Marines to train females in infantry school

| April 19, 2012

The Military Times is reporting that the Marine Corps has made decision to train female officers at their Infantry Officers Course in Quantico, VA;

“We are in the process right now of soliciting volunteers,” [Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Corps’ assistant commandant] said on Wednesday.

It’s a monumental — if controversial — move for the Marine Corps, which until now barred female Marines from the program and required instead that they attend other courses aimed at preparing them for assignments in support roles such as logistics, personnel administration and aircraft maintenance, among others.

All will be volunteers — and it remains to be seen how many will answer the call, he said.

It’s not immediately clear either what the next steps will be for those women who successfully complete the Corps’ infantry training programs.

Apparently, they haven’t put any thought into it, if they’re admitting the extent of their plans to make some infantry officers out of some women. I only hope that they understand that combat for infantrymen have just one standard and I’m pretty certain that our enemies don’t have a specific standard for engaging women in combat that is different from their standard for engaging men or bullets that adjust for gender.

As I’ve said before, I’m all for allowing women in combat, if those women meet the exact same current standard for men. But, I’m not very hopeful that a totally political decision will have a successful outcome.

The Marine Corps defines gender-neutral physical standards as being identical for men and women, rather than weighted — or “gender-normed” — like those applied in the service’s annual Physical Fitness Test. During the PFT, women can earn a minimum or maximum score with fewer repetitions and a slower run times than their male counterparts.

This suggests that women wanting to serve in ground combat units will be given the shot to do so only if they can keep pace with their male counterparts. Standards would likely evaluate Marines not as women and men, but simply as infantrymen, tank crewmen or artillerymen, for example.

Yeah, we’ll see how well that survives when the feminists decide they don’t like the failure rates among female candidates.

Category: Military issues

Comments (47)

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  1. 68W58 says:

    As a medic, I’ve been in units that had almost only males (we had about a dozen females on our FOB of over 500 in 2005) and units with a mix of males and females. There are a lot fewer distractions in all male units. For one thing there’s no “who’s screwing who” drama. If there is even any suspicion that someone in a position of authority is fooling around then there is at least always going to be a perception of unfairness in the ranks. And males bond differently when there are no females present. If there is no aspect of “sexual competition” there is a lot less bull$hit that has to be overcome.

  2. Matt P. says:

    It’ll be interesting to watch. Wonder what Naomi Wolf (or however its spelled) will have to say about this one? Or will she have the spine?

  3. Nicki says:

    “This suggests that women wanting to serve in ground combat units will be given the shot to do so only if they can keep pace with their male counterparts. Standards would likely evaluate Marines not as women and men, but simply as infantrymen, tank crewmen or artillerymen, for example.” — I actually like this. A lot. I passed all my PT requirements by male standards when I was in, and it’s nice to see that maybe they’ll treat women like the military members they are, not like weaker little girls. It’s wholly possible for women to be as fit and strong as men. It just takes a lot more work. I have no problem with more work. I like it.

  4. Flea says:

    IOC has trained male, non-infantry MOS officers waiting for their MOS school (Intel, Log, Flight School, etc) to pick up before. Is this part of that program or will females be assigned the 0302 Infantry MOS and sent to infantry Bns?

  5. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Here we go again!?

  6. THUNDER26 says:

    Went through Leonard Wood in the 2nd Cycle where the females were in the same company as men-1979. Separate runs, we did a 20 mile ruck march w/40 lbs them-12 w/25 lbs. Even Guard Duty was the Males went out to guard Empty Ammo Points and Motor pools,in freezing weather while they got to guard heated office buildings from the inside. Luckily for me I DOR’d 98C and got reclassed 13F and went to the 2ND CAV.- I friggin LOVED IT. My Brother was in Commo for the 1ST AD with mixed Troops ans when i went to visit him it was a friggin mess. He was telling me then(’81)about SGT’s sleeping w/ subordinates, both male and female and how some used it to their advantage. If you got into trouble- just say it was because your SGT wanted to screw you and you wouldn’t,so he wrote you up. Oh, yeah-the beginning of the end. At that point the Army started moving away from Leadership and into the PC “Troop Management” mode that has permeated and undermined the NCO ever since.

