combat roles to females, however, there still the same old issues facing modern female soldiers: sexual assault, harassment, physical limitations, hygiene, and divided loyalties between home and the service. One interesting bit of information I read about was that despite the massive tactical outfitting business that as spurn up recently, most or all, do not tailor their tactical equipment towards female soldiers. Current stranded issue combat gear is ill-fitting for women, including ballistic vests and helmets.

Examples of Female Soldiers by Nation:

South Korea 
With the enemy right at their borders, the South Korean military is highly trained and ready to defend their nation again, and about 8,000 women serve in a 600,000+ military. Despite women being in the service since 1950, women served in support and medical roles, and men were promoted above women. In the 1990’s, there was some cracks of the “male only” rule, but the South Korean military had trouble breaking its “sexism” label. In 2013, Captain Oh, a female soldier, committed suicide after a year of harassment, shedding light on the harassment issue that exists in the South Korean military. While North Korea allows for frontline female combat troopers, the South Koreans still limit their combat roles. 

New Zealand
Since 2001, the rather small New Zealand military, less than 10,000, as allowed women fully access to all roles in their military, including the SAS. The highest percentage of females serving in the NZ armed forces is in the Navy, and this is also were the highest amount of female officers. The lowest on both was the army. Recently, a report of the New Zealand military concluded that 1-in-10 female soldiers were bullied, harassed, and abused. In August of 2012, the first female Kiwi soldier was killed since Vietnam in A-Stan, Lance-Corporal Jacinda Baker was just 26. With the completely lifted the ban on female soldiers in combat also allowed for female soldiers access to the New Zealand SAS. However, upon the writing of this blogpost, no Kiwi female soldiers has passed section after several have entered the grueling ordeal.

In the land up north, the Royal Armed Forces of Canada allow female combat soldiers, unlike America or Britain. By 2009, 17% of all combat forces were comprised of female soldiers in a military of 47,000, of which there are about 7,000 women serving in total. On May 17th, 2006, Captain Nichola Goddard was the first female Canadian soldier killed ever in combat operations. However, Canada did lose 43 women in military service during World War , and some 71 during World War II. This sad event happened in Kandahar Providence, Afghanistan while serving with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery during a two-day battle with Taliban friendly forces. Since her death in 2006, two more female soldiers have died in combat operations in A-Stan: Karine Blais and Kristal Giesebrecht. Both were killed by IEDs.

The United Kingdom
The Ministry of Defense's own website says "Everyone's Welcome" and about 9% of the British armed forces are comprised of females, but much the United States, women are banned for jobs that involved direct combat with the enemy. However, there are female helicopter and RAF pilots, and females are allowed in sniper training and in Afghanistan, female soldiers are used in female engagement teams. The British  MoD concluded via studies over thirty years that female combat troops are less likely to survive or help their fellow soldiers survive. Over and over, the MoD said that females simply lack the body strength to carry wounded men in full combat gear out of the hot zone. However, they do say that a women is fully capable of killing the enemy. During World War II, Queen Elizabeth II at age 18, joined the British Army, and drove a truck and even worked on the vehicles.

Finland has a policy of required selective service for males upon turning 18 through 30. However, with females is voluntary, which is about 50% of the total Finnish population. All combat roles are open to Finnish women, including infantry and special forces. One Finnish female posted a video on Youtube saying that while letters are sent to all Finnish teenage boys about selected service, no letters are sent to females about there options on military service. There are no firm numbers on women serving in the rather small military. I believe that service by women is low.

There is little doubt that Italy is a beautiful nation, epic history, and hot cars. However, what is in doubt is a genderless military. In 2004, there were only 1,736 female soldiers serving in the Italian military, and recruitment was down from 46% female to less than 25%. The issue driving women away from service was the men in uniform. Female soldiers reported massive sexual harassment, stalking, and called male soldiers “molesters in uniform”. Some male officers fired back that female soldier complaint too much, forcing them to cancel training. By 2010, female soldiers number around 10,000, and females were allowed in combat situations and have been deployed to Afghanistan. 

In 2001, the Buneswehr became open to female combat personnel, even during the end of the 3rd Reich, women were not just to defend Berlin. About 800 women out of the 16,000+ that serve in the Buneswehr, are in combat jobs, which includes the infantry, and combat fighter pilots. Out of the 4,000 members of the German military at serve in the ISAF in Afghanistan, about 194 are women, and there have been issues with women serving in a combat zone. In the Buneswehr special forces unit KSK, the doors are open for women to apply to be special operators since the ban was lifted in 2001. I cannot find that any women have passed into the ranks of the KSK though. 


The Norwegian military is the oldest government in Europe to open all roles to female soldiers beginning 1938. However, that was repealed after World War II, and since the 1980’s, Norwegian women have gained more access to combat roles. In 1995, Solveig Krey was the nation’s first submarine commander. Today, Norwegian female soldiers are allowed into all roles of the military of less than 30,000 active personnel. Norway as required selective service for males, and volunteer for females. Given the small numbers of Norwegian soldiers, when make up about around 90-93% of the entire military, and the highest percentage of women serve in the army. Even with female soldiers serving in combat patrols in Afghanistan, the Norwegia government believes that no female soldiers have engaged in close combat. 

Around the global, the IDF is famous for the massive inclusion of females into military service, which goes back to the founding of Israel in 1948. With enemies on all sides of the Jewish nation, it was believed in times of invasion, that all citizens of Israel needed to know how to fight. This was not only a practical tactical decision, but also a deterrent for any enemy wanting to invade. Today, about 92% of all IDF jobs are open to females, and women comprise about 33% of all soldiers, and 51% of their officer corps. In 2000, the mixed sex combat unit, the Caracal Battalion is formed with the idea to test the theory of mixed sex combat units. In 2012, the unit was tested under fire, and successful in the engagement. Today, the Caracal Unit is about 60-70% female. Israel is not like other nations, and the concept of military is so engraving into the national mindset, that a mixed sex military is a not looked at as alien or different. Girls expect to serve, and if Israel is attacked, than women of the Jewish state are expected to fight. We saw this recently with the World War Z film. That is not to say that there are not issues within the IDF.
Recently, several female recuits posted pictures on social media of themselves in their underwear, wearing their combat gear and M4A1 Carbines. There have also been issues with the amount of males and females in service. Prior to the 1990's, the IDF had issues with males thinking that sex was also the mark of a warrior harassing female soldiers. In 1993, only 10% of the 1,000 reported cases of sexual harassment were investigated. In 2004, 1-in-10 female soldiers were sexually harassed, however, the IDF is attempting to solve the issue, and even charging a general with sexual harassment. An interesting note about the IDF's POV on women came up when I was researching the  Tavor TAR-21 bullpup assault rifle, it seems that IDF wanted a rifle that was easy and more compact, because not only was useful for mechanized forces and urban combat, but their female soldiers as well.

The French military is mostly open to female for access to jobs. The areas that are closed are riot control and submarine duty...this means that even the special forces are open. One French military organization that is not open to females is the French Foreign Legion. Despite this openness, only 1.7% of the combat forces are composed of females, out of the 19% of total females serving in the French armed forces. Women in service have been deployed to operations in Afghanistan. Some of the US soldiers have reported positive experiences with French female soldiers during patrols and training. It is also believed that French female soldiers have engaged in combat.

Given the ancient Viking tradition of shield-maidens, the current Swedish military is been open to female soldiers in all roles of the military, including direct combat and Special Forces. With Sweden opening all military roles to females in 1989, it is one of the longest nations of NATO to allow full access to all roles in the military (next to Norway). Swedish women have served in Afghanistan in a similar role to US female engagement teams with much success. They are able to peaceful engage with the locals, allowing for proof-positive information on IED locations. Female soldiers comprise about 4-5% of the total Swedish military population of 40,000. There was a very odd story that made the rounds in 2009: the flammability of their standard issue combat bras. The 500 female soldiers that serve in the Swedish military have complained about the poor quality of their issued bras and the fact that could burst into flames. Another issue was the bras unhooking during combat training, forcing the soldiers to remove their tactical gear and readjust. Also, Swedish female soldiers are populate on military photos sites...because...well...just look! 

Switzerland is my genetic native nation, and I take great pride in my Swiss roots. Military service is required under Swiss law, and both sexes are included however females are voluntary, and it has been recently that Switzerland opened all military service areas for female soldiers. Given the small size of the standing Swiss military and isolation policy, few female soldier will ever get to use their skills. There is little information on female soldiers in the Swiss military.

Despite being a Muslim nation, Pakistan is very open female troopers, and even the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad ali Jinnah once said: “be prepared to train women in combat…Islam doesn’t want women to be shut up and never see fresh air”. And that message seems to have been taken under advisement. The Pakistan military has been expanding the role of their female soldiers since the founding of Pakistan in 1947. The vast majority of combat jobs are open to female soldiers, save for naval and submarine duty. In 2013,  24 female soldiers passed Airborne training and there are women that have gone through sniper training as well. Out of the 617,000 member Pakistan Armed Force, about 4,000 (?) are women.  

Much like Israel and South Korea, the island nation of Taiwan lives under threat of invasion by the Red Chinese military, and in order to have a fighting chance, the Taiwanese military is required selective service for both sexes. Taiwan has a military of about 300,000, and much like the Israeli Defense Force, the Taiwan military has mandatory selective service for the age range of 18-22. However, that will be changing with a volunteer military. It is difficult to find information, but it seems that Taiwan always for full access to military roles, including combat.

Women have served in the Australian army since 1899 with the formation of the Army Nursing Service, and today make up 12.8% of the ADF’s 80,000 person military, with the majority in the Royal Australian Air Force. When it comes to combat roles, the Australian defense force have breaking down the barriers since 2000, and by 2016, women will be serving in frontline combat roles and allowed to go out for selection in the SAS, after the 2014 outline of physical standards are worked out. In 2013, Lt. General David Morrison of the Australian Army made an speech that was picked up across the globe that if any member of the ADF as an issue with females in the military, then they should get out of serve, and discharges would be given. His speech is regarded as how the issue of mixed sex military should be addressed. 

United States
Currently,  there about 170,000 women serve in the US Armed Forces that is comprised  of 1.4 million members, making women about 14.5% of the total military population. 74,000 in the US Army, 53,000 in the Navy (some 46% of those are in the medical field), 62,000 in the US Air Force, and only about 14,000 in the Marines. About 36,000 women are officers in the Armed Forces, and there is very few high ranking officers. Out of the 1.1 million jobs that exist in the US military, about 200,000 are either direct combat roles or indirect, about 20%. Only about 9% are frontline combat jobs, like infantry, which are all barred avenues for women soldiers. However, since the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 152 women have given their lives in service, and nearly 1,000 have been wounded.

The Argument FOR Women in Combat
Opportunity and equality are some of the key words used in the argument for women in combat. The opportunity to serve their county as they see fit, and to have an hand in the direct outcome of the war, being a agent of change. Also, combat service always for advancement in the military, and without it, women will be represented less in upper echelons of the military command structure. Women tend to be more understanding and sensitive to the culture differences in a society and women engagement teams used in Afghanistan that had relate and bond with local women have been highly effective at winning the hearts and minds. There is also the arguement that women are less likely to commit war crimes against the local population.

The Argument AGAINST Women in Combat
Some make the case that women in combat units will break unit cohesion by being a wedge that pits men against each other, or breaks the bonds of brotherhood between men during war. Then there just the argument that having women around will district the males from work, and thinking about fucking instead. These brings up points about jealousy, heartbreak, and sexual tensions. During combat situations, they believe that having a women in a combat unit will force men to protect the female over the objective, and if that female is wounded, greater risks will be taken to save her, even over other wounded male soldiers.
Other point to women not being as strong as a man, nor as tough, nor have the ability to kill. They believe that women soldiers could not hump the same about of gear over long periods of time. Of course, others bring up the issue of female health while in the field...let us just leave it at that shall we? Then there is a ugly aspect of women in frontline combat units, rape and abuse. Women captured in by hostile forces abuse them and rape them, and the argument against having women in combat is drawing on those incidents. Recently, an Australian article against female combat soldiers says that is a national shame to have their women fighting, citing that the Australian government does not respect women by doing this. The writer goes on to say that any nation that deploys female soldiers is not serious about combat or living under a "postmodern fantasy".

Could Women Serve in Special Operations?
The nature of Special Forces is accomplishing the missions that are deemed too difficult, too risky, and too high profile for regular military units. The more elite you go into the SPECOPS community, the darker the shadow becomes and the more difficult the assignments. While the desire to be in the SPECOPS community is strong, the numbers that actually achieve that goal is very small, and there is a lengthy process to gain entrance into the hallowed ranks of the elite warriors. The question is, can women join those ranks? Could we have female DELTA operators? Or female SEALs? While some military organizations are hotly debating the future role of female soldiers in the Special Forces community, some nations have been allowing females into their SOF units. 
There have been rumors for years that DELTA Force employed women operators in their "funny platoon". While details are limited, and it is believed that the Funny Platoon is disbanded, it was an arm of DELTA to gather intelligence, and that including intel-gathering ops in the field.The British SAS also went out with the female field intelligence agents during the troubles in Ireland.
At the moment, women do serve in some capacity in SOF units around the global, and even some SOF units, like the New Zealand SAS and the Polish GROM. Some Israeli Special Forces units allow females to serve: the YAMAG (border police), Unit 669 airborne air evac, the IDF Navy force protection unit YABAN, and the Special Forces dog unit, Oketz. With regard to the SAS units, no females have yet passed section.In the BBC "SAS: Are You Tough Enough?" reality show, men and women were put through a variant of SAS selection for ten days by former SAS operators, in the final four competitors, was a female.
One of the closest current military units to SPECOPS for female soldiers are the Female Engagement Teams. Female Engagement Teams and Cultural Support Programs are deployed in A-Stan as a bridge between the foreign military units and the villages of Afghanistan. Originally started by the USMC under the “Team Lioness” concept, the role was expanded to the US Army, and rebranded to the FET. Fifty five female soldiers received special training for the FEL and about the same for CSP. These female soldiers make contact with the female villagers and the children, allowing a different side of the foreign forces in A-Stan to be presented to the villagers. The program has been highly successful, and the women involved with the program have spoken highly of it. This is the closest, we’ve seen to female special operators. 
The Special Forces community is concerned about pushing females through training and reducing the training standards to allow females to end the SPECOPS units. If this is done for female operators, there is a concern that their achievement will be less than the males. This could hamper the advancement of women through the special force community, blocking their process to more elite units. For example, if a female soldier passed the Ranger course on a lesser standard, she could be placed for trying out for the Green Berets. Another concern is that women deployed to small SPECOPS team, like American Green Beret ODA teams, could not be physical strong enough for the tasks, like pulling wounded men out of the line of fire, and the lack of hygiene associated with long-term SPECOPS missions. Of course, there is normal shit raised about emotions…but that is just a male fantasy with women warfighters at this level. The real answer to if women can be effective in SPECOPS units will come when women are deployed into SPECOPS units. 

The Positives of Women in Combat
If women were universal allowed to be frontline combat troops, what you be the positives of having them on the battlefield, rather than just men? First, there would be a greater pool of recruits to draw from rather than just one sex. Second, we could see less war crimes, cruelty to civilians and POWs, and all around better behavior. This was also the theory of Frank Herbert when he created the Fish Speakers for his forth DUNE book. Third, women have proven their ability to connect to local populations, with the female engagement teams, and this could allow greater success with winning the hearts and minds.

