Marines Graduate “Infantrywomen”

Posted on: November 19th, 2013 by Will Rodriguez 30 Comments

On 21 November the Marine Corps will likely graduate its first three Infantrywomen (one was hurt in the final week and complete a final PT test with the following class).  A huge congratulations is in order to the women who will complete the Marines’ enlisted basic Infantry course.  It is a significant personal accomplishment for these women. 23 additional women (from 39 that started) are in the pipeline spread over three classes. 

That said, I predict two out comes.  One is that those with an agenda will claim an uncontested and total victory making the case that women belong in the Infantry and secondly many of the wrong lessons will be learned.

Time will show a list of articles claiming uncontested and total victory.  The wrong lessons can be identified here.  

Three of 15 women will graduate an 80% failure rate for a course that typically drops 1% of the men. Will there be a discussion of whether a failure rate 80 times the male rate is an efficient use of military resources?   I doubt it.  The first wrong lesson will be that there is a reason to practice this kind of inefficiency.

The Marines have stated they only intend to introduce women into the Infantry in enough numbers to create an environment where women will have female peers and role models, a cohort.  Even if the Marines forced every female Marine to undergo enlisted Infantry training they will not have a cohort of women (keep in mind that 20% pass rate is with a hand selected group).  Some will think this test proves the Corps can create enough Infantrywomen to build a cohort throughout Infantry units in the Corps.

Let’s say the Corps individually controls Infantrywomen assignments to artificially create select units with a cohort of Infantrywomen.  Which Marine regiment would volunteer for the honor?  How will targeted units be looked upon by other units? Again, is this efficient?   Are the plusses of having infantrywomen worth the turmoil?

Basic training is exactly what it sounds like, basic.  It is not a guarantee that a graduate will successfully serve in the Infantry where the standards are in actuality much higher.  Infantry units march much farther than 12 miles and under heavier loads than during basic.  Minimum PT standards will get you through to basic graduation.  At a regular unit it will land you on the remedial PT program on your free time and be treated with disdain during the duty day.  Some will draw the incorrect lesson that women have met the standard and can be successful Infantrywomen solely based on completing basic.  The truth is far different with 2nd & 3rd order effects that aren’t so obvious.  

Where did these women graduate in comparison to their whole class?  Maybe the three women graduating are randomly distributed from the top graduate to the last, doubtful considering the exceptionally high failure rate.    If women graduated among the lower performing Marines it is likely they will continue to struggle if assigned to regular units with all the issues alluded to above.  Further, the military does not habitually select its leaders from its most challenged performers.  Why condemn women to compete against male physical standards (if we are actually going to have one standard) and remain at the lowest grades?  Do we relax standards to promote Marines who maybe don’t perform as well as their male peers?  Do we maintain separate gender physical standards but tell Marines the normed score is what counts?  What impact would those courses of action have on the unit?  That seems confusing and diametrically opposed to stated goals of equality. 

Wait!  These women aren’t going to units.   The test volunteers are not being assigned to Infantry units or even assigned the 0311 Marine Infantry specialty.  The Corps is putting women through basic training only to determine what standards should be to enter the Infantry but not what the standards should be in units.  Is their performance going to be extrapolated?  Maybe that is a pending incorrect lesson learned?

Recently, it’s been learned that the ten female candidates selected for the Marine Infantry Officer Course were not measured against the male PT standards unlike the men.  They were allowed to use the female gender normed standard.  Male candidates must attain the highest scores on the male scale to even be considered a candidate for MIOC.  Isn’t this preferential treatment?  Doesn’t this discriminate against lower scoring males because their scale is tougher?  Nine of the ten women failed the initial entry obstacle course.  The tenth was unable to complete the first week of training due to a stress fracture.  This is exactly how the Army has been doing female integration for decades where standards are called the same, but aren’t.

The process goes on.  Women will be integrated no matter what the lessons are. 

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

    I found it interesting that the article says that they were held to the men’s standards. One of the first times that this seems to have occurred. I agree with you though. If 99% are supposed to pass and the physical standards will increase significantly, it doesn’t seem sustainable. It would be interesting to know where they placed within the graduation ranking.

