I am a member/graduate of the first coed class at the U.S. Air Force Academy, class of 1980. In 1976, when we came to the Academy, despite the upper classes being assured standards would not change, the physical standards were lowered/ a separate set of standards were established for women. It has been over 30 years and there are still two standards, one for men one for women. While on active duty and as the Director of Operations for the 720th Special Tactics Group, we were approached about opening the combat control and pararescue career fields to women. Our response was: "Meet the standard, do the job!" The next message we got from the Pentagon, generated from a congressional inquiry was "Justify the standard!" Our response was to do exactly that! Again, I do not disagree with opening the jobs up to women, just don't change the standards. Within moments of Secty Panetta saying we won't change the standards, there was a by line stating that the Marines and Army were going to "evaluate" the physical standards. I do not desire to disrespect any woman's contribution to our military, just want it reiterated and held that "change no standard" and "do the job" are the position that should be adhered to and we will maintain our combat readiness. Please do not allow them to lie to us, just uphold the standards.
Alexander W. Cline, PMP
Major, USAF (retired)