The Negatives of Women in Combat
If women were allow universal access to frontline combat duties, what would be the negatives of that policy? First, you are going to have women coming home in bodybags in more numbers than we've seen. This will create a different dynamic when it comes to how the loss of the female parent will effect those families, and how the media/public will react to this. Second, women will be even more divided on their home lives verses with their duty, and we could see that women just do not sign up for combat duty.Third, the more women in close combat, the more chance of these women being captured, and the resulting sexual trauma that can be visited on them (not to say that males are not raped while under capture...it happened to Lawrence of Arabia at the hands of Turks).

The Model: The IDF Caracal Battalion?
In 2000, the Caracal Battalion was formed by the IDF, comprised of mixed sexes in a direct combat unit. The idea was to test the theory of mixed  The unit is named after the feline species Caracal (or Desert Lynx), whose male and female appear physical the same, unlike many animal species. The unit is about 60%-70% female, and as been tested in a combat situation. In September of 2012, the Caracal Battalion intercepted terrorists coming over the Egyptian border. During the engagement, one terrorists was killed, one IDF soldier wounded, and one IDF female soldier was overwhelmed and hid in the bushes during the engagements. This was the real test of the IDF grand experiment, and to earn their assignment of guarding the border between Egypt and Israel.
Much like US military, the IDF is a melting pot of ethic and racial groups, and the Caracal Battalion are no different. While the Caracal Battalion is a symbol of the Jewish state, there is still harassment, but males serving in Caracal, are used to women giving them orders, and being next to them in combat. We have to remember that the Caracal Battalion is not like the US Army nor the IDF combat units as a whole. the Caracal Battalion has a higher percentage of females to males, allowing for some resolution to the issues facing women that would be a minority in a combat unit. This could be an example for the US to follow...were mixed sex combat units exist, there needs to be more women than men. Recently, I read that the Caracal Battalion had a name change to the 33rd Caracal Battalion to honor the number of Israeli females killed while in service during the War of Independence.

What No One Wants to Talk About...
That ugly word is rape. Both by the enemy and their own fellow soldiers and commanders. The ugly fact is that female soldiers are targets of men and their aggression and mental attitudes, that all lead to rape, murder, harassment, and abuse. The American public is worried about sending their daughters in combat zones were they could be captured and sexually assaulted by the enemy, the odd thing is that the vast majority of sexual assaults against women in the military are committed by their fellow soldiers. Originally, political leaders and military brass were worried about the effect of having young women in body bags coming home could have on public opinion about the war, now that conversation has altered. Mostly, female soldiers have to worry about their own commanders and fellow soldiers during deployment and back home. As one writer put it: "Women soldiers have to watch their back twice: once on the battlefield and again when behind the wire."
The statistics are damning: the US military has about 14% of their population being serial sexual predators that prey on both men and women in the service. Within the normal United States population that number is around 7%. In 2012, about 26,000 women and some men experienced a form of sexual  assault. This is a jump of 10,000 (or 34% increase) from 2011. Out of the 1.2 million servicemebers in the US Military, about 200,000 are women. Only about 3,000 cases are reported to the DoD, and only a few hundred of these cases receive any type of legal action. 96 resulted in court marshal. In just one branch, the overall statistic was one-in-five women in the military is a victim of sexual assault in the US Air Force. Overall, some 500,000 women in the military have been sexual assaulted since the 1st Gulf War. That is a hard number to deal with.
The real question is why the military has such a sexual assault problem and why is not dealt with? The military, especially the US Marines, uses hyper-male imagery to attract young men seeking adventure and combat to enlist. To be elite and macho, as it were, is one of the reasons to join the armed forces Men mark their masculinity by burning rubber in their cars, mounting trophies after the hunt, and how many women they fuck. While this habit exists in the civilian world, it is even worse in the military, according to reports, and some of these reports even label the US military as having a "rape culture". After all, being a soldier, a protector of their nation and a warfighter, is a mark of manhood...an alpha male hunter among the pack.
In this mentality, the mark of these alpha males is to have their way with their choice of the women, spreading their seed and securing their dominance. This is an ancient idea that has it roots in the basis of our species since time immortal. However, we not longer live in that type of society, and women can refuse the advances of these supposed alpha males for sex. That, at times, does not go over well, and the male believes falsely that he must dominate the female...leading to rape. Some men join the military out of the good reasons and are moral men of character and valor...however, some join because they are weak and need to feel strong. And still others join because they are all ready fucknuts, and the idea of the military and the fuck-fantasy of combat gives them boner, that leads to the "kill it or fuck it" mentality. Why doesn't the military do something about this if the issue is so widespread and plagues all elements of the armed forces ? Part of it is not wanting to admit that they have a real goddamned problem on their hands that could tear the fabric of the military itself. The reality of this issue overwhelms the brass and civilian leadership of the military...because they don't know how to stop it. Some male commanders in the military believe that women are lying about sexual assault, and are using the legal system to punish for a failed relationship, not being promoted, or that they were not hit on. These same men have a dim view of the female sex, and hate that they have to deal with women in the service. Often, when an female soldier steps forward, they dismiss it completely or file charges against the female soldier! This makes the women in the military leery of reporting the assault and emboldening the assholes that are doing these crimes. Another issue preventing justice is that the military justice system allows for the commander to make the decision to move forward on the case. If the shit stain that is raping these women is the commander's best drinking buddy, than he is less likely to commit to the legal process. Also, some commanders do not want the negative attention that would come with moving forward with the legal process. After all, it could cost them their command. In most NATO nations, this judicial process has been altered, taking the power out of the hands of the commander, and allows for the legal process to work.
While this is a dim assessment of the relationship between soldiers and the military organization itself, it is worth noted that this is not true for all soldier, male or female. The fact is that civilian women face sexual assault if they go for a walk, go on a date, going to work, or going to university. 1-in-6 civilian women will have some sort of sexual trauma visited on them, either rape or some form of sexual assault. That translates to about 230,000+ each year out of an estimated the 150 million females in the total US population of 311 million. In the United States military, there were about 3,535 reported sexual assaults/rapes between 2012/2013 out of a population of about 200,000 female servicemembers in a military population that hovers around 1.2 million. A female soldier is 15 times more likely to be sexually assaulted/raped by a fellow soldier than by the fucking enemy, and between 20% and 45% of all female veterans have been sexually assaulted while on duty.
 That is not to say that there some who serve that never experience anything more than cat-calls and men, well, being men, and I have met a few women vets that have told me that their military service was positive, and some met their spouse while in the military. On that note, not all men in the service are stalking women and men with the darkhearted desire to rape, some just want to serve their nation, and women are just comrades in arms.
This is the majority of the my experience with the veterans I've met in my life...of course, not many people are going to out-and-out confess that they raped women while on duty.
With this section, which was painfully to write, I wanted to shed light on some of the truths of female military service, and hopefully, one day, women had serve without the fear of being sexually assaulted by their brother-in-arms. That being said, any female that joins the military must be aware that even if we fix the sexually assault issue in our own military organization, there is still the enemy, and the hard reality is that if a female soldier is captured by the enemy, the likelihood of them being raped is nearly certain. I do believe most women are told this when they join, especially since most military organizations are moving forward with combat integration for both sexes. This fact was recently hammered home by former supply clerk Jessica Lynch's book I am a Soldier, too. In the pages of the book, it is said that Jessica was brutal raped by Iraqi soldiers that pulled her from the wreckage of her vehicle, prior to her medical treatment at an Iraqi hospital.  However, Jessica Lynch herself as no memory of these violent events, and fought with her writer about including a disputed detail that cannot be confirmed. He wanted the assumption put into the book to remind the world what female soldiers risk by serving in combat.

From the Mouth of Experience...Two Soldier's POVs on Modern Female Soldiers
In my hospital unit, I work with several combat veterans,,who that served in Iraq with the US Army. While working on this blogpost, we discussed the realities of having frontline combat female soldiers. Like most things, my friend the RN was blunt and to the point, telling me that he had witnessed a group of female Marines take out a larger group of  insurgents with skill and aggression. So, he does not doubt the ability of female soldiers to close in and kill the enemy, he is concerned about unit cohesion when male soldiers on a post are more interested in their dicks rather than their duties while on post.
Their minds drift from their duties to fucking. They seek out and find reasons to put themselves in close proximity to these female soldiers, while possibly ignoring their duties. He told me about sex scandals on bases were higher ranking officers were removed for having consensual sex with lower-ranking female soldiers...all during a time of war. He also talked about that male soldiers, especially older male soldiers with daughters would give first aid to the wounded female soldier over a male soldier, even if he is more critical than she is.
Most of this backed up by a woman I knew back in the early 1990's, Dana Burris, who served in the US Navy from 2001-2005. Via Facebook, I asked her if she agreed or disagreed with females being allowed in combat. Dana cited the physical different between men and women, and this could be liability during combat. Also a liability on the battlefield would be the male soldiers protecting the female soldiers instead of the objective. There was also mention of hygienic issues, and pregnancy. However, she did say that if a women was able to meet the physical, mental, and emotion requirements of frontline combat serve, and get a hysterectomy, then let her into the combat jobs.

The Future of Women in the Military
By 2025, we will see the United Kingdom, the United States, and the other holdout nations, allow full female servicemembers access to every field in the military. It just seems that likely now. That being said, there is one "right" that women-citizens will have when their nation goes to war: the draft. With women being an element in the combat arms of their nation's military, than they will be called upon if the shit really hits the fan, and a draft is ordered. Not only does military serve alter the women who embrace that lifestyle, but the military will be changes as well with a complete open military. The "Old Boys Club" view of the military will end with women in combat, it must, because combat allows for rank acceleration. Which means there will be more women in the officer corps, and the upper echelons of the command structure. At some point within my lifetime, another war will be fought, however, it will be fougth with female soldiers on the frontlines in traditional mainstream combat role, and that will truly tested the concept of a genderless military and how much we've progressed as a society.  

Will Technology Benefit Women on the Battlefield?
When FWS wrote a blogpost on Powered Armor recently, I mentioned that armored power suits could dismiss the long-held arguments against women in combat due to their upper body strength. So, could future technological advancements help the case of frontline combat female soldiers? I think so. Consider that an military grade exoskeleton could allow an female soldier have greater than strength than any male bodybuilder, and via this exoskeleton, she could carry the same amount of weight as her male counterparts in powered exoskeletons. There would no issue with pulling wounded male soldiers off of the battlefield, neither. The US military and DARPA are experimenting with robotic pack mules to relieve soldiers of their heavy kit while on long foot patrols, and this could also benefit female soldiers. Then there are the advancements in lightweight material for ballistics protection equipment, backpacks, and weapons. Also, with the raise in popularity with carbines, women soldiers not longer have to deal with long, heavy rifles, allowing to have the same weapon and hump over long miles without the taxation of carrying a full-sized assault rifle. With advancement of medical technology, there could be a limitation to the menstruation cycle (I cannot believe I just typed out the words "menstruation cycle" on my blog!) and the issue of pregnancy.

The Curious Case of the Fish Speakers from God Emperor of Dune
One of the more unique takes on female soldiers comes for the 4th novel in the original DUNE books. When it comes to the DUNE universe the terms "original", "complex", and "interesting" are often used, and it is true that Frank Herbert's mind forged on of the most unforgettable and original fictional universes. Also original was his take on female soldiers, specially, the Fish Speakers from The God Emperor of Dune. When the new Duncan Idaho ghola was delivered to replace another Idaho that attempted to assassinate the God Emperor Leto II, the Emperor's adviser Moneo fills in the Ghola on the lay of the land around the Leto II palace. One of this first questions was about the all female army of Leto II: the Fish Speakers. Fish Speakers may seem an odd name, and it is, but these women warriors possess the violent talents of the Sardauker and the Fremen. The name comes from the first priestess that talked with a fish in a vision...bizarre. Save for Duncan Idaho, there were no men allowed in the serve of the Fish Speakers, and men were used for pleasure in the ranks of the Fish Speakers. It was the opinion of the God Emperor that all-male armies were predatory in nature, and if not given an enemy to fight they would turn on their own society. Also, male soldiers were given to committing rape and homosexual acts on a wide scale because of their childish behavior, and instilled this beahavior in new soldiers, causing a cycle of bad behavior. These acts of rape, brutality, and forced homosexuality were not only destructive to the soldier, but the overall goal of the conflict. These acts could and do turn the local populous away from the military and the goal of winning hearts and minds. Female soldiers, in the opinion of Leto II, maintained that female soldiers were more humane and not given to acts of mass brutality on civilians.

The Female Soldier and Science Fiction
Science fiction is a "break" from the real world, and one of the easiest forms of fiction is in the mythos of ancient civilizations. Throughout ancient times, the idea of a women warrior, both in the form of normal females to the divine, are found across the globe. Women warriors like Athena, the Amazons, Anahita, Badb, Enyo, Ishtar, Sakhmet, and lastly, the Valkyrie. This ancient idea has been extended into modern times with fantasy works, like Tolken, D&D, and the art of Frank Frazetta. However, the transition from the world of fantasy to the realm of female soldiers fighting on distance worlds as taken a bit long.
We did have characters like Olga Romanoff from 1893 Syren of the Skies, and various tough female characters from Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom universe, it would be 1929's appear of Wilma Deering in Armageddon 2491 A.D. that sci-fi got its first female soldier. Wilma Deering would set down a pattern that forged such female heroines as Dale Arden. Red Sonja and Queen Nemone. However, still female military personnel did not really exist really until the 1970's! While female superheroine characters, like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Susan Storm Richards would populate one area of science fiction, they were not female soldiers, and often wore outfits to apply to boys. With the sexual revolution, and the women's rights movement, sci-fi began to view women differently.
While, in the 1960's, we had some strong female science fiction characters, like the women of the DUNE universe and Uhura from Star Trek,  however, we would have to wait until one of the greatest military science fiction novels of all time: The Forever War. Marygay Potter was an member of the 1143 years War, and rose up through the ranks, commanding taskforces. It helped that Marygay was in one of the most awarded sci-fi novels of the 1970's. Given the popularity of the novel, it believed that she helped pave the way for other similar characters. The latter portion of the 1970's saw the introduction of Lt. Sheba from the original Battlestar Galactica and Colonel Wilma Deering from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and while not a female soldiers, Princess Leia Organa from Star Wars and Flight Officer Ellen Ripely had a wide impact of creators of science fiction to develop strong female characters. By the beginning of the 1980's, the idea of female soldiers was well planted, and anime works quickly followed with iconic female soldier characters along with sci-fi novels, however, there were still too few female soldiers.
That was until 1986 with the appearance of one of the most iconic female soldier character: light machine gunner Colonial Marine Vasquez from ALIENS. Due to the impact and popularity of ALIENS, the Vasquez character, along with the other two female Colonial Marines, more sci-fi creators including female soldiers in their fictional military organizations. We also saw in the 1980's, the popularity of fantasy female warriors via RPG games like D&D, allowing for boys (and girls) to play strong female characters, allowing for these future characters to be more comfortable with forging female characters.
In the 1990's, the mainstream popularity of science fiction was paired with a greater understand and respect of the military female character. In 1992, we would see the creation of Honor Harrington, Captain Janeway, Shane Vansen from SAAB, Samantha Carter of the Stargate universe, and the numberous female soldiers of the 1997 Starship Troopers film. The 1990's would also give rise to the "bad girl ass kicker" trope that would give female military characters the super-soldier and super-ninja treatment. We would see these types with Max, played by Jessica Alba in Dark Angel, the ladies of Cleopatra 2525, Trinity of the Matrix, and Buffy, of course. Now only was the warrior female type being generated by Western media, the Japanese would forge hundreds of female warriors and soldiers.
This "ass-kicker bad ass chick" type character was repeated time in the new century, time again, especially by Joss Whedon with River Tam and other characters along with J.J. Abrams, who had his Syndey Bristow in Alias. Throughout the new century, we had many of these characters: Rachel Luttrell's Teyla from Stargate: Atlantis, Quorra from Tron Legacy,Katniss Everdeen, and ladies of the messy, but visually cool Sucker Punch later in 2011. Today, we see that mainstream sci-fi as embraced female military characters in all forms, allowing for creators like me to write female soldiers without it being an alien concept. If we examine most modern science fiction examples of female soldiers than there is little reality supporting those futuristic military organizations with today's armed services. Most of these sci-fi armies have women serving in combat roles with little to no gender basis. There is little discussion of military sexual assault or other issues. In some ways, the sci-fi examples are a hopeful picture of what could be for female soldiers...an equal, safe military that allows them to be all they can be.

