Marine Battalion Commander fired for being too tough err, I mean “toxic”

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by Will Rodriguez 17 Comments
Photo by John Althouse The Daily News via AP

The NYT reported the story of Lt. Col. Kate Germano, a commander of an all women Marine basic training unit.  Besides increasing female Marine physical performance and a three-fold increase in rifle qualification Germano made enemies and was recently relieved.   Statements like “telling them (female Marines) their male counterparts will never respect them if they don’t get good physical scores” were considered mistreatment according to Parris Island chief of staff Col. Jeffrey Fultz.  Removing chairs set aside for women Marines who couldn’t stand after their nine mile graduation road march (men weren’t given any) was also symptomatic of her unreasonable demands.

Increasing run ins with her commander over having 40% less drill instructors and contacting recruiters directly sealed her fate.

Based on my experience as an instructor at the Academy, this is no surprise.

People have to understand, when it comes to women service members, superiors are a mix of Beta males looking to ingratiate themselves with feminists, those that don’t believe women should be held to the same standard as men promoting the double standards our military has developed to integrate the military and those who make the decision to stop rocking the boat at the risk of career ending consequences of treating service members the same regardless of sex.

Making troops meet “one standard” risks not passing those that would have passed before under a gender normed double standard.  In a twisted way, feminists see this as unfair.  When same standards create unequal results sexism exists.  Don’t believe me? How many feminists are applauding her holding females up to the male standard?  Superiors eager to cater to the feminists and demonstrate what modern thinkers they are ascribe to this gobbledygook logic

Then there are the superiors listening to the troops complaining that she’s too hard. They are the ones that believe in the double standards and that expecting women to meet the male standards is unreasonable and unfair.  (It may also raise uncomfortable questions from greater powers as to why pass rates are lower.)

Finally, there is the great and understandable cowering mass who recognize all this insanity for what it is.  Of course units manned at 60% the instructor rate of male units might have a tough time making higher standards.  They also know better to say anything at the risk of drawing a spotlight an their intransigence for telling the emperor he’s naked.

Never fear campers, we continue the inexorable march towards integration carefully avoiding discussing standards or differences in performance.

Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • Txazz

    Expected this article.  I still do not understand why they would not hold women to the same standards for the same type jobs because it could well mean life or death.  Times have changed and left me behind in this brave new world.  Thanks for following up.

  • Luddite4Change

    After reading the fairly comprehensive Marine Times article the other day, I forced myself to ask a difficult question, “Would a male officer have been relieved for taking the same kinds of actions and making the same types of comments to subordinates?”

    Based on the substantiated information from the investigation included in the article, I have to conclude that a male officer would have been fired had they done the same thing. 

    The fact that I fully agree with the direction the LtCol was taking training and having her Marine Recruits held to the same standard is irrelevant.  Perhaps this is just testament to the low bar for relieve in these types of circumstances that exists today.  So, in a perverse way this is gender equality in action.  Also remember, the Paris Island is under the bright lights of oversight, so scrutiny/standards that a commander falls under are a little more stringent also.  Actions/words that might be more acceptable in the Fleet are going to get you ticket out of town in the recruit world. 

    For the record, I have zero tolerance for any officer who would publicly berate service members (especially ones who met the service’s PT standard) by having them stand up in front of their peers and superiors and say that there performance wasn’t good enough and that they won’t be respected as leaders.  Right goal, wrong delivery. 

    Berating your officers because of their comments on a command climate survey is completely out of line.  That’s a leadership issue.

    In today’s environment, when you are talking about sexual assault being accurate and truthful just isn’t enough.  You need to be artful in delivery, especially if its a tough love message that young ladies need to take some individual responsibility and avoid putting themselves in a vulnerable position. (I don’t think its asking to much to expect better from a 20 year O-5 and an attorney.)

  • YankeePapa

    …I have mentioned before the USAF bomb loaders in Kuwait during Gulf War One.  Insane level of air support gave them little rest.  With the best will in the world, women loaders “hit the wall” and the men had to take up the slack.  
    …The Seattle Fire Department in the late 70s ( decades before Seattle became a San Francisco style “People’s Republic”) was forced to take female applicants.  The first batch foisted off on the department were simply incapable of undergoing training, let alone operating in the field.  Non Fire Department recruiters accepted 5’4″ women.  Some there to “make a statement”, others simply liked the idea of the pay and benefits.
    …City council held hearing as to total washout.  One politico suggested “lighter ladders and hoses…”  One activist present demanded that the Department be ordered to give the washouts “non-combat” (SFD referred to firefighting as combat) positions.  Well, not a vast number of those, and the majority reserved for firefighters who were disabled or recovering from injuries.  
    …Politicos were embarrassed… said Department could go out and select its own female recruits.  They came up with a small number who were six feet or better… looked as if they had been tossing bales of hay their entire life… and had damn little fat.  Some of those did well in training and graduated.  But there were only a few and the City politicos had to quietly back off any idea of anything more than a token presence.  (But there were ideas considered… maybe replacing firefighters who were paramedics with female technicians… other ideas…)

    …A firefighter can either carry a 200+ lb unconscious man down a ladder… or he can’t.  Gender norming doesn’t impress the fire.  It also does not impress an enemy in the field.

