Cassi Creek: memories of long ago battles and units I’d forgotten about – if I ever knew of them.
The nature of the Soviet Union in WWII was such that it was willing to use fighters of both genders to repel then Nazi invasion. While the armies of Western Europe, Great Britain, and the U.S. used females only for rear area duties and to free up men for combat missions, the USSR used women in most combat capacities.
American women were used to ferry aircraft to Europe from the CONUS. I’ve met several women who flew those missions. They were a very small but important force for opening service opportunities for women. 70 years later the U.S. is still limiting access for women to some types of duty in our armed forces. We have seen women in aerial combat since the Gulf War. Other opportunities for women to serve at the upper and outer levels still remain blocked or delayed. Though the Soviets fielded the first female combat pilot in 1939, the Soviet Army no longer exists. While our military has lurched forward, slowly making improvements for women, the Russian army has regressed as Russia turns back to the sexism of earlier years.