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eddhead
January 24th, 2013, 02:56 PM
I don't normally like starting threads with Opinion pieces, but I think Gail Collins makes some excellent points here.
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The military’s idea of what constitutes a combat position is more about bureaucracy than bullets. Today women are on armed patrols and in fighter planes. But they can’t hold approximately 200,000 jobs officially termed “combat,” which often bring more pay and can provide a stepping stone for promotions. The system is complicated. But cynics might wonder if some of the military brass fear women’s upward mobility more than the danger.




Arms and the Women
By GAIL COLLINS (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/gailcollins/index.html)

Women in the military are going to get to serve in combat. They killed the Equal Rights Amendment to keep this from happening, but, yet, here we are. And about time.

“I think people have come to the sensible conclusion that you can’t say a woman’s life is more valuable than a man’s life,” the retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught once told me.

Vaught is the president of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation. She retired from active duty in 1985, so she remembers a different era entirely. “I went to Vietnam, and when I found out I was going, the first thing I wanted to know was if I’d be trained in weapons. They told me I didn’t need to be. That’s unheard of today,” she said on Wednesday when I caught up with her on the phone.
“And,” she added, “I wore my skirts.”

Now they wear fatigues and tote rifles. So the Joint Chiefs of Staff have bowed to reality and told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that “the time has come” to stop excluding women from combat positions. The transformation won’t happen immediately, and it might not be universal. But it’s still a groundbreaking change. When the recommendation became public Wednesday, except for a broadside from the Concerned Women for America (“our military cannot continue to choose social experimentation and political correctness over combat readiness”), the reception seemed overwhelmingly positive.

It’s hard to remember — so many parts of recent history now seem hard to remember — but it was the specter of women under fire that did more than anything else to quash the movement for an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution in the 1970s. “We kept saying we hope no one will be in combat, but, if they are, women should be there, too,” recalled Gloria Steinem.

The fear of putting women in the trenches has been dispelled on two fronts. One, of course, is the change in the way the American public thinks about women. The other is the shortage of trenches in modern warfare, when an officer on the front lines is not necessarily in a more dangerous position than a support worker. Shoshana Johnson, a cook, was shot in both ankles, taken captive and held for 22 days after her unit was separated from a convoy crossing the Iraqi desert. Lori Piestewa, a Native American and, like Johnson, a single mother, was driving in the same convoy full of clerks and maintenance workers. She was skillfully steering her Humvee through mortar fire when a truck immediately ahead of her jackknifed and her front wheel was hit by a rocket. She was fatally injured in the ensuing crash.

The biggest safety concern for women in the military is actually not so much enemy fire as sexual attacks from fellow members of their own service. Because the crime is so underreported, it’s impossible to say how many women suffer sexual assault while they’re in uniform, but 3,192 cases were recorded in 2011. Allowing women to get the benefits of serving in combat positions won’t make that threat worse. In fact, it might make things better because it will mean more women at the top of the military, and that, inevitably, will mean more attention to women’s issues.

The military’s idea of what constitutes a combat position is more about bureaucracy than bullets. Today women are on armed patrols and in fighter planes. But they can’t hold approximately 200,000 jobs officially termed “combat,” which often bring more pay and can provide a stepping stone for promotions. The system is complicated. But cynics might wonder if some of the military brass fear women’s upward mobility more than the danger.

“We only have one four-star general who’s a woman,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who cheered the recommendation from the Joint Chiefs. It was, she said, “a great step forward for our military,” and one that wasn’t really expected. Only recently, Gillibrand recalled, she and her allies declared victory when they merely got language in the defense authorization bill requiring the Defense Department to study the question of women in combat.

Women now make up almost 15 percent of the American military and their willingness to serve made the switch to an all-volunteer Army possible. They’ve taken their posts with such seamless calm that the country barely noticed. The specter that opponents of the E.R.A. deemed unthinkable — our sisters and daughters dying under fire in foreign lands — has happened over and over and over. More than 130 women have died and more than 800 have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House of Representatives includes a female double-amputee in the person of the newly elected Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a former military pilot who lost both her legs when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq.

