Is the Marine Corps Setting Women Up to Fail in Combat Roles?

Two years ago, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made the historic decision to eliminate the military’s exclusionary policy that kept ground combat occupations and units closed to women. Any decision to exclude women will be made as an exception rather than the rule, flipping the paradigm from one of automatic exclusion to one of automatic inclusion.  However, the services and Special Operations Command were given 3 years to figure out how to successfully integrate women into previously closed positions.  If at the end of the three years, they found an occupation or unit that could not possibly be integrated they could request an exception to policy. Any exceptions would have to be “narrowly tailored and based on a rigorous analysis of factual data regarding the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for the position.”

On October 1, 2015when exception requests are due to the Secretary of Defensethe Marines will request to keep thousands of infantry positions closed to women. Rather than use the three years to figure out how to best recruit and integrate some badass women the Marines have used their time to develop data to justify a request for an exception.  Here is what they have done.

Set Up to Fail?

First, they began by doing research on a set of proxy tests that would be used to screen for combat fitness.  The proxy tests, 6 largely upper-body, strength-based tests, were used to evaluate the performance of 409 male and 379 female Marines.  Although the link between these 6 events and the “knowledge, skills, and abilities needed” for various combat jobs is not clear the research yielded some interesting results.  In the “good performers” category 66% were male Marines while 34% were female Marines. In the highest performing category 92% were male while 8% were female.   Clearly, there are a percentage of women that can compete in both categories.  Despite these results the Marines seem to have dropped the use of proxy tests to screen for combat jobs.

Rather than look for ways to exclude women, the Marines should seek out the toughest, smartest, most capable women this country has to offer and vigorously recruit them to join the ranks of the infantry.

Instead they pursued other research efforts.  The first and most controversial has been their research at the infantry officer course (IOC).  They invited women officers, on a voluntary and trial basis, to attempt to complete IOC. While they sought to evaluate 92 volunteers over three years they have not been able to recruit anywhere near that number and none of those who has volunteered has graduated.  Critics cite a lack of any possible incentive for women officers to volunteer coupled with a disclosure form that volunteers must sign that states that, If a volunteer is unable to successfully complete the program of instruction, it is unlikely they will be recycled due to impact on delaying attendance at their PMOS school, possible negative impact on fitness reporting cycles, potential harm to the volunteers career path, and complication with equitable career designations.”  In short, a woman failing on her first attempt would likely not be offered a recycle opportunity, generally expected of men, due to negative career impacts—a rather large disincentive.

Later in 2013, the Marines decided to expand the infantry training research to enlisted women.  Similarly, they invited enlisted women to volunteer for the enlisted infantry course and were more successful.  Out of more than 240 volunteers more than 98 have graduated.  When enlisted women began graduating from the infantry course the Marines decided that perhaps initial entry training was not a good test of whether women could perform in infantry units. Instead, they said that collective tasks that Marines perform out in the fleet are harder and would provide the true litmus test of women’s combat potential.

Last fall they launched a much more ambitious and very expensive research project, The Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, which was designed to see how women would perform at collective tasks in combat units.  However, they quickly found that collective task standards were not well established so the ongoing research effort was designed not just to see how women perform but to quantify unit level collective tasks. How collective task requirements can be quantified while at the same time evaluating women’s performance against those tasks is questionable, but the Marines have forged ahead and research continues with a 600-strong task force. The task force is currently prepping to deploy to 29 Palms to be evaluated. Research results will be available in Septemberjust in time to submit an exception to policy request.

While all of this research was ongoing the Marines opened all combat unit staffs, minus Infantry units, to women. They have not opened any new combat occupations but they have begun assigning women in open specialties like intelligence and communications to non-infantry combat units.  Even though, for example, a male public affairs officer assigned to an infantry unit requires no infantry training beyond what all officers receive at The Basic School, women in these open specialties are not allowed, in any capacity, in infantry battalions.  The fact that women can serve in all other combat arms units (tanks, artillery, etcetera) down to the company/battery level, but cannot serve even at the battalion staff level in infantry units is indicative of the fact that the Marine Corps is not preparing infantry units for integration.

Despite the fact that a percentage of women did meet combat proxy test standards and a steady stream of women continue to graduate from enlisted infantry training the Marines will point to data from the task force experiment to justify keeping the infantry closed.

Semper Fidelis?

If the Marines do in fact go forward with an exception request they will find themselves not just on the wrong side of history writ large but on the wrong side of their own 238-year history. The Marines are known for being an adaptive, innovative, and resilient force that performs well given any mission. After all, it was the Marines who first used women as “Lionesses” in Iraq and later pioneered the use of Female Engagement Teams in Afghanistan.

Rather than look for ways to exclude women the Marines should seek out the toughest, smartest most capable women this country has to offer and vigorously recruit them to join the ranks of the infantry.  The Marines are perhaps the best of the Services at marketing their competence, professionalism, and loyalty to the principles of this country.  Rather than resist this change the Marines should do what they are good at: Recruiting and molding the best Americans into a brotherhood and now sisterhood of professional excellence.

[Photo: Flickr CC, Kenny Holston]



  1. ron 18 February, 2015 at 11:35 Reply

    So you cite the completion of SOI (a program of instruction that as long as you don’t quit of get injured you pass) as a metric of success?

  2. Ellen Haring 18 February, 2015 at 12:47 Reply

    Ron, Isn’t completion of the School of Infantry the Marine Corps’ measure of future success in the infantry? Why would women who graduate from SOI be any less capable than the men who graduate? Also, from what I know of SOI the average American wouldn’t even qualify for the course much less graduate.

    • Mac 19 February, 2015 at 12:14 Reply

      Ellen, because she still cannot ruck the same weight as a man as fast and as long. The 1% that can will break down due to no fault of their own, but rather due to a huge difference in the Q angle and basic biology. There are no standards at SOI, if you can do three pulls up and not quit or get hurt you make it. That is it.

      If we proposed a real combat fitness test such as
      -10 pull ups with 25 pounds (simulate kit)
      -Getting over a 6′ wall with full kit (and NO HELP)
      -a 215lb sled drag for 3 seconds at a time (simulates ave male with kit on and time it takes ave marksman to see, acquire and shoot)
      -Timed Small O Course with Kit (Shape, not real rifle and just LBE, no ruck) or even slick.
      -A 20 mile forced march pace on uneven terrain with 65llbs, just a Go/No Go time.

      Would you want these instituted or would you think they are unfair? They are all based on simple combat realities and if everyone had to pass the same standard wouldn’t that be what we all want?

    • USMCRO 10 September, 2015 at 20:12 Reply

      Ellen, SOI consists of MCT (non-infantry) and ITB (for infantry). The difference between the two is ITB has more ruck marches (humps) than MCT. MCT is a shorten, cut and dry basic infantry course. Granted 3 female Marines made it through but they for the two physical fitness tests, they were still held to lower standards.

      It took the USMC a long time to implement the pull ups requirement for females because when they tried in 2013-’14, 55% of the females in MCRD failed the minimum 3 reps requirement! Talk of the order was sent to all USMC units 2 years prior to the order being written. The failure of the 55% caused HQMC to delay the order because it’ll be ‘detrimental’ to the Corps. Before females did the flex arm hang (google it and you’ll find it easy-way easier than push ups or pullups). From what I know (I got out in 2013) pull ups is still an option for females taking the PFT through the end of 2015. Anyone in decent athletic condition should be able to do 3 pull ups. If we can’t even hold females to those standards, how we expect them to pull their weight in the field or combat conditions?

