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USMC and women in infantry

Discussion in 'The Stump' started by USMCPrice, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    No satistically your argument makes sense. The sample size is too small to draw any broader based comparisons. However, as you said it's now politics and the end result is all that will be focussed on. Most people, and politicians also don't factor in the cultural differences between the services, they think they're all the same just different uniforms. The Marine Corps is less accepting of failure, but they can afford to be because they're so much smaller. They also have a disproportionately smaller budget so they don't have the money to run people through courses multiple times. The US Army has to have the numbers because of their sheer size, this requires them to find ways to remediate failure and their budget allows them to give soldiers multiple "bites at the apple".
     
  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Went back to find Dempsey's exact quote. Here it is:

    “If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?”

    Where I think this line of thinking is flawed, is that the standards were put in place BEFORE women were even eligible to fill the job. It is and has been considered an appropriate cut off to insure that we have quality, combat capable soldiers and Marines. The standards were not aimed at excluding women, they were what was felt was a minimum level of performance for servicemembers filling that job. Gender was not an issue because females were not eligible to fill those jobs. Now that they are eligible, the standards that have been acceptable for decades are now considered too high because women can't pass. I call BS on that.
     
  3. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Another thing that I find interesting and not quite accurate is they keep saying the two women when they graduate will get the tab but won't be able to serve in the Ranger Battalions, like the Tab enables you to serve in the Special Operations Ranger Regiment. They are two seperate things, one doesn't automatically lead to the other. Ranger school is a combat leadership course. A large percentage of Ranger school graduates never serve in the Ranger Batts and never intend to. They provide a trained combat leadership resource to units Army wide.

    The Ranger Regiment is a different Animule, you don't have to be a Ranger School graduate to go to the Regiment, you have to be a volunteer, and have to volunteer for Airborne School. Then you have to go through Ranger Assessment and Selection Phase (RASP). To hold a leadership position they will send you to Ranger School at some point if not already tab qualified.

    So a lot of people graduate Ranger School that are never in the Ranger Regiment, nor are qualified to be. You can be in the Ranger Regiment without ever having gone through Ranger School, though most eventually do attend.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Good article and unlike many I've seen of late the author appears to know his stuff and is very good at presenting the material without an apparent bias.
     
  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The news is now hinting that all the services except the Marine Corps will chose to drop all gender exclusions. Apparently, the Marine Corps is going to ask that certain positions remain all male. Now, that two women have graduated the Ranger Course the media and those advocating the change will apply additional pressure on the Marine Corps to follow suit, but does the graduation really change the situation except as the media portrays it to the public?
    20 women passed the pre-training the Army set up to select the women that would be allowed to attend Ranger School. 19 women actually started and two will now graduate.
    The Marine Corps ran 29 women through it's Infantry Officer Course and none passed. All but a couple failed the initial endurance test. They did approach the subject from scientific angle and established gender integrated test units to study the issue, so their end recommendations would be based on scientific data and controlled studies, not on emotion or biased opinions.

    They were blamed, in an op-ed piece, by one female officer that failed the course for NOT holding females to the higher male standard from day one. They changed policy and were going to add the pull-up requirement to female Marines (though at a lower requirement than males, three was the min with eight pull-ups the number for females to max the PFT, 20 remained the max standard for males). However, when they tried it 55% of females failed to meet the minimum so the policy was put on hold. Now, they're taking a new tack and going after Marine Corps boot camp claiming that gender integration at the start would help improve female performance and change attitudes amoung the male Marines. A recent Marine Corps times article, my comments in red:

    The boot camp gender divide: The case for co-ed training
    By Hope Hodge Seck, Staff writer 2:20 p.m. EDT August 3, 2015