We’ve come a long, sometimes tragic, heroic way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/opinion/collins-arms-and-the-women.html?hp&_r=0&pagewanted=print

GordonGecko
January 24th, 2013, 03:20 PM
interesting, I hadn't heard about that angle yet. Regardless, I always thought that if a woman was qualified, properly trained, and willing to serve that there was no legitimate reason to bar her from serving in a combat role.

Ninjahedge
January 24th, 2013, 03:44 PM
Quick opinion:

The only thing I think women would not be suited for would be heavy field work.

The same way you want someone able to carry a 200lb individual down a ladder (Fire Department), you would want the same for SOME military positions.

(I am not saying firemen and police STAY that way, but still....)

GordonGecko
January 24th, 2013, 10:08 PM
There's plenty of women out there that are physically strong enough to do those things, as long as they're qualified gender shouldn't be a consideration.

But if eddhead's post is correct, some women may feel that the only way to climb up the ladder is to engage in combat when that would ordinarily not be something they would consider or should consider in their situation

Ninjahedge
January 25th, 2013, 09:37 AM
GG, I only partially agree with that.

i will have to get some facts on this, but the Fire Department example is one of the things that comes to mind. If contrary can be found (or if I cant find the original study) there was a time when women protested to get positions (full time) on the fire department. One of the requirements for that was the 200lb ladder climb (being able to take a 200lb dummy/person down a ladder... I think 2 story?). Not a single applicant passed.

Now I am not saying that there are not plenty of men that can't pass that now (they should have re-testing to allow people to keep their rescue-worker cert), but there is a necessity to maintain the standard.

The only problem I see is something like what we had with the police department not too far back requiring them to lower their standards on the qualification exams in order to meet a contradictory minority percentage of acceptance on the rolls. What I fear is a secondary set of regulations lowering the qualification standards in order to allow a "fair percentage" of women to be allowed to serve in a full combat role.

So long as the standards are not lowered in the name of "equality", I have NO PROBLEM with letting whoever wants to try, try. I just doubt that that would be the only measure taken once passed....

GordonGecko
January 25th, 2013, 09:46 AM
I think I saw the documentary or footage many years ago of what you describe with the firefighters. Standards should never be bent to accommodate a social initiative when that standard is important to the job

IrishInNYC
January 25th, 2013, 10:26 AM
I disagree with GG and the assertion there are "plenty" of woman who can physically match up with their male peers, it's just not the case....shear strength is a prerequisite for much of what boots-on-ground soldiers do and naturally women aren't up to many of the tasks. The words "...and it might not be universal." are key in the article above and leaves plenty of room to maneuver. Basically this ruling changes nothing. Women already go on patrols, drive the trucks and are "on the front lines"...what it does do is open up positions for women to earn more and gain promotion.

We won't see GI Jane's carrying wounded comrades through a hail of crossfire.

I personally hope that no member of my family touches the military with a barge pole, let alone my daughter, but the chance to gain any position (provided they're physically able) should be a basic right within the military.

ZippyTheChimp
January 25th, 2013, 11:11 AM
I disagree with GG and the assertion there are "plenty" of woman who can physically match up with their male peers, it's just not the case....shear strength is a prerequisite for much of what boots-on-ground soldiers do and naturally women aren't up to many of the tasks.Not true.

Stamina is #1.


Basically this ruling changes nothing. Women already go on patrols, drive the trucks and are "on the front lines"...what it does do is open up positions for women to earn more and gain promotion.That's the point. Women who might otherwise pursue a military career often get out because advancement is more limited.

IrishInNYC
January 25th, 2013, 11:57 AM
Not true.

Stamina is #1.



