Tagged: Marine Corps

Marine Corps Marathon is later this month

Posted by Debi Teter
marine_corps_marathonThe Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) is the only marathon named solely after a branch of service, is the fourth largest marathon in the United States, the ninth largest marathon in the world, and offers no prize money, giving it the nickname of “The People’s Marathon.” Colonel Jim Fowler conceived of the idea for the Marine Corps Marathon in 1975 and worked tirelessly to bring it to fruition in 1976. With the full support of the then-Commandant of the Marine Corps Louis Wilson, Colonel Fowler wanted to promote the Marine Corps, improve and promote the Marine Corps image in the community (this was at the end of the Vietnam Era), create a better relationship with the civilian populace, and give Marines the opportunity to participate in a marathon that could qualify them for the Boston Marathon.  All four have been successfully achieved. Since its debut in 1976, the marathon has spurred the creation of several other runs, all again organized by the United States Marine Corps, all without prize money, and just like the marathon, almost always filled to capacity shortly after registration. MCM Introduces “Salute” Program Online in 2014 This year, the MCM has introduced a stunning 60-page magazine which showcases “The People’s Marathon” with profiles of runners honoring fallen service members and of a MCM Hall of Fame inductee who survived Stage IV breast cancer. The magazine also includes stories of MCM volunteers and celebrity runner Sean Astin, best known for his title role as “Rudy,” and for his recurring role in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. MCM Kids Run Registrations Are Still Available, But Going Fast! The MCM itself always sells out as soon as registration opens, but you can still register your kids for the 2014 MCM Kids Run held on Saturday, Oct. 25 in Arlington, VA, the day prior to the MCM. Children ages 5-12 are eligible to participate in the one-mile run, hosted in the Pentagon’s North Parking lot. The event will take place in six waves beginning at 9:30 a.m. Registration is full for the opening wave, however parents may still register their children in the 10, 10:30, 11, 11:20 and 11:40 a.m. waves. MCM App Has Been Updated for the 2014 Event The MCM released a redesigned version of their user-friendly MCM App available for all iPhone and Android mobile devices. The MCM App instantly delivers essential information including course maps, transportation information, event schedules, runner tracking capabilities, social media feeds, weather updates and event-day results. If you can’t make the trip to cheer on your favorite runner, download the app and track him or her virtually from wherever you are!  

The Commandant Strikes Back: USMC Sacks Whistleblowing JAG, Orders Psych Eval

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

USMC Sacks Whistleblowing JAG in Taliban urination caseA Marine Corps JAG officer who successfully got criminal charges dropped against a marine involved in the Taliban urination case has been relieved of his post and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, the Marine Corps Times reports.

The JAG, Maj. James Weirick, had written a six-page complaint to the Inspector General accusing a number of senior Marine Corps officers, including the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, himself, of exercising unlawful command influence in the prosecution of eight marines involved in the video showing a few marines urinating on the corpses of Afghan fighters. Unlawful Command Influence is a violation of Article 37 of the UCMJ. Weirick also accused the Marine Corps of suppressing evidence in favor of the defendants. 

MilitaryAuthority.com has previously reported on the issue of unlawful command influence in UCMJ proceedings here.

According to Weirick and his immediate supervisor, Col. Jesse Gruter, both JAG officers have been subject to professional retaliation over the summer as a result of their report to the IG, including pressure from the staff JAG officer at the office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) to remove Weirick from key cases.

They also pushed to have Weirick counseled, in writing, for going to the IG. Any kind of letter of reprimand or administrative discipline in Weirick’s file would be a likely violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act, a federal law outside the UCMJ that would restrict military commanders by prohibiting them from taking negative administrative action of any kind in retaliation for a marine going to the IG.

According to the Marine Corps, Weirick was relieved due to e-mail harassment of Peter Delorier, a civilian attorney and advisor to the CMC, and one of the individuals he named in his complaint to the IG.

The Marine Corps relieved Maj. Weirick of his post, ordered him to relinquish his personal firearms, and ordered him to report to Navy officials for a “psychiatric evaluation.”

The Marine Corps’ concern about the content and tone of Weirick’s emails to Delorier appears to bet the heart of their move to force Weirick into a psychiatric eval. According to the Marine Corps Times reporting, Weirick sent a series of emails in which he refers to himself in the third person – a peculiar construction which indicates that Weirick’s methods may have become… unsound, believes Jason Van Steenwyk, the author of this article. “He can’t offer you protection from Weirick. That protection can’t be offered by anyone. Ever,” Weirick wrote, referring to Delorier’s boss. 

The emails led Marine Corps officials to issue a restraining order barring Maj. Weirick from communicating with Gen. Amos, Delorier, and several other people, and prohibits Weirick from coming within 500 feet of them.

The move to sack Weirick, however, highlights General Amos’s earlier conduct in the case. Weirick and his team had filed a motion to open Amos’s Marine Corps and personal emails in discovery – a tactic that Weirick and other attorneys representing the marines involved in the Taliban urination video could show that Amos had indeed exercised undue command influence in prosecuting these cases.

