Battle Rattle

Two more female Marines fall short at latest Infantry Officer Course

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A female lieutenant hangs from a rope at the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course on Tuesday. She and another woman attempted the course as part of the service’s ongoing research into how women should serve in combat units. (Thomas Brown/ Staff)

QUANTICO, Va. — From the moment before dawn that we stepped out of our vehicles in the woods here, it was plainly obvious it would be a long, demanding day in the wilderness.

Tuesday marked the beginning of the latest iteration of the Infantry Officer Course, the Marine Corps’ demanding 13-week course that determines who leads infantry Marines in combat. IOC has been in the news frequently over the last year as a result of the Women in Service Restriction Review, a Pentagon-directed study that is assessing which additional roles female service members can hold in combat units.

Currently, female Marines are not allowed to hold military occupational specialties in a variety of combat arms jobs, including infantry, artillery, reconnaissance and special operations. Commandant Gen. Jim Amos decided last year to use IOC to conduct research about whether the Corps should open some of those fields, but only six female lieutenants have reported at IOC to try it.

The latest two of those six stepped off with 77 other Marine lieutenants before dawn. Like all but one of their female predecessors, the women attending this IOC eventually fell short of passing the initial Combat Endurance Test, a grueling examination of physical strength and decision-making under duress. The one exception attended last fall, passing the CET before a stress fracture in her foot forced her to bow out of training about a week later.

One of the women this time was among six lieutenants pulled from the course for falling behind schedule to the point that they could not pass the course. The other woman did better, making it to the end but not doing well enough overall to meet the course’s standards, said Maj. Scott Cuomo, director of IOC. Six men fell into that category, as well.

Additionally, five more male lieutenants who attempted the course asked for a “drop on request,” or DOR, which disqualifies them from completing IOC. All told, 61 Marine lieutenants passed the initial Combat Endurance Test, and 18 failed.

The women seemingly failed primarily due to struggles with upper body strength. In one example, they both struggled to climb a 20-foot rope required twice. One Marine made it all the way up it once, but could not do it again. The other woman — and a couple of men — were unable to make it up the rope one time.

As many Marine Corps Times readers are aware, I was challenged in April by the commandant to take this version of IOC as a participant after he took exception to a previous headline suggesting the two female volunteers at the last IOC “flunked.” I initially accepted the invitation, but several days later we mutually agreed that the more prudent measure would be covering the initial Combat Endurance Test as an embedded observer. Doing so seemed like the best way to see what occurred without becoming a distraction to the mission at IOC.

My experience Tuesday as an observer tells me it would have been damn near impossible to pass the Combat Endurance Test without months of training beforehand. For starters, it requires land navigation skills, the strength and agility to negotiate a series of difficult physical events and the know-how to put together a variety of weapons organic to an infantry unit, including the M249 squad automatic weapon, the M4 carbine and the M2 .50-caliber machine gun.

That’s to say nothing of the physical component and the ability to make snap decisions while confused about one’s surroundings and mission. Some lieutenants could be seen wandering through the woods seemingly aimlessly, far from their objectives. At least two lieutenants vomited, and a few ran into some sort of trouble that left them bleeding from the head. Considering it was about 75 degrees and overcast or raining most of the day, the summer elements also certainly could have been worse, too.

A small team of embedded media, other observers and I spent hours traversing the hills, fields, streams and muddy paths of Quantico to track the events. It was impressive watching the majority of the lieutenants perform, and inspiring watching those who struggled almost uniformly refuse to give up. It’s safe to say all of our legs are sore today.

I’d like to thank the commandant and Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, commander of the The Basic School, which oversees IOC, for having us down. Thanks also to Maj. Cuomo and all of the other officers and enlisted staff at TBS who hosted us.

I’ll have a long-form cover story on Marine Corps Times soon expanding on this issue and offering several related updates.

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Comments

  1. 2 female Marines fall short at latest Infantry Officer Course — Off Duty Plus Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 5:30 am

    [...] Click here to read more. [...]

