Women in Combat… Continue to Fail

Written by Kevin Webb

In January of 2011, I wrote an article about why women should not be allowed in combat units as trained infantry. As expected, my argument which was rooted in reason and logic, was met with emotional rants filled with the politically-injected cries for equality. Because that is just what we need to maintain a powerful military – politics, social testing, and ‘equality.’

In January of 2013, the Pentagon announced that women would be allowed to serve in combat starting in 2016, while simultaneously keeping the lower physical standards for women in place. Equal opportunity minus equal requirements, Somehow, this equates to equality in the mine of a progressive liberal. There was no logical reason for this change, no scientific polling, no plan, no testing, no need for female infantrymen – just another agenda rammed through on the coattails of Obama’s life-long dream to ‘fundamentally transform America.’ Equality seems to be the new left-sided punchline anytime a political agenda needs to be rammed through to the American people. Politicians just throw an ‘equality’ tag on the issue, and BAM! Americans are all of the sudden captured by the issue.

There are hundreds of reasons why women should not be allowed to serve in combat on any grand scale, but they were all ignored. The good news is that (after the fact) we are starting to get some real data as to just how well a female can lead a combat unit.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

On April 2, 2013, Marine Times reported that two more female infantry officers failed to complete infantry Officer Training School. Not only did the female Marine officers fail, but they did so during the initial Combat Endurance Test; meaning, they did not even get past step one. In all, out of the 110 lieutenants participating, 96 men passed the initial endurance test. Twelve men and two women — the only female Marines taking part — failed. That means that so far, female Marines have a 100% fail rate at Marine infantry officer training, while the male drop-out rate comes in at around 9%.

Simply put, women are not physically designed the same way men are. Thousands of years of war has shown this, so why are we trying to change it now? Is it really for equality?

Please don’t get me wrong. This is not a referendum on female Marines. They are my sisters, and even in combat, I would fight right along side of them. That is not what this is about. This is about maintaining a powerful, efficient military, which the special interest groups driving these issues seem to care nothing about.

I do not know the female Marines that have failed personally, but I am sure that the Marine Corps chose them wisely, and did not allow for low PFT and CFT Marines to have a shot at proving the world wrong – proving biology wrong. Yet, they failed. I don’t anticipate these trends to change, but that doesn’t mean that politics won’t keep pushing.

What we might see next is further lowering of physical standards in order to be ‘fair’ to female infantry officer candidates. To be honest, with the politically divisive atmosphere right now, there is no telling how much further our leadership at the highest levels might be willing to go in order to gain political ground from fringe minority groups.

About the author

Kevin Webb

17 Comments

  • This is so whiney. Your mathematics are 2 women fail, 100% fail. Using the same logic I could argue that statically men are more likely to wash out than women. You are crying about women in infantry but so far no women has qualified. As you said 100% fail rate… All I get from this post is that you feel threatened by women and you are not capable of adapting. Science did show in recent studies that women are on average smarter and more educated than men. There are advantages to women in combat. Particularly, in modern warfare with new technology and the need for smart people to operate high tech weapons, deal with enemy tech and plan combat strategies. Do you honestly believe a women is going to put herself through rigorous training and humiliation in order to prove she is equal. The fact of the matter is that we won that battle already men and women are legally equal. Opportunity does not guarantee anything. Why not raise the minimum test score for infantry to 70? How many men would qualify compared to women? I could pass the PT training easily and I’m simply disinterested in dealing with being controlled and screamed at, so I chose laboratory work I enjoy and i combat microscopic enemies. Good luck with your attitude on women, I hope it gets you far in 2016!

    • The fact that you started your response off with petty claims of whining and crying tells me that you’re not even ready to have an adult conversation about this topic yet. I laid out plenty of logical reasons why women being mass trained in combat roles is a bad idea. You addressed none of them specifically.

      Furthermore, I have yet from you, or from anyone answer two simple questions.

      1) What benefit is there to the U.S. military and to the United States of America in regards to defense by allowing women into combat?

      2) Are we at such a shortage of fighting-age males, that we need to, for any reason, rely on females to fight in combat roles?

      Move along.