Models of Fictional Futuristic Military Organization and Female Service Members
Okay, while we are going to examine specific examples of female service members in science fiction properties, I think we should examine the overall military organizations that allow for frontline female combat soldiers. These are the military organizations that I know, so these examples are drawn from a familiar pool of science fiction properties.

The United Nations Space Command from the HALO Universe
Throughout the HALO universe, we have seen the ranks of the United Nations Space Command military forces filled with both men and women. This just does not include the traditional roles for women in the service, like medical, support, or pilots. As seen in the HALO games, comics, books, and live-action videos, women serve in all manner of roles, from deck hand, to pilot, captain of a combat starship,to Marines, to ODST. This concept of a genderless UNSC that opens all military jobs to women extends to the elite of the elite units: the ODST and the SPARTANs. There is little made of women serve next to men on the battlefield, even when they are members of the ODSTs and SPARTANS. Female SPARTANS are seen in every generation of the super-soldiers. There does not seem to be the issues that we have today with women being in combat. They are just accepted on the battlefield with little ceremony or notice. It seems that by the 26th century, complete military integration has been achieved.

The United States Colonial Marine Corps from the ALIENS Universe
The Colonial Marine Corps is the force-in-readiness of the United State space forces, and it's ranks are composed of both female and male marines that are ready to kick ass and take names! As seen in the 1986 holy movie, the 1996 technical manual, and the recent shitbox video game, along with a number of comics, women serve in the Colonial marines in both combat and non-combat roles. In the film we see no less than three female marines that have serve as dropship pilot, machine gunner, and medic. Despite the tone of the female, there is little in the way of sexism or other gender basis with these marines. It all of the examples I've seen female marines have access to every job within the Corps, and in per the technical manual, have risen to the highest levels in the CMC.

The EarthForce from the Babylon 5 Universe
In the 1990's military sci-fi space opera we-are-not-Deep-Space-Nine TV show Babylon 5, we are introduced to the future of Earth's military, EarthForce, the military of the Earth Alliance. This massive organization was populated by a number of female characters in all manner of roles. From combat starship captains, marines, security personnel, fighter pilots, and even president of the Earth Alliance. Much like other fictional military organizations, EarthForce female servemembers did not suffer from gender basis or sexism...all jobs in the EarthForce were open to women and female characters are seen in various roles.

The Colonial Forces of the 12 Colonies of Kobol from Battlestar Galactica
The original 1978 Battlestar Galactica featured female warriors serving as combat space fighter pilots, and ground troops without an seemingly gender basis. The 1978 series was considered groundbreaking in showing female soldiers, and was a product of the women’s liberation movement. Flash-forward to 2003-2004 with the relaunch of Galactica, and even greater expansion of female characters. In the Colonial Armed Forces, as seen in Blood & Chrome and BSG, women occupy all roles, from pilot, to marine, to deckhand, to commander of combat starships. Seemingly taking a cue from SST, men and women room together and there are common bathrooms onboard the old lady. Much like all fictional futuristic military organization, there is no gender basis, and all jobs are open to either gender.

The United States Armed Forces from Space Above and Beyond
There is a special in my heart for SAAB, and any reader of FWS knows that this 1990's military sci-fi show is my favorite, and shaped my own MSF writings. In the Chig War of 2063-2064, the United States military forces are engaged in the bloodiest armed conflict since World War II, and men and women are equally serving and dying across the stars. As seen in the series, women fulfill all roles in both the US Navy, US Army, and USMC, from fighter pilot, to infantry, and all the way to starship commanders. Given the effort to show SAAB as a more realistic universe than Trek, women are seen all aspects of military service, and not just combat roles. As seen onboard the Saratoga is a number of naval female personnel, much like today. And there are differences in the performance of the various actress in various roles. While there is little sexism or gender basis, there are few comments mentioned here and there throughout the series. Nathan's brother, Neil, mentions that a "girl is quarterbacking your team". But, that is about it, because the real minority that is target in the service is the In-Vitros. It is worth mentioning that SAAB most likely influenced Ronald D. Moore's BSG remake.

The Imperial Military Forces from the Warhammer 40k Universe
In the 41st millennium, the human race is consistently under attack by dark gods, demons, space elves, horrifying aliens, rouge colonists, and fallen space marines. Protecting humanity and obeying the will of the Emperor, is the imperial military forces of the Imperium of Man. While the most visble of the these imperial forces is the space marine chapters, there is also the Imperial Guard, and various armed forces of the Emperor's church. Given the very male audience of 40K, there is not much in the way of female characters or even female space marines. While some sources claim that females are in the Adeptus Astartes, and that most space marines are completely non-sexual, I can find little proof, despite owning most of the Codex books. GWS has said that the process to forge space marines favors male zygotes. However, we have seen female soldiers in the Imperial Guard, like 2nd Lt. Mira of the 203rd Cadian from the recent Space Marine video game.
But of course, there is a merry band of women fighters in the 40K universe, the Adepta Soroitas or the Sisters of Battle. They are part of the Cult of the Emperor, and an arm of the Adeptus Ministorum. The reason for women being the enforces of the the Ministorum's will is due to it being forbidden that men in the service of the Church could not have men with arms...so, the Sisters of Battle are a loophole. Nice. The Sisters of Battle have protected the Emperor himself from revolt and invasion with military equipment very similar to the space marines, and have been underestimated by male space marines during combat and proven wrong. Much like the space marines, the Sisters of Battle are valiant fanatical fighters that blindly loyal to their emperor and the church. During my years of being a fan of 40K, I've rarely seen anyone use the Sisters of Battle during tabletop war simulation.  

The Federal Armed Services of the UCF from the Starship Troopers Universe
There are main military organizations within the United Citizens Federation are: the Fleet and the Mobile Infantry, and both are presented differently in the 1959 novel and the 1997 film. In the 1959 novel by Robert Heinlein, women are barely mentioned, and no female combat personal are listed in the pages, only a pilot by the name of Captain Deladier. This was keeping with the times; however that was radically changed in the 1997 film by Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven. This director likes over-the-top violence, guns, and bare beasts, and he stuffed them into SST by creating the Fleet and MI as genderless military organizations that allowed men and women to serve all roles and even shower together. 
This point of a genderless society is first seen in the Jumpball game, and the reinforced through the film with Rico being the "girl" between two lovers. Then there is most infamous example of how integrated the MI is: the shower scene. If we play attention to the film, apparently in the 23rd century, men and women of the Mobile Infantry are able to shower together without it being sexual. Wild. Like many other exampless of fictional military organizations, the MI and the Fleet allow for men and women to fulfill any job in the military, from pilot, to cook, to Admiral, to trooper, all are open and people can serve without an gender basis.    

Starfleet of the UFP from the Star Trek Universe
Star Trek is often given the praise of being one of the most progressive works of sci-fi, forwarding ideas of peace, understanding, and a world with hunger or greed. Back when the original Star Trek series aired, women could only fulfill limited roles with the real-world military, and while the Star Trek series was more progressive than the 1960’s military, Starfleet was never shown to have female security officers, captains, or officers. Mostly they were medical or support personnel. However, by the time of the Star Trek movies and ST:TNG, women, human and alien alike, were fully integrated into Starfleet. Given the POV of the Federation society, women were not looking upon with gender basis or sexism, especially the Starfleet of the 24th century. This made Starfleet a level playing field for advancement of males and females. 
Within Starfleet, women could be anything they wanted, from security personnel, counselors, starship captains, bridge personnel, and doctors. What is interesting, looking back, is that variety of roles women filled on the Enterprise-D. We had a woman, Yar, in charge of security, a woman, Crusher, as the chief of Surgery, and finally a female counselor, Tori. Star Trek give the big chair to a female captain in the misguided Voyager, and later on Enterprise, we seen the first female captain of a Starfleet starship, Erika Hernandez, in commander of the NX-02 Columbia. Officially, the first female Starfleet captain was seen on-screen in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. When the alien probe encounters the USS Saratoga, we see a female captain at the helm of the starship.

The Missing Female Rebel Fighter Pilots from Star Wars
During my research for this blogpost, I came across the story of the missing female pilots from the last Star Wars movie. Apparently, when Star Wars was being filmed in London, veteran French actress Vivienne Chandler was hired to play one of the assaulting X-Wing pilots during theBattle of Endor's Moon for ROTJ. This pilot was later known as Dorovio Bold, named by author Ryder Windham. However, her page and half of dialog and all footage were cut in post-production, along with a possibly figure. This was also true of an older female A-Wing pilot filmed for ROTJ as well. However a female actor was seen at the controls of an A-Wing during the Battle of Endor, but the dialog was looped in as being male. Why? Lucas wasn't a sexist, including several strong female leads in the Star Wars films, and even more female characters in the shitty prequel films. Most SW sources conclude that Lucas didn't think that audience could handle watching female fighter pilots being blown up during the Death Star assault, however the footage of these female pilots was not including in any release since. A figure of Dorovio Bold was released in 2008, and female X-wing pilots have made into EU SW works. It is strongly believed by fans that Star Wars episode VII will feature female fighter pilots.   

Why I Have So Many Female Soldiers in my Writings
In the nearly two dozen short stories, books, and serials I've written thus far, female soldiers are often the main characters. Why? For me, I find female characters far easier to write for, especially in my beloved genre of military sci-fi. For example: you cannot have the same emotional depth in a male military character as you could with a female soldier character, because far too many male readers would mock the sexuality of the character. Also, I always felt that for far too often in the realm of Fantasy, female warriors are projected wearing the most ludicrously sexualized armor, and are just there to fulfill some sort of sexual fantasy or simply eye candy.
In terms of military science fiction, female soldiers are there for several reasons, like eye candy or to be someone's love interest. For me, putting women on the frontline seemed like a natural process that will be a reality, and having them there, adds another layer for the storyteller. While I am not subjecting myself to psychoanalysis, I came to a conclusion on this topic while researching this blogpost:
Women have always been in sci-fi/fantasy, we can see Dale Arden from the original Flash Gordon and Wilma Deering from Buck Rogers, to comic book characters like Wonderwoman, but often they were not realistic portrayal of women in futuristic situations. Women occupied the role of someone's girlfriend that needed rescue or to fulfill the classic warrior women, and I think they needed to be themselves while serving their governments in military service, and not a stereotype.  

Examples of Female Soldiers in Sci-Fi:
This is not a complete list, of course, it would have taken years to find all of the examples of female soldiers in SF...but this is a good start. This is list is (mostly) limited to women who serve in military organizations...not just female badass characters.

Captain Shane Vansen from Space: Above and Beyond
In the short lived 1995-1996 Fox military sc-fi show, Shane Vansen was one of the core characters of the show, and one of the best female sci-fi soldier characters of all time. Shane and her sisters were all military kids, whose parents' were Marine Corps officers that were murdered during the A.I. Rebellion as a fear tactic by the machines. As an adult, Vansen would enlist in the Marines and be shipped out to Marine space aviation school in Loxley, Alabama, there she would met the rest of the 58th, and form some of the most important relationships of her life. Shane was haunted by the past and propelled to live up to her parents' military service. During her time in the Chig War, Shane was rise to the rank of captain, be the in-field commander of the 58th, and form a family with the rest of the 58th squad members.
Shane was a marine, both in and out of the cockpit, serving as both fighter jock and infantry with great skill throughout the major engagements of the Chig War from 2063-2064. Complexity lived within the bones of the character, she could be a stone cold killer and then give a Teddy Bear to a suffering marine. During the series, Vansen was not involved in a relationship, but was confused by the return of her high school boyfriend, and his death threw her into a state of deep depression. That, in my opinion, is one of the best epsiodes showcasing the talent of actress Kristen Cloke. In Starlog number 224 (March-96) from page 67-7, Kristen Cloke is interviewed about her role in SAAB. She states that Shane has little joy in her life outside the members of the 58th, and that she did not play Vansen as a role model nor was she interested in the convention scene or SAAB toys. She did express interest in playing Vansen for years...sadly that would not happen, SAAB would die off after one season. Shane Vansen is important to female soldiers because she was a character onto herself, she wasn't someone's girlfriend or worn some tight outfit, she was played for realism, being a soldier during wartime, not some T&A element. The Vansen character helped me write the female military characters I do today, along with characters like Starbuck from the rebooted BSG

Colonel Wilma Deering from Back Rogers in the 25th Century
It terms of female soldiers in science fiction, the character of Wilma Deering could be one of the oldest. Her character goes back to the founding of the Buck Rogers universe...1929. In the original 1929 pulp magazine novella, Armageddon: 2491 A.D., World War One Veteran Buck Rogers awakes in the 25th century and save Wilma from being attacked while she is on air patrol. Wilma Deering was an iconic character of the Buck Rogers comic serial and was given a rank of either Colonel or Lt., however, she was cut out after 17 years. The character would appear in the old B&W Buck Rogers 1939 movie and was the sidekick to Buck. When the entire Buck Rogers universe, including Wilma Deering was resurrected for the Glen. A. Larson Buck Rogers in the 25 Century 1979-1981 series, Wilma Deering was given a modern spin and prime role in the two seasons of the show's run.
In the new series, Wilma was a space fighter pilot serving the Earth Defense Directorate, and one of their best pilots, little else is known about her history or family. During the first season, Wilma was played more cool and professional, however, the 2nd season would show off its silliness, putting the beautiful actress into uniforms that she had to be sewn into! Erin Grey has being quoted that the character lost her power when they put her into short skirts during the 2nd season. Mercifully, the series was killed off before the further erosion of the character. Wilma Deering was one of the first high-ranking female officers ever seen in a sci-fi series, and became an inspiration to a generation of women. While actress Erin Gray played Wilma for the 1979 Movie, she decided not to return, and was replaced by Juanin Clay, but then changed her mind propelling Erin Gray into the hearts and minds of sci-fi fans of a certain age...and yes, that means me as well. Personally, the Den of Geeks article a few years ago is wholly correct, geeks of a certain age love Erin Grey, and I am one of them. In some ways, since the character of Wilma Deering as been around since the 1920's, we can see the changes in the attitude towards women via this character. While the 1970's were a better time for women that the 1920's, it still caused the Wilma Deering of the 1st season to be replaced by the betrayal of the 2nd season. She serves as a warning to female soldiers in sci-fi, for the creators not bent to the will of the T&A and sell a character down the river.  

