This is a really old article from 2003, and I started to write it up as "a few years old but sounds like it's from fifty years ago," a commentary on how far ahead women in the west are of their third world counterparts. And then I read on and realized that the Kiowa helicopter pilot Adrineh Shahijanian it describes is in the American military. it was an American soldier who looked at her in uniform, then turned to a man sitting next to her and asked if women flew Kiowas.
When I bookmarked this I honestly thought the story was about some remote country in central Asia where the women are just crawling out from behind their veils. I know there are quite a lot of women in air combat roles in the US. And women were ferrying American combat aircraft before some of today's soldiers' parents were born. I guess some corners of the military are fifty years behind the general population when it comes to women. I'm so lucky to be in an environment where I don't encounter this. Or perhaps simply a mindset where I don't see it.
The "pee in the field" directive is an interesting one, because here is an area where, yeah, men are better equipped than women. But only if they are both wearing flight suits styled for men. If it were me who had to pee in fields on a regular basis, I'd extend the flight suit opening far enough south (with a velcro closure) that I didn't have to do the Kabuki dance to pee. If circumstances require me to participate in literal pissing competitions, I'm up for it.
You've got to love the part where the soldier asks the man who is with the woman about her capabilities, as if following some cultural law where he can't address a woman directly himself. This sort of thing alone would be hilarious, except that you know that for every man who asks if women can fly helicopters, there are a lot who just assume we can't, or can't do it well enough to be worth hiring. I try and think of it as their loss, and the gain of employers who don't think that way.
Also, Canadian Centennial of Flight celebration. John Lovelace is the Wings Over Canada guy, so he knows how to organize air travel, but hee hee, I want to know what happens to sleepy YQR ATC when 123 little airplanes pull into Regina for the night.
''I closed comments not to stifle debate, but because I laughed so hard at "People who suffer that attitude always seem to have lots of spare aggression, so it seems silly to treat women soldiers that way and NOT let them blow things up!" that I wanted it to remain the last word.''