In January of 2013, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey wrote: “The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously join me in proposing that we move forward with the full intent to integrate women into occupational fields to the maximum extent possible. […] To implement these initiatives successfully and without sacrificing our war-fighting capability or the trust of the American people, we need time to get it right.”
At the time I wrote that women are ready for combat roles — and M60s are able to magically fly. The point was that unless the standards were lowered, there was no way that more than a tiny fraction of women would ever be able to meet the physical standards expected of an infantry soldier.
The Associated Press now reports:
WASHINGTON — More than half of female Marines in boot camp can’t do three pullups, the minimum standard that was supposed to take effect with the new year, prompting the Marine Corps to delay the requirement, part of the process of equalizing physical standards to integrate women into combat jobs. …
Although no new timetable has been set on the delayed physical requirement, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos wants training officials to “continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed,” Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman, said Thursday.
Starting with the new year, all female Marines were supposed to be able to do at least three pullups on their annual physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score. The requirement was tested in 2013 on female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., but only 45 percent of women met the minimum, Krebs said.
Translation: “We need more time to lower the standards in a way that would allow us to spin it as an ‘opportunity to succeed.’ We need data that will allow us to camouflage a set of lower standards for women that public eyes will look at approvingly.”
Three pull-ups is pathetic. If you are a infantryman and you can only do three pull-ups, you should hang your head in shame. That is the kind of weakness that will require your battle buddies to pick up slack — in situations where they already have their hands full. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Here is what I wrote January 23, 2013:
Anyone who has had to carry a SINCGAR (i.e., a heavy-ass radio) on his back during a 25 mile road march, or the M249 SAW — or both simultaneously because the guy in front of him was sucking wind hard core — knows that unless the physical standards are lowered, this is virtually impossible and a horrible idea. Anyone who has had to carry his 250 pound buddy knows that physical standards will have to be lowered to make this happen. Anyone who has had to lug an M60 for any length of time knows that social engineering is going to kill good soldiers. Hence, the time needed to “get it right.” Correction: to get it wrong.
How do you get women to “qualify” for an infantryman’s job? You change the requirements for the gender that generally lacks the combination of upper body strength and stamina to hold the job in the first place. You can’t fool biology, but that never stopped masterminds from playing their little sociological experiments before, has it?
I stand by that. In the end, Company Commanders and First Sergeants will do what they’re told. They will train their soldiers to the best of their ability. But that doesn’t change the fact that lowering standards will needlessly put soldiers’ lives at risk.