Lioness: Women At War

   By drodriguez  Nov 12, 2008

In this time of war we often hear harrowing stories of combat while watching our nightly news or reading a newspaper.  But there has been none like the one Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers tell in a new documentary film entitled Lioness.  The film tells the story of five women thrown into direct combat in Iraq.

It has been and remains forbidden by the Pentagon for women to take part in direct ground combat during war, though the five women depicted in the film known as Team Lioness took part in direct combat in some of Iraq’s most dangerous zones.  The five women originally came into the war serving as mechanics, supply clerks and engineers.  Soon after touching ground in Iraq, they were all surprised to be taking part in combat without any previous training for this type of fighting.  The group returned to their homes in the U.S. the following year as our nation’s first generation of female combat veterans. 

The five Army women in Team Lioness fought side by side with male marines during offensive operations.  They also took part in raids, security patrols and vehicle checkpoints.  Times staff writer Gordon Lubold recently reported on the need for women in the war in Iraq.  Team Lioness would accompany infantrymen to search Iraqi women during a hunt for insurgents. 

The female soldiers’ role is important because it allows the soldiers to avoid offending the Iraqi women they ultimately wish to win over.  After Iraqi women became more comfortable with the female soldiers, Lionesses began to receive intelligence information from them.  This is something that the male soldiers could never have succeeded in doing.

One of the soldiers, Specialist Shannon Morgan (mechanic), depicted in the film Lioness reports in Lubold’s article about the new female role in the military.  She said, “I think it’s a breakthrough for females in combat.  Putting women out there on the front lines with Marine fire teams is letting people know that women can hold their own.

What do you think of women’s new role in combat in Iraq?

Do you think Team Lioness will open doors for women who join the U.S. military in the future?

To view the trailer for the documentary Lioness or find local listings, you can visit the film’s website at


Make a Comment

Supernovae by Supernovae | Berkeley, CA
Aug 27, 2010

I think it should be the following: If a woman somehow finds herself in combat *then* she should get equal pay, benefits, etc. for combat. By no means should women be weaseled into combat via some subterfuge only to be denied the proper benefits. We should however not aim to put women in combat. We should also be aiming to keep men out of combat whenever possible. The true cost of combat is hellish and terrible, and should NEVER be taken lightly. The psychological impact of war distorts men's minds and affects generations of people--soldiers wives and children have to deal with the serviceman after he is scarred for life. And let's not forget that in today's wars over 90% of most combat casualties are NOT troops, they are civilians in invaded countries.

giggilinmichelle by giggilinmichelle | Oromocto, OU
May 07, 2010

I agree with the previous poster to some degree. Not only are men 'naturally' drawn to help a woman in need first, but if it is a man and woman partnered and the man is injured, the woman (who for the most part) is smaller and not necessarily as strong as her counterpart has to try and keep them both safe and return back to a safe position, this can potentially lead to both of them in far more danger. I am neither small nor weak, but I can tell you that if I and someone equal to me were partnered on the front lines together, I wouldn't want to count on me if it came down to it.

Spaffy by Spaffy | Richland Hills, TX
Sep 18, 2009

I dont find it a good thing that these women were throw into combat like that. I have a differnt view point because i am in the military and i am currently in Iraq. The military dosn't keep woman off the front lines because we arn't equal to men, but for many other legit reasons. I is natruraly for men (9 time out of 10) to help a woman in need, that would be a problem on the line, or if a male battle buddy needs help more, they will still most likely natrually go to a female first. Also what would happen to a woman caught on the front line compared to what they would do to a man. I know plenty of woman that are going on and helping get intellgence from the woman of Iraq, but woman do not need to be on the Front Line.

amy_in_cosprings by amy_in_cosprings | Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 31, 2009

I think it is wonderful that these women have the chance to fight with the men who are fighting the war. I also hope this gets the pentagon to think again about women in combat.

maurasmiles by maurasmiles | Ocala, FL
Jul 14, 2009

I think that if a woman wants to go into combat she should be allowed to go...equal means equal...=)

am_i_lost by am_i_lost | Centralia, IL
Nov 20, 2008

I think it's great that equal is finally meaning equal. In this case though it may make some women stop and think twice about inlisting though. They have never been put in direct combat before and had the comfort in knowing that. Which in my opinion was not fair to the men inlistees. All in all most of our military men and women join to serve our country in any and all ways needed. And I thank each and every one of them!! Including my husband who is a retired Marine!!!!!

katbob101 by katbob101 | Scituate, MA
Nov 16, 2008

It touches my heart to know that women are going in and helping the women of Iraq. They are very brave and a pride to our Country.

Lisajmc by Lisajmc | CRYSTAL RIVER, FL
Nov 12, 2008

Well, I believe women are equal to men. I think as we progress and achieve more for womens rights then we should take equal responsibility defending our country. I do know that there is for the majority, equal pay in the military. I was in some 18 years ago before they let women in combat situations. So, if there is equal pay and opportunities for them then I think they should be available to do whatever the men do. Equal means equal.