Jennifer "Pilot" Chase from Captain Power and the Soldiers of Tomorrow
Way back in 1987, when I was 11, a post-apocalyptic show kid's show was aired on local TV stations along with a toy line that told the story of a 22nd century battle where humans from the ruins of the Metal Wars were attempting to fight the evil robot A.I. overlord Overmind. The key resistance group was Captain Power and his soldiers of the future that used cutting-edge "power suits" to combat the evil tincans. Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future was pure 1980's cheese, and sometime ago, FWS covered the military sci-fi oddity that Captain Power was. But, when I was making the list (and checking it twice) of female soldiers, I basically had to add Jennifer Chase from the show for the 11 year old me.
Despite the cheesy nature of the show, and the painful dialog, Jennifer Chase was an interesting and flawed character that was not a former soldier like the rest of Power's team, but a former member of Lord Dread's Youth Corps, and was groomed to a human slave of the Lord Dread and the Overmind, while serving at their HQ. This made Jennifer an expert on the layout and systems of Volcania. She would escape from the New Order Army and given her talent, she was folded into the elite resistance unit of Power's merry band. Her call-sign was "pilot", (it should have been "Valkyrie") and her job was to fly the Jump-Ship and all other vehicles of the 22nd century. She also was skilled in computer systems, hacks, and door locks. Her "power armor" featured a removable helmet, and a small blaster pistol, and mainly she served as the bus driver for the power crew. In the last episode of the entire series, Dread's forces tracked down the location of Power's HQ via a traitor, and hit the base while Pilot was alone. She loaded a sky-bike with the remaining power suits and a backup file of the base's AI, and before the auto-destruct could complete, the tincans were able to shut down the sequence. In her final moments, Pilot would sacrifice herself to prevent the Dread forces from downloading the data, by triggering the self-destruction. For many of us that watched the show back in 1987, this was a huge and shocking moment, and if the series had gone on, her death would have rocked John Power to his core. Jennifer Chase is one of great examples of a female soldier that was designed and written well, especially considering it was the 1980's!

Commander Sarah Palmer from HALO 4 and HALO: SPARTAN OPS 
Sarah Palmer was on Luna in 2527, just two years after the battle of Harvest and the beginning of the Human/Covenant War, so the realities of the war have always been present in Sarah's life. She would enlist in the UNSC Marine Corps, and pass selection into the ODST. During her service with the ODSTs, she would serve 12 tours across eight worlds, and go toe-to-toe with the aliens for years. However, it was during the extraction of Admiral Kovalic while under fire from Covenant  while solo that altered her life. During a hospital stay while recovering from her injuries, SPARTAN (and sole survivor from Noble Team) Jun-A226 offered Sarah the chance to enter the SPARTAN-IV program.     
During training, Sarah rushed towards the object, allowing for the normal marines to be killed. This worried the trainers of the SPARTAN-IVs, along with comments Sarah had made about UNSC personnel other than SPARTANs. Sarah would be one of the seven SPARTANs on the UNSC Infinity shakedown cruise around the edge of the Sol system when a group of insurrectionists led by a former SPARTAN-IV attempted to hijack the Infinity. Iisa Zane was part of a failed project associated with the SPARTAN-IV program to create super-soldiers they didn't need armor. Only Zane would survive, but was not mentally fit for duty, and discharged. She an assault on the nascent Infinity to capture it and use it to continue the struggle for independence. She was defeated by Sarah, allowing for her rise to overall commander of the over 300 SPARTAN-IVs onboard the Infinity. Sarah would serve during the two tense battles for the Forerunner world of Requiem, both in a command function and in a direct-action role protecting the Infinity and attempting to assassin Dr. Halsey. After the 2nd Battle for Requiem, Sarah would be involved in Battle for Ealen IV. It is believed that Sarah Palmer will return for the next HALO games on Xbox One. When in comes to sci-fi female soldiers, Sarah is a bit of a misfit. The community of HALO seems to be overall negative towards Palmer and her personality (I am not one). While she is an example of serious Special Operations soldiers, it seems that most fans don't take her seriously, and mock her usage of the term "egghead". I believe that she could be a major influence on future writers and creators, if 343 Industries includes her in future games. Back when HALO 4 was under development, there were whispers about Sarah Palmer being the replacement for the Master Chief.

Staff Sgt. Torin Kerr from the Valor Confederation series by Tanya Huff
Over the course of six books, Tanya Huff as developed space marine staff sergeant Torin Kerr into one of the better examples of a realistic female soldier in all of military sci-fi. Kerr was created using the experiences that Huff had while in the military, and Kerr is in the middle of interstellar war between the Others and the older and younger races. For the little I've read of Torin Kerr, I like the character, and find her to believable in terms of actions and gear. There are five books in the series, with the last being published in 2010, having Kerr retire from service. I like that some of the alien races think humanity is special because they invented cheese...truly we are gods...worship us! I regret that I have yet to read the Valor Confederation series...I own it, but have not read it...yet. And that the reason why is this so short, I had trouble finding any information on the character, however, I ran across a number of critics that praised how Torin Kerr is written and the universe she lives in.

Rita "Full Metal Bitch" Vrataski from All You Need is Kill/Edge of Tomorrow
With the skill that actress Emily Blunt brings to The Young Victoria, we can bet that her portrayal of the Full Metal Bitch Rita Vrataski will be rock when the MSF film Edge of Tomorrow opens on D-DAY 2014. This upcoming movie is taken from the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill that was recently given the complete manga treatment. In the original story, Rita is an American Special Operations APS (Type-1) soldier that has the curious habit of using a massive melee weapon against the mimic alien invaders, along with blazing red armor. The mere mention of her name carries weight and respect. With the war going badly for the human against the Mimic alien invaders, Japan was viewed as critical to the war effort (they make the powered armor), and it was decided that the line was drawn at not losing Japan.
In response to the coming threat to island nation, the Americans deployed their best: Rita Vritaski. In the original light novel, she is described as the PR face and symbol of the war, and Rita was the stuff of legend on the battlefield, slaughtering hundreds of enemies flawlessly, all while looking very Samurai in her battle armor exoskeleton. Every soldier knew her deeds, and looked up to her. Rita is similar in situation to the main character of the book/manga/film, both are experiencing a Groundhog Day time loop that allows for Rita to hone her skills and become death to the invaders, and she helps Keiji Kiriya (manga/novel)/Lt. Col. Bill Cage (novel) to survive the horrors of the battlefield. Together, they learn why they are doomed to repeat one day over and over and their destiny. Overall, Rita is a great character, and author Hiroshi Sakurazaka gave her life beyond the page. I really hope this film will live up to the novel and the badass trailer. After all, Oblivion  was good. Of course, FWS will be seeing Edge of Tomorrow in IMAX 3D and reviewing it.  

Sarah Kerrigan from the Starcraft universe

One of the most successful military sci-fi video game franchises of all time is Starcraft, and one of the key characters of the central storyline of three species galaxy is Sarah Kerrigan. Named for Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan, and originally intended to be a throwaway character that was based on Tanya Adams from Command & Conquer, but she was saved by her creators after growing on them. To me, Sarah is a sad character, and so is her life, all the way from childhood to the last game. As her original voice actor, Glynnis Talken Campbell, once said: "going from good girl to bad girl."
Born in 2473, and taken away from her life as a child, after her psychic powers killed her mother and mental damaged her father, Sarah was trained to be a Ghost, the assassins and intelligence agents of the Terran Confederacy. To keep he gift of psychic powers in check, neural implants were used to keep them under control. Ghosts were used by both the Confederacy and the Sons of Korhal, and Sarah oir Ghost# 24601 did dirty jobs for both. After the assassination of Senator Angus Mengsk, his sone, Arcturus Mengsk captured her a ghost facility and turns her into a tool of the Sons of Korhal.
It is during the Battle of New Gettysburg, that she and her ghosts were abandoned by Arcturus, causing Sarah to fight a desperate battle against overwhelming odds, and when her ammo was gone, she was captured by the Zerg and transformed into a the Queen of Blades. This change and her actions as the Queen of Blades would haunt her and define Sarah's life. She would lose the man she loves, and kill millions to end the reign of Arcturus. With that done, she then turns towards confronting the Amon, the fallen and twisted Xel'naga. Sarah has become one of the most iconic female characters in video game history, and realism given to her emotions and actions make an excellent example, even for people like me that have never played Starcraft.

Lt. Kara "Starbuck"Thrace from Battlestar Galactica
In the original 1978 series, Starbuck was the characters real name, and he was a cigar smoking, gambling, womanizerThere is little doubt that Starbuck is one of the most important female characters in science fiction in a long time. She broke the mold, allowing us to see a realistic portrayal of someone who is uber talented at their job, but a mess from her life and past. Kara was born on Caprica to a former Colonial Marine Sergeant Major that served during the 1st Cylon War, and merciless beat Kara throughout her childhood, while her musician father wasn’t around much. Originally, Kara’s talent lay in the game of Pyramid, and it wasn’t until a knee injury that flying became her passion. 
While Kara was talented, escaping from her mother’s house lead her to have issues with authority and often was in trouble with the command of basestars. She decided the best decision for her, was to be an instructor at the Colonial Fleet flight academy on Caprica. For years, Kara trained the next generation of Viper pilots, and it was there that she met Zack Adama. Love blinded her to Zack’s lack of feel of flying, and she passed him despite his lack of abilities…it would cost him his life, and haunt Kara for the rest of her lives. It was after this, that Kara’s friendship with Zack’s father, William Adama,, would alter her military career. She would leave the academy, and join Adama on his Battlestar. That decision would save Kara from the Cylon holocaust on Caprica, and propel her through the end of her civilization the beginning of ours. Throughout the series, Starbuck would be one of the key characters of these series, and many of the most critical events would be centered on her and her decisions. To detail Starbuck’s live after the Fall of the 12 Colonies would take a great deal of time, and there are much better sources on the internet. However, Starbuck is important to female servicemembers in sci-fi because she layered. Few female sci-fi characters have such an impressive story and events for them, and Kara successes in overcoming the shadow of the 1978 male character. 

Major Motoko Kusanagi of Section-9 of Public Security from Ghost in the Shell
When it comes to the Major Kusanagi, there are several version of this very popular anime/manga character: the manga character, the 1995 OVA anime character, and then the character from the anime TV series. Motoko is a skilled operator that has sold her body and future to Section 9 of Japanese Public Security, as Motoko is a fully cybernetic body. According to some sources, Kusanagi was a member of the UN Peacekeeping force assigned to Mexico around the 2020 conflict, but most of this information was fleshed out for creation of the Stand Alone Complex TV series. 
There was radically change for the character between works, often a different variant of Motoko is used in each series making it difficult for the audience to get attached to one vision of this tough chick. In the original manga series, Motoko was played a little more for laughs, and had moments of slapstick thrown in, along with being a badass cyborg warrior. Oddly, she was involved with a man for a months, even living with him, and was also involved in a VR “e-sex” system with fellow girls…yeah…imagination that, a male Japanese manga drawing an all-chick orgy. Classy. Shirow’s vision of Motoko was completely changed for the groundbreaking 1995 OVA that is actually my favorite interpretation of the Kusanagi character. She was more serious, dealing with issues of having a mass-production body, and what it was to be human, when your brain cells were the only thing that was biologically human. Shirow's oddball sexual ascepts are 

Marygay Potter from The Forever War/A Seperate War/Forever Free
This 1975 groundbreaking military sci-fi has been praised for many things, but I do not think that one of his main characters, Marygay Potter, named after his wife, receives the attention she deserves. This character may be one of the first female soldiers in a military sci-fi novel, and Marygay was not written to be just solely William's love interest, but her own character and frontline soldiers and combat leader.Much like the main character of the Forever War, Marygay Potter was an member of the UN elite conscription to fight the aliens out in deep space via the collapsor Marygay raised in Tuscon, highly educated, with an IQ above 150. After her first battle on Epsilon Aurigae (2,000 LYs away) her parents had moved to a farming community off of the grid and away from the violence of the cities. She and William would use their money to see the changed Earth, and battle marauders that plagued her parents.
During the fight, she would lose both her parents. Seeing how alien the Earth was, Marygay and William returned to military service and the only life they had left. Marygay would serve with William, and even take leave together, however, he would be reassigned to the longest military expedition in the entire way, a journey that would take them 400 years. He said goodbye to Marygay, while she fought her own battles. Only after William returned, and learned of the end of the war, would he reunion with Marygay on the heterosexual colony of Middle Finger, and start a family. While The Forever War told the story of William Mandella, Joe Haldeman would craft a specific story about the events of Marygay's service when she and William were not together. This short story entited "A Seperate War" added a new layer onto the character. This was also true of the followup graphic novel to the original Belgium graphic novel: Libre A Jamais. In the near future, we could see a major movie of The Forever War by Ridley Scott...wonder who will play Marygay?

Commander Susan Ivanova from the Babylon 5 Universe
Born into the Russian Consortium in 2230 and into Jewish family, Susan would see vast changes in both Terran and Galactic societies during her lifetime. She would see the Dulgar War, the expansion of the Earth Alliance, and her life would change during the Minbari/Earth War. During the closing years of the War, Ivanova would see her older brother, a fighter pilot, be killed during the defense of Earth against the aliens. It was during these dark days that Ivanova would enlist in EarthForce. When fresh out of officer candidate school, Susan became a fighter pilot and be posted to Io. However, she bore a family secret, Susan possessed psychic powers as did her mother, and attempted to hide as best she could. In 2258, Susan would be assigned to Babylon 5 as second-in-command, and serve there until the end of the Great War and the liberation of Earth, under both the Earth Alliance flag, and the their own. Ivanova was a key figure in the War of the Shadows and the Liberation of Earth, with the victories in both conflicts being, in part, credited to her efforts. 
After the war ended, Ivanova took commander of the new Warlock class warship Titan, and then would rise to the rank of General in 2281. She would retire from the service of the Alliance, and take command of the Rangers. She is known for effective leadership with rare flashes of emotion, and worked well with John Sheridan and the members of the Non-Aligned Worlds. Susan Ivanova became one of the most iconic sci-fi female characters of the 1990's, and still is a fan favorite today. In terms of female soldiers in sci-fi, Susan Ianova is a strong character that is a key player in interstellar events, and serves as a primary example of excellent female military characters that don't have to shed their clothing to be a fan favorite. 