  7. Jack says:

    While I think it is a terrible idea IF it actually leads to women in infantry units it may be that this is pre-emptive.

    The last time the Marine Corps revised the PFT, back in 1992 I think, we pushed something like 30 female Marines through an intensive PT program to see if the majority could be brought up to the male standards. They could not. The result was that while their run was pushed up to three miles they retained the flex arm hang while men did pull ups.

    The reason I think this is pre-emotive is that the Corps knows, based on the experience in 1992 and the army’s resent experience with their PFT, that the vast majority of women will NEVER be able to pass a male PFT let alone perform to the standards expected of the infantry and especially the infantry officer.

    In 24 years I never met a lieutenant who could not do three miles in 19 minutes or less. They could alsso hump like beasts. Add to this the pull-ups and I just do not see very many women meeting even minimum standards let alone those expected.

    Then add the combat PFT and forget it. In fact, I wish the Corps would require all women to pass the same PFT as men; by next year we would have far fewer women in the Corps.

    You want your chance? Fine, meet the same standards your male counterparts do. See how many WMs are left after that.

  8. 1stSgt says:

    Standards will be lowered to make this program succeed. This is the one thing we can count on happening.

  9. Stacy0311 says:

    this is what happens when you let an airwinger be the Commandant

  10. Jack says:

    I do not see that happening. At worst females will be allowed to keep their PFT but it seems here that the Corps is saying taht they must pass and maintain male standards. There was no bend in 1992 and I doubt there will be one this time either.

  11. SGT Ted says:

    It will be the Army that capitulates on PT standards for females in combat arms. They have too many career minded female climbers in the Officer Corps who don’t care what they wreck in pursuit of their personal military ambitions and they are already demanding combat arms positions that will get them to the top O slots. They want their barely pass as a male PT score to boost them over other more fit males.

    I hope they don’t, but I totally see it happening.

  12. Beretverde says:

    Social experimenting with war fighting, ultimately leads to more body bags in the future. Can anyone remember or answer- What is the spirit of the bayonet?

  13. SGT Ted says:


  14. Jack says:

    @11. Key is taht even for those who can pass, can they pass with a high first class? Over 90% will not be able to. Throw in humps and the brutal combat PFT and what do you have left?

    I do not see the Corps reducing the standards. They lead the very unpopular (stood alone) anti poof fight and this fight is far less controversial.

    Simply put; can she run, hump and lift like a man? Shit, even the IOC realizes women cannot compete with men which is why the events are segregated. I wonder why women are not calling for gender nuetral olypic events?

  15. JustPlainjasin says:

    Let the doomsayers begin their tales of how the military is going to end… I wonder how many fakes will show up? I wonder how many people will come up with their asinine anecdotes…

  16. Tman says:

    The writing seems to be on the wall. I think it is inevitable that sooner or later females will be fully allowed to hold combat MOS/ratings and become full fledged infantry. How many of us thought that DADT would become history and gays allowed to serve openly in the military so suddenly (just saying)?

  17. Just Plain Jason says:

    When your reasoning for not allowing women in a field is based on an experience 20-30 years old you have realize this hasn’t happened in a vacuum. There has been a lot in a happen in the last ten years that has changed things. Her is a big secret women have already been in combat and they have paved the way. If a few dicks can’t handle a woman around them then that’s their problem. If a senior leader can’t keep it in his pants…his problem. If I hear a woman’s need for more frequent showering/bathing because of their cycle…well maybe you need to get to know a few military women better.

  18. SGT Ted says:

    As full citizens I say sure, as long as the individual can hack it physically.

    I could never qualify SF or Ranger due to my own physical lack. Standards are there for a reason. The “oh, let the girls play too, its fair” BS needs to end when she cannot drag 300+ lbs of wounded troop and gear out of the line of fire quickly. Or, handle any position on an artillery gun crew because she doesn’t have the upper body strength.

    The double standard is well noted in the ranks, we just didn’t talk about it out loud. We are told “its a team effort” but some teammates are more equal than others.