    As military leaders face the looming decision to open all jobs to women, one base in the Marine Corps continues to segregate new enlistees by gender — and there are no plans to change that.
    When female recruits arrive at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina — one of two training depots where enlisted Marines are made — women are shuffled into their own unit: 4th Recruit Training Battalion. There, they have separate living quarters, physical training fields and even laundry facilities.
    There are actually four recruit training battalions on Parris Island, 1st, 2d, 3d and 4th (female). Each battalion has seperate living quarters, physical training fields, mess halls and laundry facilities. That's not mentioned of course.
    Their boot camp cycle is just as long as that of the male recruits and comprises the same activities and challenges. But occasionally, subtle differences emerge.
    On the obstacle course, for example, a longer climbing rope used by shorter-stature recruits was once informally dubbed the "WM rope" in reference to women Marines, according to a Pentagon report on integrated training. A ladder adjacent to a wall obstacle is known by some as the "4th Battalion ladder," a former commander of a male recruit battalion said. And then there are rifle range qualification rates, a discipline in which the female recruits have, until recently, trailed the men by 20 percent or more for the last decade.
    There is only one set of rifle range facilities, males and females use the same ranges, live in the same barracks, eat in the same chow halls and have the same PMI's, so how is integration supposed to help. Qualification is an individual not team effort and event.
    The Marine Corps is the only military branch to maintain gender-segregated recruit training. Leaders say the approach eliminates distractions and allows for better mentoring.
    But critics say it's time for a change, and that integrating boot camp is a necessary step in preparing for the Defense Department mandate that will open all combat fields to women by 2016.
    Lt. Col. Kevin Collins, a logistics officer, wrote in the Marine Corps Gazette last December, that allowing men and women to train together would better prepare them for what they'll face in the fleet.
    "Male-only recruit training provides an artificial and unrealistic environment that can result in violated expectations of the realities of service in the Marine Corps and misconceptions about female Marines," Collins wrote. "[And] isolating our women during recruit training unfairly implies that our female recruits need to be sheltered and protected."
    Performance gaps
    A recent investigation at Parris Island highlighted several troubling problems within 4th Recruit Training Battalion.
    Lt. Col. Kate Germano, the former head of 4th RTB who was relieved of command June 30 after a command investigation found her leadership methods "hostile" and "abusive," was on a mission to change double standards she said she saw between male and female recruits.
    Germano and her supporters say her hard-edged approach helped 4th RTB bring its rifle range qualification rates up by 12 percent in just one year and highlighted other ways the unit needed to become more competitive with its male counterparts.
    "Because they aren't challenged to compete with their male counterparts during physical fitness events, most [female recruits] only aspire to achieve female standards for physical performance, which many would justifiably argue are too low to begin with," Germano wrote in an editorial accepted for submission to the Marine Corps Gazette, but spiked after her firing. "The truth is that when female recruits are held to higher standards, they rise to the occasion ... Clearly, it became an insult to 'train like a girl' when it became normal to expect less from female recruits."
    The rifle range was not the only place on the island where male Marines were outperforming their female counterparts, according to a June investigation commissioned by the commanding general of Marine Corps Training and Education Command, Maj. Gen. James Lukeman, in response to complaints about Germano's leadership style.
    Citing a survey of performance scores, qualification percentages and attrition rates from the last four years, the investigating officer concluded that "historically, the male battalions have out-performed the female battalion in nearly all aspects of measured performance, including drill, [physical and combat fitness tests], academics and rifle range."
    The differences aren't always drastic, and in some areas, women at Parris Island outperform the men. Ten years of data on written test scores, for example, show that female recruits occasionally tie or outperform the average scores for men.
    So the females occasionally match or outperform males on written tests. News flash, where has anyone ever suggested that there was a disparity in male/female intelligence?
    And when using the scoring chart for female Marines on the Physical Fitness Test, recruits at 4th RTB outscored the men every year.
    Now this is a sore point between male and female Marines because the scores are gender normed. A female running a 21 minute three miles would score 100 for that event, while a male finishing alongside her would only score an 82. Until it was placed on hold, 8 pull-ups would get a female a 100 points, a male 40. As it is a male fails if he cant do three pull-ups, females can do zero as long as they can do a 15 second bent arm hang. Crunch standards are the same regardless of gender 100 get's you 100. So a female that runs her run in 21 minutes, does 100 crunches and 8 pull-ups using the new high standard would max the PFT with a perfect 300 score. First class, as good as it gets. A male with the same raw scores would have a PFT score of 222 and would only have a second class PFT score, preventing them from getting promoted and excluding them from certain schools.
    For tests that measure upper body strength, though, the male recruits outperform the women. The female battalion tends to score about six to nine points below the male units on the Combat Fitness Test. Parris Island officials credit that difference to the ammunition can lift, which requires upper-body strength that men possess in greater amounts than their female counterparts.
    Most dramatic was the difference in attrition rates. Female recruits dropped out of boot camp more than double the rate of their male counterparts — 13.3 percent compared to 6.5 percent — over the last four years.
    OK so how is this going to work. Females are already at higher rate of attrition, so we combine them with the males, and we either work to the male standard and increase female attrition or work to the female standard and produce a lower quality male recruit.
    Sgt. Stevie Cardona, a drill instructor at 4th RTB, said she has noticed some of those performance gap during her time at the recruit depot.
    "I have observed a separated battalion composed of females not performing on the same level as their counterparts in areas such as combat conditioning hikes and physical fitness," she said.
    That's due to greater physical strength and endurance in the male recruits, plus their stature. Taller, longer legs, longer stride=either a faster pace or easier time on conditioning hikes.
    For proponents of boot camp integration, the main contention is that female recruits will perform better across the board if given the opportunity to train and compete alongside men, rather than only with their female peers.
    A segregated experience
    While entry-level training for the other military services and Marine officers have been integrated for years, Corps officials maintain that separating the genders is the best way to train impressionable young recruits.
    Splitting the genders at boot camp allows recruits to encounter same-sex role models, removing the stereotype of men in authority for female recruits, said Maj. Anton Semelroth, a TECOM spokesman for TECOM. It also helps limit distractions, allows for differences in physical strength and endurance, and enables recruits to report sexual assault and harassment incidents that occurred prior to service more freely, he said.
    "In general, [recruits] arrive with immature, undeveloped and unfocused thoughts on professionalism and professional conduct," Semelroth said. "The only thing they have in common is their desire to be a Marine. By capitalizing on that desire, recruit training transforms these individuals from many diverse backgrounds into Marines imbued with a common set of values and standards."
    Following the 70 days of boot camp, new Marines not designated for the infantry go to Marine Combat Training, where men and women train together. But those 70 days of segregation, some say, are enough to develop powerful misconceptions and prejudices that are hard to shake.
    Retired Lt. Col. David Morgan, a former commander of 1st Recruit Training Battalion, said doesn't support the idea of co-ed recruit training. But he found a pervasive negative attitude toward female Marines among their male counterparts, he said, and was forced to conclude the problem started with boot camp.
    "We basically, in 12 weeks, imprint on them what the future of the Corps going to be," he said. "Ninety-seven percent of the time we're probably doing it the right way — but when we don't, that's pretty unfortunate. ...I'm living out here in society today, and nobody's looking at females as not equal. We're calling fire on our own position, to some extent."
    A former 4th RTB company commander who remains on active duty and who spoke under condition of anonymity said even good-natured trash talking between the battalions can take on an ugly edge due to the divide between the genders.
    "The thing is that Marines s--t-talk. Every unit does it," she said. "It turns into a male-and-female issue just because we're in separate battalions."
    Greg Jacob, a former Marine mustang infantry officer and the policy director for the Service Women's Action Network, said his boot camp experience in 1994 impressed on him from the start that the women at Parris Island were adversaries or inferior, rather than peers and comrades.

