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744 hits since 3 Jan 2014
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GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member03 Jan 2014 10:01 a.m. PST

on fitness requirements for female recruits.

link

Personally, big mistake. By all means have women doing the same jobs, including front line, but don't change the rules to let them in – that could get everyone killed.

Personal logo Private Matter Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2014 12:16 p.m. PST

Be sure to get the facts straight: this article is stating that they are postponing the requirement that ALL female Marines be able to complete at least 3 pull-ups. This was a new rule being tested out and not fully implemented. Prior to this rule female Marines only had to do a dead hang for a certain amount of time. The guidelines from HQ USMC is only postponing this until they can figure out a way to better implement this or a similar requirement. This is not a reduction in current standards only a set back to increasing standards. This is not related to female Marines in combat roles.

This DOES NOT APPLY to female Marines who attend the School of Infantry. Female Marines who voluntarily attend the SoI are required to complete the exact same requirements as male Marines. This young ladies put themselves through one of the toughest schools out there but upon completion they are still not permitted to hold a Marine infantry job. The Marine Corps has not lowered and has committed to not lowering standards for any Marine (male or female) to enter into combat roles. Especially not in the infantry.

I am a former Marine who lives outside of Jacksonville, NC (home to Camp Lejeune), my eldest son recently left active service as a Captain of Marines and my youngest son is a Lance Corporal with 2/10. My youngest daughter is the black sheep of the family; she is an Army combat veteran. I follow this stuff very closely as it affects my family directly.

3 out of 15 made the first cut. My hat is off to these young ladies: link

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2014 1:49 p.m. PST

@Garrison Miniatures – thanks for voicing what to many is a concern. i don't know what the rules are now but decades ago, the USN had different fitness standards for at sea billets – the argument was that if in an "office" type job there wasn't the same need. The truth was that in case of a casualty, the damage control teams, and anyone on scene, whether part of an official team or not would need to be able to shoulder carry bodies, lug and use hoses, etc.

@Private Matter – first and foremost, thank you for your service and that of your family as well. Semper Fi!

Second, thanks for posting the straight gouge on the matter at hand. This is the sort of issue that tends to escalate quickly regardless of how well or how poorly the reporting was, and the 14 1/2 posters who now will NOT get DHed thank you for your timely intervention.

3 out of 15 made the first cut. My hat is off to these young ladies

Mine too. Though in my prime (long past CPA and opening) I might have been able to train up in the course and pass, I think it is a safe bet that as fit as I may have been in my prime, it would have not been enough to make the cut without the extra training of the School of Infantry. And I'm giving myself the benefit of the doubt that may, in fact, not be warranted. Any numbers on how many males wash out?

JJ

Personal logo Private Matter Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2014 2:35 p.m. PST

The numbers of male drops is only between 10% and 20% and usually due to injuries. The fitness training that male Marines go through in boot camp prior to reporting to the School of Infantry is more rigorous than that of their female counterparts. The 20 mile humps with 100lbs of gear and no sleep is what did in many of the females. That is also what accounts for the majority of the male drops as well.

The whole reason HQ Marine Corps wants to require female Marines to do pull ups is to increase the physical requirements that they must meet so they can begin to adapt to the changing requirements of today's multi-dimensional battlefield.

GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member03 Jan 2014 4:00 p.m. PST

Be sure to get the facts straight:

The one I quoted was just one of several reports and does indicate disquiet. for example:

link

The pullup rule was supposed to go into effect with the new year but has been postponed indefinitely as commanders were concerned about losing female Marines and prospective recruits, officers said.

Military leaders say they are developing gender-neutral tests for combat roles, but some critics and lawmakers are worried that physical requirements will be watered down for female troops.

The new rule for a minimum of three pullups for female Marines was announced in November 2012, and the Corps gave women a year to train for the change

Some male military bloggers complained that women were being held to a lower standard.

"I don't ever remember a single male Marine in the fleet or support unit who could only do three pullups," wrote blogger Ultimaratioregis.

"The physical disparity between an average male Marine and female Marine is gigantic."

