On Women In Combat: Part 2 – Rangers Going Co-ed

Posted: May 18, 2012 by ShortTimer in Marine Corps, political correctness, Progressives and Left, United States Army, US Military

Rangers Lead The Way!

The Army is addressing the specifics of the plan to allow female soldiers to join infantry battalions and – associated with that move – to make the prestigious Ranger School co-ed, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday.

The Army’s top leader said he wants to give women every opportunity to succeed in infantry battalions since the military reversed the policy barring them from infantry duty earlier this year.

Odierno noted that nine out of ten senior infantry officers have graduated from Ranger school and wear the Ranger tab on their uniforms. Not allowing women to earn their own tab could hinder their infantry careers, Odierno said.

Ranger school is made to be difficult.  It is not easy.  Many men fail out of it.  There’s a reason most dogfaces are legs, and not airborne.  Now there’s the push for women in ranger school because not going might “hinder their careers”.  Oh, the tribulations of the lifer.

Women in infantry roles makes sense if you’re a nation with it’s back against the wall, on it’s last legs… moreso if you’re a dictatorial regime that doesn’t care for human life whether female or male.  Women in infantry roles otherwise is idealistic foolishness at best, dreamed up in think tanks and well away from the pointy end of the spear.

In this case, Ranger school is now being viewed as a resume-building experience, rather than a formative one that creates a special breed of warriors.  Ranger school already has a substantial washout rate.  Since women are going to be sent there so they can check a box off on their way to becoming Pentagon bureaucrat officers, Ranger school will be forced to be toned down so that women pass – because women are going to be sent to the school in order to pass.  The standard isn’t important – the tab so they can become senior officers is now what’s important.  The earned value, the substance, will be taken away in order to create the appearance.

For those who’ve forgotten, the army didn’t used to wear berets.  Elite units, like Rangers and Special Forces wore berets.  It made them stand apart, because they are elite units.  It displayed the espirit de corps of their units.  So then the army brass decided that the whole army didn’t feel happy enough, and didn’t feel elite enough.  So they gave everyone the beret.  It was the “everyone’s a winner” participation ribbon.  It did nothing except make elite units resentful of the brass, and make a lot of line units equally resentful – because they didn’t earn it.

As this topic seems to be getting bounced back and forth with No One Of Any Import – most recently on Import here and Patriot Perspective here, I notice there are a couple things worth revisiting.

Even more important than all of that, Short Timer says that the Marines will use something called “gender neutral” tests, and that quotas will be imposed.

The gender neutral PT test was mentioned by Gannet’s MC Times:

Additionally, new functional fitness tests are being developed to help Marine Corps leaders determine how women and men perform in, and cope with, various combat tasks. The goal is to establish “gender-neutral” physical fitness standards.

The current PFT is noted here:

The Marine Corps defines gender-neutral physical standards as being identical for men and women, rather than weighted — or “gender-normed” — like those applied in the service’s annual Physical Fitness Test. During the PFT, women can earn a minimum or maximum score with fewer repetitions and a slower run times than their male counterparts.

The “gender-normed” test involves men doing pull-ups, at 5 points per pull-up, maximum 20 pull-ups, or 100 points, minimum is only 3 pull-ups, or 15.  The women’s PFT has the “flexed arm hang” which is basically pulling almost to the “up” position and holding there for a number of seconds.  Minimum for the event is 15 seconds, max is 70.  Crunches are the same, as many as you can do in 2 min, max 100, 1 point per.  The women’s run maximum is 3 miles in 21 minutes for 100 points.  For men, it’s 3 miles in 18 minutes.  On the men’s you lose 1 point per 10 seconds, same thing on the women’s.  Last time I ran a PFT (a while back) I did 21:30 on the run.  On the men’s (obviously), it was 79 points.  A woman running the same time would have 97 points.  Pretty big shift.

The flexed-arm hang, while it sounds easy, is quite physically taxing.  Women’s muscles are built different, and they tend to do it better.  In boot camp, we were made to do it – our DI said our platoon was acting like girls, so we’d do their part of the PFT.  We had only one guy, who could normally only do 3 or 4 pull-ups, able to do the full 70 second hang time.  Guys who could knock out 20 pull-ups were shaking and falling before then.  Different musculature, but the guy who could do the flex-hang would get pummeled in a brawl with the big guys.  (Except for the 90-pound tiny guys who could do 20 pull-ups but couldn’t carry a pack.)  The day-to-day humps with full packs, the quarterdeck sessions, etc., showed that the guys who could knock out the 20 pull-ups were far better athletes.  There’s plenty that can be looked at with regards to how PFTs and other PT requirements are done, but the difference in musculature and endurance which varies by gender (and within gender, as noted) means that you’ll have a lot more women who can’t meet the standard (and some men who don’t, either).

A gender-neutral PT test is going to end up dropping the standard to let in more physically weaker people, because women are in generally physically not as strong.  Just how it is.

To put it another way, consider the difficulty in doing a fireman’s carry of a comrade of fighting weight (neither scrawny nor fat) who’s carrying another 20-30 pounds of gear, and consider who can do that better.  I can think of many men who can do this (and plenty who can’t), but I find it difficult to think of more than a rare few women who can.

As for quotas, there probably won’t be a list next to each MOS saying “we need 12.5% women in the 0800 field”.  They may be behind-the-scenes, or they may be kept quiet, but there will be a push to make sure women get into the new jobs.  There will be a political push for the actual candidates just like there’s a political push for the program itself.  That’s what’s happened every time before, and that’s what will happen again.  It happens in the military, it happens in law enforcement, it famously happened with firefighters in the 1990s – where members of the LA fire department released videos of women failing miserably at training.

