I am for equal rights. I mean really equal, not just when it’s politically correct.

Physical training and hair standards should be the same for male and female soldiers. If the PT test is really meant to determine combat readiness, how come it is not the same test across the board? If we are measuring whether a soldier can perform his or her duties in combat, how come males are graded on a much higher scale if the female standard is acceptable?

Likewise, I have been told I have to have my hair short so it does not interfere with my protective mask and machinery. Really? Wow. How come a female standing next to me can have hair down to her butt if she puts it up every morning? How is that fair to a male who would comply with putting his hair up if he desired it to be long?

Or maybe we can make the female standard the same as males. But we wouldn’t want to infringe on their equality, just the males’.

Why do we try so hard to make opportunities possible for all? I thought what we were doing was trying to be the best Army in the world, not bend our standards so that we impair our ability to do our mission to the best we possibly can.

The cost of this practice is loss of our effectiveness. I thought we were here to win wars, not give everyone an opportunity if they desire it.

What I am saying, in short, is life is what it is. I will never be a professional hockey player because the NHL will not lower its standards to give me a chance. They want to be the best they can be! We should strive to recruit the most qualified, intelligent, physically fit individuals possible so when we get into conflicts they are as short in duration as possible.

Sgt. Steven HarrisBagram Airfield, Afghanistan

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