Expert in combat tells us what is important about combat (UPDATED)

| August 12, 2013

So this Army colonel who is an instructor at the US Army War College has decided that, based on her intense analytical viewing of “To Hell And Back”, the autobiographical tale of Audie Murphy’s experiences in World War II, we shouldn’t be paying so much attention to the amount of strength that a soldier needs to serve effectively in combat. From the Washington Times;

Some military analysts fear the Pentagon will discard some standards to ensure that a significant number of women qualify.

“Perhaps it is time to take a hard look at what really makes a competent combat soldier and not rely on traditional notions of masculine brawn that celebrate strength over other qualities,” Col. [Ellen] Haring says in the current issue of Armed Forces Journal.

She cites World War II hero Audie Murphy and North Vietnamese insurgents as examples of small people who came up big on the battlefield.

“If the going-in assumption is that physical standards are the only thing that needs to be examined, then we are also assuming that we have everything else just right,” she wrote. “This is belied by our less-than-optimal performances in many instances during the past 12 years. Fixating on physical standards is a tactical-level approach that misses a strategic-level opportunity.”

Or, we can look at more recent Medal of Honor recipient, Dakota Meyer, who won the day by returning again and again into the face of fire and carrying injured American and Afghan soldiers on his back to his vehicle. Now I’ll grant Colonel Haring that Meyer’s exploits are still in book form and not easily perused on the screen yet, so that might account for her not mentioning this as an example to the need for physical strength. Or mentioning Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha who recovered the body of a fallen comrade from the enemy.

Of course, Colonel Haring is also engaged in a lawsuit against the military to allow women to serve in combat. She goes on to say that maybe Audie Murphy couldn’t pass the Marine Officer Infantry Course either. But I guess that’s speculation, and speculation in her favor since he’s dead and she can’t be proven wrong.

Colonel Haring is a political hack whose interests are completely selfish, since she knows that she will not be called upon to serve in direct combat, given that the chances of her being required to pass an Infantry Officer’s Course are about the same as Audie Murphy’s. She might have a point in all of this if the Marines allowed men to serve in the infantry if they failed the course and they didn’t allow women to do the same, but, sadly for her, no, men who don’t have the physical stamina to complete the course are washed out.

Someone sent us Colonel Haring’s résumé. Here’s her “experience”;

Strategic Planner, US Army War College, Carlisle, PA. January 2013-Present.
Joint Staff Officer, Solution Evaluation Directorate, Joint and Coalition Warfighting Center, Suffolk, VA. August 2011- January 2013. Provides supervision and oversight of staff officers who conduct evaluation and testing of innovative approaches developed by field operating forces. Ensures that validated solutions are disseminated to the joint operating force.

Assistant Professor, Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations, U.S.
Army Command and General Staff College, FT Belvoir, VA, July 2008-July 2011.
Provided graduate level education to mid grade Army officers in topics including: a
survey of the strategic environment; culture and conflict; intergovernmental and multinational capabilities; military operational planning processes; and foundations of critical and creative thinking.

Commander, 8th Brigade, 84th Training Command, Charlottesville, VA, January 2007-January
2008. Provided supervisory direction to over 85 assistant professors and instructors
supporting the ROTC departments at 24 universities and colleges in the Virginia,
Maryland and D.C. region.

Executive Officer, 6th Brigade, 80th Training Division FT Belvoir, VA, September 2005-
December 2006. Provided staff supervision and direction to a training brigade
responsible for the training and education of mid grade Army sergeants and mid grade Army officers.

Instructor, 10/80 Training Battalion (CGSOC), Owings Mills, MD, September 2002-August
2005. Provided graduate level education to mid grade reserve Army officers in topics including: a survey of the strategic environment; intergovernmental and multinational capabilities;
leadership; military history; military operational planning processes; and foundations in critical and creative thinking.

Executive Officer, 309th Rear Area Operations Center, Hanau, Germany, September 2000-April
2002. Provided rear area security planning for organizations operating in conflict environments.

Civilian Property Control Officer, 322d Civil Affairs Brigade, FT Shafter, HI, January 1999-
property June 2000. Oversaw the plans and training of military personnel to ensured protection of civilian in areas where military operations were occurring.