    "We were told by our DIs, the first or second day on the island, 'women recruits are nasty, stay away from them, they'll just get you into trouble.' I've heard that the same thing is said to the women in 4th Battalion," he said. "Right from the get-go, there's sort of this adversarial type of standing between the three male battalions and 4th Battalion."
    'We are internally bleeding'
    In addition to performance gaps and leadership issues, the investigation into Germano's behavior at 4th RTB also revealed severe manpower shortages in the all-woman unit, and some say the only way to fix it is by making boot camp co-ed.
    Current and former members of the battalion say the requirement of a female-only staff left the unit hard-pressed to fill positions and strained from overwork.
    The 25-page investigation, along with hundreds of pages of supplemental interviews and enclosures, was released to Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act request. It details manpower gaps and shortfalls within 4th RTB were "a significant issue that continues to go unanswered" and "does not allow for any semblance of comparable respite to the male battalions" due to the demand for staff and the high operational tempo the battalion observed to meet its training goals.
    A member of 4th RTB whose name was redacted in the report said the unit was "internally bleeding" when it came to staffing. While most male battalions had five drill instructors per team, the female battalion had three or four at best, she said. The unit was short on enlisted manpower for a full year due in part to a series of pregnancies, other medical issues and temporary duty assignments that left drill instructor billets unfilled, she said.
    I've avoided the cultural aspects of the argument thus far, but if a series of pregnancies was a serious cause of manning issues it can't be ignored. That goes directly towards operational readiness. Why weren't these female staff members taking precautions or planning their pregnancies around their tour on the drill field? DI duty is strictly volunteer, it is a prestegious and career boosting assignment. It reminds me of the problems back in 2003 when they were building up for the Iraq war and units were deploying short of personnel or with last minute replacements because of a rash of pregnancies. It looked like a great many servicewomen were getting pregnant to avoid the deployment. What can you do? You can't forbid it, and you can't prove that deployment avoidance was the reason for it, but the huge spike did raise eyebrows.
    "I think temporarily having male officers in 4th Battalion would help alleviate our problems," she testified.
    Another female Parris Island officer, who spoke to Marine Corps Times under condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said integrating unit staff by gender was the only way she knew to solve the persistent manpower problem. Since less than 10 percent of Marines are women, there's a high demand for them throughout the fleet, she said.
    "It would alleviate a lot of concerns for when we do have an officer that does go down or an enlisted marine who does have an emergency, because they can just fill in either to assist or just to help," she said.
    Both TECOM and Parris Island leadership, however, dispute that the unit has systemic manning issues. Lukeman disapproved the investigating officer's opinion finding staffing shortfalls, saying "there is no indication of inadequate support to 4th Recruit Training Battalion."
    Col. Jeffrey Fultz, the chief of staff for Parris Island, said the female unit was staffed to the same specifications within its table of organization as the male units, though he acknowledged the numbers sometimes fluctuated due to medical leave considerations. And the drill instructor-to-recruit ratio was actually better at 4th RTB than at the other battalions, he said.
    This gets to the point, if female platoons are averaging 40 recruits (typical) with three hats and a male platoon 80 recruits (a typical initial male platoon size) and five hats, staffing levels are similar.
    "Forget how many hats are on a team," he said. "Female platoons are smaller than male platoons."
    Marines push back

