The Marines maintain their standards

There is more to the title of this post than just five words. There should be two more appended to the end, “for now.”

With the Obama administration throwing open our military’s combat arms to women, the services have been soliciting women to enter those branches. The Air Force was first with female fighter pilots. The Navy had some, too. May still have some although I haven’t heard of any recent headlines about female Naval aviators.  The ones they had are no longer flying fighters last I heard. The most publicized naval female pilot/RIO combo, was killed in a ramp strike during carrier operations in 1997. The furor afterward found that women pilots had a different training standard than their male counterparts.

But, I will agree that female pilots can be as effective as men—as long as they have the SAME training and performance standards. A quick Google search on ‘female naval aviators’ had nothing more recent than 2007. I’m not saying there aren’t any such articles but a quick search didn’t list any. The Air Force, did have an article last year about a female officer taking command of a combat air wing. She was a fighter pilot with combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But…but, what about the Army and Marines, can women be Infantry, Artillery, and Combat Engineer officers?  The Marines say, “Yes,” if they pass the Infantry Officer Course—using the same standards that the men must pass.

So far, the women aren’t passing.

Two female Marines fail to pass all-male infantry course

By Rowan Scarborough – The Washington Times, Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Two female Marine lieutenants have failed in their bid to complete the Corps’ grueling, all-male Infantry Officer Course (IOC).

The women’s recent washout after only a few days in the course follows the failure of two other female officers attempting to complete the same program in October.

The Corps now stands 0-4 in its search to find female Marines who have the physical strength and endurance to complete one of the most rigorous infantry schools in the military, located at the Quantico, Va., base.

Of 110 lieutenants in the first phase of the course, called the Combat Entrance Test, 14 failed, including the only two women, according to the Marine Corps Times.

“We will continue to solicit women to take part in the IOC program,” Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Richard Ulsh told The Washington Times. “I don’t know how [the failures] could stretch to mean something broader than what you’ve got.”

That isn’t good enough for the Pentagon. They insist that standards must be LOWERED if the services can’t provide a good excuse that the existing standards are necessary.

In January, then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, announced that the Pentagon had lifted a longtime ban on women serving in direct land combat jobs in infantry, armor and special operations units.

The armed services have until May 15 to submit to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans for integrating women into all military jobs, including those involving direct ground combat.

Gen. Dempsey has made it clear that if any service wants to continue the ban for certain jobs because the demands are too high, then the service should provide a good reason why those standards should not be lowered to allow women to succeed. — Washington Times

The Marines, however, are making a stand. The other services have not yet presented similar plans that match that of the Marines.

“The Marine Corps‘ high standards cannot be lowered, nor can we artificially lower them to ensure a certain percentage of females will qualify,” the memo states. “Conversely, we will not artificially raise standards.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq as a Marine officer, has drafted legislation aimed at preventing the military from lowering standards as a way to make sure women qualify for combat jobs.

Mr. Hunter plans to try to attach his proposal to the 2014 defense budget when the House Armed Services Committee takes up the bill in May.

While the Marines Corps has conducted two test runs, the Army and special operations, such as the Navy’s SEALS, have yet to introduce women into their direct land combat training courses. — Washington Times

Any veteran will tell you that you cannot maintain effectiveness, nor maintain a given standard of performance by lowering standards. It’s pure idiocy. If women can’t meet the same standards as men, perhaps it is an endeavor they shouldn’t be in?

There is a reason why combat training is tough. No matter how difficult the training, actual combat is worse.