Male Marines have to perform 20 pullups to get a maximum score on their fitness test, but women only have to pull their weight up eight times to earn maximum points.

link link

etc…

link

Officials in November collected data that showed that 55 percent of women at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., could not perform three pull-ups, despite an orchestrated training experiment the service began in late 2012, according to Marine Corps spokeswoman, Capt. Maureen Krebs.

The Corps had hoped to institute the pull-ups as a replacement for the flexed-arm hang because pull-ups require the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks such as scaling a wall, climbing up a rope or lifting and carrying heavy munitions, officials say.

While pull-ups may play an important role in this effort, Marine Corps officials maintain that the exercise is important for all female Marines, not just the ones who volunteer for combat arms jobs.

"You can find yourself in a situation where you need that strength to pull yourself up" over an obstacle, Krebs said. "No matter what your job is every Marine should have the strength to accomplish the mission, no matter what that is."

Personal logo Private Matter Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2014 4:14 p.m. PST

"Military leaders" refers to Navy, Army & Air Force. The Commandant of the Marines and other senior Marine leaders have emphatically stated repeatedly that the Marines will not relax their standards for combat roles.

The pull-up requirements are the minimum standards and not the pull-up requiements

Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member03 Jan 2014 8:47 p.m. PST

I look at it this way. Would you rather have a guy in your squad who could do twenty pull-ups with ease but makes the minimum grade in marksmanship, or a woman who can do only one pull-up but can shoot a mouse off a running pig's back at 600 yards?

I'm not saying that physical fitness should not be considered. It is a very important quality, But washing out a significant proportion of your recruits because they can't do three pull-ups might not be the best method for selecting the best all around soldiers and Marines. Dr. Ruth was only 4'7" and was trained as a scout and sniper in the Israeli army because of her size. She was WIA during the 1948 war (Wikipedia). And those guys were no scrubs.

Perhaps I am being naive, but I would like to think that the Corps has this very thing in mind. It would be foolish to boot a candidate with excellent skills, intelligence, and/or leadership ability simply because they can't pass a brute strength test.

I'd take the sharpshooter-woman over the muscle-man every time.

Davoust03 Jan 2014 9:30 p.m. PST

<rant mode engaged>
The Corps will have a hard time getting the majority of women to the minimum 3 pull up standard. Why? As my physical therapist wife tells me, "women are not made that way."

This push to "equalize" the sexes will get a lot of Infantry men killed. Why? To make people feel good about themselves.

As I have said before, the Corps started training women who may come into combat situations back in the 80's. I was the OIC in charge of training the MT battalion on OKIE in '88. My company, Alpha 1/6 was tasked. We put them through patrolling, convoy, land nav, hand to hand (knife, empty vs bayonet etc) packages. Stressed them out in a 3 day war etc. They never achieve a proficiency level of an infantry man, meaning the male MT types. The females, while one or two did well it was a disaster.

Training attempts like this showed the lack of training for male Marines, so under Commandant Grey MTC at SOI Camp Geiger was created. Every male Marine when through it after boot camp. There was a west coast MCT/SOI also. As for Boot Camp getting the Marines ready for SOI, I think my NCO's and SNCO's beg to differ. In 1990 there was an investigation as to the level of fitness for the boots coming to MCT because of the complaints of the MCT instructors. To be fair all the MCT instructor/troop handlers were straight from infantry units. MCT was our "B" billets, ie non deploying rotation.

IF and I mean IF any male Marine fell short of 20/80/18 on an PFT there was extra pt for them. A 300 pft was the goal many passed, 250 was the lowest acceptable in my Battalion and in MCT.

But doing 3 or 20 pull ups is bs when it comes to being able to handle combat. A shuttle run. please. I have been in combat. Most men can't handle it. I never want to see it again. I have not met a woman that can handle the 24/7 stress. Bravado aside.

How about running the endurance course full pack under combat situations. After TBS, I was in IOC. When we ran the endurance course, it starts with the "o" course. The male and female courses are side by side. Guess which one has ramps and steps to get over the obstacles. While the Women officers ran that one, the IOC male officers ran the o course in "war gear" (at least 30 pounds) pick up our packs at the end (another 50 pounds) and ran up and down the hills, through the woods of Quantico for about 3 miles over coming obstacles and simulate combat tests. You had an hour to fail. Meaning Major Huddleston timed you and the unit/class better finish well before 1 hour with no one left behind.