    Even proponents of recruit training integration, however, acknowledge that the ideas is unpopular with the majority of Marines. Enlisted Marines — male and female — treasure the gender-separate aspect of their boot camp experience, and drill instructors defend it as a key component of the legendary mentoring relationship that they foster with their recruits.
    This is the key part of the article, the Marines (recruits and Drill Instructors) don't like the idea of gender integrated recruit training and think the present system is superior from a training/mentoring/recruit experience perspective and those pushing for the change acknowlege it.
    Sgt. Maj. Angela Maness, the first female enlisted leader at Parris Island and a former drill instructor, said she saw only benefits to keeping the genders apart for training during the first 12 weeks.
    "For our recruits as part of their training, they see what right looks like; I've said that my whole career," she said. "They need to be focused on one thing, and that's the training that we give them."
    While incidents such as male recruits being ordered to turn their backs on their female counterparts had occurred in the past at Parris Island, Maness said these events were examples of "drill instructors acting like an idiot" and were neither encouraged nor permitted at the recruit depot. Overall, she said, she did not observe negativity between the genders during training.
    A 4th RTB senior drill instructor, Staff Sgt. Rocio Ramirez Martinez, said she was glad for the opportunity to give female recruits a role model they could aspire to emulate, even in a male-dominated Corps.
    "[The recruits] most likely will end up working for a male staff noncommissioned officer and a male recruit can end up working for a female staff NCO. They will continue to be mentors and role models to those recruits," she said. "However, we can assure that their introduction to the Marine Corps was with a positive role model that the recruit can aspire to be like."
    Gunnery Sgt. Amina Saracay, a chief drill instructor for 4th RTB and a uniformed victim advocate, said she had found isolating the recruits by gender allowed her to bond with and mentor victims of previous sexual assault in ways a male drill instructor could not.
    And has everyone forgotten the scandals a few years back where gender integrated training units in the Air Force and Army had a flood of rapes, sexual assaults, and other unwanted sexual behavior and blackmail by drill instructors misusing their authority and position against female recruits?
    And these viewpoints are not devoid of scientific backing. A diverse and bipartisan Pentagon panel assembled in 1997 to study gender-integrated training found, among other things, that the co-ed recruit training employed by the Army, Navy and Air Force resulted in "less discipline, less unit cohesion, and more distraction from the training programs."
    At Parris Island, the investigators raved about the success of female-only training.
    "The committee observed impressive levels of confidence, team-building, and esprit de corps in the all-female training platoons at the Marine Corps Parris Island base," they wrote in a report summary.
    But with much changed in the 18 years since the study, evidence of systemic problems at 4th RTB and massive changes on the horizon with combat integration, some say it's time to conduct a new evaluation.
    "We were studying this at a time when there were a significant minority of [Marine] recruits who had essentially been sent there by judges, sent there in the hope that the Marine Corps had put them on the right path," said John Walcott, a panel member at the time of the study, who is now the team leader for National Security and Foreign Affairs at Bloomberg News. He added that he suspected the makeup of the recruit population had changed significantly since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
    "There's so many variables and such self-selection among recruits ... I think, first of all, you can't give a good answer to [the question of whether to change Marine boot camp] without giving another survey," he said.
    Jacob, the SWAN policy director, said he couldn't see a way to successfully integrate the historic boys' club that is the Marine Corps infantry in keeping with the Pentagon directive without starting at boot camp.
    "I think the time is now," he said. "It should have happened 20 years ago, to be honest."
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Here's an interesting one on them "opening up" the SEALs
    http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/2015/08/20/deadline-looms-navy-pushes-integrate-seals-swcc/32043219/
    and a quote:
    *** edit for ***
    Here's an article talking about the Marine decision (which is still up in the air)
    http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2015/08/20/marines-decision-women-combat-expected-weeks/32065377/
     