If the standards are kept as high, women won’t pass.  If there’s a 75% pass rate for men, and a 10% pass rate for women, the bureaucrat social-engineer leftist political-correct hack who came up with this idea will, as always, refuse to accept that men and women are different.  And the test will be changed.  Ranger school will be changed.  The instructors will be viewed as sexists good ol’ boys and face retribution at the hands of the social engineers.  The loss will be to the country, to security (one of the few legitimate functions of government), to the Marines and Rangers, to the men who pass, and to the women who actually could pass without the standard being lowered.

The way this will work out (as it almost always does) is that the first few women through will be hand-picked all-stars.  They won’t be first in their graduating class, they won’t be the most capable of the class, but they’ll be capable – they’ll be the kind of women who could’ve applied for waivers and gotten in without a service-wide push as highly motivated individuals.  But even in their initial class, there will be some favoritism.  There will also be the fear of EEO and career destruction on the part of instructors, who would rather get the problem the hell away from them than deal with it.  A man who stands up against bureaucrats and says “women aren’t fit for this” will find himself the target of plenty of political retribution.

The subsequent groups with horrible attrition rates are what will result in a modified course curriculum, modified PT tests, and modified MOS schools.  The subsequent fears of EEO and sexual harassment complaints will result in destroyed morale, more distant instructors, and good people who don’t want to deal with the hassles that go along with being in that environment.

Look at it from the POV of the instructor, as well.  No one wants to teach a class of students that starts making EEO complaints.  Nobody wants to be in a situation where they have to deal with it.  It disrupts the class, and means the instructor has to walk on eggshells.  A good instructor won’t want to be there – he can’t make the course difficult enough to prepare the candidates for their careers as Rangers or Marine combat arms MOSes.  He can’t ask for the same level of performance when someone can’t give it – and washing someone out who has a (as a horribly politically incorrect coworker once said) “career enhancement device” – isn’t much of an option without facing retribution from higher-ups, bureaucrats, EEO, and harassment charges.  There are plenty of people when faced with difficulty who will take the easy way out, and claiming harassment or unfair treatment is an easy way to pass.  It’s hell for the instructors and dissuades good instructors from ever signing on.  The knowledge base there is lost.  The instructors who will join up will be those with the same political agenda, who will pass everyone at a lower standard in order to get the 100 points on their cutting score, or whatever other incentives they have for promotion.

Who will be the more popular instructor – the Ranger school instructor who had a 95% washout rate for the females in his class, or the Marine MOS school instructor who had a 95% passing rate for the females in his class?  To the bureaucrat leftist political-correctness social engineer, clearly the Ranger is a reactionary throwback and the Marine is an enlightened New Man who knows how things should be.  Never mind the Ranger sees them as they are.  Reverse roles as necessary, wash, rinse, repeat.  The instructor who makes a class that prepares his students or candidates for combat will improve their survivability and their ability to end a conflict; and that instructor will do so at the risk of retaliation.  The instructor who doesn’t prepare his class and sends them off weak will be rewarded for supporting diversity and Pentagon initiatives, even if his students are unprepared and die because of it.

Again, one could write a book.

Fred does not care that you need something on your resume.  He only cares that he is carried or dragged across the line to safety.

  1. Thank you for getting down to details on this. I 100% agree that the push to open these training schools to women is bad for the military, but I just don’t have the background to put it into such concrete terms.

    Thanks too for pointing out that the absence of “gender norming” means absolutely nothing. “Gender neutralizing” (ie, LOWERING) and quota installation accomplishes the same thing. I remember my friend (when he instructed at OCS Quantico) talking about quotas, and I totally believe it when you say quotas “may be kept quiet, but there will be a push to make sure women get into the new jobs.”

    May I reposting big chunks of this over at mine? I don’t have anything to add, but I want to share these details. Even dyed-in-the-wool, military-loving conservatives often don’t understand what the big deal is about letting women try their hand at Ranger School or Marine Infantry School. We’re all feminists now, in todays culture, you know? If you haven’t had the military experience, it’s hard to understand the real problems involved.


    • ShortTimer says:

      You’re quite welcome to crosspost & repost – by all means. Just remember to link back and give attribution (which you do anyway).

      Women and men are equal in their value and virtue as individual human beings. They just aren’t equal when it comes to certain abilities and skills. Equality of opportunity in certain fields isn’t possible (men won’t be mothers, women won’t be grunts) because the fields themselves have results that preclude folks from entering. The only way to change it is to make sure there is equality of results – and that means harming the field, which diminishes everyone involved.

      Thomas Sowell talks about how the elites view traditions as the dead hand of the past, not the distilled wisdom of millenia of experience across billions of human lives. There’s a reason we do things some ways. Academics and elitists may dismiss it, but they can no more make it so than 2+2 can equal 5. That they may institutionalize people into thinking 2+2=5 doesn’t change the reality of it.

      Interesting to note that elitists in government/academia and other social engineers (like the Fabians) are elitists in that they look down on everyone else. Elite in the military means they’ve accomplished something, and others look up to them. Minor difference, but worth noting between elitist and elite in this context.

  2. […] been kind enough to elaborate on the issue of women in combat.  His wisdom needs repeating, for this reason: Even dyed-in-the-wool, military-loving conservatives often don’t understand what the big deal is […]

  3. […] points in general are the same ones hit on here in previous posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part […]

  4. […] already explained how women in combat MOSes is a bad idea, in Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six.  One of the biggest consistent arguments, not just from me, but from […]

  5. […] something I’ve been saying for a long, long, long, long, long, long, long time.  It’s something combat veterans and male Marines and […]

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