      USMC IOC and Ranger School forced females to the same standards as males…no exceptions. The difference in the USMC and Army is that in the Army there are standards to graduate from Basic, Army standards and additional unit/school standards for physical fitness. In the USMC for their conventional forces, everyone, infantry and non-infantry males (for example) are held to that standard.

      In retrospect, if men and women in the USMC were held to the SAME physical standards within the age group, there will be less questions about physical strength issues. Even female Marines I’ve talked to say that this will be ideal and will help the females more. Until this disparity is fixed, there will be many who think integrating women into the infantry and special operations jobs is a joke.

  3. Maj C. E. Clark, USMC (Ret) 18 February, 2015 at 13:39 Reply

    So, Col. Haring, your idea is for the Marine Corps to make “special” exceptions to their time and combat tested methods of officer selection process and training to accommodate your bruised ego. Artillery, tanks and all other combat arms are not infantry. The Marine Corps unlike the Army of the Republic does have a “1st among equals” in their MOS’ and that is our infantry. They are what all others are designed to support. Aircraft, helicopters, tanks, artillery, logistics, combat engineers, everyone is there to support the infantry, period. That’s why they all exist, to support the infantry. Yes, all Marines as advertised are basic trained Marine infantry and all officers, even female officers are basically trained infantry officers. Basically trained.
    The Marine Corps did a fine job in my opinion to allow any company grade officer who wanted to attend the Marine Infantry Officers Course, which for any officer, male or female would be daunting. That no female officer has yet passed this course does not mean that the course is designed to exclude women; rather it is designed to train the Marine Corps Infantry Officer, period. The course is what the course is. It is difficulty, brutally difficult. It is not sexist, it does not play favorites, it does not accommodate anyone who cannot be successful pass the course as it is. What you failed to mention is that many male officers fail to successfully complete the course.
    As an Army officer, I would not expect you to understand the ethos that all Marines, male or female possess and while you may feel insulted that I would put it that way, but that is a fact. You may also feel that I am being sexist, but I assure you that I would absolutely support any female officer of Marines who can successfully pass the Infantry Officers Course being designated an Infantry officer.
    This is not “Star Ship Trooper” where everyone can serve regardless. Some just can’t make the cut in infantry, just like some just can’t make the cut on the basketball team. It is the real world; there are not trophies for everyone in the arena of conflict. It appears that you have forgotten that. It also appears that you are more in favor of social gerrymandering based on perceived wrongs that have placed the vast majority of women in non-combat positions instead of learning or re-learning tens of thousands of years’ worth of history where in only a few instances did women actively engage in direct combat and fewer did so as infantry type warriors.
    This is the Marine Corps. We exist for two purposes. We make Marines. We win battles. That’s it. We are not here for great social experiments, though we (and the other services) are always being used for that.
    You think that just because you are an Army officer and a very educated female and apparent feminist that you automatically understand Marines. You are wrong. You are not a Marine, you do not understand Marines and Ma’am, you never will.

    And by the way, Semper Fidelis is not just word to us and the problem is, they are just words to you.

    • William Appleby 18 February, 2015 at 18:11 Reply

      The Major is absolutely right. Col Haring has been in many publications trying to equate the battle of equal rights for women with opportunity in a combat unit and it is just plain wrong. If anyone is setting up females to fail in the infantry, it is her and the advocates of this idiotic idea that women should be fighting in infantry units. As I have stated in responses to her articles before, isn’t it funny that the folks advocating for this are the ones that are retired or don’t have draft-able children. This is a stupid idea and does nothing to increase the lethality or capability of the Marine Corps.

      • Mac 19 February, 2015 at 12:03 Reply

        The Major is right, but where has be and other officers been while this issue has been going on? In 2016′ all SOF units WILL have women allowed to screen for entrance and the JAGs and of course other Lawyers have been tearing through the standards and curriculum’s of RASP, SFAS, BUD/S and Ranger School and if it cannot be directly related to combat it is out. We all know that it is not the runs, swims, humps, etc…that make training the worst, it is the mind games and sleep deprivation on top of those things. Ellen want’s that all gone and the only people we have to blame are the senior officers who went along to get along and who continue to tow the PC line.

        • David C. 24 February, 2015 at 20:33 Reply

          How interesting, Colonel. Now would you like to address the Major’s contentions or are you going to ignore a position that demonstrates the idiocy of your beliefs and your lack of understanding regarding a certain matter?

          I’m not military, but I’m a student of history and I have a great deal of respect for the USMC and its ability to produce results with esprit de corps and five bucks a month from Papa Navy. The Marine rifleman gets things done. Just take a look at the war in the Pacific between 1941 and 1945. The Marines and the Navy near single-handedly broke the back of an empire while the Army was trying to get its shit together against a nation already burdened heavily by the Soviets. Hell, more AAF airmen were killed in Northern Europe than Marines were lost fighting an entire country.

          And it always seems to be an Army man in charge of things, screwing up royally and getting people killed. Remember MacArthur and his big goofy pipe wanting to nuke China to solve a peninsular conflict and appointing an incompetent moron (Ned Almond) to command the X Corps? Or what about Westmoreland and not having an actual plan for Vietnam? Hell, even Eric Shinseki couldn’t handle managing the VA.

          I could go on for a while, but you should get the point. As it is, the upper echelons of the Army are largely incompetent. The bulk of its ranking officer corps has, historically, been unfit to lead an army of ants with a licorice whip.

          I understand that it is unprofessional of military to shittalk military, but thankfully, I’ve never put on a uniform. The Army should never talk about the Marines. The Army is too incompetent to levy criticism at the most cost effective fighting force in the United States Military. The Marines do not have a hyper-inflated budget, an engorged personnel roster and an undue degree of political clout and yet they seem to perform better than the Army in nearly all regards. It probably has to do with the ethos of the Marines: Infantry first and guard your brother Marine. They actually give a damn, all the way up to the top.

          Now I know there are downright heroic men that have served in the Army and done great things for this nation, but the overwhelming bulk of them were/are enlisted. But you’re not enlisted. You’re an officer and because you’re trying to press a cause that will hinder the combat effectiveness of an establishment you’re not even a part of, I know you’re incompetent. But then again, you’re a feminist. I already knew you were incompetent.

          You, as a socialist, should thank almighty God that there are men and women better than your sorry ass that are capable of defending this country and the freedom it endows people such as yourself to behave as morally and intellectually dishonest as you are.

          And to you Major, I thank you for your service.

          • Jay 25 February, 2015 at 12:46

            You aren’t really knowledgable about history if you think the Army didn’t play a huge role in the Pacific theater while fighting in Africa and Europe in WWII.

            Google Russell Volkman for a good read and insight on a gentleman with immeasurable courage.

            Don’t talk about subjects of which you have no clue, namely the Army.

            When 85% of our Special Operation Forces reside in the US Army, including the Varsity Team, you might want to rethink your statements. When the last Commandant of the USMC flatly stated that the Army is the US Military’s decisive force of conflict, you might want to rethink your statements.