Operations Officer, US Army Japan, FT Shafter, HI, January 1998-December 1998.

Team Leader, 2nd Battalion, 383d Regiment, 5th Brigade, 75th Division, FT Leavenworth, KS,
August 1995-July 1996.

Commander, A Company, 1199th Signal Battalion, FT Huachuca, AZ, June 1991-August 1992.

Adjutant, 1199th Signal Bn., FT Huachuca, AZ, December 1990-May 1991.

Project Officer, Information System Engineering Command, FT Huachuca, AZ, June
1989-November 1990.

Student, US Air Force Communication/Computer System Staff Officer Course, Keesler AFB,
MS, July 1988-May 89.

Student, Signal School, Officer Advance Course, FT Gordon, GA, January 1988-January 1988. Operations Officer, 181st Signal Company, 43d Signal Battalion, Heidelberg, Germany,
December 1986-December 1987.

Platoon Leader, 43d Signal Battalion, Heidelberg, Germany, October 1984-November 1986.

I honestly can’t imagine how someone can present themselves as an expert on what is required to be successful in combat when she herself has never deployed. In twelve years of war, she’s been hiding out at Fort Belvoir and the War College. She should be embarrassed instead of writing crap like this.

Category: Military issues

Comments (93)

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  1. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Strategic opportunity means using people where they belong, it’s why Einstein and Oppenheimer weren’t loaded down with ammo and combat gear but were ensconced in academia with quadratic equations….

    Tactical considerations are a reality of strategic planning. There is a reason you don’t drop a platoon of truck drivers by parachute into an enemy occupied area for infrastructure sabotage, there’s a reason you don’t plan a large scale company assault with admin clerks….it’s because those folks are not qualified for those jobs. Perhaps the words the good Colonel is using are not the words she intended because she clearly doesn’t understand their definitions or proper usage.

    Nothing worse than a disgruntled non-hacker whining about what ought to be…..she uses all the classic techniques of someone whose argument won’t stand on its’ own. Misdirection, incorrect analogies, and disastrous conclusions all based on an opinion she can’t support with actual statistical or factual evidence.

    Any numb nut can make an opinionated analogy and draw an incorrect conclusion from it, in this case because the Colonel is saying something that suits the liberally biased media she’s getting a bit of air play. Here’s hoping she is soundly ignored where it matters.

  2. Hondo says:

    Here’s hoping she is soundly ignored where it matters.

    Aren’t ye a bit auld to be a’ believin’ in Leprechauns, laddie?

  3. Green Thumb says:

    Had an old female COL PMS just like this.

    Had to find a silver lining.

    Learned how not to act and what not to do.

    Terrible Officer and horrible leader.

  4. Nik says:

    Now comes the scoring of the 1946 test. As a good reference we will use pull-ups. To receive 100 points required 20 pull-ups, to barely make the good category with 64 points required 10, and to be considered poor at 40 points required 6 pull-ups. Ok now honestly tell me how many of your guys and/or gals can do 6 pull-ups in your current organization?

    When I was in the Corps, it was still 20 pull ups. We didn’t have crunches, it was full on sit-ups and I believe a perfect score was 80 sit ups in two minutes. 3 mile run in 18 minutes. I’d wrestled, ran track and cross-country for 4 years of high school, so the pull ups and the run were no problem. I hated (and still hate) sit ups. Took me a long time to get to 80.

    Here’s the current scoring.

  5. MGySgtRet. says:

    @10- Facts should never get in the way of a know it all female Colonel using a genuine American hero to try to prove a point.

  6. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @52 I’ve been accused of being a dreamer before sir, it’s not that I am such but I do hold perhaps a naive level of hope that eventually reason and factual evidence will overcome political fantasy…..

    Being also a realist it’s clear that political fantasy as been playing out for some time to a largely supportive crowd of increasingly less educated and less intelligent parasites….

