Female Marines Freed from Pull-Up Fitness Requirement

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


marines-12-26-13_wide-654cbcd8e40905e61a5f30508ca496fbe46033f5-s40-c85

Stop by the intersection of political correctness and job requirements. This is where the crash happens. And the same thing is happening in the New York Fire Department.

There are built in physical limitations which are going to limit entry to jobs that have certain physical requirements. But the left mandates target goals which means that the requirements have to get a pass which leads to fatalities when the rubber meets the road.

Starting Jan. 1, every woman in the Marines Corps was supposed to meet a new physical standard by performing three pullups. But that has been put off.

Lance Cpl. Ally Beiswanger explained that the pullup test had been put off until sometime next year, to gather more data and “ensure all female Marines are given the best opportunity to succeed.”

So far, female Marines are not succeeding. Fifty-five percent of female recruits tested at the end of boot camp were doing fewer than three pullups; only 1 percent of male recruits failed the test.

The three pullups is already the minimum required for all male Marines. Now the Marine Corps has postponed the plan, and that’s raising questions about whether women have the physical strength to handle ground combat, which they’ll be allowed to do beginning in 2016.

Marine officers would not talk to NPR on tape. They said they delayed the pullup requirement to avoid losing not only recruits but also current female Marines who can’t pass the test.

The Marine Corps has been using it to test upper body strength for men for more than 40 years. And that upper body strength, they say, is necessary to serve in ground combat: to pull yourself out of a canal in Afghanistan, to climb over a mud wall, to carry an ammunition box.

The NPR piece only interviews male marines. They could have just talked to Captain Katie Petronio; a Marine captain.

As a young lieutenant, I fit the mold of a female who would have had a shot at completing IOC, and I am sure there was a time in my life where I would have volunteered to be an infantryman. I was a star ice hockey player at Bowdoin College, a small elite college in Maine, with a major in government and law. At 5 feet 3 inches I was squatting 200 pounds and benching 145 pounds when I graduated in 2007.

I completed Officer Candidates School (OCS) ranked 4 of 52 candidates, graduated 48 of 261 from TBS, and finished second at MOS school. I also repeatedly scored far above average in all female-based physical fitness tests (for example, earning a 292 out of 300 on the Marine physical fitness test).

Five years later, I am physically not the woman I once was and my views have greatly changed on the possibility of women having successful long careers while serving in the infantry.

By the fifth month into the deployment, I had muscle atrophy in my thighs that was causing me to constantly trip and my legs to buckle with the slightest grade change. My agility during firefights and mobility on and off vehicles and perimeter walls was seriously hindering my response time and overall capability.

It was evident that stress and muscular deterioration was affecting everyone regardless of gender; however, the rate of my deterioration was noticeably faster than that of male Marines and further compounded by gender-specific medical conditions. At the end of the 7-month deployment, and the construction of 18 PBs later, I had lost 17 pounds and was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (which personally resulted in infertility, but is not a genetic trend in my family), which was brought on by the chemical and physical changes endured during deployment.

Regardless of my deteriorating physical stature, I was extremely successful during both of my combat tours, serving beside my infantry brethren and gaining the respect of every unit I supported.

Regardless, I can say with 100 percent assurance that despite my accomplishments, there is no way I could endure the physical demands of the infantrymen whom I worked beside as their combat load and constant deployment cycle would leave me facing medical separation long before the option of retirement.

I understand that everyone is affected differently; however, I am confident that should the Marine Corps attempt to fully integrate women into the infantry, we as an institution are going to experience a colossal increase in crippling and career-ending medical conditions for females.

Liberals insist on this ridiculous polar model in which you either support women in combat, regardless of whether it’s a good idea, or you hate women. That’s an ideological model, not a realistic one. The left is guided by ideology. It doesn’t care about real world consequences. It has no idea what to do when confronted with the facts, except to dismiss them and change the reporting or the rules so that their policy advances.