Isabella "Dizzy" Flores from the Starship Troopers Universe
In the 1997 film, Isabella "Dizzy" Flores was a high school classmate and friend of Johnny Rico. They attended classes and were on the same Jumpball team, where is was the quarterback and Rico was a runner. They would use these skills during basic. Dizzy had been in love with Rico for some time, and when he enlisted, Dizzy transferred to his camp site. Dizzy was head strong, tough, and seemed to to enjoy military life with eye towards command, becoming squad leader. Sadly, Dizzy would not live to see the end of the war.
During the operation on Planet P, at Whiskey Outpost, the bugs ambushed her unit, and while attempting to escape on a retrieval boat, a warrior drone bug sliced and diced Dizzy. She would die in the arms of the man she loved. The characters, of sorts, was resurrected for the 1999 Roughnecks: the Starship Troopers Chronicles American animation series. The Dizzy animated character had a similar background to the film character, especially the crush on Rico. The animated Dizzy would have several relationships to get over Johnny, and rejected Rico when he made his feelings clear.
In the original 1959 text, Dizzy Flores was a male member of the Roughnecks and was on Skinny homeworld raid at the opening of the novel. Much like the 1997 film, Dizzy was mortally wounded and died on the way back to the Roger Young in the retrieval boat. Dizzy represents to the genre of female soldiers in science fiction the journey from teenage girl harboring a deep crush to soldier-badass-bug-killer. She is what can be transformed from the beginnings of a soldier to a skilled warfighter.

Petra Arkanian from Ender's Game
In the recent Ender's Game movie, the main female lead character, Petra Arkanian was portrayed by one of the most talented young actress working today, Hailee Steinfield, who is known for her turn in True Grit. Petra was one of the few females at Battle School, and was of Armenian descent. Given her talents and aggressive nature, Petra was one of the raising stars at Battle School. She would take Ender under her wing as an older sister, and later but one of his most trusted friends. Petra would serve the fleet through the war and destruction of the Buggers homeworld, and later would marry Ender's brother. The character would have a major role in the recent film, and be a key character in the later books. Unlike other female soldiers on the list here, Petra is a child soldier, enlisted based on her skills and brain power to be a key figure in the war against the bugs, and was commanded by another child soldier. Petra is also not a pilot nor ground soldier, making her an interesting example of another side of the sci-fi female servicemember.

Captain Lola Beck from Starship Troopers 3
When the 3rd Starship Troopers movie starts off, Captain Lola Beck is the captain of the Geronimo, a Corvette class armed transport vessel, and in a relationship with General Dix Hauser. When Sky Marshal of the Federation, Omar Anoke, comes to the contested Roku San, the frontline of the 2nd Bug War. On Roku San, Beck meets up with Johnny Rico, an old flame. It was on the way back from Roku San to Sanctuary, when the Geronimo is hit by bug plasma while at warp(!), and the ship's crew is forced to evac to a lovely planet known as OM-1. It is here on OM-1 that Lola Beck takes command of a few lucky survives to cross vast distances to RV with a marine shuttle.
However, OM-1 is owned. It is here on OM-1, that the "God Bug" exists and has called to his slave, Anoke, to finalize plans for a bug victory. It is also here that Beck discovers god and the just how epic powered armor is. In the aftermath of the OM-1 affair, Beck and Hauser get married, use god for support the 2nd Bug War, and uses the planetcracking Q Bomb to kill the god bug. Nice. Lola Beck is well play by the very beautiful Jolene Blalock, who killed it as T'Pol on Enterprise, and does her best to come off strong and in change. When in comes to female soldiers of science fiction Lola Beck, shows that  

Heris Serrano & Esmay Suiza from the Familias Regnant Universe
Much like Honor Herrington and Torin Kerr, Esmay Suiza and Heris Serrano are two female military characters that are popular female military characters in military sci-fi literature, and like the other two examples...I've never read any of Elizabeth Moon's books...which will change. Elizabeth Moon, like Tanya Huff is a veteran of service, and a writer of military sci-fi, and like myself, is a fellow history major, with an Autistic child. Esmay Suiza and Heris Serrano are a soldiers in a feudal universe setting with a family of royals that govern over the affairs of humanity. The first books deal with Heris Serrano and her decision to resign from the Regular Space Service. After the 4th book, Esmay Suiza, a background character becomes the lead female military character in the novels. Unlike Heris, Esmay is not from an proud naval family, but serves during a tense time in the Familias Regnant universe.

Commander Jane Shepard from the Mass Effect Universe

There is little doubt that the Mass Effect games are one of the great science fiction video games of all time, and feature some dynamic characters and events. This level of choice that BioWare allowed the player to forge their own vision, down to gender and sexual ordination, of the Commander Shepard character is quite amazing. This makes Commander Jane Shepard an oddity on this list of female soldier characters. While most male players I've met play as the John Shepard, I am a great lover of the "femshep", or in my case: Sarah Shepard.
I play as a female Shepard because if I am going to play a game for 40+ hours than I want to look at something lovely...and since you can chose their sexuality...well, you know. I will give BioWare credit, their default Jane Shepard model is not a typical overly-sexualized male fantasy (like the Sorceress from Dragon's Crown!). Jane Shepard is a realistic military officer with amazing voice acting, who behaves in a realistic manner. In terms of female soldiers in sci-fi, Jane Shepard is just a shell for the player to fill, however, the foundation of Commander Shepard  elevate the status of the science fiction female military members.

Lt. Dana Sterling from ROBOTECH: The Masters
Dana Sterling is descend from heroes of the 1st Robotech War, and is the first offspring of an Zentraedi/Human union. Born in 2013, on the post-Holocaust Earth in New Macross City, and before her first birthday, Dana was used in the joint military expedition to gain control of the Robotech Factory Satellite. During her childhood, her parents would be fighting uprising Zentraedi and planning the REF mission to Tirol. It was during her early years that she met and befriends Bowie Grant. In 2022, the SDF-3 was launched, Lisa and Rick were married, and the Dana and Bowie were left in the care of Rolf Emerson. In 2029, Dana and Bowie would graduate from the Southern Cross Robotech Military Academy as officers and be place at the 15th ATAC Squad, using one of the key mecha of the 2nd Robotech War, the Hovertank. Just before the Masters showed up, Dana would be arrest for being completely stupid during a patrol. Despite her sometimes lack of judgment, the 15th Squadron would see combat and success time and time again during the war, and Dana would gain the acceptance of one of the clones of Zor. While she and most of the 15th would see the end of the war in June of 2030, and the spread of the Flower of Life seeds across Terra, that would not be so for the Invid invasion of 2031. After the bloody 2nd Robotech War, the Southern Cross and other governments on Earth were ill-prepared for the violence of the Invid invasion.
She and a few survivors of the 15th Squad alone with some clones escaped Earth after Colonel Wolffe's REF taskforce arrives on Earth. She would rejoin her parents and new sister on Tirol. The actress would voiced Dana Sterling, Lisa Michelson, died in a car accident in 1991, forcing the newly released ROBOTECH: Love, Live, Alive, to recycle voice recordings. In the original source for the second series, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, the Dana Sterling character is called "Jeanne Francaix". Okay, I only included Dana Sterling because of my burning love for ROBOTECH, and after rewatching a few of the episodes, I think that Dana is a child with a rank, and it is poorly depicted in the series. Some of the comic book works that attempt to fill in the gaps of the ROBOTECH timeline do a better job with Dana, along with some of the new art depicting the character. I do not think that Dana is NOT good role model for female soldier in sci-fi...but she does have sweet armor. In some ways, Dana Sterling reinforces a bad stereotype of women.   

Jenette Vasquez from ALIENS
Military service was not originally in the cards for Jenette Vasquez. During her early years, Vasquez was in trouble with the law, and it is believed that she was an illegal alien into the United States. She and her younger sister Carmen would join the Colonial Marines, maybe to escape the streets and their former or avoid legal action, there are no sources for the genesis for their enlistment. In the Marines, Vasquez found her place, as an M56 Smart Gun operator in a fireteam assigned to a rapid response colonial team, based out of Gateway Station. 
It was on a investigation of a possible downed colonial transmitter on Hadley's Hope on LV426, that Vasquez would give her life to save others. Jenette was survived by her sister Carmen, who remained in the CMC. Since the release of ALIENS way back in 1986, the Vasquez character has become of the iconic female soldiers of sci-fi, and regarded as a template for other badass female warriors. She has influenced other creators and writers. It as always been ironic for me that one of the smallest actors on the set of ALIENS got the biggest gun. Actress Jenette Goldstein created Vasquez, and give her the first name, despite being not familiar with guns or being a badass, however, she forged an amazing actor that became an standard of science fiction. The actress would be seen in other sci-fi movies: Terminator 2, Star Trek Star Trek Generations and the Max Headroom TV series on ABC. When the role of the Hispanic security chief onboard the Enterprise-D was cast, Jenette auditioned for the role that would be altered for Denise Crosby. The origin of the character on ST:TNG was inspirited by Vasquez...odd.  

Lt Louanne "Kat" Katraine from Battlestar Galactica
Kat was a mystery to her fellow Viper jocks, her real name was Sasha and before the Fall of 12 Colonies, she ran drugs. Two days before the fall, Sasha took the name Kat from women who died, and passed herself off as Kathraine. When the call came for trainee-pilots for the Vipers, Kat threw her hat into the ring. For much of her time on the series, Kat was full of piss-and-vinegar, and clashed with Starbuck repeatedly. It grew much worse during the operation to hunt down and kill the Cylon Raider known as “scar”. This apexed with Kat taking out Scar and earning the beer stein of “top gun” onboard the Galactica.  At this time, Kat was rapidly becoming one of the lead Viper pilots on the Galactica. During the New Caprica occupation, Kat was given the role as CAG, and trained for the rescue mission with limited resources. After the liberation, Kat was on the outside of the ones who survived under the Cylon occupation, but enjoying being one of the top Viper pilots, Kat, at this time, felt like she had finally arrived. That was until her past caught up with her during the food storage crisis. With the arrival of her old “friend” Enzo, Kat knew the game was up, and her future in the service was at risk. 
Given this fate, Kat elected to take great risks when escorting the civilian fleet through the radioactive star cluster. While successful leading civilian ships to the RV point, the toll was Kat’s life. Until the end of the series, Starbuck would visit’s photo on the memorial wall on the battlestar. Kat is a complex character that represents the mixed background of some in service, much like Vasquez from ALIENS, however, Kat was the right kind of pilot, despite her background. This is one of the elements that makes Kat an interest and deep female soldier character in science fiction. 

Sue Parsons from the TV Movie Viruality
After the end of Battlestar Galactica, Ronald D. Moore developed another space-themed show about the first manned mission to another star system in hopes of finding another planet to relocate the human race. Earth, due to clime change, was going to be uninhabitable in about a century. The spacecraft sent to Epsilon Eridani (10.4 LYS) is the nuclear-pulse propulsion Phaeton, and its pilot is Sue Parsons. Sue comes from the US Marine Corps, and became a hotshot pilot in the Corps, leading to two of Sue's behaviors: cockiness and a "lone wolf" attitude. She also has a low-tolerance to bullshit, and being locked in a metal tube for a decade, Sue runs afoul of some of her shipmates, especially Billie, the female computer expert and host of the reality show. After the issues between Billie and Sue, they bond over a terrible event. Billie is raped in her VR simulation environment, and is unable to stop the program. Sue reaches out to Billie, due to her experience of being raped by several Marines while on field maneuvers, and suffering from military sexual trauma. The thing is here, that Sue Parsons is more of the more believable female soldiers in all of sci-fi, because her attitude and experiences ring very true with today's female vets. I was so impressed by actress Clea DuVall, that she became my inspiration for Captain Jorja Leeds from my book Endangered Species that is presently at publishers.

Honor Harrington
Okay, we basically had to discuss Honor Harrington...she is one of the great female military characters in all of military science fiction, and her popularity only seems to grow with every novel since her debut in 1992. FWS as talked little about her or the vast sci-fi universe she lives because....confession time, I've never read any of the Honorverse novels, but plan to...I know, it is crime and a sin. Honor Stephanie Alexander Harrington was born on October 1st, 3961 in the Kingdom of Manticore (named after the mythical Persian Sphinx creature) and attended the Royal Manticoran Naval Academy on Saganami Island. Honor is decedent from generic engineered humans, and bonded with a alien treecat named Nimitz.
She would become an naval officer in Manticoran fleet, rise to the level of admiral and later, given in command of the 8th Fleet, and fights in the largest naval battle of human history, the Battle of Manticore. She would be given all manner of titles and honors at the end of career. When reading through the massive about of information on her, I can tell that Honor Harrington follows in the tradition of great fictional naval character like Captain Jack Aubrey, Horatio Hornblower, and Nathaniel Drinkwater, and she was designed to a very cool character with cool hobbies and actions, along with having an alien space kitty, and an ancient Colt .45 pistol. All of these seems like too much, and I wonder how she reads and is the character realistic? There has been a movie adaption of Honor Harrington characters in the works since 2006, and some fans wanted B5's Claudia Christian to play Honor around the time of announcement, but little is moving forward on the project. On March 5th of this year, Top Cow published a comic book series called Tales of Honor.

Commander Lisa Hayes from the ROBOTECH Universe
Yeah, you knew I was going to talk about her! Born into a family with a century long military tradition in 1984 or 1985, Lisa Hayes (originally called "Elizabeth")would seem destine to join to the armed services. During the Global Civil War, her father, General Donald Hayes, fought for the Western States Alliance along side Admiral Gloval and Roy Fokker. Lisa never knew mother, who died when Lisa was very small, and was raised by her loving but stern father. During the war, Lisa was enrolled in a military academy on the west coast of America, and it was there that 15 year old Lisa would met upperclassman Karl Riber.
 He was the opposite of her father, kind, against the war, loving, and sensitive. Upon graduation, he secured a position on the newly founded Mars Base Sara, just after the arrival of the SDF-1 and the end of the Global Civil War. Riber would leave for Sara Base in 2001 when Lisa turned 16. There is little hard information on the why Sara Base was devoid of human life when the SDF-1 arrived at Mars in 2009. The Wildstorm comics say that an Zentraedi
scout force attacked the base, killing everyone and the world government covered it up. Some sources point to an Terran terrorist attack on the base and the evac ship. Either way, it results in the death of everyone at Sara Base, including Lisa's beloved Karl.
When news reached her of Karl being MIA, Lisa threw herself into her studies, graduating at the top of her class, and was a junior officer in the Robotech Defense Force. She was assigned to the SDF-1 on Macross Island, and later would rise to the bridge position of overall flight coordinator. Throughout this war, Lisa would be involved in a slow-boiling relationship with pilot Rick Hunter that would vex her deeply. Her skills and abilities during the 1st Robotech War caused notice from Admiral Gloval, and after the Zentaedi Holocaust on Earth, Lisa was chosen by Gloval to command the Robotech Masters peace mission to the their homeworld of Tirol at the helm of the SDF-2. Before the mission could be launched, the desperate battle of New Macross City would erupt, causing the destruction of both the SDF-1 and SDF-2, and the death of the most of the bridge crew. At the last second, Gloval pushed Lisa into an escape pod. At the moment of the destruction of New Macross City, Lisa and Rick unite and swear to go to the stars.
Following the destruction, Lisa and Rick would commit themselves to construction of the SDF-3 and the Robotech Expeditionary Force's mission to sue for peace with the Robotech Masters. Lisa, now married to Rick, would be the overall military commander of the REF as an Admiral. She was almost fifty when she finally had Roy Hunter. Lisa's second life after the end of the 3rd Robotech War, was raising her son and writing her experiences, becoming one of the key primary sources of the Robotech Wars and the SDF-3 mission. When it comes to female soldiers in sci-fi, Lisa Hayes represents the journey of both a soldier and a women through the years of war and peace. Lisa both found herself and her love during military service, and one become of the greatest of her times. Lisa Hayes is one of my favorite female characters in all of sci-fi, and I was very much Team Lisa back in the day.