  • LauraKinCA   The women in the Marine Infantry Officers Course are not being held to the male standard on their PT test.  They are being measured against the female PT standard.  So if we were competing for a slot at MIOC and I ran 3 miles at 21 min and you did the same, I’d get 82 points and you’d get 100 points.  Our crunches would be the same but your flexed arm hang of 70 sec would require me to do 20 pull ups.  This is the military’s same standard in action.  The points are the same…
    The obstacle course required the same standards for the Infantry officer candidates.  That’s where nine of ten women failed.
    On the enlisted side the enlisted women were required to meet the absolute minimum male PT score. Three pull ups, 40 crunches in two minutes and 3 miles in 28 minutes.

  • LauraKinCA

    majrod  The article says that they had to ruck with the same weight and do pull ups not flex-armed hangs. Either the article is still very misleading or they held the women to some of the same standards.

  • LauraKinCA majrod The road march is not a PT standard.  It is a training standard.  Just like the obstacle course.  Easy to understand the confusion.

    There’s also two courses I’m discussing.  MIOC and the enlisted Infantry course.  The women in the enlisted course were held to the male standard on the PT test, the absolute minimum standard.

  • clluelo

    Lowering changing the standards does a disservice to women in the long run. Your command and your team mates need you to be able to contribute to the well being of the unit not be a burden , and for any one to say this “expeirment” has shown that women will not be a burden is just wrong .

  • clluelo Agree but it does even more damage on 2nd & 3rd order levels.
    It creates a reason for those who have an issue with women to feel justified.  It in effect feeds misogeny (just like affirmative action feeds racism).
    Next it creates a psychology of dependence where a “protected group” believes they can only compete if the standards are different.  This is already in action.  Ever notice how few women publicly stand against different standards that protect their group?  Artificial standards that create protected groups only change when the external pressure becomes unbearable like apartheid or some in the protected group demonstrate the moral courage to stand against injustice.
    These injustices become ingrained.  Organizations don’t want to admit mistakes.  They are even less prone to remove practices that might be seen as rolling back “advances”.  Especially if the roll back might prove those advances really don’t exist. These practices eventually rot an organization from inside but the guilty are long gone.
    Finally, those that have been successful in the organization become the practices’ proponents for fear if they come out against them it might minimize their own achievements.  The “systems” greatest proponents are often those that made it in the system.  Gen Powell’s support of affirmative action comes to mind…
    In the end there are a lot of losers.

  • YankeePapa


    …Slight correction on your terminology.  What the women attempted was not “basic training…”  Many women have successfully graduated from basic training.  While very difficult… most properly motivated and reasonably fit individuals can hack it.  What you meant to say was ” infantry combat training” which of course is a different animal.  
    …All male Marines, regardless of MOS get some infantry combat training.  Infantry MOS specific combat training is longer, more involved… and ultimately harder.  
    …Since I am not active duty or reserved, I am entitled to express my opinion as a citizen of the Republic.  The inmates are running the asylum…  

  • drummergirl

    Majrod, I appreciated the points you made and the questions you raised….
    What I don’t understand is why doesn’t the marine corps just create an all female unit with its own requirements, etc.  Its just like sports: when females started getting funding for sports in public schools, they didn’t play along side the boys, they had their own leagues and teams.  And its never been anything different.  women play against women and vice versa.  Why should it be any different in the military?  Why would we integrate men and women in the same units with the same physical requirements?  
    I know there are some bad ass women out there and I’m stoked to know they exist and that they have the drive  and the stamina to enter the marine corps and aspire to infantry combat….so give them their own league so to say–one that is in accordance with their physical capabilities.