OH and per the Corps, not one woman has made it through the beginning stages of IOC.

In 1990, I was the S-3a for SOI. I wrote training packages for MCT and the different MOS classes at SOI. My nephew when through MCT/SOI and served two pumps in Iraq in '03 and '05. Same regiment (6th Marines), different company. Since I am 24 years out from my last combat tour, I asked him about females in the line over Thanksgiving. He laughed, but said it will happen due to the PC crap that is infecting the military. I asked a friend, a Lt Col of Marines his opinion. His response, hope I am out before this stupidity hits the Corps.

It is a pipe dream to think you do not have to lower standards to allow women in the infantry. Being able to hump 20 miles in one day at boot camp is a great achievement. Do it for several days as my battalion did in Okie in '88 as part of an endurance in combat ability test. We average 28 miles a day for three days, full combat load with crew served weapons, ammo. We humped all our gear for three days and then went into a stimulate battalion attack. I believe, if I remember correctly, we had about a 10% attrition rate before the event. This was the second time, the first was when we were fresh and truck to the event area. I learn a lot as a company XO in this field problem.

The Commandant had better be careful. Those who want women in infantry units are pointing to the two, not three, young ladies who made it through MCT as proof it can work. The Corps better make sure exceptions to the rule does not redefine the rule. Oh all Male Marines who drop MCT, don't. Meaning they do not drop MCT. If physically unable to complete the training, the male Marine is recycled to the follow on training company until he completes it. Then he goes to SOI or to his MOS school. At least that is what happened when I was a company commander at MCT and the S-3a of SOI.

<rant mode off>

Davoust03 Jan 2014 9:49 p.m. PST

A sharpshooting woman without the physical strength will not be with the squad.

As to the USSR and Dr Ruth. Exceptions to the rule. Both Israel and the Soviets were fighting for their existence. Everything gets thrown into the mix in that mode. The Soviets even used dogs to take out German tanks in WWII.

If we, meaning the States, are in a Red Dawn situation, even kids would be fighting. My great uncle in WWII fought 14 year old German boys in 1945. Who wants to serve with a 14 year old? He also told me how he captured 70 year old men with the boys. I do not think the Corps would want me, a 49 year old, much less my father a 73 year old combat veteran and my grandfather a 93 year old veteran in the line. My grandfather and father can still shoot a mouse off a running pig's back at 600 yards. Dad can still out shoot me and my sons with a bow and arrow. Grandpa shot a deer this Christmas while it was running through the woods with a rifle. Great grandson (16) carried it out, other great grandson (18) help him out of the woods.

Shooting skill, while nice in combat, is just one part. Physical ability is a major part as is mental. Someone who is not physically able will not be mentally able and thus a liability on the battle field. My grandfather, father and I, while all good marksmen and very willing if needed and called upon, would be a liability.

Unless we are in place dug in covering a retreat with no option to run doing our best Gandalf impersonation "you shall not pass."

Again, exceptions to the rule can not determine the rule.

GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member04 Jan 2014 3:05 a.m. PST

'I look at it this way. Would you rather have a guy in your squad who could do twenty pull-ups with ease but makes the minimum grade in marksmanship, or a woman who can do only one pull-up but can shoot a mouse off a running pig's back at 600 yards?'

In which case why do the men have to meet these minimum requirements?

If you want a specialist, fine, that specialist is there to do one job and you can accept lower standards in other areas. You do not want someone in a squad you have to carry on the off-chance that they may, just once, do something special.

Personal logo Private Matter Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2014 6:03 a.m. PST

I will disagree with the comment that women can't handle the stress 24/7 that men can. Situations in Afghanistan and other conflicts have repeatedly dispelled that myth. Mentally women are just as tough as men and it's foolish to think otherwise. Physically it's a different story. This is whole issue is a highly emotive one and it should be. The three pull-up rule was tested for all female Marines and really is separate to the women in infantry units (for the time being).

As for women in Infantry units in my Corps, I have no problem with it provided they are held to the same standards as other Marines. So far the Marine Corps is holding to that for any Marine going through the School of Infantry. It is not realistic to think that more than a small percentage of women would make the grade but those that do should have the same opportunity.

