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The Reaper 09-08-2014 12:42

Interesting read.

TR

Why Women Do Not Belong in the U.S. Infantry

Marine infantry isn't broken, it doesn't need to be "fixed"

Volume 98, Issue 9

Author: Capt Lauren F. Serrano

2013 MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest: 1st Place

https://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/...ng-us-infantry

While reading the February issue of the Marine Corps Gazette, I skimmed past the "Be Bold" advertisement calling for readers to submit articles that challenge a Marine Corps policy or way of doing business. Immediately a current "hot topic" came to mind, but as usual I quickly discarded it because I have purposely avoided publicly disagreeing with the passionate opinions of many of my female peers and friends. After weeks of contemplation and debate, I am "being bold" and coming clean: I am a female Marine officer and I do not believe women should serve in the infantry. I recognize that this is a strong statement that will be vehemently challenged by many. I have not come to this opinion lightly and I do not take joy in taking a stance that does not support equal opportunity for all. I have spent countless hours discussing this topic with many civilians and Marines and have discovered that a large number of people agree with the arguments in this article but do not wish to get involved in the public discussion. Interestingly, most of the people who want to incorporate women into infantry are civilians or young, inexperienced Marines. Most of the more seasoned Marines with whom I have spoken tend to oppose the idea of women in infantry-perhaps this is failure to adapt or perhaps it is experienced-based reasoning. National Public Radio's recent segment, "Looking for a Few Good (Combat-Ready) Women," stated, "Col Weinberg admits there's anecdotal evidence that female Marines, who make up 7 percent of the force, aren't rushing to serve in ground combat."1 If the infantry had opened to women while I was still a midshipman or second lieutenant I probably would have jumped at the opportunity because of the novelty, excitement, and challenge; but, to my own disappointment, my views have drastically changd with experience and knowledge. Acknowledging that women are different (not just physically) than men is a hard truth that plays an enormous role in this discussion. This article addresses many issues regarding incorporating women into the infantry that have yet to be discussed in much of the current discourse that has focused primarily on the physical standards.

Before you disagree, remember that war is not a fair business. Adversaries attempt to gain an advantage over their enemies by any means possible. Enemies do not necessarily abide by their adversary's moral standards or rules of engagement. Although in today's world many gory, violent war tactics are considered immoral, archaic, and banned by international law or the Geneva Conventions, adversaries still must give themselves the greatest advantage possible in order to ensure success. For the Marine Corps, this means ensuring that the infantry grunt (03XX) units are the strongest, most powerful, best trained, and most prepared physically and mentally to fight and win. Although perhaps advantageous to individuals and the national movement for complete gender equality, incorporating women into infantry units is not in the best interest of the Marine Corps or U.S. national security.

It's Not About Individuals

My argument has little to do with whether women can pass the Infantry Officer Course or Infantry Training Battalion, or endure the hardships of combat. Even those select women who can physically endure the infantry are still posing a threat to the infantry mission and readiness. Female Marines who want to stir the pot by joining the infantry ranks are more interested in their careers than the needs of the Corps-they are selfish. 2dLt Sage Santangelo's recent article in The Washington Post about why women are failing Infantry Officer Course argued that "the Marine Corps needs to set women up to succeed in combat roles."2 Why? How will that contribute to a better fighting force, the needs of the Marine Corps, and the success of young enlisted Marines? The time, energy, and conflict associated with setting women up for success in infantry billets will not make the Marine Corps more combat effective.

I have no doubt that there are women who can pass initial infantry schools-and I applaud their strength. However, as Capt Katie Petronio argued in her 2013 Gazette article, "Get Over It! We are not all created equal," long infantry careers for female Marines will eventually lead to career-ending medical conditions as they get older and their bodies are unable to withstand the years of constant infantry training.3 For the already fiscally strained military, this will lead to an increase in medically retired Marines who rate medical financial support for the rest of their lives.