  7. DefendUSA says:

    @Nik…The one good thing about those standards was that you knew you were in when you maxed them! We had sit-ups, Push-ups and the run. I was the same as you….but in 1983. I hated sit-ups, too. It was my only bad rap. At age 40, I did max the standards for a 19 year-old me at the state fair as I considered re-upping…Didn’t in the end, but at least I had THAT much in me.
    I know my place.

  8. Nik says:


    Nice work.

    Yah, sit-ups were always my nemesis. Hate them to this day.

  9. OWB says:

    Give me about an hour with this idiot! I have more cred for commanding folks in combat than she does, and I ain’t volunteering for it, much less demanding credit for that which I have not done.

    She is trying to steal valor from the worthy. Let me at her! Those who know me also know that I can explain it to her in terms she can understand.

    Idiot. Tool. She had the opportunity and she didn’t measure up. Move along, bitch.

  10. BK says:

    It’s times like these I wish we had the Israeli model.

    Stand up a mixed gender infantry battalion, throw some low intensity engagements its way, let it have its own internal physical and training standards, so the other combat units can continue to be performant.

    Of course, they live in the real world where their population isn’t isolated from the practical reality of their choices with their military. G-d, how I wish gilded lillies like this tw*twaffle would have to know the disaster they are inviting with precipitous, unschooled moves like this.

  11. ChipNASA says:

    How some she’s not in the field kitchen making me a sammich??


    /someone had to say it. 😀

  12. MGySgtRet. says:

    @61- Cause she would probably fuck that up too!!!

  13. David says:

    Looks on her resume that when war broke out, she ran – not walked- into training commands and has stayed there since.

    I agree on one point – let’s take an HONEST look at physical requirements and return on investment needed for female combat arms. (I mean if it costs millions of dollars to get one female infantry lietenant – come on, money’s tight, right?) My money says an HONEST evaluation would blow her and a lot of these other loudmouths out of the water. But that’ll never happen…

  14. CBSenior says:

    I have said it numerous times. Any person no matter what the Gender is not fit for Command if they are willing to sacrifice you for THEIR promotion. The Col. just does not get this and wonders why she is not fit. I would not follow some selfish SOB to the bathroom let along a Combat Zone.
    Has she even completed a Field Exercise, let alone deploy. I am pretty sure that she had plenty of chances to deploy. It looks like she said yes finally after it was one that fit her likes and not the Armies.

  15. Sustainer says:

    All of her assignments beyond 1995 appear to be in the Army Reserve, in TRAINING units, with no OPERATIONAL experience.

    I’m not sure how after 12 years of being at war, you can be a “Slick Sleeve” O6, and:

    a. look yourself in the mirror;
    b. have any credibility as a leader;
    c. pretend to have an idea about combat arms.

    It reminds me of another “Slick Sleeve” firs-class phony who was all thrust and no vector, CSM Teresa King. Remember her?

  16. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    Is she the COL who got her pantsies in a bunch a few years ago and sued because she was not allowed to go into combat?

    I think so.

    Oh … and the reason she did not go … no combat experience.


    So COL Bunched Up Pantsies … tell us about combat experience and how NOW your are an expert!

    OH … you are an expert because to appease your bunched up pantsies … you were given a covetted position at the Army War College.

    Round and round we go!

    The standards shall remian the same.

    Send the tallest, strongest, boldest, fearless, and most attractive women … put them through training. If they succeed in training send them to war. In war, if they kill and/or capture the enemy like their male counterparts … God Bless America!

    Till then … shut the fu*k up!

  17. Smaj says:

    I think she’d make the perfect aide for little Marty Dempsey. An O-6 with no deployments 12 years into a war- there goes your credibility, Colonel. The Army should make senior people (officer & NCO) who’ve never deployed leave the service. Many of us know people with multiple deployments- this useless bag of bones could and should have pulled her weight at least once in the last 12 years.

  18. @ 67, Smaj wrote:

    “The Army should make senior people (officer & NCO) who’ve never deployed leave the service.”

    Sergeant Major, Et Alii:

    Away back, many long, long years ago, when you and I were young, Maggie, as a soldier in the United States Army, I wondered about the senior NCOs I saw in Germany who had no combat service?

