Battle Rattle

One simple graphic shows the backbone of the Marine Corps’ new infantrywoman experiment

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Rct. Dana Deline, Platoon 4013, Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, pulls herself up a Confidence Course obstacle Feb. 19, 2014, on Parris Island, S.C. (Photo by Cpl. Caitlin Brink/Marine Corps)

Rct. Dana Deline, Platoon 4013, Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, pulls herself up a Confidence Course obstacle Feb. 19, 2014, on Parris Island, S.C. (Photo by Cpl. Caitlin Brink/Marine Corps)

What happens when you take a bunch of women, and a bunch of men, give them military training, weapons, and ammunition, and then make them live together for a year?

Forget polite, things quickly get real.

As part of a new initiative to gauge women in combat roles, the Marine Corps intends to field 460 Marines of mixed gender for a several month training stint, all while under the microscope of doctors and scientists from various disciplines.

It’s not just a matter of anatomy and biology this time, Marine officials have told Marine Corps Times that they plan to chart the social and psychological progress of the groups as well.

The graphic below shows how they’ll do it: Two controlled squads will be exclusively male and exclusively female, while another will split 50/50, and the last will put women as the vast minority (the likeliest scenario, especially in terms of infantry).

MAR controlled experiment (2)

The service will team with the University of Pittsburgh to monitor the physical toll the training takes on both sexes over the lifetime of the experimental unit. A partner to study the socialogical impact has yet to be determined.

Read our full coverage of the story at Marine Corps Times >

Comments

  1. Terry Says:
    March 18th, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    This has nothing to do with science, nothing to do with equality, nothing to do with bettering combat effectiveness and unit cohesion; has everything to do with emasculating the most effective component of America’s shock force, for the purpose of weakening the United States military, so Barack Obama and the Democrats can establish a one-party dictatorship.

  2. Joan Onders Says:
    March 18th, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    (First I wish to reply to what Terry said: HAHAHAHAHA; sweetie, loosen that tinfoil hat & get back on your meds.) This program sounds like a very interesting study. As certain aspects of military-might are predicated MORE on technology & LESS on physical strength I predict that women-only groups will be shown to be very effective. Women work better as a team, are goal oriented & interested in the betterment of the group rather than competition among individuals. Psychologically they have an advantage & the military could make good use of their talents. Women can be fierce when it comes to the well-being of those for whom they care.

  3. justyn Says:
    March 18th, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    To Terry, I think you’re a little paranoid. To Joan, yes, much of war is more technology based. Marine infantry is still very much a physical task. It’s just as physical as in past wars as far as running jumping crawling climbing and navigating obstacles goes. Except, the load out(thanks to increased technology) has greatly increased. That being said, it may prove to be a worthwhile experiment, but it’s going to be hard to convince people that it’s not tampered with by political interest in one way or another

  4. IvyDevilDog Says:
    March 31st, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    To Terry: I am a female Marine officer (over 25 years) and you are spot-on!

  5. Jason Lemieux Says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    The link to “full coverage” doesn’t work and I can’t find the ratios graphic anywhere. In fact, no other publication has described the experiment as anything other than a force comprised of 25% women. Anyone got a link corroborating the info in the graphic?