      Kevin Webb

  • 1) Communication skills, heart, level of education, leadership roles, intellect, organization skills, higher efficiency!!!!!!, problem-solving skills…etc
    2) I do not think that is the point. The point is that everyone should have the same opportunities. Even if no women ever passes the qualifications for infantry at least she is given a chance to try out. I am not passionate about this topic specifically, but when I think about how women did not have an opportunity to even go to college less than 100 years ago, it makes me feel claustrophobic. I am sure the same types of arguments were made back then too.

    It does not make sense to me why you care so much about this topic. It is exasperating and it makes me a little disheartened to read your opinions, which is why I had to write. I can not imagine wanting to be in the infantry; however, if a woman actually wants this life then you are not giving her enough credit. You are right women are not physiologically the same as men. This makes it harder for women to pass the qualifications. That means is she passes she did something that took far more effort to accomplish than her male counterparts. This is what I find so outrageous, you a Marine, would disrespect all her hard work (hypothetical 1st female infantry soldier). That having a women or two will make the whole infantry weak is exaggerated, actually the type of women that could pass the training would most likely be stronger mentally than the guys – think about it. It would not have an impact one way or the other considering a.) the infantry will need to find women who actually want to join it and b.) few women will pass the physical requirements. There will be very few women in the infantry…if ever. Look, all of that is beside the point. It is the fact that every person should have the same opportunities in our country and it has little to do with gender, race, etc… That is just what it is to be an American. Need I say more.

    Alright Kevin, good topic.

    Liz

    • Combat is not college. The military is not about opportunity, or equality. That is selfish and irresponsible. The purpose of our military is to protect and defend – period.

      Webb

  • If you are right then no women will qualify. If she passes the physical requirements she is qualified by your standards, so there is no problem.

    You brought up an interesting point about lowering standards to make it easier for women (for political reasons). This is the most appealing argument. At least we can agree on something.

    Liz

  • I read this article and the responses to it and I am in the middle on how I feel about it. I come from a long line of family that has served in the military dating back to World War I when my family first came to America. I personally don’t want to be in the infantry, I am perfectly happy in the intel field. That being said I believe women should be allowed in combat, it just depends on their role.

    I agree with Liz that the option should be there for women, but I also agree with Kevin that it weakens unit cohesion, which down the line weakens the unit. I am not speaking of physical weakness mind you, more of the morale I am thinking of and the problems it could lead to. I have always been one of the guys so to say, but there is always just that little bit extra I am not allowed into with their world. I have spent most of my life prior to the military, in the motorcycle world with working at Harley in service and what not. So I get the fact that no matter how close I am to these guys I am still only an honorary member to the club and won’t ever be allowed to fully apart of the club. This can hurt the unit. I don’t believe all women will fail this particular task at hand, I unlike most woman, am 6 feet tall and weigh 175. I can more than keep up with the majority of the men in my unit on ruck marches and when it comes to running I think my long ass stride has more than done its fair share to beat most of the men in my unit. It is my personal feeling that if you want something bad enough you make it happen. These women just may not have wanted it bad enough. I know I wouldn’t want it bad enough.

    On the flip side, Kevin, I think you are being too black and white about the topic. Combat is no longer conventional as it was when the rules of women serving were written. Warfare as a whole has changed dramatically in the past 10 – 15 years. Women can do things and be put into situations that a man cannot and complete her mission. It may not look like combat but it is just different scenery of it. Their training, I believe, should consist of an infantry training to better equip this female with the ability to think on her feet in a stressful situation. If you look at most trainings the military used to bar women from they are mostly so extremely physically demanding to put the most stress they can on you without actually being in combat. This is to make sure you can hold up during mentally stressful periods, if you get the body you can usually take the mind with most people. They just want to make sure you don’t fall under the “most” category. I also believe we are under utilizing our diverse service women. I think we can have more boots on the ground with women, for intelligence purposes.

    Like I said when I first began my rant, I am in the middle and I think how we want to utilize these women and with what unit we base them out of should be more of the question then the ability for them to accomplish a mission. I don’t think the phrase “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” is going to work in this particular case. Not all women are cut out for that line of work, just as not all men are cut out for it either.

  • Hey Jarhead,

    I pay you to not have an opinion. It’s happening in 2016. Get over it. Now, shut the #### up and do what you’re told.

  • It has. Been tried by other countries militaries and it doesnt work. Its all politacally motivated. Okay I can see some women are driven to be just like the men.but its crazy distorted and out of place.women are to be protected. And when they compete with men on that level it leaves them open to predjudice.mho.