Semantics. There is no back log of women capable of carrying 100lbs on their back, plus ballistics vests, full gear and helmet on 8hr patrols in middle east climates. I don't think there's a need to go into bone density, cardiovascular capacity and muscle mass specifics on this.

If the field is as level as people assert then the military has major admission problems.

ZippyTheChimp
January 25th, 2013, 12:18 PM
Semantics? They're two different things.

It's not 100 lbs on your back; it's distributed. "8 hr patrols" and "middle east climates" point to stamina.

Were you in the military, and in combat? The extra big guy in the squad got to carry an M60 (now M240). They weigh about 25 lbs, while an M16 is 8 lbs. Many soldiers in my platoon weighed about 150 lbs. US Marines minimum height requirement is 5'2."

And level playing field doesn't mean you're going to get a 50-50 male-female split. Obviously more men in the general population would qualify for the military than women, but there is a significant percentage of women who would meet the criteria.

IrishInNYC
January 25th, 2013, 02:30 PM
but there is a significant percentage of women who would meet the criteria.

Then I feel there is something intrinsically wrong with that very criteria. Call me old fashioned but a woman's life should always be regarded as more important than a man's.

The right to join in combat should be allowed in this age of "equality" but the ability to do so is governed by the acceptance criteria that you mention. Clearly it has been diluted in these days where a draft is unimaginable. 5'2" soldiers? Wow.

I have enough of a problem with the targeted recruiting of poor, minority men....now the poor, minority woman have an equal chance of being maimed and killed for nothing. It's a sad day.

eddhead
January 25th, 2013, 07:28 PM
Go back to the key premise of the article. Women are already in harms way and are performing duties at or near the front lines. The scenario you outlined, assisting an injured service man through infantry lines, well women do that today. They're just not designated as combat personnel, and as a result are being held back from advancement.

And I agree with Gail Collins on another key point. One reason the armed services are so insensitive to sexual assault issues, is the brass don't happen to be of the gender of those being assaulted. That has to change.

This isn't WWII. Today's armed forces are more technology intensive than muscle intensive. That being the case I agree with Zip; the physical requirements are more toward stamina than brute strength.

I never want to see us at war again. That said, this change is a good thing and a long time coming.

Ninjahedge
January 26th, 2013, 11:51 PM
There is another psychological and biological problem that is never really addressed in anything but science fiction (Enders Game...) or poli-sci.

Women are more important than men.

As what has been shown in countless regimes in various ways,one man can be the core for may women and the continuance of the species. Although male participation is not something you can completely ignore, it is a fact of life that a mans life is much more replaceable than a woman's.

Now, that said, in a modern society we can't use base biological instinct which has not been driven from our brain stems as a reason for allowing of forbidding certain "rights" or regulations. Correct or not, logic and instinct are oft at odds in a modern society. But what, if any, of this "instinct" still bears weight in a modern society and how can we come to terms with a driving motivator without openly acknowledging it, accepting it, and dealing with it?

So many of our decisions seem to be done in direct denial of our own instincts born from our origins without any acknowledgement of their existence. Being instinct does not give it validity or justification, but denial thereof is equally invalid.

Does this policy run with instinct, tradition, or something more?

GordonGecko
January 27th, 2013, 12:36 PM
A statement like "Women are more important than men" or vice versa is IMO pretty offensive

ZippyTheChimp
January 27th, 2013, 01:21 PM
The US Army has about the same female percentage in active duty as that of Canada, about 14%. Canada has had women in combat positions since 1989, 2.4% of the total. You could expect similar numbers in the US.

There have been about 1000 US female casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.


I have enough of a problem with the targeted recruiting of poor, minority men....now the poor, minority woman have an equal chance of being maimed and killed for nothing. It's a sad day.That's a myth; the demographics of the US Army are in line with the overall population of that age-group.

2011

US population 18-24 yr olds with HSDG:
White............57%
Black.............18
Hispanic.........20
Other...............5

US Army
White............62%
Black............20
Hispanic........18
Other..............5

eddhead
January 27th, 2013, 02:52 PM
Women are more important than men..

