I am a licensed clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor. I hold a dual citizenship — American and Israeli. I served as an officer in the Israeli Defense Forces, infantry division, as a part of a commanding team that consisted of all males, beside myself. We were in charge of five troops of 50 combat soldiers each, including the Marines.

During my training I was able to endure the mental and physical challenges. Today, as a health professional and a researcher, I found that women often excel in cognitive and strategic decisions. They have better social and communication skills than men, possess strong memory, are sophisticated and show precision and fast reaction and response time. For example, I was a good shooter. Women also do well on computerized and machinery tasks.

Keeping all of this in mind I do, however, have one major concern, which I have carried since those past days of service — falling hostage. I know I would not be able to survive the torture and cruel investigation if I were taken prisoner, and that the trauma and the emotional damage would be worse than a simple death. The impact would be devastating. The number of post-traumatic stress disorders in the military increased as a result of deployment, and I am afraid there will be no better results with this change.

Mar Nagel

Salt Lake City