  2. Bryan Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Dan,

    I’m not saying all women wouldn’t be able to pass IOC, because there might be a select few, but the Marine Corps will never lower its standards or increase their standards to prove a point, i.e., women trying to become infantry officers. I think you got humbled when the CMC challenged you to the IOC, much less CET. I think our Corps needs to get off this kick where, in order to satisfy the MINORITY, we have to satisfy the few, no pun intended. Certain fields need to be for men, sorry, but that’s just how it is. Our leaders aren’t testing this out because they want to, but because they HAVE to. But, in doing so, they’ll be able to brief their higher why this crap shouldn’t happen and that’s exactly what’s going on right now. Women have made great contributions to the Marine Corps, but, seriously, leave the fighting, i.e., contact patrols for example, to the men.

  3. Keith Steinhurst Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 7:43 am

    The Marine Corps is a hard business and becoming a Marine is a difficult task of which I know first hand – the USMC makes the very finest Army officers, I digress. Becoming an Officer of Marines is a yet higher bar that few achieve. Those females that are able to successfully navigate a Marine Commission and comlete The Basic School are already head and shoulder above their peers in the sister services. Frankly, the USMC is a small animal and it could be argued that the entire Corps is a ‘special force’ so, from my foxhole, those females that choose to take the challenge of the EGA are already a select group. If among their number there are some (1 in 10 by this article) who can navigate the IOC (or at least the CET) so be it – any that could do so, I would, without question, follow – Semper Fidelis!

  4. Petey Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 9:07 am

    After TBS in 2005, when I headed off to MOS school and many of my friends and peers went to IOC, things were very different. When we all regrouped at an infantry battalion. Most of the platoon commanders who had attended the most recent IOC course had failed the ICET. None were dropped. Instead, for the duration of IOC, they were threatened with having to retake it. There was a war on, and the Marine Corps hadn’t yet adopted its disingenuous policy of using the ICET to exclude females from the 03 community. So no one had to retake it later. Fast forward eight years and the Marine Corps is acting as if completion of ICET has always been a prerequisite of attaining the 0302 MOS. Not true.

    Some of these men who became 0302s were physically and mentally weak (my opinion, the opinion of their peers, but subjective none the less). They couldn’t have passed ICET, and yet they found some success later on as Platoon and Company Commanders.

    Having spent three years in an infantry battalion and 10 years in the Marine Corps, to include time in coed units, I don’t think women belong in the combat arms, especially the infantry.

    But I also think our ethos of Honor, Courage, and Commitment means that IOC should be honest about the ICET, about having the luxury to recycle lieutenants into other MOSs (the wars have wound down), and admit that there was a period of several years for which ICET was nothing more than a hazing exercise with no bearing on a Marine’s ability to graduate IOC. The women volunteering to attend IOC deserve at least that much respect, because some may in fact be stronger and more qualified than their male peers still serving successfully in 03 billets throughout the Marine Corps.

  5. Sabrina Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Here’s a question to ponder: Maybe the ‘standards’ were unrealistically high in the first place?

  6. Re: Sabrina Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 9:39 am

    If the standards were “unrealistically high” in the first place, why do people pass every course? Get real, girlfriend!

  7. Marty Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Sabrina…you can’t be serious? Yes…lower the standards and make the Marine Corps ‘easier’. Take away their sense of elite organizational pride, and dull their combat edge. That’s a fantastic idea…

  8. Don Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 9:51 am

    “Some lieutenants could be seen wandering through the woods seemingly aimlessly, far from their objectives. At least two lieutenants also vomited, and a few ran into some sort of trouble that left them bleeding from the head.”

    Made me laugh out loud. LTs are my favorite species.

  9. Eri Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I have been following this idea of woman in the Combat Arms for years now. No one can give me a good answer. Will putting woman in any type of front line unit increase combat efficiency? Will our armed forces be able to defeat the enemy more soundly with woman in the front lines? As a student of military history, I can find no example of major engagements won due to front line infantry(wo)man.
    Semper Fi,
    Eric

  10. Borg0300 Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Sabrina, do you use unrealistic standards when you make a sandwich?