I wouldn't say I am offended by it, but like GG, I have a hard time with that statement too. But I think your point may be that our many of our cultural norms are based on qa primordial instinct to preserve the species which recognize that one man can impregnate multiple women during the same gestation period and as a result it takes fewer men to propagate the species. And I think what you are trying to say is that while we don't think that way today, our views are shaped by these "instinctive" realities; i.e. before we were able to intellectualize male/female relationships our norms were shaped by what is necessary to continue the species.

The reason I have a hard time with it, is just as we're longer neanderthals, and our thinking needs to evolve just as our species has, and this is simply not evolved thought and does not reflect the realities of modern life and male/female relationships.


Does this policy run with instinct, tradition, or something more?

I am not sure I understand the question. Do you mean the old policy or the new one? If the old one, I think it is based more on outdated cultural norms more than anything.

IrishInNYC
January 28th, 2013, 07:45 AM
A statement like "Women are more important than men" or vice versa is IMO pretty offensive

Who would ever say vice versa???

And I don't for a second believe anyone could find it offensive that some people regard the life of a woman (capable of producing a child) more important than a man's. They may not agree....but offensive? Please.

Ninjahedge
January 28th, 2013, 08:56 AM
A statement like "Women are more important than men" or vice versa is IMO pretty offensive

Biologically, offensive or not, it is true.

Men do not have babies.

From a purely biological standpoint, one man and 5 women will repopulate faster than the opposite. I am not saying that that is something that fits a modern definition, but neither does our base biological programming. Our society evolved MUCH faster than our biology and as such, you will see conflict.

That does not make it right. Mans desire to form tribes and fight other men (pack instinct) ALSO does not fit today's society, but it is something we have had to deal with for the past 6000 years. They key is, acknowledgement of it and means to deal with it, not denial of it.

eddhead
January 28th, 2013, 09:01 AM
... and women do not have babies by themselves. As I mentioned previously, and as you've alluded to in your prior post, there have been a time in our ancient past where the prirmordial instinct to continue the species would place a higher priroity on the lives of women, but that is not the case today. Modern female/male mating relationships are monogomous; it is not an acceptable social norm for one man to impregnate multiple women within the same gestation period.

Just as our society has evolved, so too must our view of gender roles.

Ninjahedge
January 28th, 2013, 09:02 AM
PS. Edd, I think you got it.

Do not get me wrong, even with that base biological leaning, there are some rules, customs and laws that make more sense than others (with many being plain favoritism of men over women with little biological import).


As for the minority/age kick? I think Irish only got it half right. They go after the lower middle class and below more than anything else. Zip, do you have the income distribution of soldiers in the US?

But the question on THAT would be.... would it be right to have a program like Israel requiring 2 years of service by all of age regardless of social position or profession? Would that make it so that those in charge, those in the know would also be cautious with that resource seeing how THEY served, and some of their offspring/relatives either served or are serving? We are rather cavalier with our troops in the US, sending them to protect our "interests" in areas that were not our sole responsibility.

We seem to spend money and life rather easily sometimes.....

Ninjahedge
January 28th, 2013, 09:04 AM
Just as our society has evolved, so to must our view of gender roles.

i agree, and in your own point, you make mine.

Society has outpaced biology. Denial of that does not change it. Using Biology as a reason to KEEP those rules isn't valid either, but we cannot ignore it as if it was no there.

eddhead
January 28th, 2013, 09:07 AM
But the question on THAT would be.... would it be right to have a program like Israel requiring 2 years of service by all of age regardless of social position or profession? Would that make it so that those in charge, those in the know would also be cautious with that resource seeing how THEY served, and some of their offspring/relatives either served or are serving? We are rather cavalier with our troops in the US, sending them to protect our "interests" in areas that were not our sole responsibility.


There's something to be said for that.