  • Gee im sorry I didn’t launder my comments to make it seem like everything is ok Kevin. Recruits have no concept of what its like to go thru the bootcamp I and others experienced back before the marine corps moms took it over.no one wants to be a drill instructor because its a career threat.semper fi. Dont forget to delete me you wouldn’t want someone to read this and get depressed.

  • Kevin, Barack Obama is your Commander & Chief and you should show respect – regardless of your political affiliation. My grandfather was in WWII, my dad Vietnam and I am an Army vet. My daughter is at Parris Island, so I know a bit about the military. Between the sexual assault scandal and your attitudes toward women, I worry a bit about the future of our military. However I believe your comments are of the minority. I commend your for your service but your rigid ideas about this issue concern me. We probably shouldn’t have integrated the services with mind sets like yours. Fortunately opinions like yours are in the minority where they belong.

  • I observed several years ago on Camp Lejeune that females made up more than 50% of a medical recovery battalion. These are Marines organized into a unit during medical rehabilitation, and this was during a time of war. These females were not front line combatants, and demographically represented 10-15% tops of the Corps at large, yet were using up more than 50% of this facilities medical resources. The reason is, their bodies were more readily breaking down and more susceptible to injury even under the more minor rigours of rear echelon female training standards. The problem is weight over distance. There are many things that a female can by and large physically accomplish as well as a man, but not weight over distance.

    During my second deployment in Afghanistan circa 2004 my company was accompanied by two female MP’s to assist in searching female locals. It was to be a three day operation on foot through the mountains after being helo inserted. The two females began to fall behind the first morning, Marines picked up and carried their packs for them the second half of the first morning, and by noon the two females had to be medevaced for exhaustion. The 80+ remaining male Marines completed the next two and a half days without any falling out. But the addition of those two females jeopardized the mission and tied up resources that could have been essential to more urgent casualties.

    So, can some females hack it? Yes. Is it worth allocating tremendous assets to ascertain which ones can while depriving other Marines and Soldiers of those assets? No. Females have special needs, require special facilities, create special standards, and are susceptible to costly injuries that detract from the care and resources available to other more consistently productive personnel (males). We can wish all we want that this were not the reality. This cost effect is more apparent in the Marine Corps because it is already constrained by a budget that is miniscule compared to the other branches, and the average grunt is able to see the already limited resources disproportionately levied.

    There have also been conducted field tests that have illuminated psychological barriers that can be catastrophic on the battlefield, and not female, but male. It has been demonstrated that male combatants will unreasonably attempt to render aid and or rescue to female combatants, as they have proven less likely to do for other males. When the momentum of an assault is lost in such a fashion, it can lead to the entire unit being wiped. Could we train this out of men, probably, but again at much cost and trial and error that would endanger lives. The Israelis have been on the leading edge of such research, and though they combat train their females, they comprise the equivalent of our National Guard, not front line combat units.

    Your door kickers and grunts need to be males. Even among males not all are created equal, or are up to the task. Though perhaps one in fifty interested women may be suitable to the task, identifying them and integrating them is not a responsible, appropriate, or reasonable allocation of resources, especially with lives in the balance.

    Those that still disagree need to take some deep breaths and attempt some introspection, because it could only be your emotions and baggage that press the argument forward for you. I know tough as nails experienced female Marines who agree with me, and with some exception likely have more first hand and hard earned experience guiding their opinion. Sorry ladies, you can come in my treehouse and share my juice box with me, or even drop some napalm for me from a fighter jet, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of you trying to drag me 50 meters in full kit while we’re under fire.

    Be well,
    Busby

    P.S. Celebrated my ten year Afghanistan anniversary, and I’m back here again enjoying the Ramadan holidays. Albeit armed to the teeth.

  • So far there are four female enlisted classes at Infantry school. They are taking females straight out of boot camp and sending them to infantry school instead of MCT. They have had volunteers in every class so far and the first class still has five women and they are almost done with training. Yes women officers failed the first time, but give it a little more time and there will be women officers as well as women enlisted pass infantry school. Also women haven’t even official been allowed in infantry, right now the Marine Corp is just testing out to see if women can make it through infantry school. All that happens is they get an infantry school completion code instead of an MCT completion code and then get sent to their MOS school.

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