  • Luddite4Change 
    There is no way “artful” enough to tell troops they need to avoid putting themselves in vulnerable positions.  You are ALWAYS going to piss someone off and that fact has an incredibly chilling impact on commanding and commanders.

    Here’s a story of a BDE CDR who was pulled from deploying with his Brigade to a combat zone because all of THREE female officers were offended at him delivering that message. 

    When 1% of the audience can prevent a commander from deploying to war with the unit it’s only common sense to not deliver the message of personal responsibility. Failing to say what you know you should is a clear abdication of command responsibility.

    This is not the only case. Gen Cucculo of the 3rd ID was forced to withdraw a policy reminding male and female soldiers they were responsible for robbing the unit of combat power by getting pregnant and they were both subject to UCMJ.  He “inartfully” pointed out that when a soldier gets pregnant they have to be evacuated from theatre and the unit does without that soldier or another soldier is deployed to execute the pregnant soldier’s duties.  Men were also just as responsible as women.
    (There are other cases.)

    It’s not a question of finding “eloquent” commanders.  The message is unacceptable in today’s PC climate.

  • Luddite4Change

    majrod Luddite4Change Man or woman, don’t touch the third rail!!!

    Numerous commanders and senior NCO’s are able to deliver that message monthly, if not weekly, without being fired or offending their soldiers.  It looks to me that some have broken the code. 

    Unfortunately, the real loser here is the Marine Corps, who DX’d an officer who would have served as a positive role model for thousands of Marines.

  • YankeePapa

    majrod Luddite4Change ,
    …The loons are running the asylum.  Women wanted equality… and when they got it and when they found that it came at a price, some wanted special treatment.  I feel sorry for the handful that want no special treatment… but will be judged with all those who do.  
    …In Rhodesia, a number of us were sitting outside the armory cleaning our FNs.  A platoon of female personnel in camos marched up by a male officer.  They had been firing FNs for familiarization.  They were ordered to hand their weapons to us to clean them.  They were then marched off. 

    …A few were badly embarrassed… a few smirked… and most took it the way that a kitten takes its saucer of milk.
    …The military is taking gays.  That’s ok, but it’s probably not screening them.  Rhodesia accepted about half… and Switzerland takes about half… (board of gay soldiers helps screen out the half that aren’t good material… complicated…)
    …Today article about the military talking about taking trans-gender.  Commanders would need to be very careful regarding any conversations… I am reminded of one Jewish resistance movement that had a problem along those lines…

    [the members of “The People’s Front of Judea” are sitting in the amphitheater; Stan has just announced that he wants to be a woman and
    wants to be called “Loretta,” and is explaining why]
    …Stan: I want to have babies.
    …Reg: You want to have babies?!?!
    …Stan: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.
    …Reg: But … you can’t HAVE babies!
    …Stan: Don’t you oppress me!
    -Life of Brian-

  • Luddite4Change majrod 
    commanders and senior NCO’s are able to deliver that message monthly,
    if not weekly, without being fired or offending their soldiers.  It
    looks to me that some have broken the code.”
    Evidence?  A lack of reporting doesn’t mean it’s happening.  Do you have any cases of leaders addressing personal responsibility in the part of the victim as being part of avoiding sexual assault or the cold truth that LTC Germano stated?  How many leaders have told women you will not be respected by men if you don’t get good PT scores?  Granted my experience is dated but even 20 years ago I don’t remember even one of my 35 fellow company tactical officers or my superiors ever saying it back then for fear of the “blaming the victim” allegation feminists use so well to avoid any discussion of personal responsibility. 

    How is the Marine Corps losing?  You yourself said, “You
    need to be artful in delivery, especially if its a tough love message
    that young ladies need to take some individual responsibility and avoid
    putting themselves in a vulnerable position. (I don’t think its asking
    to much to expect better from a 20 year O-5 and an attorney.)”
    Using that standard the Marines got rid of a 20 year O-5 that wasn’t eloquent enough making room for someone that is.
    The problem is there are no examples of the degree of eloquence required because it’s not possible.

  • YankeePapa majrod Luddite4Change 
    I think you described the core truth.
    few were badly embarrassed… a few smirked… and most took it the way
    that a kitten takes its saucer of milk.”
    The truth is female troops come in three flavors:
    The best that want no differences whatsoever
    Those that want to be equal but not pay the price.
    Those that are ok with having less expected of them.
    The problem is if you cater to the first you alienate the other two groups. 
    Cater to the second (the most vociferous) or third groups and you just piss off the men that don’t have a vote anyway.

    Never underestimate the attractiveness of the easier wrong to leaders with no scruples or backbone.  It’s almost assured that’s the choice they’ll take.

  • Luddite4Change

    majrod Luddite4Change 
    many leaders have told women you will not be respected by men if you
    don’t get good PT scores?”