    But, when living in Washington, D.C. at the Ol’ Soldiers’ Home, I learned that there actually are soldiers in the United States Army who aren’t allowed to serve in combat zones, because of their specialty and/or security considerations.

    This was during the war in the old Republic of Viet Nam, when some guys in Germany actually DESERTED and went to Sweden, which sympathetically provided sanctuary for American military deserters.

    However, I was informed (accurately? inaccurately?) that some American military deserters in Sweden, due to their high security risk, were clandestinely sought and killed by CIA agents.

    In fact, I knew one guy who retired from the Army who NEVER wore a uniform, stood inspection, used a rifle, took a PT test, or went to the gas chamber.

    It was because of his expertise in developing computer technology and the fact that all of the people he worked with were civilians in academia.

    Only a few years ago, I remember reading a news article about a music scholar at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, who immediately upon graduation was inducted into the United States Marine Corps – – – , EXEMPT from having to complete boot camp!

    He was permanently assigned to Public Relations (or something similar) for the Marine Corps Band in Washington, D.C., and he’s probably there right now.

    Thank you.

    John Robert Mallernee
    Armed Forces Retirement Home
    Gulfport, Mississippi 39507

  19. Hondo says:

    Sustainer: in the USAR, that’s eminently possible.

    My 1st post-9/11 tour was stateside (I was an IMA) for 2 years, and it took me quite a while thereafter to find an assignment in-theater. Specifically, it took 3+ years and 2 tries – the first slot got converted to an RA slot and filled by someone from the active Army after I was told I’d been selected but before I deployed.

    Of course, I was looking for an assignment in-theater vice one in Europe, with CGSC, with TRADOC, or with the War College. That might have had something to do with it.

    But yeah, it’s possible.

  20. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ John … I love your stories, but desserters were not and will not be “clandestinely sought and killed by CIA agents”.

  21. Sustainer says:


    Yep, it is possible, and easy to do. I was a training battalion commander in the 98th Division, USAR, in 2004, and couldn’t wait to relinquish command so that I could deploy!

    For three years I had to call and deploy MI Soldiers, without going myself, which became tortureous. It wasn’t hard to deploy in the 04-08 time frame IF YOU WANTED TO, and gave it only a miniscule effort, as you know, because you did it too!

    As a leader, volunteering and then deploying took such an immense weight off of me, I can’t understand how anyone could NOT do it!

    As an O6, she could have sat on SOMEONE’S staff an MNC-I, and gone to the gym at 1400 every day in the Green Zone but instead, she went underground.

  22. Hondo says:


    Not sure I’d quite agree it took “miniscule” effort. In some MOS/specialty/pay grade combinations slots in-theater could be hard to find.

    But it was doable – if you wanted to go and were willing to make the effort.

  23. Green Thumb says:

    No surprise on the update.

    Not to start a fight between the sexes, but this is fairly common with Senior Female Officers.(men to, sometimes)

    I have seen probably a dozen in my do pull this stunt.

  24. Green Thumb says:

    do = day

  25. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    I recently mentioned an MOH recipient is another thread here. The thread pertained to a poser who turned out to be a common thief while in service. Anyway, the MOH recipient, a Marine, wanted in on the Pacific fight in the worst way and stowed aboard a Navy vessel headed to the then-little known island of Iwo Jima. He actually went AWOL and then was deemed a deserter–but got to the fight he wanted and ended up with an MOH for his trouble. His name was Jack Lucas. And, oh, by the way, the charges were dropped.

  26. Twist says:

    I bet her troops would follow her, but only out of curiosity.

  27. Combat Historian says:

    Pogue active duty O-6 bitch never deployed in a contingency during her whole career, and hid out for the twelve years of GWOT in military academia. Then when she finally wanted to deploy to pad her resume, they told her she was unqual because she had never bothered deploying before, and then she sued and got on the aggrieved victimized sisterhood media circuit, and she’ll probably get an O-7 out of all this, and the bullshit will just keep rolling along…

  28. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ 75 Air Cav … thanks for reminding me of Jack “don’t call me Jacklyn” Lucus.