  11. Salvador Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Unrealistically high? So what I understand from your statement Sabrina is you want to make it easier so that women could pass?

  12. Jaime Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I was in the Corps 15 years ago. As a female Marine, I was pretty bad ass (I still have my moments), but… I said it then, I’ll say it now. There are just some things that men can do, that the majority of women can’t. We are not physically made the same, end of debate. When did mentioning the reality of this fact become sexist? Physical standards are there to save human life, (also) end of debate. My husband is in the Coast Guard, and I see females get upset about failing the standards to become a rescue swimmer. Talking about lowering the standards….. Let’s think about this. My boat has just sunk, I’m off the coast of Alaska in the freezing conditions with 15 foot swells….. I WANT THE PERSON THAT WAS TRAINED AT THE HIGHEST STANDARD TO SAVE MY ASS. I don’t care if it is a man, a woman, or an alien. But the fact is, is that due to the inherently higher muscle mass of men, they are able to pass theses tests more than their women counterparts. The Marine Corps’ unrealistic standards, are there to give us the best of the best of the best, true superheroes… they do exist.

  13. VNVet Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 10:43 am

    It will take a special breed of woman to become a Marine Combat Officer, if and when this happens will certainly be a topic of debate for some time. The fact that they are ‘testing’ some of these women now does not mean that it will happen anytime soon. Just the answer to a Pentagon ‘feasability’ report. There are many Second Louies who found out in Vietnam that just making it out of Basic School did not necessarily make you a Combat officer.

  14. Chris Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 10:55 am

    If they can’t pass the initial selection process with any significant numbers, why are the brass going to allow them to compete for slots as SPEC/OP?

  15. NOTED! Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Petey: Passing the CET may not have been required for graduation in 2005, but it is now and it is not a new development. When I was in Quantico in 2009 if a Lt failed it, he was moved to Mike Co and rolled to the next class, (assuming they didn’t want to DOR and move to another MOS). Not trying to take anything away from the Marines that went through it in 2005, but I’m gonna go ahead and guess that with the way OIF was at the time, we needed more numbers.

    Jaime: Well Said!

    Sabrina: WOW!! Just wow….. go ahead and take a knee and punch yourself in the face.

  16. MarineVet Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 11:09 am

    The cart before the horse. MSM already has women succeeding as Army Rangers, Navy Seals, PJs, Delta Force, and Marine Recon, and they can’t even pass the Marine IOC. SMDH. The administration will say we need women to pass; do what ever it takes: lower standards. All political that will get good people killed.

  17. LimaSheepdog Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Things are different in the Corps now, as any active duty service member (who’s been through at least 2 enlistments) can tell you. Standards have been lowered at Parris Island. I was there. And I am sure they eventually will be lowered at IOC. (Even though they will mask it under a policy change or curriculum mod of sorts)… The brass in the Corps do not have the balls to call a spade “a spade” on touchy issues. This has been proven time and time again in recent articles and recent history.

  18. Doc 03911 Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Sabrina, would the enemy accept terms of being realistic before a battle?

  19. PhysioUSMC Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Looking at history, it is not something that is impossible. Just not likely, yet. In general, the average male volunteer is a better athlete than the average female volunteer.

    That being said, it would be interesting to see more female advanced level athletes attempt these.

    Kind of odd example.. but the article mentions the rope climb. A mediocre female gymnast can climb a rope without her legs multiple times, or with a teammate on their back using their legs.

    There are a reasonable # of women that exist that could meet and exceed the standard. The question is if any of them are enlisted to begin with and how many. Even if the rate of passing is 5%-10% for women, that could be significant. Just need more people testing for it.