1st Lt.Vanessa Damphousse from Space: Above and Beyond
Actress Lanei Chapman was not new to science fiction when she joined SAAB in 1995. She had already been a guest star in several episodes of ST:TNG as Ensign Sariel Rager. Damphousse's backstroy was different from the core of the other characters. Originally, she had gone to Cal-Tech to purse engineering, following in the footsteps as her father, who was an nuclear engineering. Given this level of technical skill, Damphousse was often seen fixing machines and manning the radio and sensor stations onboard the ISSCV/APC. Unlike everyone else in the 58th, Vanessa had someone waiting back on Earth for her, and this relationship would reach a critical stage when the war dragged on. During a rare trip home, fresh mail was delivered to the Saratoga and Vanessa was slowly reading the letter, until she was badly injured on a mission to a Chig supply base. Vanessa, blinded, believed that she was moments from death, forced Paul to read the letter, and it was a breakup letter. Vanessa was not the same after this, and how she viewed the war. Being that SAAB is my favorite sci-fi TV series, and I've watched it dozens of times, I feel that the Damphousse was part from the rest of the characters, especially her motivation for joining the Corps, and that the show did a good job of showcasing Vanessa and the actress did an amazing job of bring Vanessa to life. In terms of sci-fi female soldiers, Vanessa Damphousse is a rich character that embody the complex nature of being a female soldiers.

GHOST Commando Jane Sagan from the Old Man's War Universe
While named for Carl Sagan, Jane Sagan is not nothing near her namesake...she is a Ghost, a member of the Special Forces of the Colonial Defense Forces, and she is already dead. The DNA base for Jane Sagana was culled from Kathy Perry, the wife of John Perry, who died three years before the birth of Jane. John Perry would met Jane in the aftermath of the 1st Battle of Coral, she was the one who pulled him from the wreckage of his escape shuttle. During a lunch break with some of his friends, John would attempted to engage Jane in conversation, even sending her the wedding picture. She acts violently, however, Jane repeatedly comes to John asking about Kathy. Ghost commandos base DNA is from people that die prior to their 75th birthday, but that is were it stops. Jane is not Kathy, she just as the same face and voice. Unlike the normal CDF enhanced soldiers, Jane comes out of the tube ready to fight in a few days, instead of weeks. Being a Ghost Commando, Jane is extremely skilled (for being only six), and is the choice for high-risk operations for the CDF. While they can retire to a colony after their term of service, most do not, because they simply do not survive for that long. Jane would retire with John Perry and Zoe to the colony of Roanoke, and fight yet another battle that determines the fate of the Colonial Union. Jane is one of the better super-soldier female characters in sci-fi, and is a good model for other female soldiers in sci-fi.

Samantha “Sam” Vijaya from the Shrapnel comics
In the Radical Comics military sci-fi comic series Shrapnel, the Solar Alliance, based on Earth is attempting to control the solar system and its resources by uniting the many colonies in the system under a banner of force. The 2009 series examples that wars have been fought by independent colonies, like Mars, to prevent rule by the Solar Alliance, and adoption of their vision of correct society. At this time, there is a division in the natural born and the genetically alternated. The Solar Alliance turns their signs on Venus and its democracy that is not based on genetics, but on the abilities of the individual. It is here that former United Space Marine officer Sam Vijaya is in self imposed exile, working as an part of an asteroid mining operation. Sam was made into a hero of the Solar Alliance via her actions on Jupiter, when miners rebelled, and over three hundred of them were killed by the Marines. Since then, Sam has been unable to stomach military service, however events force her hand. She aids the ill-prepared Venus military against the Space Marine expeditionary force. This regains her spirit and give her a purpose again. There have been two limited series Shrapnel comics, and the movie rights have been sold, with Sam being played by Hilary Swank. When it comes to female soldiers in science fiction, Sam Vijaya has a nice ring of truth and realism to her actions and behavior. Shame the comic isn't as good...FWS will be reviewing the Shrapnel graphic novels in a future blogpost.

SPARTAN-III Catherine "Kat"  B320 from the HALO Universe
Unlike the abducted children of the SPARTAN-II program, the ranks of the SPARTAN-IIIs were filled with orphans of the fallen colonies of the UNSC that were burned by the alien invasion. This gave these orphans motivation to kill the enemy of humanity. Also unlike the SPARTAN-IIs, the III's could be deployed in the hundreds rather than a dozen or less. SPARTAN-III super-soldiers could be turned out from training and into the armor in far less time the painfully slow SPARTAN-II program that took more than a decade to product super-soldiers. This also meant that these super-soldiers could be more expendable than the SPARTAN-IIs.
SPARTAN III B320 or "Kat" was the veteran of several such UNSC approved suicide operations that were deemed too dangerous for the even the ODSTs! These operations often inflected hundreds of losses of the SPARTAN-IIIs, which was more than the entire SPARTAN-II program population! Kat was "rescued" from being a statistic by the merit of computer hacking, intelligence, and strategic planning. Kurt-051, the SPARTAN-II in-charged of the SPARTAN-III program, discovered Kat's gifts, and over time, folded her into NOBLE Team with fellow SPARTAN-III Carter-A259. After causalities within NOBLE Team, Kat and Carter became the seniors of the team.
During the desperate and bloody battle of Fumirole, NOBLE Team was tasked with taking a micro-nuclear device to destroy a CCS class battlecruiser. hovering over the primary city of Fumirole. With local Marine and Army assets, NOBLE Team stormed the ruins of the city to reach the gravity-lift; however, close alien air support gravely wounded Kat. SPARTAN-III Thorn-293 would take the nuke and using his jetpack, to delivery into the belly of the hovering alien beast. It was there on Fumirole that Kat lost her arm, but it never slowed her down.
During the battle of Reach, NOBLE Team was the tip of the spear in the valiant UNSC defense of this important world and B320's idea on how to destroy the Covenant supercarrier in orbit of Reach that was the alien base-of-operations for the Reach invasion force. Kat's plan was to use the Slip Drive engines, the most expensive man-made machine in the 26th century, to rip the massive vessel apart. Their success was short-lived. SPARTAN-III B320 was killed by a needler sniper projectile, fired by Sangheili Field Marshal, and she woudl never see the destruction of Reach and the death of NOBLE Team. When it comes to female servemembers in sci-fi, Kat is an example of a female super-soldier that is more realistic in both actions, behavior, and dress rather than being a sexualized with skimpy armor and giant breasts. Kat's attitude and focus are also worthy example of this rich character.     

Callandra Henderson-Tyrol from Battlestar Galactica
Among the apes of the deck gang on the old bucket of BS-75, is a little angel of a character, Cally Henderson. When the fall of the 12 colonies happens, Cally was nearly out of the service. The only reason that Cally joined the Fleet was to get her college paid for...I guess the Colonial Fleet has a G.I. Bill program. However, once the colonies fell, and the Galactica moved way beyond the Red Line, Cally, like all on the Battlestar were forced into permit duty. Cally was a well respected member of the deck gang, and her small hands and size made her a favorite of Viper repair duties.
During the 2003 Miniseries, Cally was a member of the Damage Control team that were nearly all killed by an raging landing bay fire and the atmosphere venting. Around the time of the discovery of New Caprica, Cally made her feels clear for the Galen Tyrol, and by the time of the Cylon occuption of New Caprica, she was married and pregnant with her son...whose father was actually Brendan "Hot Dog" Costanza. By the time of the Final Five, Cally's life with Galen had spun out of control, attempted to commit suicide, but was instead murdered by Tory. While Cally's life is a sad arch of the BSG series, it also rings true and speaks to the skill of the actress who played her. When it comes to female soldiers in science fiction, Cally has one of the more realistic jobs. There are women serving onboard carriers with the same role as Cally. 

The Heartbreaker Betas Security Clone-Guards from HEARTBREAKER
FWS just covered these 1980's clone female soldiers from the pages of Dark Horse Presents, but since they are a good example of female sci-fi soldiers, we have to re-cover it. Sorry. The Heartbreakers are the doctored up military clones of Dr. Therese Sorenson. The "Betas" were specifically designed to protect Dr.Sorenson's lab and her "Delta" clone lab assistants. The Heartbreakers were skilled soldiers skilled in close quarters warfare, combat in space, and urban operations. Several groups of Beta Clones were wiped out during the three HEARTBREAKERS series, and by the end, only one Heartbreaker, Queenie, survived. She would lead another smaller cloned group in support of clones' right on Earth. When it comes to female soldiers in sci-fi, the Heartbreakers were some of the first to usher in the trend of "bad girls with guns", however the 1989 and 1991 limited Dark Horse Presents limited series portrayed the Heartbreakers Beta clones as cocky female warriors with deep bonds of sisterhood and strong abilities.

Lt. Diana "Hardball" Seelix from Battlestar Galactica
Originally, Diana Seelix served under Chief Tyrol and with Cally as an member of the infamous deck gang onboard Galactica. She first came to the attention of the audience during the episode: "Kobol's Last Gleaming" as one of the survivors of the Raptor crash. For much of the show, Seelix was in the background of the deck scenes, and while constructing the Blackbird. She did live on New Caprica, and served under Anders in the resistance movement. Unhappy with her station onboard the Galactica, Seelix applies for the Viper-pilot training course, and passes the written exam, but it rejected from the program by Tyrol due to the skills with Viper repair, however the strike by the Refinery ship causes Tyrol to change his mind, and allows Seelix to enter the program.
It is believed that she was in the same flight class as Samuel Anders, and they had some sort of sexually relationship. During the Battle of the Ionian Nebual, Seelix intercepts an Cylon missile, earning the nickname "Hardball" and she was the secret mission of Starbuck to find Earth. The military career of Seelix is cut short, however, by the coup on Galactica staged by Gaeta and Tom Zarek. She supports Gaeta and her actions directly allow for Anders to be captured. After the Galactica is retaken, Seelix and the rest of the Gaeta coup supports are removed to the prison ship Astral Queen. During the final battle at the Cylon Colony, Seelix joins the voluteers and boards the colony. It is unknown if she survived to living on New Earth. I've always considered Seelix character, even in the realm of BSG, as sad. She worked hard to achieve being a Viper pilot, and when the test of loyalty came, she failed, and that hung on her until the end of the Galactica. When it comes to female soldiers in science fiction, Seelix, is a nice example of some one who uses the opportunities in the military to further herself. 

Flight Officer Trudy Chacon from AVATAR
In 2009, we fans of military science fiction got on hell of a movie in AVATAR. James Cameron proved that he could spin a military sci-fi yarn with incredible hardware and characters that recall the best moments in ALIENS. Among the massive cast that was mix of blue feline aliens, private military contractors, and scientists was one of the core characters of the film, flight officer Trudy Chacon. It is believed that Trudy received her military flight training in the United States military, and most likely served in some of the same conflicts back on Earth as Jack Sully. Her primary job with the RDA. Security Operations on Pandora was flying her Aerospatiale SA-2 "Samson" light inducted fan aircraft on mostly science team missions. It is there that she meets Norm Spellman and Jake.  
Trudy was a hardboiled pilot with years of experience in the shit, and while impressed with Pandora, it had become normal for her. While a combat vet, she does not go along with the aerial assault on Hometree, and refuses to shoot. This could be in part to her romance relationship with Norm, and her closeness to the science teams. It is during this, that Chacon chooses the side of the native people that the people developed to keeping the RDA away from them. She breaks out Jake, Norm, and Grace. During the battle of the Tree of Souls, Trudy's Samson is the only Terran aircraft in use by Jake's allied tribes, and she used to take on the Dragon assault ship. This assault would cost her life. When it comes to female soldiers of sci-fi, Trudy of AVATAR is an excellent example of a experienced and seasoned military pilot. Oh, and she got her own action figure. 

Lt. Sheba from the Original Battlestar Galactica
Without a doubt, Anne Lockhart's Sheba was one of the most beautiful female sci-fi space fighter pilots to ever grace the small screen, and her character was a nice change in most male Colonial Warrior of the original BSG series. Sheba was the daughter of famed Battlestar commander, Admiral Cain, and commander of Pegasus' Sliver Spur strike squadron. When the Pegasus is lost during the battle with the Basestars, her pilots are pulled into Galactica. For much of the rest of the series, Sheba is a key character that is normally in the mix of the story, and became the love interest of Apollo. During the encounter with the ships of light, Sheba was there, along with being present during the temptation by Count Iblis. If BSG had been renewed for a second season, it is believed that Glen Larson would have killed off Sheba. What a fool, and would have been bad luck for the this interesting character and Apollo.
During a recent interview, Anne Lockhart believes that she was one of the original female soldiers that was directly involved in combat, and she could be right. She said it was nice to play a character that was equal to the other Colonial Warriors, and that her tactical opinion and skills were accepted among the males without question. The actress brings up an interesting point about the difference between the 1978 and the 2004 series. She said that there was no way that the 1978 series could have done something that dark. During the aborted Bryan Singer/Tom DeSanto BSG series, they had plans with Anne Lockhart about coming back, and Anne confirmed this. I think the impact of Sheba on sci-fi female soldiers could be pioneer of showing an equal without having to call much attention to it. Oh, and I totally had a crush on Sheba for years...one of my all time favorite goddess of sci-fi!   

Lt. Nova Forrester/Yuki Mori (Space Cruiser Yamato/Starblazers)
Nova Forrester and/or Yuki Mori is the only female crew members of the Earth Battleship Yamato/Argo in the landmark anime series by Leiji Masumoto (we will be mostly referring to her as "Nova" from now on). During the first Space Cruiser Yamato TV series, Nova as several duties that make little sense. She is first introduced to the audience being the RN to Dr.Sane, however she serves coffee, is the sole member of the ship's morale, and operates the Radar screen on the bridge. During the 2nd series apex showdown between Desslok and Derek, Nova shields her wounded mate from Desslok, and takes Derek's pistol to fend off the Gamilon leader.
This brave display, seals the peace between Terra and Gamilion. By the time of the 3rd Series, the Bolar Wars, Nova was not longer an RN, Dr. Sane and more of the standard bridge crew operating the Radar and main computer. In some of the other  Nova worked at the Earth Defense Force HQ. In Final Yamato OVA, Derek and Nova were married, and had a daughter. One interest fact about Nova, is she known for making very strong, very dark coffee that "could melt a spoon"...my kind of girl! Some fans have called Nova in the original Yamato works as been mere window dressing and to add a love element to add some depth to the material, however that is not the case in the Space Battleship Yamato: 2199 reboot and the 2010 live-action movie.
In the reboot anime series, Yuki is linked to Yurisha Iscandar, the sister of Starsha Iscander, who is killed in a terrorist attack and transfer some of her conciseness to Yuki. There also been a major overhaul to the character's personality and relationship to Derek, making her more well rounded. In the 2010 live-action Japanese movie, Yuki, played by Meisa Kurokiis, is now one of the top aces in the Black Tiger fighter squad that is walking in the shadow of Starbuck from BSG. When it comes to Nova/Yuki as a female soldier in sci-fi, she was little more than a stereotype, but did have roles befitting women who do serve in the modern military, RADAR operator and RN. This continues to be true with her role in the 2010 Space Battleship Yamato as a combat fighter pilot.

