I have the greatest respect for women in the military. In many ways kyuuei is right, they are usually seen as females (not women) first. The ones who survive are uniformly intelligent, self-confident, and independent. What's not to love?
Women are equal citizens and have the equal right and privilege to serve their nation. They have had the short end of the stick for far too long.
Agreed that military service changes you, for good and bad, one must admit. One of the greatest benefits, however, was the chance to really experience different cultures. My family and I came to appreciate the goodness of the American experience, but also was exposed to the perspectives of the rest of the world and how they see the impact of US actions. It made me appreciate how important it is for the United States to use its military and economic power wisely. Alas, most of our politicians (and let's be frank, ordinary citizens) can't see beyond the end of their nose. I suppose that makes me one of those ex-military that seem to have contempt for civilians. I would hope that one appreciates the difference between contempt and pointing out difficult truths with intellectual honesty.
How did I get on this soapbox? Kudos to kyuuei for inspiring a speech out of me. Stop poking the bear!