BBMW
January 28th, 2013, 11:49 AM
No. Not really.

We have been letting them evolve, and that's the cause of a lot of the problems we've been having as a society. I have a feeling, giving a long enough time period, it will be our downfall.


Just as our society has evolved, so too must our view of gender roles.

ZippyTheChimp
January 28th, 2013, 01:02 PM
Letting them evolve?

So we should just stop the normal course of social evolution.

I wonder at what point we should have done that. I suppose it's easier in hindsight, but not so easy when you're in the moment. A lot of people predicted doom when women gained the right to vote. Or further back, when they were no longer regarded as the property of their husbands.

So when you hear "Letting them evolve," what mental image do you get of who is doing the "letting?"

eddhead
January 28th, 2013, 01:27 PM
Assuming we get past that small point, exactly how far back would you like to de-evolve to? I mean, are we talking before the times of monogomous mating; say biblical times??

Ninjahedge
January 29th, 2013, 08:41 AM
That statement was mis-phrased and definite flame bait (although maybe unintentional). Lets not dwell on it.

The key here is, our own social development has outpaced (and in some cases retarded) our biological development. Now we have definitely gained MANY benefits from this unbalanced development (science, medicine, etc), but our own relatively primitive biology has also made it so that so many of our greatest discoveries get bent to dominance (pack/tribe instinct) and destruction. The easiest example being Atomic Energy.

On the flip flop, would we have ever discovered it if we did not want the bomb in the first place? Did our own primitive instinct for power and control drive our exploration to the point of discovery?

A discussion of such could go on for pages, and that is not my purpose with this post.... To come back to the root, my belief is simple. For better or worse, we are still protective, possessive and regressive in our attitudes towards women. Some of these attitudes have (formerly) valid roots, but have to be stretched in odd directions to be applicable in a modern society. What I believe is that in order to DEAL with them, we cannot deny their existence.

Ignorance of a problem, belief, or feeling does not remove it in many cases and we need to acknowledge them, accept them, and adapt them to fit our time.

ZippyTheChimp
January 29th, 2013, 09:38 AM
To come back to the root, my belief is simple. For better or worse, we are still protective, possessive and regressive in our attitudes towards women. Some of these attitudes have (formerly) valid roots, but have to be stretched in odd directions to be applicable in a modern society. What I believe is that in order to DEAL with them, we cannot deny their existence.It's not such a big deal, and nothing new. These changes have been going on for a long time.

Women gained early success in the workplace as school teachers, but oddly, married women were barred from teaching, and once married, female teachers had to resign. I think as of 1930, over 2/3 of the US school boards had such regulations.

1915 Rules for Female Teachers - Lincoln Nebraska (http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~daniel_schugurensky/assignment1/1915rules.html)

"You must not loiter downtown in any of the ice cream stores." LOL

eddhead
January 29th, 2013, 09:49 AM
Maybe it is because my perspective is shaped by living in a progressive city, but I think people are more enlightened today, and become more enlightened still with each new generation. Today more women are graduating from collages and grad schools than men, and more are entering the corporate world. Glass ceilings do exist but they are getting smashed. It is true, there are not a lot of CEO level women in corporate world today, but there are more than there were 20 years ago. And I have worked for a number of female executive level managers over the past 10 years.

It will take some time, but I think millenial women will be well represented in the executive ranks once their time comes. Oddly, I am less optimistic about people of color.

Ninjahedge
January 29th, 2013, 01:45 PM
Those that have, want to keep.

Those that have have an advantage.

Those that have, make the rules.

That's the way it stays unless Those that have get stupid about it....

eddhead
February 27th, 2013, 05:09 PM
According to this article, 1/3 women in the armed forces are the victims of sexual assault crimes including rape.

Given how many men in the armed forces commit rape, and assuming the majority of us on the outside do not, we need to ask, 'what is it about the armed services (and the catholic church for that matter) that attract and promote the type of men who commit these crimes into authority positions?'

