Mak­ing of a Ma­rine

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

The last thing a Ma­rine thinks about is the min­i­mum stan­dard. “The few, the proud, the Marines” aren’t sat­is­fied with the or­di­nary. Leath­er­necks are first to fight “for right and free­dom,” as their hymn goes, know­ing that lives de­pend on their courage and abil­ity. No one gets par­tic­i­pa­tion tro­phies be­cause “ev­ery­one’s a win­ner.”

So when the Ma­rine Corps sets a new min­i­mum re­quire­ment of three pullups on the ex­er­cise bar for men and women to pass the boot-camp phys­i­cal-fit­ness strength test, the tough­est male Marines will tell you that for them the only num­ber that mat­ters is 20, the max­i­mum for men. (For women, the max­i­mum is eight.) The fig­ure that made news last week and brought for­ward the not-so-sur­pris­ing fact that men and women are dif­fer­ent: More than half of the fe­male trainees were un­able to do even three pullups. Men passed with ease.

This is no shock to any­one fa­mil­iar with the ba­sics of biology, which most of us first learn on the school­yard, but it em­bar­rassed the Ma­rine Corps, whose se­nior of­fi­cers beat a hasty re­treat. (Marines do not like to re­treat.) The new test for fe­male trainees that was to have gone into ef­fect at the start of the new year was put on ice, at least for now. Gen. James Amos, the com­man­dant of the Ma­rine Corps, said the Train­ing and Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mand “will con­tinue to gather data and en­sure that fe­male Marines are pro­vided with the best op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed.”

Elaine Don­nelly, pres­i­dent of the Center for Mil­i­tary Readi­ness, and a mem­ber of the 1992 Pres­i­den­tial Com­mis­sion on the As­sign­ment of Women in the Armed Forces, says stand­ing down was the right thing to do. “The Marines made the right de­ci­sion in sus­pend­ing the manda­tory three pullup re­quire­ment for fe­male trainees,” she said. “This is­sue is big­ger than boot camp. If it is too much to re­quire fe­male re­cruits to do three pullups, it is a thou­sand times worse to ex­pect women to serve in di­rect ground com­bat units such as the in­fantry, ar­mor, ar­tillery and Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Forces.”

Mrs. Don­nelly wants Congress to elim­i­nate the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s so­cial ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with the mil­i­tary by writ­ing into law the tra­di­tional ex­emp­tion that keeps women off the field of bat­tle. In the mean­time, fe­male Marines be­ing tested will re­turn to a less-de­mand­ing “flexed-arm hang,” which re­quires them only to hold their chins above the bar.

Fe­male Marines have ev­ery rea­son to hold their heads up, but pre­tend­ing that men and women are equal in ev­ery role or task is ridicu­lous, and the gen­er­als and ad­mi­rals in charge know this, though they know bet­ter than to say it.

Some mis­sions re­quire brute strength, and men have the ad­van­tage in all things brutish. When a com­pany of Marines was sur­rounded on the Pa­cific is­land of Peleliu in 1944, their sup­plies ex­hausted, their sur­vival de­pended on sheer strength. They bested very good Ja­panese sol­diers in hand-to-hand com­bat in the mud, blood and gore of bat­tle.

This is the life of a Ma­rine in com­bat, some­thing the Pen­tagon gen­er­als ig­nored at the de­mand of an ad­min­is­tra­tion — largely peo­pled by men and women who have never worn the col­ors — that is fool­ishly de­ter­mined to “equal­ize” the sexes in both the gym and the bat­tle­field. They ig­nore those dif­fer­ences at the na­tion’s peril, and to the peril of the men and women they cheer­fully put in harm’s way.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.