Army women not only suffer more injuries than men during combat training, but the active-duty female soldiers also are stricken with significantly higher rates of mental health disorders.
The statistics come from a study conducted by the Army surgeon general last summer in conjunction with a bevy of analyses and experiments to judge women’s suitability for direct ground combat roles. It found, for example, that female soldiers suffer depression at more than double the rate of men and that one of the triggers is exposure to combat.
Still, the study concluded: “There is no medical basis to prohibit any [military occupational specialty] opening to females.”
The Obama administration announced Dec. 3 that it is opening all jobs in infantry, armor, artillery and special operations forces to women. The Pentagon then began releasing the services’ behind-the-scenes studies.
The Army numbers present a warning that if the Defense Department is going to usher a significant number of women into combat roles, which is its stated goal, the services will have to find better ways to prepare them physically and mentally.