These young recruits, 18 and 19 year old kids, place their lives in the hands of people who are tasked with protecting them. Who do they turn to when something like this happens?


“How am I supposed to go about reporting something,” asked Ms. Messick, “when the person I’m supposed to report to is the person who raped me

Precisely. It is reprehensible.

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February 26, 2013

Attacked at 19 by an Air Force Trainer, and Speaking Out

By JAMES RISEN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/james_risen/index.html)

SAN ANTONIO — After her Air Force (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/us_air_force/index.html?inline=nyt-org) training instructor raped Virginia Messick, a young recruit, he told her it was fun and they should do it again, she remembers. Then he threw her clothes at her and ordered her to take a shower.

Ms. Messick was unable to move, cry or scream. She was a 19-year-old from rural Florida, in her fifth week of basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, and she had just been assaulted by the man the Air Force had entrusted with her life.

After the April 2011 attack, Ms. Messick completed basic training, following orders from the instructor for nearly a month more. Afraid of the consequences, she did not tell anyone what he had done. “How am I supposed to go about reporting something,” asked Ms. Messick, “when the person I’m supposed to report to is the person who raped me?”

Now, after leaving the Air Force, Ms. Messick is the first victim of a still-unfolding sexual assault scandal at Lackland to speak publicly about what she has endured. Since accounts of sexual violence at the base began to surface in late 2011, it has emerged as the largest such episode in Air Force history.

Ms. Messick, now 21, is one of 62 trainees identified as victims of assault or other improper conduct by 32 training instructors between 2009 and 2012 at Lackland, a sprawling base outside San Antonio that serves as the Air Force’s basic training center for enlisted personnel. So far, seven Air Force instructors have been court-martialed, including Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, now serving a 20-year sentence for crimes involving 10 women, including Ms. Messick. Eight more court-martial cases are pending. Fifteen other instructors are under investigation, and two senior officers have been relieved of command.

While Air Force officials say they have taken steps to better protect their most vulnerable personnel, including appointing a female commander to oversee basic training and tightening supervision of instructors, critics say they do not go far enough in addressing an issue across the military: a high rate of sexual assaults that are often not reported because women fear reprisals. None of the victims at Lackland told Air Force officials of the attacks, and the episodes came to light only when a female trainee who had not been assaulted disclosed what she knew.
The reforms undertaken by the Air Force do not alter a fundamental fact of military life: commanders have final say over whether criminal charges are brought in military courts, and victims are expected to report crimes to those who oversee their careers.

In response to the growing outcry over sexual violence, the Pentagon last year ordered that charging decisions in sexual assault cases be determined by more senior commanders than in the past, but the directive stopped short of taking the decision out of the chain of command. Some other nations, including Britain, have taken steps to create a more independent military judicial system, but experts on military justice said that the United States has been unwilling to do so.

“The military justice system is not only to judge innocence or guilt, but is also designed to help a commander ensure good order and discipline,” said Dwight Sullivan, an appellate defense counsel for the Air Force. “Those things sometimes come into conflict.”

While more than 3,000 sexual assault cases were reported in 2011 throughout the military services, Leon E. Panetta, the departing defense secretary, has said the real figure could be as high as 19,000. The Defense Department has found that about one in three military women has been sexually assaulted, a rate twice as high as that among civilians.

“It’s no mystery why they don’t come forward,” said Laurie Leitch, a psychologist who deals with assault cases in the military. “It is like going to your boss to report that you have been sexually assaulted. How realistic is that?”

Air Force commanders say they have taken preventive action at Lackland. “There wasn’t much supervision,” said Maj. Gen. Leonard A. Patrick, who is in charge of the Air Force’s enlisted training. “But now we want to put more leadership into the equation, and more accountability.”

Several female recruits said in recent interviews that they feel safe under the new system, in which instructors no longer have sole oversight for a group of trainees and a buddy system has been instituted. “The scandal was kind of in my mind when I signed up, but I haven’t had any problems,” said Chanler May, a 19-year-old from Texas.