            Stick to reading history. Or claiming that you do.

  4. Mike O. 18 February, 2015 at 13:47 Reply

    So, let me get this straight. Rather than separate the wheat from the chaff (like we do all other male Infantry Officer candidates), we should just “vigorously recruit” the “toughest, smartest most capable women” to join the Infantry? That is not a sound plan. There’s a process to combat arms integration, and the Marine Corps is attempting to preserve the most lethal fighting force in the world. Your disparaging remarks about the Corps refining Infantry collective task evaluation immediately signals that you have near-zero training management experience and reduces your argument to simple trash-talk. There are battle-hardened professionals who, despite their professional opinions, work daily to introduce females into the combat force as well as maintain a lethal capability. Show some respect. They deserve it.

  5. Ron 18 February, 2015 at 14:12 Reply

    Not really, the only thing you have to do at SOI is not give up or get hurt. When you get the FMF/OpFor you come to realize SOI really is not all that hard

    Take for example the training load at SOI, it is suppose to be 84lbs; that is signficantly less than the low end of 97lbs up to 135 pounds of gear a Marine carried in Helmand province.

  6. John 18 February, 2015 at 14:56 Reply

    Public Affairs Officers are not part of an Infantry Battalion table of organization. They are temporarily assigned to Infantry Battlions on an “as needed” temporary basis along with many other augment personnel from the media, non governmental agencies, legal, finance etc… These personnel make imporatnt contributions to the overall mission, but their involvement in tactical combat operations is tightly controlled based on need and risk. Being attached to an Infantry battalion for a short duration to augment with special skills does not make one an Infantry Marine.

    • Cody 18 February, 2015 at 21:58 Reply

      Furthermore, PAO’s exist at the Division level (not at the Regiment or Battalion levels). Currently at 1st MarDiv, there exists an incredibly talented Marine professional who just also happens to be female. I apologize ma’am, but I do understand the point you are trying to make. But if you are going to illustrate that point, please use examples that are factual. Otherwise, you are supporting these counter arguments that you really don’t understand the Marine Corps or are qualified to discuss Marine infantry.

      • MAJ (Ret) W. Rodriguez USA Infantry 25 April, 2015 at 02:12 Reply

        John, Cody, great points.

        Col Haring seems to have forgotten replacement officers often come from the BN staff in the thick of the fight. It behooves a senior commander to have officers that can fulfill that job, set the example in all areas and keep up with their subordinates.

  7. TominVA 18 February, 2015 at 15:54 Reply

    “the Marines should seek out the toughest, smartest most capable women this country has to offer and vigorously recruit them to join the ranks of the infantry. ”

    Why? Apart from the SECDEF’s directive, what is the business case (military imperative) for doing this?

    • Ron 18 February, 2015 at 16:16 Reply

      It should read the Marines shoud seek out the most capable people and recruit them to be Marines. I have a dream that one day people will be judged solely by their ability and content of their character and not their sex, sexual preferance or color of their skin.

      • James B. 18 February, 2015 at 21:10 Reply

        I agree, but women who want to be infantry Marines need to meet the same standards as the men they would replace. If they can’t pass SOI at the same rate as men, screening needs to be tightened. If they can’t serve as many tours in the field as the Corps gets from men, screening needs to be tightened. If they cannot prove themselves as anything but a direct replacement for a male infantryman, a female infantry Marine is wasting the government’s time and money.

        • Mac 18 February, 2015 at 23:59 Reply

          There is no real standard at SOI though and any attempt to bring one in will result in people like Haring fighting them tooth and nail. All you have to do at SOI is not quit, not get hurt and do three pull ups. That’s it.

  8. Ellen Haring 18 February, 2015 at 16:35 Reply

    Tom, Seems to me that a SECDEF directive is a pretty big military imperative. As for business cases that support this change, well there are so many it’s impossible to list them all but if you want to read up on them here is a good place to start diversityinc.com. The bottom line is that the Marines seem to fear that standards will be reduced in order to admit women so if that is their greatest concern than they just need to seek out kickass women who can meet the standards.

    • Mike O. 18 February, 2015 at 19:29 Reply

      The Marine Corps does not have a responsibility to do more for one group of Marines when it comes at the expense of another group of Marines…or at the expense of a combat capability. This is an equal opportunity organization. If a candidate cannot meet the standard, accepting less to meet someone’s political agenda places Americans’ lives at risk. It’s easy to throw darts when you have no skin in the game.

    • GAB 18 February, 2015 at 21:36 Reply

      The SECDEF is a political appointee (and we have had plenty of bad ones) – I do not think the services should toss out history’s lessons as well as common sense based on politics rather than *fact*.


    • Mac 18 February, 2015 at 23:58 Reply

      Mrs. Haring,
      We all fear the standards will be reduced because we have done that every single time we have let women into any field. The Academies have to have two different standards for Physical Fitness due to the very real biological differences, yet women are given an easier test and a higher grade even though they score lower. Every single unit that has “integrated” females has seen their standards either slide or become non-existent; Airborne, Air Assault and Sapper to name a few. Ranger school has already been downgraded and is allowing what are essentially “coaches” to attend alongside the women who qualify. You yourself constantly argue in favor of lowering standards or say the standards are too high since women cannot meet them. That is why we all fear it, because we know the fix is in and we know not a single women who goes through any of the qualifications will have met the standards that a man would and due to that YOU WILL NEVER BE ACCEPTED. If you wanted to meet the same standards and actually push for higher ones (Army, Navy are a joke) then no one would have a problem, but that is not what you or others want.

    • TominVA 19 February, 2015 at 18:52 Reply

      Hi Ellen,
      Certainly what SECDEF says goes, but I would not call that a military imperative.

      I think the Corps’ fear regarding reduced standards to accommodate women is a valid one. While I applaud your focus on recruiting only “kickass” women (easier said than done by the way), there are others whose concern is solely with the advancement of women in general – military preparedness is not on their radar.

      I haven’t trolled on over to Diversityinc.com just yet, but I’ll check it out.

      It seems to me that the impetus for integrating women into the combat arms is a desire to address societal injustice vice practical military necessity. While I’m not strictly opposed to using the military as a tool for social change (racial integration for instance – that seems to have worked well), women (young American women anyway) are at a distinct physical disadvantage when training for combat arms. Recruiting the right kind of women who could succeed is no small problem, and I just don’t see why we should even try.

      I would be cautious about inferring too much regarding the “successes” from SOI. Of course, if the Corps disregards those outcomes, than it obviously leads us to question the validity of the stated requirements and standards for that training. In other words, if women can’t cut it, why are they cutting it? So this could be a useful exercise for the Corps – if it chooses to see it that way – in better assessing and defining what is required of a basically trained infantry Marine (or artillery, armor, etc.).

      I would also be cautious about inferring too much from the successful performance of women in the recent conflicts. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, there was really no where we could not go if we chose to. We enjoyed superb and largely uninterrupted logistics support and air supremacy. Future conflicts could see our troops struggling in far more austere circumstances, enduring far greater hardships. The unique health considerations of women in these situations could compromise their own safety as well as place a significant, foreseeable, and unnecessary burden on their unit.