  19. Just Plain Jason says:

    SGT, Honestly at my peak I was pretty strong, but dragging 300+lbs without adrenalin fully running is a huge task, and I am a dude. There are infantry guys out there right now that can’t do that so quit using that qualifier. I could do any engineer task, but not all day long. I could use a picket pounder about as good as any average guy, but there were some that could do it a hell of a lot longer than me. There will be some women that will outperform some guys and under perform some guys. If you base it on an average there is a range of performance you will have to see where they lie, it is about an opportunity. If you want to see who is the best give them a chance see who is the best. Yes standards are standards…oh yeah no tattoos those obviously mean they are naughty and need not apply.

    I still don’t know why women can’t be snipers…anyone know?

  20. Jack says:

    @17. Who said in the field? Can you read? But as to women in the field in the last ten years how many of them served as grunts? Besides, that does not matter as you are nota ddressing the point. The issue is not have they served in Iraq and the Ghan, it is can they be grunts. We are talking about allowing them to serve as 0311’s. Do you understand that?

    “If a few dicks cant handle woman around them that is there problem,” WTF is that meant to mean? It is nota bout handle it is about can they do teh joba nd the answer is no.

    Fucking goes both ways so what is this obsession you have with dicks in pants? What if she cant keep the dicks out of her? Kind of a stupid thing to say in a serious debate.

    I did not say anything about showering and bathing or cycles nor has anyone else here nor did the Corps in 92, the issue is they cannot do the job.

    As to knowing military women I know a few. I wrote about their contributions in my book and I have respect for what they can do. I also know what they cannot do.

    Just curious, but what is your background?

  21. Jack says:

    @ Snipers in the Marine corps are grunts, cant be a grunt and cant be a sniper. Snipers also must havea 285 PFT; good luck findinga woman who can score a 285 male PFT.

    What was that stupid remark about tats? You are throwing shit around hoping something sticks. The issue is can they do it and the answer, for the vast majority is no.

  22. Old Trooper says:

    @17: I’m not disputing anything in your rant, however, like others have said; the standard is the standard for a reason and if the female can pass the PFT at the same level as the males (both regular and combat) then they should be given the chance. If to qualify means lowering the standard for females only, then I say no. It has less to do with hygeine or keeping your pants on. You will find that women like Nicki are an exception to the rule and most like the different standards that they are afforded. Would you want someone next to you, in a combat situation, that didn’t have to adhere to the same physical standards as you whether they are male or female? Also, as men and women are built different, there comes the long term effects, because let’s face it, most combat gear is designed around the male upper body, not the female and the long term complications of added weight bearing by someone who doesn’t have the upper body mass required means health problems down the road.

    So; who are we doing this for? The women or political correctness?

  23. Just Plain Jason says:

    Jack you have to go back and read my comments directed at the SMA Chandler about tattoos its a long running joke with me. Sorry I didn’t fill you in on the joke. You are cracking me up man, you just have to really get to know me before you start breaking shit down like that.

    Have women been serving as infantry no, but they have been doing stuff along side them in different capacities. They have worked with SF and Ranger units. This is just another thing and time will tell. I am long gone and I can’t say the effects. I was a shovel grunt and I had a female medic was she the best example…not really, but she did her job. I have seen a lot of women doing harder jobs than what I wanted to do, so I am not going to judge. There are women out there that regularly outscore me on PT tests, which aren’t really accurate representations of combat effectiveness in my opinion.

    OT, honestly I don’t know. Most of the women I know in the military are not interested in being grunts. They would much rather either be in the fields they currently are in, or switch to fields that work with SF. I have a few friends who would like to be snipers.

    I am betting this gets to around 100+ comments before it is done

  24. Just Plain Jason says:

    I have NEVER said standards need to be lowered…

  25. badams says:

    Some of these comments make me laugh. Proud to have served in a all male combined arms battalion. Not proud to have served in a Army that made me watch hours upon hours of Powerpoint that stated everyone was equal. Nobody is equal its not possible…with that said the double standards in army APFT scoring is laughable and quite frankly a gross missjustice to the woman who can and do out soldier men. SOME women can out run out push out carry me…just like some men can. If it is about fairness and equality (bullshit word) than how one soldier/marine is graded or judged on his physical fitness should be the exact fucking same regardless of age…gender…height…weight in the entire Army/Corps. I am sorry you are only 100 pounds in body weight…maybe just fucking maybe the military and more specifically the parts of the military where you are expected to fight and WIN aren’t for you. NO MORE PARTICIPATION TROPHIES! For any gender…body type…age…etc etc. PROVE you can handle the physical demands of actual combat…this isn’t martial arts its combatives…wanna be artsy go elsewhere. Want to stab someone in the neck and shoot someone in the face with 100 pounds of gear after walking around for hours please apply.

