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2 Temp. Pol. & Civ. Rts. L. Rev. 63 (1992-1993)
Combatting the Gender Gulf

handle is hein.journals/tempcr2 and id is 73 raw text is: Combatting the Gender Gulf
D'Ann Campbell*
Should women serve in combat? It seemed a hypothetical question
until the American public, transfixed by a saturation of media coverage
of the Persian Gulf War, saw for themselves servicewomen performing a
wide variety of functions-as well as getting shot at, killed, wounded,
and captured. The servicewomen were not allowed to fight back, how-
ever. So impressed was Congress that, in 1992, it repealed a 1948 law
which had prohibited women from flying planes with combat missions.,
Opposition was strong from the old guard in the military, and their allies
in Congress, who felt the change was unnatural, unbecoming, unneces-
sary or detrimental to the combat mission of the forces.2 Supporters
noted, however, that a military seeking to maximize its performance
would not create artificial barriers.' The supporters contended that those
barriers reflected an unthinking sexism, and tended to encourage nega-
tive attitudes ranging from grudging acceptance to low-grade sexual ha-
rassment to physical assault. Additionally, the restrictions placed a
ceiling on the career opportunities of ambitious women officers. Further-
more, the coverup of the Tailhook incident4 in 1991-1992, together
* Dean, College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History, Austin Peay State Uni-
versity. B.A. The Colorado College; Ph.D. 1979, University of North Carolina. This article is
an updated and edited version of a speech given at the symposium, The Aftermath of the
Persian Gulf War: Strengthening the Laws of Warfare, sponsored by Temple University on
April 8, 1992. Other participants of this symposium are featured in the special issue of the
Temple International and Comparative Law Journal, Volume 6, No. 1 (Spring 1992). The
author wishes to thank Lieutenant Colonel Robert Gifford, Department of Military Psychia-
try, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Colonel Terry Hulin and Lieutenant Colonel
Marcene Etchieson, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (Army); Lieutenant
Colonel Patricia Wise, Chief Historian, Army Nurse Corps, Center of Military History; Colo-
nel John M. Wattendorf, United States Military Academy; Regina Akers, Archivist, Opera-
tional Archives, Naval Historical Center; and the Center of Military History. Thanks also to
the anonymous soldiers who served in the Persian Gulf, whom I have cited in this paper only
by their branch and rank.
1. 10 U.S.C. § 8549 (1988), repealed by National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Years 1992 and 1993, Pub. L. No. 102-190, § 531(a)(1), 105 Stat. 1290, 1365 (1991).
2. See Lieutenant Commander Lori Bolebruch, And the Walls Come Tumblin' Down,
PROCEEDINGS, Feb. 1992, at 42, 42-44.
3. Id. at 44.
4. The Tailhook Scandal, MINERVA'S BULL. BOARD, Summer 1992, at 5. See infra text
accompanying notes 151-65 (discussing circumstances surrounding the 1991-1992 Tailhook

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