    • Marineofficer 22 February, 2015 at 08:01 Reply

      Ma’am, we (Marine Corps) already do seek out the best men and women. I was at TBS with the first two women that volunteered for IOC. They were physically fit far and above the average man or woman. And they still broke. Besides, the physical differences aren’t the only things that make integration a terrible idea. A whole host of issues will crop up as well that only will degrade effectiveness. It’s funny, I have yet to meet one Marine female that actually wants to see females go into infantry. It’s only special Interests groups and retired Army officer. I point you to a Marine (female) officer named Emma Stokien’s article in War on the Rocks for a good perspective on the issues at stake.

      • marinecorpsofficer 23 June, 2015 at 14:14 Reply

        I too was a TBS during this time. Those female Marines were physical beasts. I have been keeping track of this Army Colonel for a while, her rhetoric scares me, to say the least. Too many people just focus on the physical aspect while leaving the holistic (physical, sociological, sexual) alone. Females in infantry will only degrade unit effectiveness, especially if we get into another major war, where we don’t have the luxuries that we possessed in Iraq or Afghanistan with us. I would love Col Haring to participate in some of our training, behind closed doors, I don’t think she would last too long.

    • MAJ (Ret) W. Rodriguez USA Infantry 25 April, 2015 at 02:58 Reply

      “they just need to seek out kickass women who can meet the standards.”

      Wait a minute. A branch a quarter the size if the Army with 60% less women proportionately has already given over a 100 women the chance to attend the Marine Infantry Officer Course. 29 completed the prep. All but ONE failed the 86 day course on the FIRST day. The outlier made it to day 10 and the CORPS isn’t trying hard enough?

      Normed for the Army’s size and female representation it would be 300 candidates, 60 completing the prep program and all failing the course.

      Your stunning effort to deflect responsibility or recognize why women are failing is only dimmed by the singular focus of your agenda.

    • James B. 29 April, 2015 at 06:07 Reply

      What if, merely to fit those “kickass” women into training, a military school needs to cut even better qualified men? Even for basic infantry, and definitely for more rigorous schools like SOI and Ranger School, volunteers outnumber qualified candidates, so there are some who meet the standard, but still don’t get spots.

      From the sounds of the Ranger School and SOI trial classes, many of those women wouldn’t have gotten even spots if they had to fully compete for them.

  9. Gburton 18 February, 2015 at 17:00 Reply

    I agree with Major Clark; it’s difficult to describe the Marine Corps and our ethos to others and one thing the Marines do NOT want to do is lower standards to allow women in infantry or other combat arms. It’s interesting to note that this is not the first combat rodeo for women. When I was in 29 Palms a similar test was done to see if women could be placed in Tank Battalions. Many of the women did not have the upper body strength even to close the hatches of the tanks when it came time to “button up”. The consistently failed in numerous areas. In the scenario, the testers shared with the women that their failure cost others lives. It’s the sobering reality of combat – this is not the girl scouts.
    Let me also share some other points and this is where our digress from Major Clark. Even if a single female passes the Marine Infantry Officer’s Course, and let’s be honest with ourselves; eventually one is going to. So what? The Marine Corps and every male infantryman will have to make numerous, we’re talking tons, of accommodations for this lady and especially if she’s an officer. Separate sleeping quarters, bathrooms, and what about that time of the month when she has female personal issues to tend to. Are we going to have to have a make counterpart always at the ready when she has a severe headache and has to step aside? Oh and by the way, since that is a medical and personal issue, the Marine Corps would be forbidden from removing her for this.
    Out in the field, it’s not just about accommodations either- it’s about the camaraderie of men, brothers in arms; men who understand what it means to be a man and a warrior. Add one women and it changes all of that. it changes the dynamic of the unit. Men in the field are free to live a certain way that is tactically efficient. Sometimes that means showering in the open, taking a leak in the open, talking openly about their girlfriends and wives back home which is a source of bonding and fellowship and you add one women and that’s all gone. Adding a women to a light infantry unit means they will be bogged down, more mechanized, more stuff to carry, more stuff to think about, more sexual awareness classes, more sensitivity training, more and more and more. Why bother? Why are we even thinking about adding women? For equality? They are not equal. Read the female Officer’s article in the Gazette a few years ago – It’s titled: “Get Over It! : Men and women are different” . I’ll tell you why, because the liberal women’s agenda has absolutely no conscience towards and no understanding of national security or our Military. They want, what they call equality at all costs. It will hurt this nation beyond repair. Also, go back to the archives of the USNA and West Point. They don’t want you to know this but male PT scores dropped when they added women. That’s right; after 1976, they went down and the academies have all been dealing with rape, sexual assault and host of other problems ever since. Many Generals and Admirals predicted this and offered the idea of building a separate academy for females; and although their prophecies came true the military did it anyway.
    In the end, Colonel Haring, I will leave you and the rest with this: “A noble nation would never allow it’s women to fight and die in combat while able bodied men stand by”

  10. Ben 18 February, 2015 at 18:26 Reply

    Some of the most vocal proponents for change of the Marine Corps are those who can not fathom the Marine Corps, because they are not Marines. Leave it to a retired Army Colonel to illustrate all of the great things female Marines have done and then tell the Marine Corps why it is on “the wrong side of history.” The only time the Marine Corps will be on the wrong side of history is when it weakens its standards and loses the nation’s battles. The only Marine unit that was on the wrong side of history, was 4th Marines who was ordered to surrender when under Army Command during WWII. Leave well enough alone, Colonel, your chance to influencing the Marine Corps ended when you passed the Marine Recruiter and joined the Army. Also, thank you for your service.

    • MAJ (Ret) W. Rodriguez USA Infantry 25 April, 2015 at 03:14 Reply

      “The only Marine unit that was on the wrong side of history, was 4th Marines who was ordered to surrender when under Army Command during WWII.”

      That’s productive. How about the Marines who didn’t send assistance to Lang Vei as it was being over run despite numerous promises to do so? It took a four star to order the Marines to send lift to rescue the survivors. Or do you want to discuss Gen Mattis decision to not send Medevac to an ODA suffering mass casualties when hit by an errant Air Force bomb. Even though being four times farther away, the Air Force sent help.

      Do not condemn a whole branch because of one former member unless one wants to be judged as stringently.

  11. Andy Weddington 18 February, 2015 at 19:13 Reply

    The Marine Corps has meticulously designed rigorous ground combat training – based on tough lessons learned from loss of blood and life on battlefields about the globe throughout our history – such that men will fail. Of course women will fail. Good grief. It’s not a damn set up! It’s about fighting and surviving and winning. Period. That this article, shallow in thought and logic, made print is remarkable. Colonel A. F. Weddington, U.S. Marines (Ret) 0302 (infantryman)

  12. Sergeant Major (ret) R.D.A., Sr. 18 February, 2015 at 19:19 Reply

    I was an active duty Marine for 30 years and about 9 months. I currently have two daughters (and a son) who are currently Marines. So, I have an opinion.