But Ms. Messick is skeptical. “It’s not like anything has really changed,” she said in an interview.

Identified by the news media during her assailant’s court-martial only as “Airman 7,” Ms. Messick suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She said she decided to speak out because she believes doing so will be therapeutic, and she hopes to help change how the military deals with victims of sex-related crimes. “I don’t want anyone else to go through this,” she said.

When she joined the Air Force in March 2011, Ms. Messick was excited to leave her hometown, Baker, Fla. She was assigned to an all-female “flight” — a training group — overseen by Sergeant Walker. About 25 percent of those in basic training are women; the Air Force has the highest proportion, 19 percent, of women on active duty in any of the services, Pentagon statistics show.

Ms. Messick recalled that her group rarely saw any supervisor other than Sergeant Walker. He quickly began to single her out for special treatment.

He repeatedly allowed her to use his office computer to check her e-mail, a violation of basic training rules. On one office visit, Sergeant Walker grabbed her and began to grope her, Ms. Messick said. She demanded that he stop. “He said, ‘I swear it won’t happen again,’ ” she recalled.
But not long after that, Sergeant Walker ordered Ms. Messick to deliver towels to an empty floor in the trainee dorm. There, she said, he raped her.

Afterward, Ms. Messick tried to cope in silence. In May 2011, only a month after the assault, she impulsively married a friend in the Air Force. “I think I was trying to find some kind of protection,” she said. They divorced just months later.

But later that year, while she was in an advanced training program in Mississippi, a friend from basic training contacted her, reporting that Sergeant Walker was sending explicit photos of himself and demanding that she do the same. In the process, he had threatened to ruin Ms. Messick’s military career. Ms. Messick said she told her friend that the two had had sex, but did not describe it as rape. When Air Force investigators looking into the instructor’s conduct tracked down the friend, she told them about Ms. Messick.

After two and a half hours of questioning by the investigators, Ms. Messick said she provided a “watered down” version of the episode with Sergeant Walker — acknowledging they had sex but refusing to offer details. “I was scared to death. And I kind of blocked out what happened,” she said. “It took me a long time to say the word ‘rape.’ ”

But in testifying at Sergeant Walker’s court-martial in 2012, she recalled, she faced the instructor and accused him of raping her. Lt. Col. Mark Hoover, an Air Force lawyer involved with the Lackland prosecutions, does not dispute Ms. Messick’s account. But because she had not disclosed the rape in pretrial interviews, Sergeant Walker was only charged in her case with a lesser count of engaging in an unprofessional relationship involving sodomy and sexual intercourse.

In July 2012, he was convicted on 28 counts, including rape, sexual assault and aggravated sexual contact involving 10 trainees. Joseph A. Esparza, one of Sergeant Walker’s lawyers, declined to comment, saying that his case is on appeal.

After the court-martial, Ms. Messick said she felt lost. Out of the Air Force because of an injury, she went back home to Florida, but her PTSD grew worse. One day she smashed a vase and used the broken shards to slice her hands. “I just wanted to stop hurting,” she said.

Her mother, Marla Simmons, called the Air Force lawyer who had dealt with her daughter. “I was really upset and I told him he had to get her some help, right now, or somebody is going to pay for what they have done to her,” she said.

The lawyer arranged for Ms. Messick to get into a therapy program at a nearby Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, which she said helped. Last December she remarried.

Still, she said that her PTSD often paralyzes her. She added that other Lackland victims are also suffering from the disorder. “There are some women who can’t say what happened to them,” she said. “They have nightmares. It takes over your life.”

Today, she laments that the military experience she had dreamed would change her life has turned out to be such a bitter one.

“They are not doing anything for the people who have been through it,” she said of the Air Force’s treatment of the assault victims. “They haven’t come to me or any of the other girls to ask them what to change. They basically have left me to fend for myself.”