  8. WW2HistoryGal

    WW2HistoryGal Member

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    I've been following former USMC gunnery sergeant Jessie Jane Duff on Twitter where she's been discussing this issue. It's been very enlightening.

    https://twitter.com/JessieJaneDuff

    It's funny - I was discussing this issue with a "friend" on Facebook, and one of her friends (a female West Point graduate from years ago) jumped on my case, saying I was "denigrating women" by pointing out the physiological differences between men and women. Even when I pointed to the case studies done by the US Army and others on the physical capabilities of men and women, she still said I was being "disloyal" to the female Ranger grads. I was just floored by that response.

    And my "friend" apparently didn't like it, and unfriended me.

    Ahh, the age of social media...
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It actually makes their acomplishments that much more impressive IMO.

    We've got a couple of posters on this site though who aren't known for their rationality or objectivity. I guess it's worth knowing that people like that exist if nothing else so that one can minimize their impact.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Several problems here that I don't know how they should be addressed. First, note that it is other FEMALES that are pushing for maintaining the status quo double standards:

    “Who do you think you are, candidate?” my platoon commander, a woman, barked. I must have stared back blankly, as I received a barrage of insults for several minutes. I was later counseled that the standard for women was 21 minutes, and that I should get used to running slower."

    The Marines at the Officer Selection Office prepared her well. Her training partner a male, supported her. Her, male OCS company commander praised her and became a friend and mentor. Then on to Colonel Germano, "But on June 30, after complaints from some recruits about her aggressive leadership tactics, and conflicts with her own commanders, Colonel Germano was removed by her superior, Brig. Gen. Terry Williams, who said he had lost “trust and confidence” in her abilities." Her battalion is all female, her recruits and commanders are all female. Her Drill Instructors are all female, it was these very same females that filed the complaints that led to her relief. The Marine Corps does have a hyper-masculine culture, that's why they've always perfomed so well in combat, but is it the culture of the Marine Corps or many females not wanting to be held to male standards that is the problem? I have the advantage of having served in the Army and Marine Corps both, the same double standards for females and the associated lowered expectations for females exists in the Army as well. So is it actually the Marine Corps culture or the daily observed double standards? Then you have to ask is it actually the military or the civilian leadership trying to social engineer that has created the proble? It was the civilian DoD leadership, and Congress and not the services that initially implemented the seperate physical standards to insure more women had the opportunity. While undergoing my medical training at Ft. Sam Houston I was at an installation that actually was majority female (Academy of Health Sciences), and the problems still existed. I also saw, substandard, ill trained females passed from courses because the percentages of females had dropped below the level mandated by DoD and to pass a number less than expected was defacto proof of sexual discrimination. I was actually ordered to read off correct answers to female students so they would pass their retest, when males that failed were recycled (no quota for them). What really sucks about that is it was for academics, in jobs that females prove everyday in the civilian world they are the equals or betters than men. But a quota is a quota, they didn't ask the reason the numbers dropped below the expected level.