    If she had walked in front of her troops and said that in a general way, it would have been fine. 
     Unfortunately, she single out several Marines personally which was the problem.  (The article was unclear as to if the incident was with her permanent party or her recruits.) 

    I agree that there is no standard, and all commanders can find themselves walking on egg shells from time to time.  My larger point was that she is being treated exactly the same way as a male Marine Officer who would have made similar comments.  If it was a male officer relieved under similar circumstances, I doubt we would be having the same type of conversation.

    I may be making some assumptions, but I’ve got to believe that every weekend safety brief includes something on SA at the current time.  I’d, perhaps foolishly, like to also believe that commanders and 1sg’s discuss making oneself a harder target by practicing some prevention.

  • Luddite4Change majrod 
    We’d be having the same convo if it was a male.  The similar cases I mentioned above were forefront in my memory.  I didn’t have to search for them because they made an impact.

    A discussion of situational awareness is far different than telling troops if you get drunk off your ass you are making yourself vulnerable and that behavior is part of the problem.

    Trust me, being in charge of coed units is definitely different than an all male organization when it comes to what you can say, how you can say it and how you enforce standards.

  • KineticFury

    I read the story and it made me think there’s more to it behind the scenes, at least relationally speaking. The statement quote “telling them (female Marines) their male counterparts will never respect them if they don’t get good physical scores” end quote seems like more of a poor (or polite if it’s uglier than it appears) excuse than a legitimate reason. I get how it’s not PC but it seems like someone is pointing out minor offenses in order for some personal vengeance….because….well…actually the only thing that makes sense is what majrod said in the title.
    Guess the saying “you can’t be too tough” takes on a whole new meaning, haha!

  • roxie22

    As soon as I read this news (in MM) about Lt. Col. Germano I wanted to come here and see what Major Rod had to say. He was the first to make me think critically about women in military and different standards for fitness/ performance etc. I think it is sad that Germano is relieved of her command because she sounds like she was honest with her Marines (I don’t see anything wrong with telling them not to put themselves in compromising positions) and encouraged them to meet an equal standard and not settle for the easier treatment (chairs after the road march). As I read through the comments here I tend to agree with KineticFury it seems like someone has a personal vendetta against Germano.

  • steelhorse

    In Columbus Ohio a woman was accepted into the fire department after failing the final physical test 3 times to much fanfare hey it only took her 3 more minutes on her best try close enough

  • toril

    Funny I find it unfair (and patronizing) that  I would not be expected to be held to the same standard as a man, however it seems the feminist agenda seems to have a different view.  I don’t see that she did anything wrong but given how the world is working I fear we will see this more and more.  The part I find most irritating is it seems most of the people pushing for these things are not serving, have no plan to serve and aren’t going to have their lives on the lines when the inevitable disasters occur due to  all of this

  • Riceball

    On a related note, it looks like the Corps is going to want to be allowed women from serving as grunts because co-ed grunt units just weren’t performing up to snuff. I just hope that the Corps will be able to do this and either the SecNav or SecDef don’t force the Corps to allow women to be grunts. Just because a few can pass Ranger School does not mean they make for good grunts.

    Speaking of Ranger School, anyone know how different Ranger School is from Marine Cops Infantry Officer School? A friend and I were wondering about that since Ranger School is supposed to be pretty tough but a few women have been able to pass that yet none have passed the Marine Infantry Officer Course, Is the Corps’ grunt officer course that much more difficult than Ranger School? Or is the reputation of Ranger School overblown? I know that it’s more a leadership course than anything and does not mean you’re a Ranger and awful lot of people in the Army, especially officers, seem to have Ranger tabs.

  • Luddite4Change

    I think its an apples to oranges comparison.  1st the Army had a very significant preperatory training pipeline into Ranger school that the USMC didn’t have for women going to IOC.  2nd, given the training pipeline the sample sizes were different, 120 women entering pre-Ranger vs. 20ish women going to IOC.  3rd, IOC didn’t initially have a recycle program for the women while Ranger school did (remember that the women Ranger graduates recycled numerous times).  Given that, the attrition experience was pretty similar.

  • Riceball 
    Comparing the two is difficult.  The subject matter in Ranger school (i.e. patrolling) is much more specific and graded to a very high standard as well as being done almost entirely in the field.  There is no sustained food/sleep deprivation and very few recycles in MIOC.
    Ranger tabs are very common among Army Infantry/SF officers (a 80%+ of active duty types) otherwise it’s pretty uncommon in other combat arms and downright rare in the supporting arms.  Note: Generals Dempsey (CJCS) and Ordierno (CACS) both do not have Ranger Tabs.

    Interesting dynamic going on with Marine Infantry units.  The Corps doesn’t want it.  Sec Navy says the Marines are biased.  The Marines have had challenges getting women through MIOC.  Over 120 have completed the infantry enlisted course with evidence that coed units have issues.  The Marine approach to testing women in Infantry units was much better executed than the Army’s which had short duration specific skills looked at.