Photo by Edward F. Palm)

About Me

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

An Informed Opinion

My friend Chuck Armstrong, LtCol., USMC (Ret.), responded to my last post, giving me an informed view of the Female Engagement Team project.  Chuck was my program sponsor at Headquarters Marine Corps when I was the Marine Officer Instructor at Berkeley.  (In other words, he was my real boss.)  We became friends, I suspect, because he found it fun to watch me flail around there at Berkeley (a matter of idle curiosity on Chuck's part, I'm sure).  In any event, Chuck went on to get professionally involved in counterinsurgency, first as a Marine officer and later as a civilian consultant.  --EFP

Ed and All – There was an article in today’s Dallas Morning News about AFG “female engagement teams.” It reminded me of my own “Lioness Team” in Anbar Province, Iraq, 2008-’09. 
      Shortest possible story – our Provincial Reconstruction Team based near Fallujah had excellent support from Marine Regimental Combat Teams with which we were embedded. Augmenting our personal security detachment was a 4-person team of Women Marines. Their missions included interface with Iraqi women we encountered ‘outside the wire;’ and protecting us from women suicide attackers (we were equally likely to encounter women ‘martyrs’ as we were men at that stage of the war). These Women Marines were completely undifferentiated from their male counterparts. They lived on the same FOB, carried the same weapons and equipment, took the same risks, and produced the same results. 
     Since returning to CONUS I have had numerous discussions about our Female Engagement Team. An occasional article in US media addresses – inadequately – the contribution these Marines are making to the war effort. As a career-long advocate of women’s participation across the spectrum of Armed Forces’ activities, I’m always interested in commentary like this.
     Just FYI, since you included me on copy…
 Semper Fi, 
Chuck Armstrong

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