Every Marine should be for those who want the title to earn it Male or Female

An article titled “Marine Commander’s Firing Stirs Debate on Integration of Women in Corps” written by Dave Philipps for the New York Times was emailed to me for my thoughts on the subject.  After reading it, I gained more than just a thought, I gained a prospective.

The article reported that “when Lt. Col. Kate Germano took command of the Marine Corps’ all-women boot camp, the failure rate of female recruits at the rifle range was about three times higher than that of their male counterparts, and she said there was no plan to try to improve it. “The thinking was girls can’t shoot, so why bother,” she said in an interview.  So she worked with trainers to give women better skills instruction, and soon passing rates soared, according to Marine Corps records. In June, 95 percent of women passed initial rifle qualification, equaling the rate for men. Colonel Germano made similar gains in strength tests and retention — though scores on written tests went down — and began advocating better training and resources for female recruits.  “Once we showed the recruits and the coaches and drill instructors it was possible, it filled them with so much confidence,” Colonel Germano said in the interview near her home last week. “They knew they were as good as every other recruit, and my hope was the Marines saw it, too.”  The corps said that Colonel Germano’s removal had nothing to do with gender, and that an investigation had found that she disobeyed her chain of command and berated and embarrassed subordinates when they did not meet her standards.  Colonel Germano said that creating a foundation of respect between male and female recruits should be a key part of training, and that she was stunned by the low expectations that undermined female recruits’ credibility when she arrived at Parris Island in June 2014.  At her first ceremony as commander to mark the end of a training cycle, Colonel Germano noticed a row of chairs behind the women’s formation and asked what they were for. She said she had been told that they were for women who were too tired or sore to stand for the ceremony — which came at the end of a nine-mile march. The men did not have a row of chairs.  She watched a handful of women break formation and sit down.  “After that I ordered that the chairs be taken away,” she said. “That could be seen as me being mean, but the chairs sent a message to everyone that less was expected of females.”  Colonel Germano increased physical training. Soon the number of women completing the final march increased and the number of injuries decreased, she said. And everyone who completed the hike stood at the end.  “I was pushing recruits hard, and there was a faction of Marines that was unhappy with me, but I was O.K. with that. I was just trying to do right by the Marines,” she said.

If respect is expected it must first be given but for many male Marines, it is difficult to give respect if you feel that those to whom you must give it did not earn it.  To have the female Marines complete the same tasks and assignments that male Marines do is essential to building that respect.  Lt. Col. Germano was on the right track and those superior to her should have seen it and embraced it but maybe it was out of fear that the once strongly held belief that men are better than women would have been proven a big fat lie had she remained and was successful.  


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