Female Marines Freed from Pull-Up Fitness Requirement

"The rate of my deterioration was noticeably faster than that of male Marines "


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.