    First, I was an Infantry Marine for 7 years and a Company 1stSgt for 3. During my early days as a “Grunt”, I was 5’3” and 115 -120 lbs. SOI was closed and “on the job training” is what we had to do…point being, no SOI for me. Being a Grunt was extremely difficult for a guy my size…but, I did it (saw many much larger than I struggle just as much). Now, even though I was “tiny”, and most women are taller/weigh more than me, I very seriously doubt they could withstand the rigors of actual Grunt life (in garrison or combat)…especially for any sustained amount of time. I’m guessing a couple of months, maybe a year or two; after that, they’d quit (or physically broken beyond repair) and never get to the point where they’d become proficient in the MOS enough to lead Marines in combat. That being said, you may be all for it because you are a reservist…one weekend a month, two weeks out of the year (for the most part). And, maybe with that schedule, a lady could manage to “make it” as an Infantryman…but, get activated and live the life for a year or so and…I have my doubts.

    That being said, as I mentioned before, I have two daughters that are Marines…of the two, one is the Hardest Marine I’ve ever met….not because I’m her Daddy but because she IS. Of my many years leading, observing and evaluating Marines, I do not recall any that were as tough as she is….I could run-down her exhaustive list of accolades and achievements: 300 PFT day one, 300 CFT day two (yep, back-to-back), jump school, Iron Woman at Drill Instructor School, etc…it goes on and on but I’m making a point…though she’s the toughest I’ve ever seen, I do not think she’d have the strength to LIVE the Grunt life. And…neither of my two daughters would ever consider being a Grunt…they know how tough it would be and they’d not be able to live with the shame of letting fellow Marines down or having the Marine Corps water down the training enough for them to succeed.

    I note you’ve been picking at this scab since 2012 after your incident of “not being qualified to go to Afghanistan to do your “dream job”” (as the LA Times “liberal rag” article says). At which time you claimed you believed it was your lack of experience in combat because you are woman…hmmm, maybe because you are a Reservist that you were not qualified -lacked the experience- to actually do the job as the “staff officer” suggested and not because of your gender (I mean, it’s something to think about).

    On another note and in agreement with some others who’ve posted here, this issue/the lives of Marines or other warriors are NOT a game or NOT for social experimentation…though, liberals and democrat administrations believe it is. All need to keep their social engineering to their home town and not the fighters of the nation’s battles and that includes the administration’s puppet SECDEFs. Let us keep you free and safe but get the hell out of our way while we’re doing it. How’s that for Col Jessup Yoshi99?

    In conclusion, keep pushing the feminist train rolling trying to have women treated “equal” if you want but, know in your heart, women wouldn’t be able to live the life of a Marine Infantryman…I don’t know how difficult it is to be an Infantry Soldier so, maybe they could do that but never a Marine Infantryman…with that said, why don’t you stick to picking the Army’s conduct apart since that is your base of knowledge and stay out of the Marine Corps’ business.

    • MAJ (Ret) W. Rodriguez USA Infantry 25 April, 2015 at 03:25 Reply

      Great post.

      Check out Col Haring’s essay, “Women and the Audie Murphy model” where the author makes the case that since Audie Murphy was small and couldn’t make it through MIOC (obviously Col Haring is not familiar with WWII basic training, Audie Murphy’s performance during bayonet training or the physical demands of a WWII light Infantryman in Sicily, France and Germany his ) women are being underestimated.

      It speaks much to her ability to conflate.

      • James B. 29 April, 2015 at 06:13 Reply

        She also misses the point: Audie Murphy was only allowed into the military because of desperate circumstances, none of which exist today.

  13. Johnny W Brooks 18 February, 2015 at 20:59 Reply

    No, the USMC isn’t setting up women for failure. The entire process is setting a whole bunch of women up for failure. All those women or men, mostly politicians, who are pushing this so other women can try are complicit.

    This just isn’t a good idea. No military has shown success in integrating women into units designed to take offensive combat to the enemy. Show me one and I will show you someone who is lying or someone with an agenda to push. Even our neighbors to the north who have been doing this since 86 haven’t succeeded, unless you can call .55% of the infantry force who are women, successful.

    We don’t need to do this. It will not improve unit military effectiveness or combat readiness.

    But, it might, just might reach the goals of the MLDC and those who want this to happen. Some day in 40 years or so in the Army or USMC there might just be another 4 star General. That is what this is entirely about, nothing for a better military. Never will so few be affected by so many.

  14. James B. 18 February, 2015 at 21:03 Reply

    Historically, women have been used to fill combat roles when men become harder to recruit for those roles. The Soviet Union used female fighter pilots and snipers because they were taking millions of casualties, and didn’t honestly care how proficient the women were, because they needed to numbers. The United States Navy is integrating women onto submarines because it is getting harder to recruit qualified men–just ask recent Naval Academy officers about the “sub draft.” I could go on, but using women in traditionally male roles has almost always been direct compensation for shortages of manpower.

    The US Marine Corps, on the other hand, has no shortage of qualified volunteers to join the infantry. Female candidates so far have passed infantry training at dramatically lower rates than their male competition, which means that they are taking spots away from those who could use them better. In terms of fairness, efficiency, and what is best for the service, female candidates have to be just as successful as the men they are trying to replace, not just meet the minimum.

    • Mac 18 February, 2015 at 23:50 Reply

      James, that is not true actually. The only reason we are putting women in the subs is due to a mandate and there is NO shortage of males to get into the military. The Navy and the Army both currently have a mandated “goal” of having women make up 30% of their respective services. It was at 20% prior to the “rape” epidemic, but is now being pushed to 30% in order to quell the Ellen’s of the world. This is all about quotas and special interests combined with the fact that we have not had to face a real naval threat in over 50 years. None of this information is hard to find, but it does not fit the retired academics narrative and so is omitted.

      • James B. 19 April, 2015 at 17:49 Reply

        At the Naval Academy, starting with the class of 2008 or so, there was the “sub draft,” where male midshipmen with good grades in technical fields were “invited” to interview for the submarine community. Submarines are traditionally a volunteer community, but they were short on volunteers every year.

        Because of this shortage, women will be welcomed into the submarine community. In the infantry, we have no shortage of (better) qualified volunteers, so women will not be accepted into those roles until they prove beyond doubt that they won those spots on merit alone.

  15. Dave Jones USMC 0311 18 February, 2015 at 22:53 Reply

    Enlighten me, how do all these women become Experts on U. S. Marine Corps Infantry, they have never walked the walk so to speak, neither in Non-Combat or Combat.

    Because your a Colonel, General or whatever?

    This requires patrols (fire-team, squad, company, etc.), Standing Night or Day Watch after humping all day, setting on Ambushes, Listening Posts, Observation Posts and Kill / Snatch Teams, etc…
    Carry full combat equipment assigned weapon(s), your ammo, hand grenades, gun ammo, mortar round, claymore(s), water, food, shelter, etc. day after day night after night, week after week, month after month. And the restrooms are non existent and you bed (?) is were your standing, bathing ?…
    Desert terrain this time, Jungles next? Think they are the same?

    Going along on a Patrol, talking to some women, is not the same as being part of the Patrol, if you are not doing all of the above also.
    We call it being a United States Marine Grunt, an 03, since 1775. You want to be one, do the total job.

    And I won’t even get into Enemy Contact.

    My guess is, you are more interested the Female Movement and Politically Correctness, then it common sense and the lives of both the men and women in the service and the United States Marine Corps ‘Traditions’ you think are a joke.

    To bad, you won’t be the one writing Letters to the Parents at Home for the KIA, MIA or even WIA.

    Reality Check.