    "an institution that has conditioned Marines to expect less from its members who are born female."
    And that is because servicemembers see the lesser physical requirements for females every day. When it is your daily experience, you come to expect it. Again, it's not just the Marine Corps and Marine Corps culture, I saw the exact same attitude in the US Army.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    As I say I found the article very interesting in part because it raised more questions than it answered and did so in a way that I couldn't see any obvious way to correct the problems. It should also be noted that it is from one person's POV and others could see things considerably different and have had very different experiances.

    Another problem is there are very real physical and mental differences between men and women as we've noted before. Their abilities do over lap so some may excel in areas that they aren't expected to so it isn't autmatic that one will be inferior to the other in any particular area but on average they certainly are. In some ways strength and speed are easy to test for and so they are often used as initial screening criteria. If other characteristics were used as the initial criteria I would expect a different balance of the sexes similarly if all the importnat criteria could be assessed at the same time (if it is even possible to identify them) and related to the jobs that needed to be done and selection made on that basis we might see a different ratio as well (as noted though for infantry combat physical strength and speed will be important no matter what). Problem is that is very difficult if not impossible. There is also the question of the relative importance of being "fair" vs having the best force possible. I'm glad I don't have to make the decisions or even try to solve the problem.
     
  13. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I agree with what you say. Very tough problems with no clear answer but one; "relative importance of being "fair" vs having the best force possible". I think this one is easy, best force possible. Each and every servicemember in combat is risking their life, I would never ask anyone to die for the sake of fairness. How can you tell a parent, spouse, sibling or child that their loved one was killed because it's only fair to let less capable people serve. We did it at one point and it was a disaster, nearly wrecking the services and taking a decade or more to recover from. We owe it to everyone that puts their butt on the line to insure they have all the advantages we can, so "best force possible".
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Well at least the perception of being "fair" can help build a better force IMO. Also it rather depends on what you mean by "fair". Is it fair to increase the risk to life and limb of some people so that others have an opertunity to do have the carreers they want? Phrased this way many would say no but then enabling individuals to meet and over come challenges to "be the best they can" is also a worthwhile goal.

    What is really needed IMO is for some very smart individuals without preset agendas to sit down and figure out first of all how to define the "best force possible" then how to get there from here. Not sure how many impossible conditons I just set though.

    Does come down to figuring out what skills, talents, and abilities are really needed and the balance between them and how best to see that they come together in the right place. One of the real problems with all this is group dynamics. A team can be either much weaker or much stronger than one would think by just looking at the individuals in it. Assembling a team whoose abilities complement and amplify rather than detract from each other is a non trivial process. Individuals who on thier own might not be the optimum choices might actually help form a better team. Don't even have a good idea how to address this though. Good leaders have a talent for it but it's not always easy to tell who the good leaders are.

