I remember my exchange officer assignment to the U.S. Marine Corps II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, between1999 and 2002. My wife Angela will never forget our first Marine Birthday Ball and the true sense of warrior camaraderie as part of the Marine team. And being there, I got to see what the phrase, “The Few, The Proud” really meant. It was a toughness that came with earning the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor that defines an American Marine. In the Army we are divided by our respective branches and even along the lines of certain specialties — but there is only one title for those who wear the scarlet and gold: Marine.
So here’s a very interesting comparison between my Army and the U.S. Marine Corps. We recently brought you the story about twelve female Soldiers who passed the Ranger Training Assessment Course (RTAC) and will be heading to the next Ranger Course. Of course I was not on the ground to assess whether standards varied for males versus females in the RTAC.
But here’s another story that may not get widespread coverage. As reported by the Washington Times, “The Marine Corps‘ historic experiment to allow women to take part in its Infantry Officer Course ended with ZERO female graduates.”
“The last two female applicants hoping to make it through the course were cut during the Combat Endurance Test on April 2, along with nine of the 90 male Marines who applied for the program, Marine Corps Times reported Wednesday. Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Maureen Krebs told Military.com that female applicants were not expected to meet the same physical fitness screening standards as men, but they were required to match male performance in the course.”
“The 13-week school historically averages a 25 percent attrition rate, Military.com reported Friday. Since the experiment began about two years ago, 29 women have volunteered for IOC at Quantico, Ms. Krebs said, Military.com reported. However, female Marines have had a higher success rate at the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where 122 of the 358 women who entered the course graduated.”
The Marine Corps was wise to get ahead of this social egalitarian experiment and do it their way — the right way, by maintaining their impeccable standards.What we see from their assessment is that zero female officers met the standard of their rigorous Marine Infantry Officer Course (IOC). And an even more important evaluation is that approximately 35 percent of female Marines were able to pass the Marine Infantry Training Battalion course. The latter is equivalent to the U.S. Army Infantry Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
U.S. Army Ranger School is a premier leadership course based on highly specialized infantry training operations. And its history is rooted in the exploits and operations of one Colonel Robert Rogers and his Rangers of the French and Indian War — namely his campaign against the Abenaki Indians. They were a specialized guerrilla warfare unit of hand-selected men, about 600 in strength. Spencer Tracy made the character famous in the movie, “Northwest Passage.” But enough of a history lesson — the important issue will be a comparative assessment of infantry training rigor.I would hate for the results of these “experiments” to uncover that Marine infantry training is more rigorous than Army Ranger training. And don’t laugh, but you can just bet I’ll be getting lots of jibes from my Marine buddies if indeed there are females who “complete” Ranger School. They’ll remind me about what I’m sharing here — just like the ribbing I got over the “Army of One” marketing campaign and the commercial that showed the Soldier with no weapon and out of uniform, running in the opposite direction from the rest of the Soldiers. I’m quite sure some of you remember that commercial!
It was the Obama administration which issued the truly ill-conceived mandate that females be allowed to attend Army Ranger training in 2015 and next year, 2016, U.S. Navy SEAL training. I guess President Obama and Valerie Jarrett watched “G.I. Jane” too many times.
The Times say, “Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford will use the data to issue a recommendation to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on how the Corps intends to open up some combat jobs to women in 2016.”
I’m standing by for his report. I maintain the position that it would be better for us to assess how we develop a power projection, strike operations-oriented force to meet the requirements of the 21st century battlefield — not these “experiments.”
I am quite sure American taxpayers would prefer better equipment and training for the combat infantrymen we already have — as opposed to this. I hate to use the words of one recently announced presidential candidate but, “what difference at this point does it make” to assess whether females can pass infantry or Ranger training when we’re not engaging militant Islamic terrorism and jihadism as we witness its spread across the globe. I suppose the next focus for our military will be on fashionable dress uniforms?
And just how many taxpayer dollars have been spent on these “experiments?” I’d rather see those victims and survivor families from the 2009 Ft. Hood terrorist attack by Nidal Hasan be provided proper benefits.
If you have time this week, watch the film “Northwest Passage” and you’ll understand why Ranger Training is fashioned with swamp and mountain phase — the Army cancelled the desert phase some years ago. There are some tasks that are not common, and particularly not easy for the common Soldier or Marine to achieve. The important aspect of the military that some civilians — mostly leftist progressives — do not comprehend is that our profit margin is not in dollars and cents — it is in lives. And at this current time, with the resurgence of a historically savage and barbaric, tenacious and determined enemy hell bent on their archaic beliefs to fuel their atrocities — we need warriors fashioned after COL Rogers’ elite guerrilla unit.
We don’t need “experiments” in social equality and fairness.