    Dave Jones USMC 0311 Vietnam

    • Mac 18 February, 2015 at 23:52 Reply

      The “Colonel” was a teacher and never in the field. The Army has actual Academics as a specialty and that is what the Colonel did while on AD. She is all about status and position, not standards and needs of the force.

  16. Mac 18 February, 2015 at 23:47 Reply

    Ellen, you are again trying to push for lower standards for women because if you asked for truly equal treatment you would not be in the position you are in now. You never would have even gone onto teach at the Academy if we had actually made you meet the same standards, but that does not seem to upset you.

    The SOI has NO standards except that you have not quit or not get hurt, they never foresaw women coming in and hence did not establish any. Anytime someone brings up standards you either cite the women who pass course with no standards or advocate for lowered standards. I honestly do not know how people continue to give you a voice when what you truly want is a quota system that will promise women positions in combat for the purposes of advancement and “status”, nothing to do with peoples lives or what is best for the military. I am both saddened and disgusted that you continue to get articles printed and that no one from the other side ever gets so much as a word in outside of the comments section.

    Reporter-“You indicated that — well, at least it sounds like that there may be certain combat operational forays that women might be excluded from still. I mean, what would be the reasons for that? What sorts of operations?”

    MG Dempsey-“No, I wouldn’t put it in terms of operations, Jim. What I would say is that, as we look at the requirements for a spectrum of conflict, not just COIN, counterinsurgency, we really need to have standards that apply across all of those.

    “Importantly, though, if we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high? With the direct combat exclusion provision in place, we never had to have that conversation.”

    That is a direct exchange on just this topic, the head of it all is already saying they are going to lower standards, Ellen does not want high or any standards really and the current administration is all about lowering standards. Good luck gents, the GOs are willing to throw everyone under the bus for their own personal gain in status and position, much like the good retired Colonel who wrote this article.

  17. George Candle 19 February, 2015 at 03:04 Reply

    Ellen, another one of your articles complaining about women not being treated fairly. I remember a previous article you wrote saying that the CET was unfair to women because it set them up to fail. You also wrote another article comparing Audie Murphy to a female. It is getting to a point where you have to stop this. I respect your service to our country, but “it is what it is.” Women do not have the upper body strength and endurance for direct-combat units. All the complaining in the world is not going to change that. If women were truly equal, why not complete the standards that are already in place. Why make changes. These experiments all only being done to appease feminist and liberal politicians. The current females that completed RTAC were given special treatment. They were not held to the same standards as their male counterparts. Asked any RI.

        • David C. 25 February, 2015 at 21:03 Reply

          Goddamn windows update killed my message. That’s what I get for alt-tabbing to full screen.

          I’ll concede the point about the Army’s involvement in the Pacific. By the Army’s reckoning, that information is consistently downplayed.

          I’ll even cede the hyperbole directed at the officer corps. I have contempt for anyone that is not prioritizing the lives of their endangered subordinates. It’s always sickening to see a moron in charge of people, especially if it unnecessarily endangers lives of people that volunteered to serve their country.

          However, to your points: Your fascination with special forces does not reflect the Army as a whole. It reflects Army Special Forces. This is cherrypicking, an informal fallacy used to belie counterevidence. The Army is not its special forces. If it was, it would be much smaller since most people can not reach the high standards required.

          The commandant’s statements aren’t an opinion. They’re a statement of fact. The Army is hugely inflated compared to the Marines. They have about 8 times the budget and 6 times the manpower. The Army is a sledgehammer while the Marines are more of a knife. His statement is actually stating the obvious purely due to the economics and political franchise the Army has.

          And bear in mind, I never have a problem with enlisted personnel as a group. Enlisted men make the outfits run and are the ones doing the dying. Same with junior officers. I’m only ever leery to begin with when appraising a flag officer and this here colonel. Are there exceptions? Of course. I love Patton and his ability to get shit done. I made this point evident throughout with but one exception. It’s ridiculous how much the Army consumes and yet the Marines seem to stay competitive as a combat force. And yet, there was talk of reducing or removing the Marines a few years ago because they didn’t seem to serve a specific role. How does this kind of thing happen?

          But we seem to at least share the common ground of recognizing the unprofessionalism and dishonesty of the author. If you would like to continue, that’s fine, but I think we share enough common ground to let the argument lie.

      • MAJ (Ret) W. Rodriguez USA Infantry 25 April, 2015 at 02:09 Reply

        James, have you heard of the Mayaguez incident, whose helicopters crashed into a tanker ending operation Eagle Claw, what about security for the Harriers at Camp Leatherneck in 2012?

        Some Marines can be a paradox. Absolutely tremendous servicemen and patriots while simultaneously being just as accomplished in their insecurity.

        Can’t one make a point about one’s competence without constantly trying to inaccurately denigrate another service?

  18. Rexford L 19 February, 2015 at 10:55 Reply

    Every recent change in the makeup of the military, from allowing Sodomites to serve and recently serve openly, allowing women on combatants and now submarines is for ONE purpose, to be POLITICALLY CORRECT. It does NOTHING to make the military a better more capable fighting force, it does NOTHING to ensure that the military will win more wars, but it looks good on a politicians resume.

  19. Johnny W. Brooks 19 February, 2015 at 21:56 Reply

    I want to try to elicit a response one more time.

    The intent by DOD in lifting all exclusions on women in the armed forces is what? Is it to improve combat readiness? I doubt so, as there are no indications it will improve combat readiness. Is it to improve military effectiveness? I have seen nothing produced or conjectured by anyone or any organization that says it will improve unit effectiveness. Is it to right a wrong and improve equal opportunity? Well, you would think so, but I have seen nothing in that vane either.

    If you have done your study of this subject you will see that the Military Leadership Diversity Commission in its report and more importantly in its transcripts attempted to provide attention to diversifying the leadership of the military. But, it could not provide focus on the subject and kept coming back, over and over again to one thing, providing more opportunities to women “officers” in the military. The MLDC went even further and openly stated this was an Army and USMC problem because the culture of the Army and the USMC was such that most senior Generals (not leaders, but Generals) were in the combat arms of those services. In the USMC it was even more so stated as “All” 4 star generals came from the combat arms. So if you are to have more women senior leaders you have to open up the combat arms. Most amazing in the MLDC was they lost reference on minorities, enlisteds or anyone other than officers. Some on the MLDC tried to get them back on track and address their charter. They did not do it. They largely addressed only women’s upward mobility.

    So, a couple of years later the decision is to address the issue by providing the capability for women to go into the combat arms so that maybe, just maybe in 40 years there might be one more woman 4 star General in the Corps or the Army.

    The MLDC was briefed on surveys that demonstrated few women stated they were interested in the infantry. The MLDC was briefed on results of other nations attempts at putting women in the infantry with poor results. The MLDC was informed that the retention of women in the armed forces was declining not improving. The reason given by women on leaving the service was deployments, which is what combat arms do for a living. The MLDC was shown statistics that women continuance to 20 years in the armed forces is significantly lower than that of men. The MLDC was provided all the statistics on physical performance of women and provided information on the injury rate and disability rate of women in the armed forces. The MLDC was informed that the injury rate and disability rates of women would only get worse if women were allowed in more physically challenging vocations.