    Here is his unbelievable story from Bad Ass of the Week:

    Oh … he was bored after the USMC and joined the 82nd. On his first jump … both parachutes failed … two weeks later he was up for another try … BAD ASS!

  29. Ex-PH2 says:

    @Twist, I wouldn’t follow her.

    If she could have deployed and avoided it, how would you trust her? There were plenty of women who were deployed during the Gulf War and later. How could you possibly trust someone who seems to have avoided it and now wants some kind of special privileges?

    Something fishy about it all.

  30. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @78. I would have added that fact about the jump mishap—but thought no one would believe it! He was, indeed, a bad ass. Actually, he was beyond bad ass, whatever that may be. He was also the luckiest man in the world–if you can call jumping on a grenade two separate times and later freefalling all the way to terra firma being lucky!

  31. Twist says:

    Ex-PH2, I got that from a website that has funny NCOER bullets.

  32. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @70 does that mean they are “openly sought and killed by the CIA”?

  33. JarHead Pat says:

    In my 5 deployments(2 OIF,3 OEF),I have never met any female that can withstand the rigors of a 8/10/12 or even a 14 month deployment,with the majority of that spent at your COP/PB,NOT,some easy skating gig at KAF or KAIA.

  34. beretverde says:

    This colonel is a prime example of the Army’s EEO. It doesn’t work. She is a shining example. What male LTC was passed over so she could be promoted to O-6?

  35. NHSparky says:

    Twist–she kind of reminds me of the Holly Graf syndrome, but perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh–after all, the good Colonel hasn’t thrown anything at fellow officers, publicly threatened to kill senior enlisted personnel, or hazarded a ship.

    But still in all, she would be worth of many of the comments you and I are thinking of, including:

    –Technically sound, but socially impossible.

    –Sets low personal standards and fails to achieve them.

    –Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.

    –Out of her depth in a parking lot puddle.

    –Has delusions of adequacy.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Another careerist who’s never been in so much as a fistfight as a child (ooh, “violence” is bad and indicative of being sub-standard) telling us how fighting people really involves a lot of PowerPoint and kissing bootie because “perception is reality”…

  37. SkySoldier says:

    SSG Romesha caught the hand grenade and threw it back as it exploded, he then continued to fight under heavy fire and protect his men. SSG Guinta sprinted past the Enemy Ambush line and recovered SGT Joshua Brennan from enemy hands. Guinta was no bigger than I was when I was with him. Normal average 20 somethings who can do heroic feats under intense pressure without batting an eye. It is reflex for us to run forward, not lay back and think about it. It is our nature to protect, kill, save, and not have any thoughts about it until it’s over. I know in my time in OEF6 there were numerous occasions that I do not remember doing things during a fight. It just comes to men easier, we make split second decisions that save lives, and do not even realize what we have fully done until the fight was over. Maybe one day women can serve in the Infantry, just don’t lower the damn standards and screw over the men.

  38. Odie says:

    I think you mean SFC Leroy Petrie

    As for Ma’am here…jeez

    What I am curious about is the holes in her resume. what was going on for those two or three year gaps?

    not only has she never deployed, she branched SIGNAL!!! that is almost the POGiest branch in the Army, QM is the most for those wondering. yeah, i’d like to see the Signal 0-6 pass a legitimate PT test as well.

  39. A Proud Infidel says:

    She sounds like just another “GIMME!” Permanent Staff Pogue/EO Quota that could even fuck up a wet dream!!

  40. PavePusher says:

    O.K., here’s something that occured to me.

    Had the Col. ever requested a combat assignment or deployment before this?

    It appears, from her service record/postings, that she did everything possible to avoid such throughout her career, until she got to the point where it would pretty much be required for advancement. (Not too many General officers without combat tours these days, I suspect, especially with her record….) And now she’s pissed because someone caught on to her….

    But I’m just a wing-wiper grease-monkey who doesn’t normally consort in such rarified areas. What do I know…?

  41. PavePusher says:

    Never mind, looks like several people beat me to it. I should know to read all the comments first by now…

  42. Skysoldier says:


    Sure did, thanks for the correction! I was typing angry and fast.