In the First World War, trench lines extended hundreds of miles throughout Europe. Enemy armies faced one another in fixed positions, with networks of tunnels and exit pathways clearly distinguishing the front lines from the rear areas.
Those days are long past. Today's combat is fluid, without fixed battle lines. Modern warfare is a matter of stealth and firefights, not battles of tens of thousands opposing one another from static positions.
That's why the term "women in combat" is misleading. Women are in combat. They serve in myriad roles that take them directly into the fighting against the enemy. They fly warplanes and carry weapons-and use them. Some have served with great heroism. Sergeant First Class (SFC) Leigh Ann Hester of the Kentucky National Guard won a Silver Star for her actions in combat in Iraq in 2005. As reported in the U.S. Army's online account:
Hester's squad was shadowing a supply convoy March 20 when anti-Iraqi fighters ambushed the convoy. The squad moved to the side of the road, flanking the insurgents and cutting off their escape route. Hester led her team through the "kill zone" and into a flanking position, where she assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 grenade-launcher rounds. She and Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein, her squad leader, then cleared two trenches, at which time she killed three insurgents with her rifle. When the fight was over, 27 insurgents were dead, six were wounded, and one was captured.