  26. Just Plain Jason says:

    In total agreement Badams. You should read up on Dr. Ruth when she was in the Israeli Army. Too bad she got hit by a mortar…4’11” 95lbs sniper.

  27. Just Plain Jason says:

    Sorry I lied…4’7″

  28. OWB says:

    It CAN be done correctly. What remains to be seen is if it actually WILL be done correctly.

    Create a reasonable standard of performance (which I would assume is already in place in this instance) then apply the standard to everyone. If you make it, you are in. If you don’t make it, go to another career field.

  29. Jacobite says:

    I’m with you Jason. If they can pass the tests, physical and mental, they should be allowed to participate. I don’t believe there should be gender based regulations denying them the opportunity to try.

    One standard, service wide, would we lose some women to that? Sure. But I don’t for a second believe there aren’t some women that can do it.

    As for women snipers? I don’t see why not. Some folks who feel uncomfortable with the idea of sharing the bloodletting with women should research the name Lyudmila Pavlichenko. There’s plenty of Germans that are not around today to complain about women in combat.

  30. tabla rasa says:

    No worries. The standards will inevitably be lowered in the interest of arbitrary “fairness.” And THEN we’ll be on par with the Portuguese!

  31. YatYas says:

    Fine, let them try it and see how well it doesn’t work. Women have done a great job in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they have not been in sustained combat to my knowledge.

  32. Stacy0311 says:

    To quote someone on another site “What do you think the odds are that 2LT Suzty Rottencrotch will somehow be the honor grad at IOC?”.
    Will allowing women in combat arms do anything to increase combat efficiency? Seriously doubt it. Will it do anything to increase the amount of bullshit death by PowerPoint sessions that we’ll all have to sit through? Definitely. Stupid, stupid, studid, assinine idea. This however is just my humble opinion from 13 years USMC infantry and 13 years US Army Armor.

  33. Jeff says:

    I’m glad I the corps didn’t deal with this in the early 80’s

  34. Tman says:

    I dunno. I think that letting females be outright infantry/combat arms is one thing, but the ‘logistics’ of how they will be utilized an entirely different one. The biggest question mark is will they be part of the same mixed gender infantry platoon, sharing the same basic living quarters, etc. both in garrison and deployed?

    Maybe some of those in MOS’ where both males and females deploy to the front lines together in organic platoons and units can shed light on this. I’m not talking about the occasional female that gets attached to an infantry unit for conducting searches, etc. I’m talking about like a military police unit. A female MP received a silver star in Iraq for combat.

  35. Carla says:

    I was active duty early 80’s and this is a bad idea for several reasons.

  36. Jack says:

    Again, I think it is a great idea and that the Commandant is shaping the battlefield. When this comes to congress, when the public actually engages in the debate, we will be able to show they just cannot do it.

    Infantry officers typically run a 285 or better PFT. That would work out to 3 miles in 18 minutes, 17 pull-ups and 100 cruches in 2 minutes. Not going to happen very often for a woman.

    But say she does that. How about that 27 mile MCCRESS hump? But say she does that, how about that CEC? The CEC is brutal and requires a great deal of upper body.

    How about the combatives. I’d like to see how they do when they get maced and have to fist fight three MCMAP blackbelts, after running the CEC three consecutive times.

    The point is, somewhere along the way she (the vast majority of those who applied) will fail. If I were the Commandant I would go further and make this an all or nothing deal. ALL females Marines will pass the CEC and the PFT and do so with male standards. Those that cannot will be discharged. Those who can will pass far with scores far too low for continued promotion and thus be further attrited.

    So at the end of the day the Corps will shed the vast majority of its 8,000 women Marines and all for the sake of the very few who wanted to be grunts. That I am all for. Lets go whole hog on this!