  20. Kelsey Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    As much as it kills me with disappointment to see yet another article on this subject where the females have failed to pass I’ve learned it’s just a waiting game. Women will eventually start to pass, the article even stated one had essentially managed to do so except she got injured. I’m not saying lower the standards or the Marines hate women, no, just that now that the opportunity is there someone will eventually get it. I don’t think this experiment is a bad thing either. When you deal with an enemy the strength, cunning, and even compassion from a leader is necessary. Strength isn’t just a physical attribute, although no one will argue against the necessity of being physically fit its not the sole requirement desired from trials like IOC etc. In my opinion the trials aren’t there to prove if you’ve got physical strength, but essentially your conviction. If you can’t convince yourself that despite the odds you’ll do everything it takes to succeed than how can you rally others to follow? People of any gender can do this, but the whole point is that like command, the courses aren’t easy for anyone. It’s honestly not in my opinion a gender issue that should rile up anyone. The standards may be changed, or a hardcore version for women may be added. I have no idea, it’s not my job to worry about that. The Marines will always be elite, always akin to Superheroes, but for me I want to see more Superwomen amongst the Supermen. Even if none succeed, I think all are grateful for the opportunity. Because honestly that’s what this is about: opportunity. Even if None pass, a select few, etc the fact they can participate warms me. So, always stay Semper Fi.

  21. MCvet Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Sabrina, if it weren’t for standards, we’d all be in the army.

  22. AsherDe Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Being a woman with common sense, and a woman that has worked in a “man’s Job” for over 20 years I can honestly say that if a woman cannot meet the standards she should not be in those positions. I hope the military does not change the standards. There are women out there that have the drive, determination and skills to take on these challenges, the ones that don’t have them should not be placed into these positions and should be “flunked out” just like the men.

  23. Jon Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Before we write off women,let’s see how female officers do after attending a prep course. Like the Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School, the Corps should develop a two month course that would stress the mental and physical rigors of IOC.

  24. 1stSgt Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Why are we talking about “if” the standards are lowered. As if it hasn’t already happened? Female Marines do not currently meet the Physical Fitness standards of male Marines. If you made females meet the current PT standards. We would lose a large portion of them or they would not be competitive for promotion.

  25. Carl1775 Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    IOC comes right after a 6 mos basic school that all officers attend (the CET is a rigorous test based in the basics learned there) as well as 1 to 3 months of specific ‘pre IOC’ training that occurs while Marines wait for the actual course to begin. None of the females have come in “cold”.

  26. WIG Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Semper Fi Jamie truely one of the best if not the best comment here

  27. Eri Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I still see no examples of infantry women winning battles.

  28. Eri Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I still see no examples of infantry women winning any battles anywhere in history.

  29. Eri Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I hope the enemy will appreciate our efforts towards gender integration.

  30. 03xx Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    It is because we are one of the only countries that pays heed to petty cries of fairness. Out of all things we give this type of problem consideration. I can think of numerous issues that should be dealt with before this, especially with troops still out on the front lines. This would have made the Marine Corps. the laughing stock of the day if this type of buttfucknasty was pulled at the beginning of either invasion: Desert Storm/OIF.

  31. Liz Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    For those who’ve stated that they know of no examples of infantry women winning battles anywhere in history, you forget some key examples – Joan of Arc was on the front lines (and took an arrow in battle) and led France from a losing position to defeat the English. Muhammad’s wife led the battle of Camel. There is a female Canadian Marine infantry officer who is enormously well respected by her peers, and there have been infantry enlisted females in Canada who have made it through training. Dr. Ruth was an Israeli sniper, and the US’s most highly decorated Sniper doesn’t even come CLOSE to beating Russia’s record, which was held by a sniper.

    This shouldn’t be viewed as a test of the entire gender, anymore than a failure by any of these LT’s who washed out is viewed as a test of that person’s race or state of origin or hair color. Set the standard, let anyone who wishes to apply do so, have merit determine the final outcome. That’s all the women (and gays, and blacks, and everyone else) want. Don’t ban someone from a job for any reason other than merit – not collective merit, but individual.