    But they decided despite the plethora of information demonstrating that women would have a very challenging time if all branches of the USMC and Army were opened up to recommend the lifting of the combat exclusion rule.

    Why did they do that not because they wanted to set women up for failure but because that was the intent of the MLDC in the first place.

    Unless the USMC and the Army tell the truth, they are setting up most women for failure. If they inform DOD that this is hard and many women will fail then the onus is on the decision makers in DOD and the White House to let women fail. The success of women in other armies in the infantry is little to none. Even those nations who declare success deep down in the military will tell you it is not successful. For instance our friends to the north started this trek in 1986. I believe it took them 4 years to get a woman through the Infantry Platoon Cdr’s Course. They have had little success since. My last statistics showed that of the Canadian Forces infantry, only .55% were women with few women staying to be senior NCOs or officers.

    Is the Corps setting up women for failure? No, not really, the country that is allowing this charade to occur is setting up women for failure. Now I would think there will eventually be some woman pass the USMC IOC. I would think there will eventually be the same in the Army. But I don’t think having a population of a handful of women in either the Corps Infantry or the Army infantry a success. In particular you will get some women officers to succeed but few women enlisted will apply and even fewer will stay. It definitely won’t’ be a success for the nation.

    What is even more dreadful is that young minds and bodies are very vulnerable. Failing so early in ones life can have drastic effects on ones’ mind and can destroy ones’ confidence. In anticipation of that occurring at a much higher rate on women who attempt I would anticipate the release from service on young women to increase steadily.

    Life isn’t fair, and yes, we are setting up a whole bunch of women to fail. It won’t be their fault either. It will be a system that allows it to occur because some are too busy minding their own personal business to mind the authentic business of the military.

  20. Paul Backs 20 February, 2015 at 17:15 Reply

    I recognize the attempt by those who have extensive experience to put this discussion into an operational environment which I don’t think the author really understands or has a desire to expand her understanding. She is way behind in her response to many good arguments. Looking forward to her comments or “yeah but”.

  21. Ellen Haring 20 February, 2015 at 21:38 Reply

    I challenge you all to show me one single service woman, just one, who has ever advocated that standards be lowered to accommodate her in any MOS, school, qualification course, etc? I see a lot of claims that women seek lower standards but they are false claims. None of us has ever advocated lowering standards.

    I think the gripe stems from different PFT standards. But even that I don’t understand since PFT score tables are both age and gender normed. Why doesn’t anyone object to age norming standards if there is an indisputably standard out there.

    But the truth of the matter is that standards are adjusted all of the time. Perhaps the best person to speak about standards in a rational way is Marine Corps Major Edward Carpenter. He wrote about the Marine Corps’ history of changing standards. Read his take on the standards debate.

    • James B. 29 April, 2015 at 06:22 Reply

      Is there a need to lower the standard? For many of these schools, there are so many candidates qualified well past the minimum standard that it serves as a guide, but no one is actually admitted who only meets the minimum.

      Unless you think women should be given quota spots, their real competition isn’t the starting minimum, but the other candidates, and they aren’t changing.

  22. George Candle 21 February, 2015 at 14:13 Reply

    Pressure Grows for Marines to Lower Standards for Women
    27 Female Marines Have Attempted the Infantry Officers Training Course. None Have Passed.
    BY: Aaron MacLean

    Retired Army Col. Ellen Haring, an advocate for women in combat, says that although the entire formation was supposed to complete the hike in three hours, it took most of the group closer to four hours.

    “Despite the fact that none of them could keep the pace that was set that day, they were considered failures. But the whole unit failed to meet those parameters, not just those six people,” she says. “Who maintains the rate of the march?”

    The Marines haven’t always been clear about the parameters for the course, says Greg Jacob, policy director for the Service Women’s Action Network.

    At the enlisted training school, Mr. Jacobs, who served as a Marine, recalls that students were told they could walk no faster than three miles an hour, and every hour they had to take a 10-minute break.

    In the IOC, “it’s up to the person in front to set the speed of the hike,” he says. “There doesn’t seem to be a standard around these movements.”

    As a result, he adds, “it seems like the goal posts just keep moving.”

    Colonel Haring argues that this is particularly tough for the women who are endeavoring to become infantry officers. “I’m sure all of these women did this course because they thought they could complete it,” she says.

    • Ron 25 February, 2015 at 21:38 Reply

      The reason some of the standards are not clear or explained to the students has to do with the staff attempting to evaluate how the students react to the stress of the unknown.

      War still invovles friction and we cannot remove the stress the unknown causes. So it is best to pick leaders who are able to cope with that stress

  23. George Candle 21 February, 2015 at 14:20 Reply

    From the Washington Times. Your exact quotes Ms. Haring.

    Army colonel: Physical strength not the end-all, be-all of combat service

    “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.”

    Army colonel: Physical strength not the end-all, be-all of combat service →

    In focusing only on physical strength in violent situations, she said: “We diminish the importance of what are probably more important traits in soldiers: the ability to remain calm, focused, creative and quick-thinking in times of extreme duress. These are the traits that we should be measuring as we assess soldiers for combat specialties. Physical strength is important, but it shouldn’t be the most important trait that we assess, and it certainly shouldn’t become a way to filter out the Audie Murphys of our population.”

    Army colonel: Physical strength not the end-all, be-all of combat service →

  24. Johnny W. Brooks 21 February, 2015 at 16:40 Reply

    Ellen, men are the biggest problem when it comes to enforcing standards. Men have a very hard time holding women to the same standard that the hold men. Men look at women as their daughter, wife or in the case of very senior leaders maybe even their grandaughter. Therefore, they lose their objectivity and there is the tendency to just make it successful. Hence you have comments like, “well if the standard is too high for women to meet then maybe we will just look at why the standard is so high,” or words to that effext. Inablity to maintain standards is a huge issue in any military force. I would hope you would agree.

    I personally have given up on the physical differences between men and women as a justification to demonstrate that many women can’t measure up. We have volumes of studies and tests from armies around the world that say there is a difference but few pay any attention. My biggest concerns now are that we are trying to create 2nd class citizens and for the wrong reasons.

    Back to the standards issue. I see men supervisors unable and unwilling to force women to live to the same requirements. Let’s use child care as an example. Go to a child care center on any post around 0900 and see who is dropping off the kids. Then go back at 1530 and see who is picking up the kids. It isn’t the men. But the male supervisor will allow women to do that but not men. Same goes for missing work for child care. I have seen many female soldiers allowed to bring children to work, but I can’t remember ever seeing a man do it. Is this a double standard, doubtful. It is just an unwillingness by supervisors to hold men and women equally.

    No military has been successful in this endeavor. Why do we think we will be any different? If I had the confidence that we would truthfully look at it and if it didn’t work overturn it, I would be more willing to allow it to happen. But, our miitary seldom, if ever, admits it makes a mistake and returns to where it was. Our leaders are selectd to make thing work and to make them successful, otherwise they aren’t selected. Gender integrated training in BCt is the perfect example. Studies and results show it has done no good but it is still there.

    I can see no one happy in 40 years about this, assuming it is done. The VA is going to have huge increases in medical issues and pesnions. The Social Security administration will have a significant increase in disability. Since women claim deployments are the biggest reason they leave the services, I would anticipate a smaller percentage of women in the military because MEUs and BCTs deploy. And I would be really surprised if we have that 1 additional 4 star General so many sociologists and politicians want.