    I think I'm rambling so will close for now.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Special Forces (Green Berets) are poor at some mental games but masters at others. When I went through SFAS, you started at Ft. Bragg. We drew gear, did some practice ruck marches, took the initial PT test. They got us up at like 0400, we did the daily dozen, ran three miles to the PT test field, ran the standard Army PT test on which we had to score a first class on the 17-21 scoring criteria (I was like 30 at the time and the age norming is a bigger crutch than many may appreciate). Then we ran to the pool and did our swim qual in boots and utes (a Marine term, don't remember the US Army equivilent). We did a lot of ruck marches getting ready to go to Camp Mackall, each longer with more weight, and the pace was pretty rough. The worst day before going out to Mackall I remember was one morning at PT, one of the instructors, just back from scuba school, a black dude, said he was going to have us do four count flutter kicks until we all quit. If we quit we'd be dropped. I thought yeah right, bring it. Guy was a beast. We did them and did them and did them, most of the class had gone for all they were worth and had stopped. When we got down to maybe ten guys or so left. I was thinking, "please God let me do just a few more. They can't fail the whole class. I can't get dropped just a few days into this." I quit around 250 (remember they were four count so you were doing two flutter kicks for each repetition), he put the last guy down at 264, I remember the number because I couldn't believe it. They didn't drop anybody. Then we got to thinking "hey, they won't drop you as long as you give 100%". Wrong. On a ruck march that day they dropped everyone that didn't finish with the group. Having to work to a standard not clearly delineated before hand really messes with your mind and makes a lot of the little mental tricks you've learned over time worthless. Then we went to Camp Mackall.
    The first night I was at Camp Mackall they woke us up in the early morning hours with all kinds of noise, shouting and the "Balad of the Green Berets" blaring over the loud speakers. It was supposed to be confusing and stressfull, I remember thinking and even remarking how amateurish it was compared to harrassment and similar stress and confusion producing tactics employed in the Marine Corps. Then we went for a run, no distance specified beforehand. That makes running rough. If they tell you a set distance, you can calculate in your mind approximately how far you've gone and how far you have left to go. Smooth move on their part. Then during the run we came to an airfield and started running around it. Everytime we got to the spot where we'd entered from the woods they'd stop and PT us and then we'd resume the run. That was a major mind fugg. Especially because you could see where you were and apparently how far you still had to go. 5000 ft to a side and 150 feet at each end. The first couple laps were easy and each time you'd approach the starting point you'd think you were done, and another lap would start. On the later ones once the starting point was passed you'd think, "damn, I don't know if I can make another one." When we started the last one, we passed the starting point and I knew I wouldn't make it all the way around again. I just about quit and maybe 150 ft into it they stopped us, and marched us back to the entrance point and back to camp. I was soooo glad. I'll give them an A+++ for that mind game. So physicality and mental toughness go hand in hand, but each must be possessed in large quantities. You can be a PT stud with a weak will and fail or have an unbreakable mental attitude but lack the physical strength and endurance and fail.
     
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  17. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    These discussions really come across as academic since most people have a hard time visualizing and don't understand how much some of these courses will put a soldier/Marine through. These videos are of a Discovery Channel show called surviving the cut. I thought the one on Marine Recon did a very good job of showing how far servicemembers will push themselves and be pushed. Here's some links to that episode, watch it, it's illuminating.

    http://www.military.com/video/forces/special-operations-forces/us-marine-recon-training-part-1/1094159022001/

    http://www.military.com/video/forces/special-operations-forces/us-marine-recon-training-part-2/1095989408001/

    http://www.military.com/video/forces/special-operations-forces/us-marine-recon-training-part-3/1102946166001/
     
  18. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLzvQraXw6k
     
  19. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Apparently SecNav Maybus has decided that the Marine Corps will allow women into infantry and special operations billets, regardless of what the studies might show. Commandant Dunford has not yet released the report nor his decision. RIP USMC, died at 240 years of age from political correctness.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/09/01/navy-secretary-wants-marine-infantry-open-women/71546788/

    "Marine officials will soon offer their recommendations, but Mabus, the civilian secretary who leads the Navy Department — including the Marine Corps — made clear that he must sign off on the decision to seek any exemptions to opening all jobs to women, and he hasn't had a change of heart.
    "That's still my call, and I've been very public," Mabus said in an exclusive interview Tuesday. "I do not see a reason for an exemption."

    He's also stated that the Marine Corps needs to be 25% female, despite the fact that they're struggling to to get past 7% females in the force. The only way to achieve this would be to gender integrate boot camp. Another nail in the coffin. What's sad is that the Airforce, the service with the most technical jobs, least number of direct combat positions, and the least need for personnel meeting high physical standards only has 19.1% female service members. The US Army has only 13.6% of it's force comprised of females, how the hell does he expect to attract enough physically qualified females to bring the Marine Corps to a 25% mix? The Marine Corps has always been able to count on aggresive males to fill out it's ranks, how will this change effect that? During the GWOT and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US Army had to resort to lowering standards, big monetary bonuses, the blue to green program where excess personnel in the Navy and Airforce had to transfer to the Army if they desired to continue their military service, in order to keep their ranks filled. The Marine Corps during the same period was forcing personnel out because they lacked enough billets and Marines were having to re-enlist up to a year before their ETS in order to secure a slot. New recruits had to wait for up to a year to ship to boot camp if they wanted a guaranteed infantry slot. That will now be a thing of the past once the mystique is gone.
     
  20. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    So we're going to have a female only draft or fire 3/4 of the male marines.
     

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