The argument shouldn't really be about pull-ups. It should be about the CFT and if a Marine can't pass that (male or female) then they do not belong in front line combat duties.

This debate has even come to CNN:
Female Marines and the 3 pull-up debate
link

GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member04 Jan 2014 7:44 a.m. PST

I'm happy to agree with both comments by Private Matter above actually, women often handle stress better than men.Likewise, as I've also stated above,I agree with 'As for women in Infantry units in my Corps, I have no problem with it provided they are held to the same standards as other Marines.' That is the issue no double standards.

Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member04 Jan 2014 10:31 p.m. PST

Davoust wrote:

This push to "equalize" the sexes will get a lot of Infantry men killed. Why? To make people feel good about themselves.

Do you have a study that you can cite that supports this statement?

They never achieve a proficiency level of an infantry man, meaning the male MT types.

Do you have a study that you can cite that supports this statement? And even if you did, I'm not sure that the approach to this subject back then would be relevant today.

It is a pipe dream to think you do not have to lower standards to allow women in the infantry. Being able to hump 20 miles in one day at boot camp is a great achievement.

Nearly every example you cite describes physical strength only. Are you suggesting that physical strength, or more specifically the ability to do three pull-ups is the primary or even the only meaningful ingredient of a Marine?

As to the USSR and Dr Ruth. Exceptions to the rule. Both Israel and the Soviets were fighting for their existence. Everything gets thrown into the mix in that mode. The Soviets even used dogs to take out German tanks in WWII

Why would we fight a war if we were not fighting for our very existence? And, why, if women were a danger to their squad-mates, would it be a good thing to recruit them in a fight for existence, but not in a fight for something less?

BTW, Dr. Ruth was not recruited for a last ditch reason. She was recruited because of her diminutive size and how that characteristic allowed her to do the job of scout/sniper better than a larger woman or man.

Look, the only reason women have not been incorporated into the armed forces of the world in combat roles equal to men, has nothing to do with their physical strength. It is a universally adapted culturally constructed mechanism, based on evolutionary principles describing the survival of a species. Many females are needed to produce many young to insure species survival, i.e. they should stay home and have babies. Since a single male can impregnate many females, males are expendable.

Shooting skill, while nice in combat, is just one part. Physical ability is a major part as is mental. Someone who is not physically able will not be mentally able and thus a liability on the battle field. My grandfather, father and I, while all good marksmen and very willing if needed and called upon, would be a liability.

I'm not so sure. I agree with you on the effect fatigue has on performance, but what you describe here is something very different than the brute upper body strength needed to do three or more pull-ups. You are describing stamina, physical constitution, and lower body strength, all areas where a woman will be on more equal footing.

And I would argue a point here. The brain drives the body, not the other way. I see it all the time.

If you are going to wash-out half of your potential resources (men and women) because they cannot do three pull-ups then you are guaranteed to leave some otherwise excellent candidates on the table, candidates who, as a whole, are better than some of the pull-up champions that you are forced to take because of an arbitrary number. I'm not talking "fair" or "PC." I'm talking practical, good business.

Look, I am not advocating the physical fitness requirements of recruits be tossed out the window. What I am saying is that they should be taken in context with the recruit's other capabilities.

Garrison wrote:

You do not want someone in a squad you have to carry on the off-chance that they may, just once, do something special.

C'mon, when is being a better than barely adequate marksman considered "doing something special…on the off-chance" in the Marine Corps? Jeez Garrison, I can't believe you wrote that.

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2014 11:40 p.m. PST

My daughter trains DI in the Army, 21 year vet. Competed with men to get the position and rank (just offered E8). Out shoots most males in the service, qualified hand-to-hand combat specialist and is bright as hell. Does the road marches and carries the weight. Scares the hell of the recruits and has the full respect of her fellow DI.

If you're qualified for the position, then it does not matter your gender, age, whatever. Being allowed to compete for the opportunity is what folks want, not special treatment. Pre-judging folks, for whatever reason, is the real issue.

Dan

GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member05 Jan 2014 3:10 a.m. PST

C'mon, when is being a better than barely adequate marksman considered "doing something special…on the off-chance" in the Marine Corps? Jeez Garrison, I can't believe you wrote that.