  25. Andy Weddington 22 February, 2015 at 14:17 Reply

    Bottom line: With the premise that the highest state of combat readiness, in the name of national security, is the standard…
    1) The vast majority of women do not want to serve in ground combat; 2) All women (as are some men), for sundry reasons, are unqualified to serve in ground combat; 3) And, therefore, no women (and some men) should never serve in ground combat.
    Colonel A. F. Weddington, U. S. Marines (Ret) 0302 (infantryman)
    PS: An expert testifies: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fy–whDNNKk

  26. Jay 23 February, 2015 at 05:00 Reply


    I’m sure you are sick of reading the rebuttals regarding the content of your article. I’ll take a second to comment on your arguments structure:

    You provide a series of tests or studies with little to no context of each. You fail to provide the background on why each test was completed and subsequently followed by another test. You imply impropriety on the behalf of the USMC without a stitch of evidence to support that case. You hope that the readers will take the bait and infer the USMC has engaged in unethical assessment of female candidates.

    This article is irresponsible and disingenuous at best, and at worst is an exceptionally poor presentation of your claims and is somewhat insulting.

    I recommend presenting actual evidence to back up your implication.

  27. robert karder 24 February, 2015 at 19:21 Reply

    The article says that women are in effect equal to men in just about any task. The colonel who wrote the article well was a well written fiction.
    Lets look at some real life examples . Lipperman wrote a popular Vietnam era book called ” Blood on the Risers”. He conducted his own onsite interviews with current military instructors . Except for the public needs of enchanced support of equality of all things . The DI’s off the cuff in all honesty stated that the standards do to women have debased and driven down their service efficiency.
    Look at the little tot out of West Virginia who was captured in Iraq or some other combat area . They didn’t do anything to her prior to release but she suffered a near complete nervous breakdown . They are the same as us we are all one pandering to a fiction.
    No matter how well a view is presented in a formalized academic situation that doesn’t , shouldn’t distract from the real truth that exists. The written word no matter how persuasive and well presented cannot change the observability of the real world we live in . Letters cannot change the physical
    Its like all those service manuals in use today written by persons who have not experienced any real combat in some cases the military itself.

  28. Satish Neupane 3 March, 2015 at 05:39 Reply

    Dear Ellen, I am very fond of your article and I would like to give my views regarding your blogs can I have your email address please. With Warm regards. Satish Neupane.

    • ArkansasTraveler 12 August, 2015 at 14:01 Reply

      Good article,
      For my self, 0311 Nam, when the ship happens I don’t care if its a BAM or a linebacker coming to help all I want to see is a Marine.

  29. Art Veloz 18 March, 2015 at 17:48 Reply

    Why should the Marines have to seek out the toughest and smartest women officer recruits? Maybe it should be the toughest and smartest women who need to seek out the Marines. The Marines don’t seem to have any shortage of tough and smart recruits (i.e. men) coming in for Infantry. So why make a special effort just for the sake of finding women? I’m not against women being in Combat, but I’m also not for forcing it down people’s throats especially for those who don’t meet the standards that everyone else has to do. It should be open to women, but not forced inclusion.

  30. William Hughes 19 March, 2015 at 01:29 Reply

    When I entered active service in 1979 at The Basic School, I looked at what IOC was providing for training and, due to having had 5 shoulder separations, decided that there was no way I would complete the training. Sports injuries limited what I could do in the Corps. Instead, I became an artillery officer and contributed to Corps and Country for 25 years. My mind was stimulated daily and my body was tested in different ways throughout my career. It was often a rigorous test and certainly rewarding enough that I have no regrets for having served as something other than an infantry officer. I am fortunate to have realized my personal limitations early and not set myself up for disappointment or failure.
    Recently, a very senior retired officer completed an address with an analogy that I think carries several levels of messaging pertinent to this debate. You are on the Oregon football team preparing to play in the Rose Bowl. The Oregon legislature passes a law directing that 1/3 of the football team must be women. You say, “Great opportunity for them. Now what about that Ohio State team? Did their legislature do the same?” You are told “No, women aren’t playing football on the men’s team.” “That’s unfair,” you say. Now replace the teams with the Marines and, let’s say any of our enemies.

  31. MAJ (Ret) W. Rodriguez USA Infantry 25 April, 2015 at 01:52 Reply

    MAJ Clark, your argument has some very strong points but but your observation that an Army officer doesn’t understand the Marines cuts both way. For what it’s worth the Army also has a “1st among equals” and also exists to win battles and wars. You probably aren’t aware having never been a US Army Infantry officer.

    You would have been on much surer footing questioning Col Haring’s ability to assess what it takes to be in the Infantry vs. alienating the whole Army which is going through the same issues the Corps is.

    Col Haring argument cherry picks facts, makes factual errors (often demonstrating a fundamental lack if understanding of Infantry combat) or gross distortions. E.G. The devil is in the details on comparing “good” physical fitness. There’s a huge difference between raw scores and gender normed scores. female Marines actually can attend MIOC twice. Lt Sage Santangelo asked for that change, got it and then didn’t take advantage of it… (while we’re here I’d like to see the evidence that Male Marine officers can always attend the course a second time without sanction. Col Haring has a tendency to play fast and loose with the truth. Have you seen her make the case that since Audie Murphy made it in the Infantry so could women based on Murphy’s physical stature and not on his accomplishments?). Finally she credits the Marines with creating the “Lioness” program but forgets the Army was doing it before the Corps and just didn’t name it. In fact some of the first Marine “Lionesses” were in fact Soldiers. There are more inaccuracies.

    But getting away from bragging rights, an actual comparison of Col Haring’s favorite conflation between female engagement teams (FETs) and Infantry would decimate the often cited conflation. What’s the combat load of a FET member and an infantryman on the line? How do routine responsibilities compare to the average grunt? EST’s don’t carry unit equipment, crew served weapons, ammo for crew served weapons, a position on the outside of the perimeter or spend the same repeated time in the field as their Infantry brethren…

  32. Sgt. Paul Goodman U.S.M.C. 11 August, 2015 at 01:56 Reply

    You Ma’am are not a Marine so you have no right to comment on my Marine Corps.

  33. Sgt. Paul Goodman U.S.M.C. 11 August, 2015 at 02:03 Reply

    You Ma’am are not a Marine, and have no right to comment on my Marine Corps.
    Thank God I’m not paid to write.

  34. Doc 11 December, 2015 at 04:25 Reply

    Someone should inform the Col that G.I. Jane was a movie and Demi Moore didn’t actually pass Buds. Nuff said. Doc Iraq 04/05, 08/09.

  35. Chesty Puller 19 December, 2015 at 03:34 Reply

    COL Ellen Haring, it is your lack of knowledge, training, and experience of Infantry duties and of course your feminist political correctness that will jeopardize our National Security. The DOD is not Walmart, there is no democracy in the Military. We seek out and only want the best to accomplish the mission; the mission being the protection of our Nation against all evils, foreign and domestic. We are not to become a social experiment just to satisfy the extreme minute number of females that want to become Infantrymen or Special Ops. You need to lesson to General Robert H. Barrow, 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps from his experience in combat in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I consider him a subject matter expert in this topic.

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