  32. Liz Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Correction from last post:
    For those who’ve stated that they know of no examples of infantry women winning battles anywhere in history, you forget some key examples – Joan of Arc was on the front lines (and took an arrow in battle) and led France from a losing position to defeat the English. Muhammad’s wife led the battle of Camel. There is a female Canadian Marine infantry officer who is enormously well respected by her peers, and there have been infantry enlisted females in Canada who have made it through training. Dr. Ruth was an Israeli sniper, and the US’s most highly decorated Sniper doesn’t even come CLOSE to beating Russia’s record, which was held by a woman.
    This shouldn’t be viewed as a test of the entire gender, anymore than a failure by any of these LT’s who washed out is viewed as a test of that person’s race or state of origin or hair color. Set the standard, let anyone who wishes to apply do so, have merit determine the final outcome. That’s all the women (and gays, and blacks, and everyone else) want. Don’t ban someone from a job for any reason other than merit – not collective merit, but individual.

  33. Keith Brewer Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    MCvet is typical of all scared little boys by making comments about his sister service instead of talking about the issue. I am (You guessed it) a Soldier U.S. Army proud, wounded vet 10th Mountain and 3rd ID. If you said the garbage on this website about and comparing no standards to being the Army; I would personally kick the shit out of your sorry ass. I never wanted to be a Marine, Im just a damn good Soldier so MCvet… Kiss my camoflouge ass! Stick to the topic next time and dont throw a jab unless you got the balls to stand in front of me or one of my Ranger or infantry buddies to say it!

  34. XrayCharlie Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    @Liz, all of your examples don’t prove anything. All the women warriors you mentioned would probably not be able to pass the Marine IOC. Your argument just proves the point that when women argue for women in combat they don’t know what they are talking about. As the opposite men can’t debate in a woman’s world on motherhood. Somethings are just better left in the male domain.

  35. tom Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Hey boss – some of these women are catching on and building their strength. Some might actually pass. What’ll we do? Son – ratchet up the rope climb another 3-4′ or so and add another 5# to their packs. That should throw a crimp in their shorts. – Boss

  36. XrayCharlie Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    @Tom, it is more than about strength. It is not about just achieving the minimums, but exceeding the maximums.

  37. Mike Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    RETREAT HELL!

  38. Sgt J Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Before I went to Iraq as a Marine rifleman, I thought I knew a thing or two about war. Actually experiencing combat has shown me that NOBODY knows what war is like until you’ve been there. I know many female Marines and a couple of them have seen combat (to an extent), but I have yet to meet one (to my suprise) who thinks women belong in the infantry. It seems the only people who want to see women in the infantry have no idea what combat is actually like. As much as it irritates the feminists, men and women are different. We should celebrate and honor our beautiful differences instead of trying to force women into the male mold (and visa-versa). Equality is a perspective not a ratio. To lower the standards is to directly reduce the ability if the United States to protect its citizens.

  39. Sabrina Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I AM serious! Have you never heard of people having artificially set standards in order to deliberately weed out people? Happens all the time but no one ever admits it? Why is it so difficult for some of you to believe that it couldn’t happen in the Corps? I’ve seen the anti-women comments here so I wouldn’t put it past someone to do that. Some men would love to not see women in the Corps at all, and that sort of prejudice seems to be gaining more popularity (and I say this based on so many of the negative comments re: women in the military in a variety of pages. I find it very discouraging that things are rolling backwards instead of going forward in attitudes. It seems to me this is nothing but a way to try to say “I told you so” and to keep women out, and to allow machos to keep their egos intact.

  40. Sabrina Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 12:03 am

    For those saying women have never been in combat, I recommend a book: Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women In War from Prehistory to the Present and you’ll find there have indeed been women warriors.