Women who claim that they are not afforded traditional leadership opportunities by not being infantry officers are clearly not aware of the plethora of leadership opportunities in the Marine Corps. There are many other MOSs that provide great opportunities for leadership, some even more so than in the infantry. For example, communications or logistics lieutenants could have as many as 60 Marines in their charge. Great Marine officers embody leadership principals regardless of the MOS or billet they are assigned. Marines are taught to "grow where planted," and a female Marine officer, regardless of MOS, can be just as successful as a male infantry officer if she is truly a leader and puts the needs of her Marines above her own. Success is about performance, not MOS. Women should seek opportunities to serve where they will be of most use to the Corps, not where the Corps can serve their personal career interests.

Many (mostly civilians) have argued that it is sexist and against the Nation's attempt to promote gender equality to refuse infantry to women. Personnel in leadership positions have kept quiet or agreed to open the infantry to women for fear of being called sexist or of not promoting equal opportunities, or not wanting to be attacked by feminists. I am forever indebted to the many women who courageously advocated for the women's rights that I enjoy today. Perhaps it is slightly unfair to the few women who desire to join the infantry, but that should be a necessary accepted evil because the needs of the Marine Corps are more important to society. Keeping women out of the infantry is not about oppressing women's rights or blockading gender equality, it's about maintaining the most combat effective military. In an age where U.S. hegemony is slowly decreasing and nations like China, Iran, and North Korea are building their conventional forces, citizens should be more interested in creating the strongest, best-trained, most ready infantry force to defend our national interests.

The Mission

Incorporating women into the infantry does not add to the infantry mission to "locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and/or repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat." Period. The mission does not say, "with ranks of equal men and women, locate, close with close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and/or repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat." The implied task is to create an infantry community of warriors that can best accomplish the mission. As all Marines are taught from day one of training, the mission always comes first. Marines attempt to accomplish the mission at all cost, and it is the duty of the higher headquarters of the Marine Corps to provide Marines with the best training and circumstances possible to accomplish the mission. Incorporating women into the infantry will actually make the mission more difficult to accomplish and take away from the training, readiness, and morale of the infantry units.

Several years ago the Marine Corps began allowing women into certain sections of special operations forces (SOF) and into the counterintelligence/human intelligence (CI/HumInt) MOS. The purpose behind this was to fill a gap and tap resources that men in those MOSs were unable to access. By nature of their gender, women were able to gain placement and access to information and locations that were previously untapped by men. As a result, the SOF and CI/HumInt communities grew stronger and more effective, and better accomplished their missions. The need for females to accomplish certain mission sets drove these communities to accept women. This same need does not exist in a basic rifle squad. Furthermore, the average age, experience, and maturity level of Marines in the SOF and CI/HumInt communities is much higher and more tolerant, which mitigates much of the testosterone-driven behavior that is a common characteristic of young infantrymen.

(Cont. at link above.)

tom kelly 09-10-2014 16:18

THE INFANTRY.
 
The author gives a realistic view and the outcome of woman serving as a member of a combat team. Now; FAILURE becomes an option.....Anyone remember The Kate Wilder incident...That turned out well for the school house. tom kelly

MtnGoat 09-16-2014 06:47

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hopefully (Post 562826)

I'd like to know the reason behind this. No Women in a Ranger Batt., So why send them or open the school to them? Oh for the leadership value!!?? So women don't have any leadership in the Army or military currently? Yet they need Combat leadership skills?

glebo 09-16-2014 07:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by MtnGoat (Post 562846)
I'd like to know the reason behind this. No Women in a Ranger Batt., So why send them or open the school to them? Oh for the leadership value!!?? So women don't have any leadership in the Army or military currently? Yet they need Combat leadership skills?

probably the same reason they send all those "cadidiots" through during summer camp. Gotta have the tab for credibility and such...

But, who really knows...it makes sense to someone, just not us...

Pete 09-16-2014 07:28

The standards will not be lowered
 
The standards will not be lowered - they will just be changed to reflect that males and females are different.

Then the leaders can say the females passed the course requirements in place at that time.

So will the females be required to show up with the required Ranger haircut?