  • YankeePapa

    …Not being sarcastic… but would you send 15 year old boys

    into combat?  While I have known some women firefighters who were six
    feet tall and strong as an ox… most were closer to the 15 year old
    … I have been an infantryman in two wars (transferred to other duties after a time in the second … different service…)… It is hard on
    well built men.  Lot of grunts coming back from Afghanistan with
    permanent musculo-skeletal damage.  I was 5’10” and quite fit…
    but I was a “feather-merchant” first time out in 1969.  They didn’t make
    me hump the M-60 because I was the scrawniest lad in the platoon… but
    beyond that I had to carry what everybody else did.  Yet I was taller
    and stronger and had more muscle mass than most women in the military. 
    infantryman needs certain things to survive.  Water… as many as four
    canteens depending on climate, time of year, availability of water. 
    Food… sometimes a lot depending on potential resupply.  Web gear…
    pack… entrenching tool… medical kit… sleeping gear in
    some circumstances… and so on…
    …Body armor…
    weapon… ammunition, grenades, bayonet and/or knife….  In RVN some
    men carried a LAW (for bunker busting…) often spare ammo for grenade
    launcher.  Machine gun teams have a massive load of weapons and ammo…
    as for 60 mm mortar teams…
    …The ideal load for an infantryman is
    estimated to be 50 lbs.  Anything beyond short range perimeter security
    patrols tends to make that wishful thinking.  Eighty pounds… one
    hundred… more…
    …An all female rifle platoon on the
    same patrols as males that would engage an enemy requires exactly the
    same ammo load as a male platoon.  If they can’t get it there… they
    don’t belong there… the enemy is not going to adjust *their* load out
    of courtesy.  
    …If they are only used on short range patrols
    of limited duration close to the bases because they can’t do what is
    required of other infantry… then they really aren’t infantry… closer
    to “gender normed” military police patrols.
    …In Gulf War
    One the Air Force had both female and male bomb loaders.  The insane
    pace of the air war meant that the bomb loaders worked insane hours. 
    The women, with the best will in the world could not keep up… and the
    men had to make up the difference.  The enemy wasn’t going to wait. 
    …A lot of men who are otherwise good soldiers or Marines can’t make it in the infantry… I barely did. 

  • BSchroe

    About a fireteam of gals has made it through school . As we all know it would take months of hard training in a line unit to make an infantryman.
    But keep up the infantry training . For everyone. Introduce men and women  to use a rifle , a machine gun and a handgrenade.

  • As I predicted here is one of the first articles to declare premature “victory”…

  • drummergirl   I think all female formations would be a great experiment but aren’t going to happen for various reasons.  Lets assume it wouldn’t be a problem filling a platoon with about 40 women that have completed infantry training (remember 3 of 15 passed in this batch)

    First “segregating” women into their own units is at odds with the PC goal of integrating them.  It frankly isn’t acceptable to those with an agenda and feminists.
    Second an all female platoon will require women to actually have to carry some of the heaviest gear in a platoon that can be avoided when there are stronger males about.  As a platoon leader the heaviest weapons were assigned to bigger men but even they had to pass off the weapon to others during long movements because of the weight.

    Third an all female platoon will be significantly less capable than a male platoon in carrying gear, conducting road marches and being capable to fight when they get to their destination.  Frankly they’d quickly stand out like a sore thumb (imagine an all female football team in the NFL).  This would totally and decisively destroy the myth that there isn’t differences between men and women that can’t be overcome.

  • YankeePapa I dumb things down sometimes to ease communication.   
    Yes, the Marines have basic and then send marines for further training for a specific specialty.  The Arny has a very similar approach except for the Infantryman and a couple of other combat specialties where “basic & infantry training” is combined.
    Is combat training taught during Basic basic “infantry” training or is it technically combat or “rifleman” (since every Marine is a rifleman) training? 
    YES!  Those in the asylum have switched roles.

  • Wiggy111
  • YankeePapa

    …A Potemkin village by another name…

  • YankeePapa

    majrod YankeePapa,

  • drummergirl

    majrod drummergirl Its sad that the goal is not what is best both for women and the military and the country, but for the femminist agenda, even if its ultimately going to cause serious damage, if they get their way.  I hope that the voice of common sense wins in this issue.

  • drummergirl

    YankeePapa drummergirl That is so good, thank you for your reply YP.  The whole idea of it is just crazy….any woman with any sense would be happy to let a man take care of the more gruesome and grueling side of life….I know I am.  and I am thankful for all that y’all do!  I believe you were created to be protectors and defenders and your bodies and minds and hearts are equipped to do so.