  41. Sgt J said... Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Sgt J, re: what you said “We should celebrate and honor our beautiful differences instead of trying to force women into the male mold (and visa-versa).” it’s a lovely sentiment but it gets women NOWHERE! Instead those “differences” are used against women. Those “beautiful” differences have kept women underpaid and kept out of various career opportunities plus trapped in bad relationships with men who want to keep women down. It’s too bad people don’t appreciate the differences, but we all have to face reality. If Infantry is considered the “gold standard” of the Corps, and people keep saying that grunts are the only “real Marines” and all else is considered secondary and considered derisively as POGs, then women if they wish to be taken seriously as Marines and gain the equality and respect will have no other choice but to be in the infantry as well. Truth be told NO ONE belongs in combat, but as long as war happens, then women can and should have the right to stand up and defend the nation as much as men do rather than being forced to stay home like some princeses in an ivory tower waiting to be rescued!

  42. ohthreethirtyone Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 1:01 am

    As a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan serving as a small unit leader (squad leader and at times acting platoon sergeant) I can honestly say that the marine corp infantry or 03 MoS, is not the same as an 11B (army infantry). During operation mountain lion we OEF (Afghanistan 2006-2007) we had 10th mountain attached to my unit 1/3 (1st Bn 3rd Mar) and within 10 days of our 45 day long OP ALL of the army attachments literally had called in their own medevacs due to “rolled ankles, or dehydration”. One of my squad members had a bullet wound to his right glut (lower buttocks) and all of my marines were administering their own IVs due to the pace of our movements, and could not receive re-supply. 30 days later we were engaged in a 11 hour long firefight were it was a Marine only assault. What i’m getting at is why not have the Army open their 11B billets by allowing females? Maybe they do, I’m not sure. Why have them go Infantry as marines to “evaluate” the new allowance? So we can evaluate how bad of an idea this is by losing even more lives? I’m a machine gunner and during SOI/ITB had to hump the .50 cal receiver and barrel on top of a equipped full combat load and pack for 20 miles. I have yet to hear of any female 03 candidate doing this. Have we lowered our standards to allow them to pass certain criteria differentiating that purpose from the requirements of males? If that’s the case then we are lowering the required standards for ALL infantry to simply evaluate the progress of females in a new MOS. So we are blatantly willing to sacrifice more lives, just to see if weakening our forces will prevail after this “conductive research” is proven possibly fruitful? Makes sense, now lets go have some of these officials do a few deployments themselves and make there own assumptions from what they personally endure. It’s one thing to read something on paper, and then it’s another thing to experience what you prepared for in reality and in theater. My same premise is similar to how I feel about these officials trying to disarm or regulate america. Will they be willing to go to my house and disarm me? No, they will send national guard and local law enforcement if something like were to actually occur. So with that said, why do these new changes even come to fruition if the elected officials have absolute zero knowledge about the “behind the scenes” aspect of infantryman other than what their combat reports say. You really don’t think those combat action reports they evaluate aren’t fallacious? It could be a PFC doing something silver star worthy, but the LT will get it. It could be a sexual assault against a local populace, you don’t think that will be covered up? All the things being brought to light that military does overseas, isn’t even a fraction of the actual things that get overlooked or purposely re-worded up the chain, changing each time. And those are the reports they base introducing women into. How do the wives feel about knowing their infantry husband will be deployed around females, not occasionally anymore, but every day. Will they still be susceptible to rank based working parties? Or will there be favoritism from opposite sex preferences. Why don’t they take the advice behind the men who have been there, rather the women who want to be there, or the officials who simply research these fallacious reports, prior to engaging it “just to see what happens”. The only thing females should be with infantry would be as a specialist billet attachment. To provide female searches, possible translation, etc. But to count on her to join my fire teams stack and clear as many house as possible, I wouldn’t be able to trust that knowing her infantry “course” has been dumbed down to a standard we all managed to pass.