I would hope that every marine in a squad was a better than barely adequate marksmen – here I am commenting o specialist abilities way above the average.

GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member05 Jan 2014 3:12 a.m. PST

Dan, totally agree. We're talking about the one who don't meet those standards. At lest. I am.

People such as Private Matter and yourself have every right to be proud of your families and their achievements.

Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member05 Jan 2014 8:23 p.m. PST

I would hope that every marine in a squad was a better than barely adequate marksmen here I am commenting o specialist abilities way above the average.

Okay, but that's not what we were talking about. Boiled down to its most simple level, if you had one spot to fill, and one candidate met the minimums of all of the requirements, and the other was equal in all categories except that he was a superior marksman but could only do two pull-ups, who would you pick? I was not talking about a "specialist."

Dan makes a good point. Dan, correct me if I am wrong, but I imagine that your daughter probably can't beat most of her male Marine peers in a pull-up contest, but that's not what she is about. She is successful because she excels at all of these other skills, and she's tough. And that's what counts.

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2014 11:04 p.m. PST

Actually she's in the Army, not the Marines (sorry), but she has to meet and surpass the physical requirements every year. Fail and she's out. As she's getting close to 40 and has 2 kids, it is a tough test to prepare for and pass, but she's done it so far.

My point, is that tests, must be relevant to the job, not make-up just to eliminate folks. There was a time when strength was a realistic measure of a "solder". Ability to carry heavy weights, march miles, etc., were required. The actual ability to use, or load and fire a weapon has been getting less physical for some time. Being part of a Hummer TOW launcher team, or even HMG on a vehicle does not require what it took to swing a sword, throw a spear or pull a 100 pound pull bow. Women can fly a combat jet as least as well as a male, push the button and kill another jet miles away today. The male/female sitting at the controls of a drone half the world away from it, don't have to pretend that having a pair of b***s makes him a soldier and her unable to do that job, which is a combat position.

Yes, there are particular job descriptions that require particular physical attributes, but lets not hide behind gender inequality as a reason to claim that some women cannot do nearly every job description in the military.

When I was in the Army, the big strong guy got to carry the M60, not because he was good at using it, but due to his size. Same went for the "lucky" bastard that always got to be on-point, his size (small) and eye sight got him the slot, not the fact that he had a ****.

Fair, no, but they filled the requirements for those tasks and the big (and to be honest, not that bright) guy could bench press the small guy, but neither could each others' job in the platoon.

I'd not ask most women or a fair percentage of men to luge the plate for an 82 mm mortar very far or put the track back on a M60 (I am that old). But, could a small male or most women be a gunner, yes. Could either be part of a crew on a tank, yes. Most jobs today are that way.

Times change. Today's soldier needs more smarts, a better education and flexibility than a soldier of just a few decades ago.

The military can no more drag its feet today about women in most combat slots than it could justify racial bias after WWII (though it tried).

The military can screw things up, but over time, the best interests of the military will lead it to the correct place. My daughter, seventh generation of a family that have served this nation for over 200 years, is a testimony of that fact. The 17 year old Virginia militiaman that guarded British prisoners after Yorktown had to be a certain height and have enough teeth so as to load and fire a smooth bore musket, while his great, great…daughter drives a Hummer, fires automatic weapons and calls down artillery using GPS, a computer and radio. They would recognize each other for they are, soldiers.

Dan

GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member06 Jan 2014 12:39 a.m. PST

Okay, but that's not what we were talking about.

Well – yes, it is.

We're talking about meeting minimum requirements, not the range of abilities and capablilities of people who meet those requirements. Whether it is the ability to do a certain number of pull ups is not really relevant – As pull ups are part of the minimum requirement, then it measures a necessary aspect of the job.

In any job, minimum means the smallest/least required to do that job. That is what this is about – choosing people who can do the job. If you choose people who cannot do the job – as, hopefully, determined by the test regime – that overall job is not going to be done well.

If someone has a particular skill that marks them out but can't do the job – fine, hire them – but for a different job that matches their skill without lumbering everyone doing the original job with a lemon.

If that superior marksman is a requirement, then you give it a bigger weighting in your tests. If the number of pull ups is not as important, you reduce the number, drop the test, or give it a low weighting.

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