Rear-Admiral Helena Cain from Battlestar Galactica 
During the 1st Cylon War, young Helena Cain lost her father and younger sister to the Cylons on Tauron, and this transformed her into something stronger, but also twisted her in a tool of war, without emotion or regard for life. Cain rose quickly through the ranks of the Fleet, becoming a Rear-Admiral in the fleet and master of the Mercury class Battlestar Pegasus. When the attack on the colonies happened, the Pegasus was in dock at the Scorpion Fleet shipyards getting upgraded. A blind jump saved the Beast from the fate of the other warships docked at the yard.
Months after the Fall of the 12 Colonies, the Pegasus would come into contact with the Galactica, and Cain would assume command of the Fleet and the Galactica. Given Cain's POV on the civilians and the situation, the Admiral wanted the Battlestars to take the fight back to the Colonies, and not hunt down the myth of Earth and the 13th Tribe. Cain's strict nature, coupled with embarrassment with allowing a Cylon agent on her ship and into her bed; fueled her blinding thirst for revenge. Her death shortly after the reunion with Galactica was the very definition of karma is a bitch.When it comes to Admiral Cain as a female soldier in science fiction, she channels the feelings of nearly every American on September 11th, and she serves as a warning...a warrior without humanity is a machine.      

Lt. Natasha Yar from Star Trek: TNG
While women serving in Starfleet is nothing new, women serving in posts noted for typical male characters: security. Originally, Yar's character was to be 26 year old Hispanic female and named "Lt. Macha Hernandez", who was inspirited by Vasquez from ALIENS.While Starfleet may not have marines or soldiers, Tasha Yar was close, maintaining a marshal spirit and a readiness for combat with her black belt in Aikido. During her one season appearance, she often rushed to defend her shipmates, and paid the price on Vagra II. One of the elements that made Yar perfect for her job was her childhood on the fallen and lawless Federation colony of Turkana IV. Her experience dodging rape gangs, protecting her orange cat, and seeing the breakdown of society fostered an inner desire for order and protecting the weak from the lawless. When it comes to Yar as military sci-fi female soldier, I think she demonstrated the duality of the role. On one hand, she was responsible for the entire security detail onboard a ship of a thousand people that were a mixture of military and civilian, while being personal protection of the away teams, and balancing the use of force. Pity that Yar was only one season, she had one of the more interesting backstories of any of the TNG characters.    

Next Time on FWS...
Next time on FWS is something lighter and quicker to write, the Broken Promise of Wing Commander movie from 1999. Hell, that promise wasn't broke, it was driven out to the desert, beat nearly to death with a pipe, then soaked in gasoline, and lit on fire, then buried in the hottest part of the desert...never to be seen again. Oh, yes! It is that time that we discuss the worst military science fiction movie of all fucking time: 1999's Wing Commander! This son of a bitch movie that ruined WC for the world! So, prepare for yourself for this one by buying a bottle of Jack and a two liter of Coke, because we're going to need it! 






  1. too fucking long to read. if you want to push an agenda at least have the common courtesy for it to be internet sized, not a mini War and Peace redux.

    1. Have the common courtesy to watch your language and have something valid to say.

    2. It is very valid. There are several errors here, many of which come directly from the feminazi/sjw agenda.

      "1-in-6 civilian women will have some sort of sexual trauma visited on them, either rape or some form of sexual assault."
      It went from the already inflated stat of 1 in 15, to 1 in 6, in 2015 it was 1 in 4, now the Navy empowerment sperg at Tedx and his cronies are at 1 in 3. 2020: Rape guaranteed for everyone but white males. You are repeating these same unfounded accusations based upon nothing but a quick study amounting to little more than a questionnaire *on just one schoolcampus*.
      If you did not have an agenda to push, why not the more official numbers where it is lower than even 20 in 100,000 per year? Why not look up solidly researched numbers on command and army rape?

      Other things: French army is 100% open to women, including the legion. There was a courtcase demanding just that and women got it. Now none of them want in. Dutch KCT and KSK both accept women because courts told them to. Now not a single women can pass the physical. Now they are in court demanding the physical requirements are either dropped completely or lowered to allow a 50% female presence. When told that can severely impede on operational capability or endanger the lives of all they are told they are just being sexist. And there are few words about this. Women may get what they want and get a load of peple killed, men and women.

      You also just mocked periods. This is a bodily opening that will start to rot if tampons are not available, women need to care about their hygiene down there a lot more than men. It can be seen in homeless women for example. This is not a joke, it can mean infertility and sepsis in severe cases.

      All I read about is courageous women and filthy rapist men. Nowhere did you include command rape, let alone command rape by women. Yes, women. At least one French officer and one Italian officer(Okay, guardia finanzia but still).

      Yet another thing: In the Finnish one it is sid women do not get told of their choices? Why are men only informed of their duty? If you want to be equal, be equal. Cry out for conscription for *both genders*. Finnish men get a pittance of mere € per week, while women get the full pay >€500 p/w. They may pay rent for you, if rent is low enoughm but otherwise you need to move to barracks where you are allowed to not store all your stuff meaning sell it, or move out, while serving. If you have a mortgage to pay, well sucks to be you, sell your fucking home. Norway is no better in this regard. And while we are on the subject of being equal, you should also disagree with "normalisation of testscores". Men will outrun and outjumo women, and yet women will always win these drills. Why? Equal, yet the mere fact if you have tits or not means you get moved up a few spots. Not your pure performance, not your suitability, all you need is a cervix.

      There are some real issues you are too willing to overlook and some numbers people took right out of their ass and when someone says something: "watch your language and have something valid to say".

    3. During my "option to serve" I was ridiculed by the women for being a poorfag, because my pay was far far far below minimumwage because they could pay me that low. It was standard practice I learned later. Fun days. So after my time was up, a female superior had the audacity to ORDER me to sign on for 4 years, something that is supposed to be not mandatory. Chwewing me out for 15 minutes on how I was a coward for not doing it and telling me it was finally a fullpaying job. Of coursr I refused, so after that she made up a sobstory I verbally sexually assaulted her: 3 weeks lockup untill they got to the bottom of it. No evidence found. This of course does go into reported assault cases. Reported, not necessarily happened. She was later kicked out for fabricating too many of these stories, but many many men were thrown in on her say so. She was never punished for constant lying. You never ever believe any woman that says she has been raped. Never come up with just reports unless you can also put the number of convictions next to it. I can dump a few dozens of fale rapeclaims that have been in the news with the women walking away free of nearly free after causing untold amounts of grief. The real epidemic is not the rape, but the false rapeclaims. Easy get out of anything card.

      Numbers explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zvnB-BTNbU

    4. "feminazi/sjw agenda"

      fuckin lol time to stop browsing your reddit Red Pill pages my duded

  2. As a Finn it was nice to see the Finnish military mentioned as well. The Finnish Defence Force trains approximately 27000 recruits yearly, of which 400-600 are female. Since 1995, approximately 6000 women have received training, with 60 percent receiving leadership/command training. More than a hundred women have graduated from the National Defence University's cadet school, and the highest rank held by a woman is Major, as of 2013.

    Bringing up the difficult topic of sexual abuse in the military was a good thing to do, as writing a detailed post about the issue and skirting the subject would've been somewhat strange.

  3. Why don't you cite Chinese female soldiers in the exaples section?

    1. I heard that china doesn't allow women in the military (at least in combat roles)

  4. You need to proof better, some sections are cut short mid-sentence.

  5. Thanks for all of the comments! I feared with the length and the time I've been away that FWS would be in ruins. Here is my response to the comments

    - In terms of length, I felt that FWS had to address certain issues when it comes to women serving in the current and future military, even if the length is massive. I almost broken this up into several parts, which is what I may do in the future with blogposts that are 60+ pages.

    -FWS has no "agenda", this is a place for the discussing of topics related to military science fiction. It made me sick to read the abuse of women in the military and the lack of punishment. Valor and honor have no gender.

    -Thanks for the information on the females serving in the Finnish military! It was very difficult to find some hard data on the statistics of women serving in some of these military organizations.

    -The reason I didn't cite the Chinese female soldiers is length. The examples of women serving in military organizations was getting too long, and when I googled information on the Chinese military, it seemed that they are banned from combat units. I should have included the Chinese military, given their sphere of influence and that they are super-power.

    -In regards to proofing, I should have done a better job. Normally, I printed out a copy of the blogpost, and go through it with a red pen, and I was so sick of working on this blogpost, and that FWS had not been properly updated in over a month bothered me. I should have proofed it, and it was sloppy of me.

    Thanks everyone for reading and commenting!

    1. The main reason why there's little enforcement on punnishing the people that commit sexual harassment is for the unfortunate fact that the people that commit that crime are usually high ranking or are very experienced in combat. From a military prosecutor's perspective if this soldier is arrested that 10+ years of combat experience is just wasted and that's something that you can't replace. It sucks. But it's the unfortunately reality we live in. It even happens in normal life. Foe ex. if a cashier runs someone over with their car they're usually arrested and sent to jail with a quick trial, BUT, if lets say Bill Gates or the CEO of JP Morgan runs someone over with their car the justice system is gonna drag their ass because those people provide a hell of alot to the global economy and I they. Gel locked up and eat big Jerry's cockmeat sandwich well the economy of business could get pretty well fucked (forgive my language it just sucks that it happens) the Sam with the military. If some dumb private fresh out of boot is convicted of sexual assault then there's a trial and all that jazz.BUT if let's say Chris Kyle or Carlo hathcock (in reality they didn't just imagine a scenario) convicted this crime well that's a problem cus they're both some of the best shots in the military so you bet your sorry ass that the military is gonna try to get him off or down play the crime so that they could have them in combat.
      hopefully they'll find a way for the sick crime to end but you can only hope...and pray for better days.

  6. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2013-06/03/c_132426452.htm

  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC6T8YOXZmg

    A bit better research about chinese female soldiers in combat roles

  8. I personally have no problem with women as combat troops, IF standards of physical qualifications aren't lowered! It seemed several times you mentioned that standards are "under review" this is code for lowering scores for female applicants for said roles. We've seen it time and time again, in civilian Law Enforcement and Fire Fighting, men have a standard and women have another, it's ridiculous and a surrender to political correctness.

    All these peace time armies experimenting with social engineering is just wonderful in theory but if the shtf do you really want to concern yourself with the possible ramifications of PC thinking and diversity?

    The truth is men are biologically stronger than women, it's not sexist it's just a fact. Are there women that can hump 70# of gear all day for a week, sure there is especially if they have been training for many years BUT if you pull two 18 year olds out of high school, one female and one male, both of standard averages in height and weight for their genders, who is going to be bigger, stronger and faster? Which one do you want to send to an 8 week crash course and send out to fight? Which one will actually be ready?

  9. Yes, the US Military's "under review" and "study case" are code words for we're not sure how to do this and how do we sell lowering standards. While some standards could be lowered, I have an issue with lowering standards in Special Forces. But I wonder if those organizational standards are higher than they have to be...The truth other nations have frontline combat troops, including our dear friends to the north. I personally think that women being in all roles in a military is going to be a reality with the aid of technology and serious social engineering to prevent sexual assault and sexism. It is truth that are the rare women that can be tougher than the average man. I work with the several female RNs that are semi-pro body builders and they can pick me off of the floor and over their head. Very strange feeling. When it comes to pulling one male and one female out of high school and giving them 8 weeks of training, the male will be ready, especially if he is like most Americans. If there was a draft, I believe most of the boys would be issued an M4 carbine and the girls would be issued an computer.
    Thanks for reading and commenting.

    1. Pointing out countries, such as Canada, with female front line troops, also exemplifies countries that have bowed to political pressure and have not been in a serious conflict in almost 80 years. Lowering standards for SF designation is just silly, the reason they are so tough is simply because of the fact they only accept the best of the best, I certainly don't want my life or the security of my country to depend on someone who was let into a unit simply because the balance sheet of PC thought needed to be balanced.

      Again I have to problem with sci-fi writers including women as combat troops, I just wish they would include them with exo-skeletons or other strength enhancing items. You use the body-building nurses that you work with as an example of women with comparable or greater strength than men, yet you fail to note that this occurs after many years of intense training, dieting and supplements, using these parameters for a male, he would not only lift you over his head but also spin you around and throw you a dozen feet. Rhonda Rousey, perhaps the best female MMA fighter, could probably beat up an untrained male of similar weight, yet would be hard pressed to defeat a male opponent, of similar weight, with any training whatsoever, never mind if he was bigger, the strength difference is just to great.

      When sci-fi writers use females as pilots, navy personal, or in combat areas where brains, reflexes and tactical knowledge are paramount I have no problem; it's when they try to equate them as the "same" as males, especially in the example of ground warfare and futuristic spec. ops environments, that I take issue. It seems every futuristic combat unit has the "hot" chick, who is 5'7" 130#'s of bad ass, who can fight just as well as the guys or she's a "hot headed" Latina with the same characteristics.

      Again the issue with female combat troops is great to argue and speculate on in times of peace, and the brush fire wars we and other countries are involved in equate to peacetime, but when using the subject of racial annihilation and galaxy wide war, I wish more authors would factor in a more realistic thought scenario in who would be fighting and the biological reasons for it or include scientific reasons why biology is not a factor.

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    3. Well I served 4 years in the regular Canadian Forces as a sapper (combat enineer) and I did two basic trainings one for regular forces and one for the reserves.The women were all good in the reserves and had to do the same training.In the reg. forces women did a separate but equal basic training.In my regiment it was males only (just submarines and field engineers were blocked to females, back then).Our officers coul be female.All were good no lowered standards.I worked with reservist (militia) reiments that had females.They did good work even in building bridges an other majorly physical work.My troop would take all big guys but some were useless.Give me a little tiny female French sapper who is willing to work, listens,tries hard anyday over a big lazy,bullying,disruptive man who is a lousy soldier.Women can do anything a man can because the army is just hard work and good attitude that counts.I saw a documentary on Parris Island and I think basic trainings are exactly the same all over the world and women can pass.Our job was in a combat trade and the women were good.I think the worst problem if there were a major war is that all of us are too out of shape.Most guys I knew young in sports would have quit in many courses I passed just because I had no quit in me.That counts more in beeing a good soldier than your sex.Women know how to take care of their own hygiene.Remember females have survived horrible wars and everything for millenias.Most cumputer geeks that are good at RPGs think they are better than women soldiers, get of your ass and join then you'll see there is no reset button on life.I would choose a good female soldier over a bad male one anyday.

  10. I think on balance this presents a fairly reasonable view of the issue though my own opinion is that women will never really compete with men in numbers in combat units. I suspect they will begin to fill out other roles more, but that the percentage in frontline combat units will remain a distinct minority into the far future. The simple fact is that women need to have kids and all the feminism in the world can’t really change that. This cannot be got around by any activism and is not some minor point that can be glossed over this is a huge, huge biological difference that will in my view always result in a distinctly different sort of culture for women.

    Now the obvious counterpoint is that “okay so they have to crap the kids out, but there is no reason men can’t raise them”. Yes this is true in a purely logical, people are robots, sense, but they’re obviously not. We have instincts and frankly they often exert a greater influence on us then we’d like to admit. The urge to care for offspring is a really god damn powerful instinct, as it rather has to be since logically speaking from a purely selfish view offspring are a terrible idea, so your brain is wired up to compel you in all sorts of subtle ways to look after them.