  43. ohthreethirtyone Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 1:23 am

    KEITH BREWER: “MCvet is typical of all scared little boys by making comments about his sister service instead of talking about the issue. I am (You guessed it) a Soldier U.S. Army proud, wounded vet 10th Mountain and 3rd ID. If you said the garbage on this website about and comparing no standards to being the Army; I would personally kick the shit out of your sorry ass. I never wanted to be a Marine, Im just a damn good Soldier so MCvet… Kiss my camoflouge ass! Stick to the topic next time and dont throw a jab unless you got the balls to stand in front of me or one of my Ranger or infantry buddies to say it!”

    Professional and classy my friend. Not only did your post say absolutely nothing other than you attempting to prove your worth as a servicemen to people you will never meet, this also tells me you probably feel you have something to prove to compensate for something else. I personally have deployed with a platoon of 10th mountain, in a mountain. Kandahar, for one occurrence, easiest mountain patrols for us marines 1/3 since the entirety of our deployment we patrolled those mountains every day atleast 15 miles. I’m not trying to say i’m better than you, but I am saying I am not impressed witha unit labeled “10th mountain” who can’t even hump a 3k elevation longer than an hour before bitching out. I personally carried 2 240 bravos from your “coveted” 10th mountain because they couldn’t hump their own weight. Not only that, but the combat effectiveness is atrocious. An 11 hour long firefight, and within the first 30 minutes the remaining 10th mountain had all been rotary evacd before combat air arrived on station for our air support. Also, we had a squad of rangers attached to us… During this firefight they egressed back 4 miles to “secure our mortar position, rather than fire and maneuver our enemy opposition. Let me quote an Al Queda frequency our interpreter picked up. “Stop firing at the tan skinned americans (referring to our cammies), engage the ones reading their mail with their boots off exposed in the valley at the marked time”…. They said shoot the army because they are pussies, dont shoot at the marines because they will kill you. I remember this translation directly because said enemy was less than 200 meters in front of us as random army positions across the valley engaged my unit while I was telling them they are blue on blue. I actually re cordoned our 41′s with 60mm mortars to grid the each army pos that posed a threat to us, the only time they actually ceased fire to allow air on station was after I threatened to flare their positions. Once they stopped and my unit assumed command of this engagement, bodies were actually adding up. Our squad not only engaged an opposition force for 11 hours accurately, but the next day we did a BDA (battle damage assesment) and discovered 80+ EKIA’s and over 30 blue KIAs. ALL of those 30 were 10th mountain, and their own overhead 10th mountain support engaged them.

    Where I am getting at, 10th mountain is not something to brag about compared to the combat effectiveness of a Marine infantryman, The army Ranger is comparable to an Non NCO marine infantryman. And threatening to assault people because you are offended over reading a few words on the internet also proves that you are an arrogant, moronic fool. This also further supports my previous experiences. The only thing that appealed to what you said was that you are a proud army soldier, be that then. Shut your mouth and stop trying to be an internet hard ass before someone actually calls you out and sends your ass into a hospital. Everything of what you said has absolutely nothing to do with the actual post prompting public response. So take your war stories to the bars and continue telling everyone how you got the medal of honor for some bullshit story you make up to get laid or impress your friends. There is too much salt here for you to try to impress anyone with those fallacious statements you feel compelled to share with people who don’t actually care.

  44. CVet Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Sabrina, you were the one that said, “Here’s a question to ponder: Maybe the ‘standards’ were unrealistically high in the first place?” You lost your credibility and need to stop posting. Women and men are different – period; stop (like other women) brining up the “amazons.” This just makes women look clueless. No misogyny. Just the way us men see it.

  45. MrBenatz Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Jon, The prep course already exists. It’s called The Basic School, lasts 6 months, and every Marine Officer attends. If one cannot transition to IOC and pass after this, no other prep course in the world will help.

