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Failing to Believe in the Women Marines

Failing to Believe in the Women Marines

I was hit on Facebook yesterday by someone saying they saw me on CNN…obviously that caught my attention so I started Googling to find the story.  I found the news story along with a plethora of other headlines that have me extremely disappointed and saddened for the next generation of Female Marines who are trying to be trail blazers.  I have been disappointed too many times by Marine Corps Leadership and I’m too far along in my own career in the Marine Corps to feel personally hurt by these headlines:

” Most female U.S. Marines can’t do minimum standard three pullups amid debate over combat roles for women”

“The Marines Have Decided That Women Are Too Wimpy To Have To Do Pullups”

“Marines back off pullup requirement for women after many fail”

But it does break my heart for all the young women out there who are busting their butts to meet and rise beyond the standards, like the women who completed the School of Infantry.

When the ALMAR 046/12 was released announcing the change to the PFT for women; I was ecstatic but I know a few women who weren’t too happy about it, but they quickly rolled up their sleeves and started to get ready for the change.  It’s not easy to be a Female Marine.  We know what we signed up for…if you didn’t, then you aren’t going to make it – it’s just the way it is. Women Marines joined the Marine Corps to be challenged, to be part of the best and we don’t expect to be treated differently.  Don’t know how many battles I’ve fought in order to not be treated differently. Enough to be exhausted by it.

The fact that the decision was reversed based on statistics from Recruit Training is even more disheartening.  Unless those young girls did what I did and started to hit the gym as soon as they decided to be Marines, there is no way they were going to be able to do pull-ups in boot camp.  It is a fact that women are weaker in their upper bodies…it takes a lot of training to build the necessary strength but that’s doesn’t mean we don’t expect them to do it. Plenty have and are doing it!

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I despise the flex arm. The stronger your upper body is…the harder the stupid flex arm becomes. I want to retain the option to do either or; flex arm or pull ups.  What better way to keep collecting data then to give either options and see what Female Marines in THE FLEET (actual women who have already earned the title) decide to do. I believe in my sisters in arms – I know they will rise to the challenge.  It’s the reason they became Marines – to be challenged, to do what’s hard, to be best…it’s not fair to take that away from them by dropping the standards.

I am disappointed but I also know the headlines will go away and Female Marines will keep fighting the good fight like they always have…this is a setback but it won’t defeat us.  The fight is definitely more up to the younger generations but I am totally here to provide the supporting fires!!

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  • If I had been required to do 3 pull-ups to graduate OCS and commission, I would not be a Marine today. This is in spite of the fact that I started building upper body strength *as soon as* I decided to apply to OCS and worked on upper body strength for a solid year before I went. I know a lot of younger female Marines who will have problems meeting the standard, and I know some older female Marines who will also have problems due to persistent medical issues, just as I know some older male Marines with the same problems.
    One thing I haven’t seen in this whole debate is *why* 3 pull-ups is the standard. Quite frankly, there are a lot of jobs in the Marine Corps that don’t require you to need any significant upper body strength to be successful. And then there are some jobs where you need a lot more than just 3 pull-ups. Once you’ve determined the physical strength requirements for specific MOSs, you need some sort of scale with which to differentiate those who try and those who don’t (like the CFT). It’s not clear to me how 3 pull-ups does either of those things.

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