Air Force Not Interested In Removing ‘Man’ Titles From Military Jobs

Since December, when Defense Secretary Ash Carter revealed his intent to make all military jobs gender neutral, many discussions have revolved around whether or not the military should look at removing the “man” in their job titles. If women are allowed to serve in positions formerly reserved for a man, should the titles reflect that change? For instance, airman, infantryman, crew man, and the like would be changed to remove “man” and replace the title with one that is not gender specific.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus jumped on the bandwagon, ordering both the Navy and the Marine Corps to look into removing the “man” from as many of their position titles as possible, resulting in the Marine Corps changing 19 of its titles. Secretary Mabus states it is time to show how things have changed, reports Town Hall.

“This is one more step in how our force has changed. Our force has evolved, our force is different. And I believe it’s stronger and better.”

Apparently, the Air Force and the Army are not, under any circumstances, interested in changing the position titles which include the word “man” in them. According to Army Times, Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Pionk doesn’t believe there is any reason to change titles that have the word “man” in them.

“While our policies are perpetually under review, there are currently no immediate plans at this point to change terms.

“It is important to note the suffix ‘man’ itself is really derived from the word ‘human.’ This is why you still see the Air Force use airman for all their personnel, or policeman or Congressman and even woman.”

Stars and Stripes reports that, while the Air Force has no problem opening positions formerly held only by a man, they draw the line at removing titles that have endured throughout military history. The publication makes note of several opinions of airmen at Ramstein Air Base and RAF Lakenheath in Britain. The general consensus seems to be that removing “man” titles is a ridiculous idea serving no other purpose than political correctness.

One female airman, who chose to remain anonymous, had the most critical, and likely most accurate, opinion of the “man” title debate.

“Dumb is the only way I can describe it. Don’t they have anything smarter to do with their time?”

Chief Master Sargent Erika Schofield has no desire to see the titles change.

“It should be left as it is now; it’s part of our tradition. Using ‘man’ in our titles isn’t gender-specific in our career fields.”

Senior Master Sargent Andrea Cook also has no issue with having the word “man” in her job title.


“I think the term ‘airman’ needs to stay how it is. It’s who we are. It’s part of our heritage. I’ve been an airman for 21 years.”

While the Marine Corps may be happy to bow down to those who put political correctness above all else, the Air Force and Army are standing firm in the decision to keep “man” in the job titles, just as they have been since the beginning. This in no way implies these branches only want a man in these positions, but that the titles encompass the job that is being performed, not the individual person who is performing the job.

What do you think about the cry for removing “man” titles from military titles? Is it high time titles become gender specific, or is it a great waste of governmental time and money?

[Image via Shutterstock]