  46. Jane Doe Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Ohthreethirtyone: You need to chill out. No one is lowering standards for anybody. There is a reason that 5 out of the 6 females who attempted the CET, failed and were not allowed to continue on with the course. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female; the staff at IOC will make sure that if you physically cannot meet their standards or demonstrate retention of basic infantry knowledge that you learn during The Basic School while under extreme stress and fatigue, then you will not pass the CET. The CET generally has a 15%-20% failure rate alone. As you can see the staff is unforgiving when it comes to failing LTs who do not meet their minimum requirements. And there are still LTs who will wash out during IOC due to injuries, DORs, or performance failures. You be assured that the IOC staff is not playing favorites because of different sexes. Their job is to graduate only the most qualified LTs.

  47. Analyst Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Sabrina, if the standards are too high, how did ~80% of the males pass the test?

    61 males passed the test. 16 failed (5 for falling behind, 6 finished but not well enough, 5 received the DOR). That means that 61 out of 77 males passed the test for a rate of 79.2% Paragraphs 5 & 6 have this data so I am making a factual statement. The standards seem just fine.

  48. CoE51stLRSC Says:
    July 5th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    If the past is an example; Gender Neutral will simply be a code word for lowering standards. This is really round two of the social experiment. In the early 70’s we began opening up MOS and job assignments to women that had been previously closed. The Army did not deactivate the Women’s Army Corps until 1978. The Marine Corps maintained separate Women Marine Battalions assigned to Marine Corps Base.
    In the 70’s we adopted “Dual Standards” whereas it was judged the different male and female standards were “different but equal” based on the amount of effort exerted. Nevertheless to achieve our goals a number of physical standards were lowered or eliminated. As an example Army Airborne School dropped the pull-ups from the initial physical requirement along with the end of ground week five mile run which was run in fatigues and combat boots. The Army Signal Corps modified equipment that had previously been carried by a male solider and replaced with red stickers and the new requirement that the equipment was now “two person carry”.
    Most likely the biggest effect of round one was a modification of doctrine whereas we accept a requirement to detail infantry troops to provide security for service and service support units. This lessens the number of ground maneuver units to actively engage the enemy. The doctrine of service and service support unit to providing their own defense has disappeared with the Airborne School pull-ups.

  49. Strut Says:
    July 5th, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    The writer and a few commenters suggest some type of prep course to get female IOC candidates up to speed in upper body strength and fitness, weapons and tactics proficiency, etc. There is one already. It’s 6 months long and in the same training area as IOC. It’s called The Basic School.

  50. Wellman Says:
    July 6th, 2013 at 11:56 am

    “Why are we talking about “if” the standards are lowered. As if it hasn’t already happened? Female Marines do not currently meet the Physical Fitness standards of male Marines. If you made females meet the current PT standards. We would lose a large portion of them or they would not be competitive for promotion.”

    The 1stSgt just pointed out the elephant in the room…and because of their different “standards” women tend to score higher than their male peers…and thus, get promotion preference. And please nay-sayers, give the “the flexed arm hang is tough!” nonsense a rest…seriously, that comment inspires hilarity at the battalion level.

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  52. IvyDevilDog Says:
    July 8th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Here is the deal (and inconvenient truth): Close contact warfighting belongs to MEN! I am a female, been a Marine for over 24 years…still serving. The wussification (and degeneration) of America is hard enough to stomach, but now folks are messing with my beloved Corps! That really is crossing the line.

    FYI, as a mathematics major, I can assure you that “equal” does not mean “same.” We need our senior leadership – all combat-tested Marines – to try to put a stop to this nonsense. I guess in a sense they are doing that by refusing to compromise our standards. Why is that the best approach? Because those of us who serve (or have served – unlike the senior civilian leadership) know that no war is bloodless and the enemy is not so enamored with our “gender bending, gender-neutral” fantasies.

    I remain….Semper Fidelis to God, Family, Country, Corps!

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    July 8th, 2013 at 4:35 pm

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    July 9th, 2013 at 5:44 am

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  55. T Kiergen Says:
    July 9th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    BIg deal – Males fail all the time. If they cant hang they get culled. That’s just how it works.. Kudos to the women able to pass – Oh effing well for the ones who dont.. least they tried but our armed forces need to be the best without exception. With equal rights comes equal expectation