    For biological reasons these urges tend to be somewhat stronger in women. This isn’t a surprise as men are more disposable and, by and large, less invested in any given offspring. They can easily father allot of children rather quickly, but women can’t easily have allot of kids and indeed doing so is quite possibly a bad idea. Thus in a purely biological sense the father’s compulsion to care for a given single child in order to pass on his genes is rather lower than the woman for whom her particular child(ren) is much more critical.

    Another issue of that is “Cultural evolution” cultures compete, and those that aren’t as competitive either adapt or are wiped out via war, assimilation, or what have you. A culture that doesn’t have some level of pressure upon females to breed is, like an organism without a compulsion to breed, ultimately suicidal. It will either shrink until only those actually inclined to breed are left and thus change, be subsumed by a larger group with a higher focus on breeding and thus greater resources, or actually manage to become so small it reaches a point of no return and goes extinct.

    Thus in my view over the long haul cultures that have a strong pressure on woman to breed will tend to be those that predominate, and in such a culture not having a fairly strong accompanying inclination toward expecting the woman to also raise the resulting children seems unlikely. The fact that this arrangement has emerged so many places independently over time further supports this.

    This is of course probably not a very popular view among post-modernist and probably isn’t going to win me any feminist friends, but I’m a realist and that’s my view. I certainly don’t begrudge woman that chose different and I fully support their right to do so, but I feel that trying to act like the fact it’s woman that have babies doesn’t matter and shouldn’t or won’t affect culture in the future is incredibly naive and will never come to pass. Man and woman ARE different in the end and I rather suspect culture will always reflect that to a greater or lesser degree, particularly in the area of child rearing and by extnetion military service.

    Another thing is that in any kind of massive ongoing conflict using woman as combat troops is incredibly dumb. Women are the bottleneck in reproduction by a huge margin and so squandering them on the enemy’s guns is utterly stupid daft from a long term economic standpoint. They should be in factories and having children, particularly in any ‘Total War! Full mobilization!’ style setting. In Halo for instance woman marines are kind of stupid; the UNSC is bleeding billions of people. Woman should not be going out to get shot at, they should be at home filling factories and fucking furiously for the survival of the human race.

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    2. As an aside since I brought up Halo, but in my view the fanbase’s dislike's of Palmer is because she frankly comes off as a tool. She's portrayed as pretty much a complete meathead without even a tenth of the Professionalism and Poise the title of Spartan used to imply and kind of dumbs down the title merely by wearing it. She's loud, arrogant, doesn't come off as very bright most of the time, and often seems to act rather like a highschool jock with a massive inferiority complex. She is, in many ways, an example of the very worst of the stereotypical stupid marine. A paragon of the worst aspects of what the term ‘jarhead’ implies.

      Compared to someone like the Master Chief or even the rather quiet, but deadly efficient Noble Six she seems like a very poor example of what the mythos has built a Spartan up to be.

      This also all makes her shitting on Halsey come off as even more petty and stupid as well. She seriously just looks like a childish moron whose also thick headed and rather stupid. Yes the logical thing to take away from a giant alien robot grabbing your top expert on Forerunner tech, like the GAINT PLANET SAID ROBOT’S MASTER ARE CURRENTLY ON, is that she’s a traitor, not that she was kidnapped and still loyal to your cause. Now hurry up and ignore an officer dozens of years your senior trying to explain this to your clearly roid addled brain and go actually MAKE her a traitor by attempting to murder her without trial or due process.

      Good Job Commander Failmer.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Dude, the unsc was losing people from left to right. They were literatally throwing bodies @ the covies. Thew would take a Twinkie if it could fire an ma5. That's why there was an increase in women in the unsc mc.

  11. I have been surprised at the amount of discussion on this topic. This blogpost is one of the most heated in FWS history, and some of the deleted comments were shocking and completely sexist. My bottom line is this: if they want to fight, then let them fight, and the sexual assaults need to stop. now. I am glad that sci-fi has women soldiers, I have a ton in my own sci-fi, and I will continue that theme, my hope is that realism is added, and not every single female soldier is Xena. Gods, I hate Xena. "Fucking furiously for the survival of the human race"...this might be one of the comments in the entire history of FWS!
    When it comes to Commander Palmer, I am glad to read some comments on her, and I when I thought on it, she does come off with a set of brass balls. Sarah forgets those "egg heads" created her and her SPARTANs, and I thought at 343 Industries went overboard on elements of her personality. That being said, there could be a reason for her attitude, in the context of the HALO universe. Mankind was nearly wiped out by the Covenant, billions are dead, and humanity was that close to going out forever. She and her attitude maybe the product of her times...some soldiers in the Post-9/11 military have had their attitudes altered by the events of the attacks. When it comes Dr. Halsey, I've always thought of her as a monster whose timing was damned prefect. If the Covenant had never invaded UNSC space, and the SPARTAN-II program discovered, she would have been hung by the general public. She is one of the best complex characters in video games, and Bungie nailed it with her.
    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  12. There are female soldiers in Taiwanese combat unit, and special force, like pathfinder, HALO platoon. However, these are propaganda more than how it really works... These girls are still behind the desk...As to the female officers, they are from Political Warfare Cadres Academy since 1950, maybe later, my mother was one of them.

  13. One of the biggest reasons that the US DOD kept women from being in primary arms jobs (Infantry, Artillery, Armor) is that no Gynecologists would sign off on women being able to endure the 2 weeks requirement.

    -All troops assigned to primary arms jobs will be able to operate in an austere environment with out sanitary support for a minimum of two weeks.

    What does that mean? At least two weeks in the middle of nowhere with nothing more then the Toilet paper in your MRE.

    In addition the USMC has had to suspend implementing a gender neutral PT test due to the inability of new female recruits being able to pass the test, and its implementation would have cut most female marines from being able to continue to pass their PT tests using female age standards.

  14. An excellent read. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) could allow women to apply for ground close-combat roles in 2016.UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "Roles in our armed forces should be determined by ability not gender".but there is still ambiguity about the health of service women. hence a research is done to ensure the ability and health of women. It is expected that an initial report will be submitted in 2016.

  15. Oh, Captain Power, I had the ship gun and everything. http://i60.tinypic.com/so911l.jpg

  16. I never had any of the toys. They always seemed underdeveloped, and my cash was always going towards my ATARI 7800, my comicbooks, and sweet, sweet Legos.

  17. One other reason to add women to fighting roles – recently the Kurds & Druses minorities are using women as warriors in the fight against ISIS. According to the ISIS fighters' religion believe if they been killed by a woman that mean that they won't receive their reward as a "Shahid", martyr, in heaven of 72 beautiful virgins! Apparently celestial virgins don't find you sexy and manly if some earthly Kurd gal gunned you down… must be a hell for someone like that – spending eternity in heaven while all of your comrades getting massively laid…


  18. Sadly the issue remain women aren't actually doing all that well, the bar has been lowered far to many times to count we need to let go of this PC idea all women can do it no matter the cost. I admit women are violent to an extreme but that doesn't make soldiers. Look fiction and some events in the past don't make for a good result

  19. I am glad to see any work online celebrate inclusive fiction.

    It's unfortunate, that in your own fiction, you cite the excuse (and it is just that) that a male character going through whatever emotions you wish to write appropriately (and perhaps as a catharsis) for the story, are not right for a male....because he MIGHT be made fun of for his sexuality? That statement seemed curiously specious.

    Sexism has no place in the future, and it has no place in the clandestine projection of your own work.

    A guy who shows complex emotion isn't a question of gay/straight/bi. It's emotions, all humans have them. Wave the flag for fighting sexism by including the fact, rather than essentially saying:

    "Femshep is pretty, but (phew) she's covered in respectable armour - so therefore I'm not objectifying her when I say so, and she can have any emotion she wants, so I don't have to feel like if it was a dude he's questionable".

    If you really feel that criticism COULD exist, ignore them, don't give in to their (or your own) homophobia (like with the rape you discussed no one would admit to that either).

    And while we are discussing misandry, one must be cautious of how we paint masculinity and femininity. Unlike the notion behind the Fish Speakers, I don't believe that males have a propensity for being negative to women or each other; as animals go, humans are quite remarkable for having male-male relationships that are not sexual or necessary for survival.

    I commend you however for noting about rape not being a gendered issue, after all "Rape Culture" derives from a 70's documentary about male prison rape.

    Curiously your article doesn't discuss at length male only mandatory service in an attempt to address this imbalance. Even if you are in favour of said imbalance it would have been relevant to hear your stance on it.

    To finish perhaps if one really does think far ahead to a transhuman/posthuman future the idea of gender might be moot altogether with humans (if they're still called that) bred by machines without the need for copulation.

    The notion of soldiers protecting one gender over the other because of thinking with one's dick, would be very backwards indeed, along with believing that you need a vagina/homosexual-preferences to have emotions without your sexuality coming into question.

  20. Face it, the real reason they are allowing Women into the military is they cant recruit anyone suitable to join the military. Military careers are seen as a waste of time and an impediment to career progress by young men. This leads to the military lowering entry requirements for minorities even if they have criminal records.

  21. On menstruation... the side effect of some progesterone-only contraceptive pills is that you stop having periods. As soon as the medical profession stops regarding this as a bug and starts thinking of it as a feature, you are well on your way to solving the problem. (I took those pills for over a decade for precisely that feature). A daily pill isn’t much use militarily, but hey, this is science fiction. Stick the hormone in an intramuscular implant which trickles it out for your entire term of enlistment. Periods and risk of pregnancy eliminated in one fell swoop!

    You don’t mention gravity. Surely the arguments about men being physically stronger than women go all to pot as soon as we start colonising places which aren’t at 1g? Martian-born guys will still be stronger than Martian-born gals, but even a Martian body builder who spends all day abusing steroids will be a wimp compared to a woman from Earth or from some heavy-g world?

    OPTION A: No artificial gravity – all sorts of stuff to play with here! Earth women are stronger than Martian men. Martians can’t make selection, but still need protection by the Colonial Marines. Oh the social embarrassment of having girlies save your arse... :-)

    OPTION B: Artificial gravity for structures and vehicles (ships, space stations, the Martian Ambassador’s Residence and his bodyguards’ mecha) – everything is grand until the Ambassador goes outdoors without his antigravity underpants on. The Earth Navy sets their ships at 1g, the Martian Navy sets theirs at 0.37g and the Planet Bob Navy sets theirs at 1.25g. Boarding actions become... complicated.

    OPTION C: Artificial gravity for whole planets – flick a switch and turn the whole surface of Mars up to 1g. Weaponise this! Weaponise this right frakking now! Destroy your enemy’s homeworld by turning the gravity up to 11. :-)(I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that actually claimed their setting had this ludicrous level of super science, but a lot of telly SF and some books kind of feel that artificial gravity = all planets are at 1g. Telly has budgetary excuses for this. Novels don’t).

  22. You don't see anyone playing the Sororitas because GW has never released "cheap" plastic models for them, and hasn't released a physical Codex for them in years

  23. I bought my copy of the "Sisters of Battle" back in 1998, and I never knew anyone how played this army

  24. First, commendations on the staggering amount of time a research you put in.
    Even if I don't 100% agree with all your conclusions, you certainly worked hard to write a very balanced article.
    There's a lot of plates to spin when covering the kind of subject where everyone has strong opinions.
    Really do appreciate the stats and data involved.

    My own SF worldbuilding includes organizations dedicated to ending the scourge of sexual trafficking and rebuilding the victims lives, so I'm always sniffing out methods and models towards crafting such an organization — and characters involved— as believable and plausible as possible.

    The Caracal Unit was particularly interesting, and it does sound like the more implementable method. This echoes some of the studies I've seen about how bonobos, where the females form strong coalitions within their societies, experience low levels of abuse against their females; versus chimpanzees and orangutans, where the abuse is quite high and nasty. Surely us higher level primates can learn, emulate, and implement the higher level methods.

    That said, my own military experience from 2001-2008 lent out some very mixed impressions:
    -Had a co-ed basic, co-ed AIT, and spent most of my time in a logistics MOS within a co-ed Headquarters Detachment.
    -Encountered many females who I'd be proud to have shooting a rifle at my side, but they were the exception by a large margin.
    -Not only are PT standards lowered for females, but many still have trouble even making those generous minimums, especially the runs. Even encountered 2 drill sergeants who were continually flagged for not being able to make the minimums on their runs, and part of a drill sergeants purpose is to set the standard for soldiers to model off of.
    -Say what you want about PC culture, but females were continually given more of the benefit of the doubt in just about every circumstance, and that includes all the sexual assault claims that turn out false (as morally flexible females quickly learn such claims in such a career-centric culture are a powerful weapons).
    -No question a lot of sexual liaisons erupt all over many units and bases as a whole. Would be interesting to see any statistical trends in UCMJ prosecutions for Adultery, and look for upticks in integrated units.
    -It's also no secret that when a unit is nearing deployment, there's a rash of sudden pregnancies, and this often continues during deployment. (Quick link I could dredge up on short notice: https://www.reddit.com/r/Military/comments/w7h08/is_it_really_that_common_for_women_to_use/)
    You can argue what you want about all this, I'm just dropping in my anecdotal observations.

    So yes, personally in favor of women serving, provided we evolve as a culture to hold them to exactly the same standards as men for the particular job / unit tasking they'll be doing.
    Those who coddle them to appease PC sentimentality, that's a harbinger of our undoing.

  25. :D Sometimes i can be proud of her

  26. You forgot a MAJOR player when it comes to females in combat in the sci fi realm, Sarah Conner, just sayin....

  27. Huh... I thought Petra married Bean, not Peter Wiggins.

    Anyway, I was wondering if you have ever watched "Crest of the Stars" because if you have I don't understand why Pilot Trainee Lafiel and Admiral Spoor are missing from the list.

    Also a more recent anime with a largely female cast is "Bodacious Space Pirates" (though as the title suggests it's a bit more fun and games than serious - though the science is top notch with the series having been written by an actual astrophysicist).

  28. Great article! For my novel, Stardust, I confronted the dangers female soldiers face head on. Miyako Sogabe worked in a female engagement team to gather intelligence in a future Iran (which is democratic but under constant attack by fundamentalists), but was captured, tortured and raped. She left the force and tries to put her shattered life back together, but she is forced back into the fight when her estranged sister, Keiko Sogabe, is captured by mutinous super-soldiers for a breakthrough in nanotechnology that she made.

    Stardust mainly focuses on Miyako's personal fight and using her communication and infiltration skills, but she gets help in the climax by the all-female Orbital Drop Strategic Troopers (a deliebrate shout-out to Halo, which inspired most of the backstory). The Humanist Coaliton Aerospace Force is female only because they are lighter and consume less. There are strict weight and height requirements.

    1. Sounds like science-fantasy, at its best. Be sure to place emphasis on the fundamentalists' worship of Donald Trump's frozen head.

    2. The exponential relationship between mass ratio and delta-v mean that every gram saved increases a rocket's velocity budget exponentially. I can see all-female space-forces being a thing.

  29. Always fun to read the ignorant commentary of non-combatant civilians on how military/warrior society should function and be organized. There is seriously never a dull moment. The lengths you people will go to in convincing yourselves of things contrary to fundamental truths.