    One final note, as a grunt I tried to stay away from Quantico because the place sucked ass. Yet I was there for the two required schools (SNCO and SNCOA). While running the O course I noticed that the obsticles had small ramps. I asked what those were for and the instructor said those were for female TBS candidates.

    See TBS has one mixed training platoon and has for a long time and it sucks. Male officers who have gone through TBS with the mixed platoon hated it.

  37. Old Trooper says:

    Those that are using Dr. Ruth as an example need to realize the circumstances of the day. Israel was small and needed as many bodies as they could get to do the jobs. Same with the Soviet chick.

    I’m not saying they can’t do the job, but as I said before; those are exceptions to the rule; do we adjust an entire military for exceptions?

  38. tabla rasa says:

    @37 Old Trooper – My fear is that yes, we do attempt to make the exception the rule. For the gullible, it’s just, you know, like “fair.” For the malignant scumbags who push for these sorts of changes, it’s really a matter of bringing about a diminished capability. The Marine Corps Commandant knows full well that this is a bad idea but lacks the moral courage to acknowledge it.

    I went trough one of the initial attempts at co-ed Army BCT in 1978. An unmitigated disaster. THis will be as well.

  39. Jack says:

    @38 “The Marine Corps Commandant knows this is a bad idea but lacks the moral courage to acknowledge it.”

    You could not be more wrong. Remember, this is the same guy who stood alone in fighting the lifting of DADT. He was so out in front on this issue that both Mullins and Gates were upset that he took his fight to the public. The Washington Post said he should be fired and you say he lacks moral courage? Remember he was the guy who said that lifting DADT will get men killed. How much more could he have done and yet you accuse him of lacking moral courage?

    This is a great idea because it will prove that women cannot do it. Not that those of us who were grunts need the proof but the people that will make the decision need to see, in black and white, that it will not work.

    As to courage, if the navy, air force and army chiefs stood with the Commandant you would not have the bs you do now with the lifting of DADT.

  40. Sergeant Spliff says:

    What the fuck would you know about it, you submariner pansy piece of shit? That girl may have a vagina, but you’re way more of a pussy than she is. At least she chose to be in a real branch of the military, and not riding around in some glorified phallic symbol with a bunch of other cowards, thousands of miles away from the real action.

  41. NHSparky says:

    Well then Spliffy, don’t take my word for it–read the rest of the thread entries of Army and Marine types, some infantry, some women. Of course, last I checked, that women on submarines experiment has been going swimmingly thus far, with only 3 officers being shitcanned out of the 18 assigned thus far, but it’s still early.

    And how’s your day going?

  42. Hondo says:

    Well, I see our English wannabe made an appearance yesterday evening while I was busy. Guess he was up late in old London Town.

  43. Carla says:

    Oh Sparky- I know I said I believe women assigned to combat infantry units is a BAAAD idea for several reasons, but for the love of The Almighty Deity–please please please don’t automatically put all us women Marines (or any other branch) in a group including that woman with the shotgun! She shames even non-military women out here in BFE! I could’nt even bear to watch until the end.

  44. NHSparky says:

    My apologies Carla. I’m with you in that women are capable of doing most of the jobs men in the military can, with the exception of the most physically demanding jobs. However, there are some ENVIRONMENTS where women would be a bad idea as well-submarines being my particular sacred cow. Big Navy is keeping a REAL tight lid on the whole women on Tridents deal, but if the 3 female Supply Officers getting shitcanned tells you anything…

  45. Carla says:

    It tells me I am right to believe that just as you cannot legislate morality, you cannot legislate competence or acceptance into a group dynamic.

    You can’t legislate the enemy into respecting or accepting gender norming in combat either.

    BTW, I think watching only half of that video damaged my optic nerves….

  46. BooRadley says:

    I have said before I’m not a fan of females in the front– that said, they are going forward, usually by choosing a motor T MOS. I’d prefer to see women be trained in infantry, small arms and hand to hand… be COMPLETELY READY for the front, instead of sneaking them in, perhaps less prepared, in a job that allows them to see the action, but maybe doesn’t quite prepare them for it the way an infantry specific MOS would.