  • Inane Rambler

    I’ve argued this issue with progs all the time and this is completely how they argue. You can’t nail them down and debunk them since they just shift the goalposts.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      They believe that reality has to accommodate their ideology

      • Lou

        There would be something to that, if they could negate the law of gravity at will or make one loaf of bread into two.

        But since they cannot, they are nothing but self deluded pied pipers.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          ‘But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are
          a million light-years away. They are out of our reach for ever.’

          ‘What are the stars?’ said O’Brien indifferently. ‘They are bits of fire
          a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could
          blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the
          stars go round it.’

      • objectivefactsmatter

        They believe their ideology will birth a new reality. We’re in their way. It’s our fault. Just ask them.

    • EvanAngelis

      They’re the masters of false dichotomies.

  • Art

    As a former US Marines, I strongly support a female US Marines, but anyone who wanted and dreamed to have female Marines as infantrymen for political correctness are not and never been in the US Marines, they did not have a clue what they’re talking about, as a result would weaken the USMC’s readiness as a whole. If a Marines could not do 3 pull up at any given time, and could not ran 3-5 miles a day, how in the world any female Infantry Marines could marched and humping “a hilly mountain” 3-5 miles distance at the rate of 3 times a week and with an additional #50-75 lbs backpack? I don’t think any politicians and political correctness could solved that problem!

    • EvanAngelis

      You give them an inch , they take a mile. No women should should be in the marine, the army, the police or the fire service.

    • Strunk White

      I’m assuming your erratic English syntax is due to an injury: “As a former US Marines”, “If a Marines could not do 3 pull up”, “I don’t think any politicians…” etc…….You wouldn’t talk that way. Why do you write that way? Maybe you’re a non-native English speaker? Bizarre use of English makes me suspect a phony. That’s all.

      • Blasphamous

        Not all native English speakers have the same desire or ability to be articulate as you do. I’m not suggesting whether Art is or a phony or not, just cautioning the conclusion you made by his “bizarre” use of English.

        • Strunk White

          okay. But you know what I’m saying? Agreed, a person who did not grow up speaking English might have challenges perfecting it, but the degradation of the use of the language is disturbing and tends to marginalize those who don’t seem to give an effort…………..

  • Duncan

    With all the PC madness the US will be in very big trouble if it has to fight a first class enemy like China.

    Instead of Muslims with AK47′s and RPG’s in the middle east it can destroy with drones.

  • TopAssistant

    As a 40-year fire service member and former military man, do you think our enemy (fire and Muslim Brotherhood) could care less if a female or male died because they could not do the job? This is just another classic example of Cultural Marxism i.e. political correctness.

  • GSR

    There are a few roles in the Armed Forces that women simply are not fit for. Infantry is one of them. This is nothing but Hillary and Michelle and Barry using the military as a social experiment to pander to the radical feminist lobby.
    You’ll be lucky to find 1 or 2 young women, out of 100, who can compete on the same level as most young men. Period.

  • Leland64

    Politicians of all varieties pontificate endlessly on subject of which they have no knowledge. If fact, ignorance may be a prerequisite for elective office. Few if any politicians and others pushing females in the Infantry every served a day in uniform and/or heard a shot fired in anger but they “know.” The rest of us who have served, fought and survived extended periods of ground just “don’t understand.” The end result of this folly will be a tragic, avoidable “butcher’s bill” in the next war.

    • Drakken

      As a former active duty Marine, I shake my head in disgust, what these effing social engineers don’t understand by lowering the standards, we fill more body bags, God help my beloved Corps.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “Lance Cpl. Ally Beiswanger explained that the pullup test had been put off until sometime next year, to gather more data and “ensure all female Marines are given the best opportunity to succeed.””

    That’s what the military is for; “social justice.” If you can’t have social justice from the Marines, what good are they?

    Besides, more data needs to be gathered. We don’t really know if Marines *really* need to be strong enough to lift themselves. We have helicopters and stuff now.