DDD 09-16-2014 11:29

How well did the female suport teams (or whatever they were called) work out in Afghanistan? Not a retorical question, I really don't know.

bailaviborita 09-17-2014 06:01

I talked to a few folks down at Benning and they say this is a test- much like the Marine's tests with their basic courses. This will be used to inform leadership as to whether they need to fight to keep women out of the infantry, no women can pass Ranger (or so few that it is basically "none"), or it isn't an issue. The problem they are having is that Ranger is considered a leadership course and thus physical standards are considered by many to be arbitrary or secondary. And of course you get the "combat has changed- you don't need 100 lbs anymore" crowd. It will be interesting to see what happens- if any pass and if standards are left intact. Will be really interesting to see what happens if one gets punched out for falling asleep on patrol and/or gets peered really low---

As for the FETs/CSTs- I've heard REALLY bad stories about them from multiple sources- but you'll never see those public because there is tremendous pressure to use them as proof that women can do combat and are needed. Bottom line: they got in the way and were forced on many for political reasons... But I'm sure that reality won't get in the way of the agenda nazis-

MtnGoat 09-17-2014 06:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by bailaviborita (Post 562985)
As for the FETs/CSTs- I've heard REALLY bad stories about them from multiple sources- but you'll never see those public because there is tremendous pressure to use them as proof that women can do combat and are needed. Bottom line: they got in the way and were forced on many for political reasons... But I'm sure that reality won't get in the way of the agenda nazis-

I can speak for the CST problems. I hate that we have a Command that allows so many Females to Graduate from the SWC and Group Driven programs. I would love to see from what 75th Reg has going on. So if we let even a few contiue on at the Group Level or from our Command level, what does that say to the Future for females coming into SFODA or with a SF Group in some kind of capacity, say as in AFO.

As Far as the USMC, I think they are one their 4th or 5th Try for Females going through their Basic Infantry officer course, no JOY!! They have kepted the standards from a fellow Co-worker who's son is an Instructor/ USMC INF Officer. So that's good to hear. STANDARDS!!

MtnGoat 09-17-2014 06:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by DDD (Post 562888)
How well did the female suport teams (or whatever they were called) work out in Afghanistan? Not a retorical question, I really don't know.

DDD - IMO They typically all have poor rating and support. No need for them when we had CA fermales. The recuitment came from Females in CA going out to pull females into this Program. SO why not just add a new position to the CA Team (CAT) to meet the role? No funding for equipment, Weapons and Full MTOE what POMed for this program.

DDD 09-17-2014 09:52

Thanks Mtn Gt,
I didn't think it was a very successful program, because they (the Army) haven't been touting it's contributions to the effort. You only hear the people that think women in combat is a good thing, say "but what about the CSTs?"

I always thought that I was doing what I did so others didn't have to. Be it women, liberals, LGBTWXYZ.....

Box 09-17-2014 10:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by DDD (Post 562888)
How well did the female suport teams (or whatever they were called) work out in Afghanistan? Not a retorical question, I really don't know.

Wow...
I can't give you an honest answer on an open board that I know is read by people that would shoot me in the face with a burst of poison tipped NCOER bullets if they ever read my comments.

So instead I'll just say, the CST's are AWESOME. We should all get behind this fine program. It is cerainly the way ahead for integrating female troops into active SOF duty positions.


...I hope that answers your question. I have to go throw up now.

DDD 09-17-2014 10:52

Don't hold back...Get it all out, you'll feel better.:D

The Reaper 09-17-2014 13:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by Billy L-bach (Post 563019)
Wow...
I can't give you an honest answer on an open board that I know is read by people that would shoot me in the face with a burst of poison tipped NCOER bullets if they ever read my comments.

So instead I'll just say, the CST's are AWESOME. We should all get behind this fine program. It is cerainly the way ahead for integrating female troops into active SOF duty positions.


...I hope that answers your question. I have to go throw up now.

And they have already been through Selection!

TR

Joker 09-17-2014 19:11

Quote:

Originally Posted by Billy L-bach (Post 563019)
Wow...

...I hope that answers your question. I have to go throw up now.

You need to go take a shower after that one.:D


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