  • YankeePapa

    drummergirl YankeePapa,
    …I have no problem with female fighter pilots and the like (if qualified under identical standards…), but infantry, armor and artillery for many reasons not suitable.
    …I used to be able to shoot the eye out of a flea at 500 meters in a sandstorm… (ok… 490 meters…) But I didn’t have the traits that would have made for a good scout-sniper.  I was an excellent Marine… but would never have made it as a Drill Instructor.


  • steelhorse

    They won’t lower the standards they adjust them interesting in the fox article wiggy111 put up none of these women we even interestested in infantry postions but just proving something in the post will put up that was a female officer who deffinitly has an agenda we shall see but come hell or high water it’s goning to get done i’m sad to say

  • 5000area375

    Afirmative action is insulting to the individual and the team. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth that all don’t meet the same standards and as you stated will feed racism and misogyny.
    I witnessed it at 3rd Batt when RIP stopped the swim test, because the swim test was supposedly failing more black soldiers. It had some idiots question the qualifications of our brothers who met the same standards. That disgust me to this day. PC and different standards are toxic poison.
    When I signed in to my platoon I was assigned to a gun team as an assistant gunner. I was loaded up with 1000 rounds, tripod, spare barrel plus winter packing list. This happened with the other men I signed in with, you had to prove yourself. We were supposed to have 3 man gun teams but being under strength it was two people.
    That load alone was 60 to 70 pounds of ammo 500 rounds in a demo bag s rolled to feed to the gun hanging around your neck, 500 in the ruck, the tripod weighs 10 to 12 pounds I believe, spare barrel about the same. That is about 80 to 90 pounds not counting the ruck, pouncho, liner, sleeping bag, water and way to much other stuff to list.
    If you can’t maintain the standards your life will be hell. It will be hell in the beginning anyway until your brothers know they can depend on and trust you with their lives.

  • YankeePapa

    …Fire Captain in Eagle… funeral services today.  Back damage in the line of duty required complicated surgery.  He did not survive… Leaves a wife and a daughter…

  • 5000area375

    My condolences to the family. Rest well brother.

  • 5000area375
  • HM1 (FMF) Ret. 

    Looks like the grand plan of gender-norming is hitting rough seas..

  • HM1 (FMF) Ret.Don’t know if you saw my SITREP 27 Dec ref this subject…

    My knee jerk observations are: 
    -This wasn’t welcome news for the military which is why it was announced in such a low key manner.
    – The discussion (the importance of physical performance in the Infantry and the differences between the sexes)women’s isn’t welcome.
    – The article you shared only stated two women failed the Marine Infantry Officer’s Course.  There have been six who made it to the first day of the course and about 15 hand selected women who volunteered to train to try the course of which the majority failed or quit before day one.  The media forgets that part of the story…

  • YankeePapa

    majrodHM1 (FMF) Ret.,
    …The battle cry of this administration on this issue is;  “This train will run on time…”

  • HM1 (FMF) Ret.

    majrodHM1 (FMF) Ret. Missed the Sitrep, but woke up to a few buddies tossing this article around. I just keep laughing at the utter insanity of trying to force this BS on the services. At least the Corps has not dropped the minimal standards, they lowered the higher ones for a perfect score for females. I cant wait to see what happens to the minimal standards now…

  • TrueBlue85

    There’s no way in hell, that women could ever mesh in our Infantry world.
    If they were integrated would everyone have to watch their language around them?
    Imagine telling an Infantry private that he can’t use foul language!
    and when I was in Iraq we used a water buffalo for showers completely exposed and naked to the world.. Also these girls are going through basic, basic is nothing like a line unit, especially in combat where you’re lugging over a 100 lbs of gear, nonetheless while in 120 degree heat and bullets flying over your head. Not to mention all of the unwanted tension produced by having women bunking with you, when you are forbid contact other than professional…
    next thing Pvt. Joe Snuffy is going to want a sex change and want high heel combat boots and camo lip stick. Fact is these idiots in congress have no idea what the Infantry is and if it ain’t broken don’t try to fix it. If they do this to the Infantry they might even try to lower standards for SF and Ranger Battalions.

  • KineticFury

    Saw this:”Three women dropped from Marines’ infantry officer course will not reattempt”