SHOCK: First Women Fail to Complete Marine Infantry Officer School
The U.S. Marine Corps prides itself on its tough, physically fit light infantry.
And so I take it as a good sign that the first two women who volunteered to attend the Marine Infantry Officers’ Course, failed to complete the program. One wasn’t able to complete the endurance test at the beginning of the course. The other couldn’t do it because of “medical reasons.” The Marine Corps isn’t saying what her medical condition is, only that she’s “receiving treatment.“
I wish the two women lieutenants well. But if the injuries are career-threatening, then whoever allowed this ill-advised opening of the Marine Infantry School to women should be held accountable for poor judgment.
The physiological differences between men and women are undeniable – and no amount of wishful thinking and politically correct unicorn dust can bridge the gap.
- Women have only a fraction of the upper body strength that men do.
- Women can only fireman–carry a fraction of the weight that a man can be expected to.
- Women have a smaller heart and lung capacity than men.
- Women therefore have a much lower VO^2 max than men.
Some of these differences become small or vanish when you adjust for size. But you cannot adjust for size.
Now, you can select your way around the differences above, to an extent, perhaps, by screening for athletic performance. If a woman can demonstrate she can fireman-carry the average Marine infantryman across 100m in the required time (no adjusting for her size, because Lord knows combat won’t), and she can demonstrate she can hump a rucksack with the boys, and she’s in the top 1 percent for physical fitness and achievement for women, rather than the top 30 percent for men, then fine. More power to her.
But there are other factors as well, that are even more important:
- Women have a lower bone density than men.
- Women have a different hip and pelvic structure than men.
- Women are more prone to stress fractures than men. Much more.
You cannot identify in advance which women will succumb to stress fractures.
This is no joke: In an era in which the military is trying to cut costs, stress fractures cost the military up to $100 million per year in medical costs and lost duty time, according to reporting by the American Forces Press Service.
The perverseness is this: Undoubtedly, the Marine Corps sent two of its very best, most physically fit female lieutenants to attempt the course. If the Marine Corps continues to integrate its infantry school by gender, it would only be the very best women attending. And therefore, it will be our very best women getting injured by the relentless pounding and stress of a demanding light infantry course.
That is not fair to these officers, it’s not fair to marine infantry, and it’s not fair to the good marines they can be leading in other branches.
Photo: NBC News