Weirick also showed what appeared to be the favorable treatment of another Marine Corps officer, the son of a previous Commandant of the Marine Corps. According to the Marine Corps Times’ reporting, then Maj. James Conway, the son of former CMC Gen. James T. Conway, Ret., was also involved in the urination case, but senior Marine officials removed a flag blocking future promotions. This is in stark contrast to the case of Lt. Col. Christopher Dixon, the battalion commander, who was never accused of any wrongdoing in the case. Dixon was already selected for Colonel, But Marine Corps officials denied the promotion recommended by the board and revoked orders to attend prestigious career schooling. He has also had a hold placed on his promotions, which remains in place to this day, and which the Marine Corps has indicated will remain in place until all litigation surrounding the urination video is complete.

While Conway had direct supervision of the marines involved in the video, neither Conway nor Dixon was present on the operation, nor has either been accused of any wrongdoing. It is not clear why Conway has received more favorable treatment than Dixon. 

The disparate treatment of the two officers – one obviously connected to the highest levels of the Marine Corps because of his father – was among the points Weirick brought to the attention of the IG.

In the process of removing Weirick from his post, Marine Corps officials confiscated Weirick’s access card and computer and access to his emails on behalf of the marines he represented, potentially compromising the integrity of the attorney-client privilege normally afforded to JAG officers. 

Marines Drop Court Martial Charges in Taliban Urination Case Amidst Allegations of Unlawful Command Influence

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

militaryauthority.com marines court martial taliban urination caseIn the latest development in the strange prosecution of several marines accused of urinating on Taliban corpses in Afghanistan, the Marine Corps has abruptly dropped charges against a Marine captain they had accused of failing to adequately supervise his troops. They are still moving forward with an administrative inquiry, however, which could lead to the captain’s involuntary removal from service under ‘other than honorable’ conditions.

A videographer had filmed several marines from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, urinating on the corpses of what were Taliban fighters. The Marines themselves were members of the battalion Scout/Sniper Platoon, then operating in Helmand Province.

Two marine NCOs received non-judicial punishment for desecrating the bodies of combatants – a violation of the Geneva Conventions and the UCMJ, while a third NCO pled guilty to failing to report misconduct and making false statements about his knowledge of the incident.

Only one officer, Capt. James V. Clement, was charged in the incident. He was acting as the Kilo Company, 3/2 Marines executive officer at the time. The Marine Corps had charged Clement with failing to supervise, failing to correct misconduct and with making false statements. Clement denied wrongdoing, and determined to fight the charges. 

The Marine Corps decision to drop the court martial charge came as another marine officer, Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, came forward accusing the Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. James Amos, of exercising unlawful command influence. This is a violation of Article 37 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  

Military Authority has dealt with the unlawful command influence question here and here.

According to Waldhauser’s sworn statement, Amos had asked Walthauser to be the convening authority in the Clement’s court martial. Amos also provide command guidance to Waldhauser that he wanted the marines in the video “crushed,” and that he wanted them out of the service at the end of the day.

Amos later changed his mind and relieved Waldhauser of the assignment, and had another officer  take over the case. But the damage to the prosecution was done: Clement’s defense team demanded access to all Amos’s personal an official emails in order to gather further evidence of unlawful command influence. When it became clear the Marine Corps would have to comply, the Commandant dropped the charges.

That means the criminal case is off the table. But Amos is still trying to have Clement separated from the service, and has ordered a board of inquiry to convene to determine whether Clement was guilty of misconduct, and whether he should be retained or involuntarily separated from the service.

However, if  a court martial, with all its internal checks and balances built into the system, was so tainted by unlawful command influence that it could not be trusted to prosecute an officer in a high profile case, it is difficult to imagine why an administrative board of inquiry, formed outside of the UCMJ, would not be compromised in exactly the same way, and for exactly the same reason.

The Marine Corps should drop the charges against Clement at the very least, and consider dropping all but the desecration charges against the other marines who were punished in the case.

Further reading: Chapter 12 from the Judge Advocate General Advanced Course text, dealing with unlawful command influence. 

US Marine Corps Slashes Respite Care Benefits for Exceptional Family Members

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

militaryauthority.com US Marine Corps respite care for familyIf you are a Marine Corps family enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program and you receive benefits for respite care, things are going to be a lot tighter come October 1. The Exceptional Family Member Program is designed to help military members with disabled or developmentally delayed or autistic dependents, whether children or spouses.

The Marine Corps announced that families enrolled in the EFMP designated as level-of-need (NoD) 1 and 2 will be kicked out of the respite program. For those in levels 3 and 4, the maximum benefit of 40 hours per week will be reduced to 20 hours.

The criteria for determining the level of need follow: 

  • Level One. Includes EFMP families with children 12 years old or younger with mild special needs.
  • Level Two. Includes EFMP families with children 18 years old or younger with moderate special needs that require a higher level of respite care than provided at the Installation CDC.
  • Level Three. Includes EFMP families with children 18 years old or younger with severe special needs that require trained support from providers to stay safe in their home.
  • Level Four. Includes EFMP family members of all ages, with profound special needs who require nursing care services as documented by qualified medical providers,to stay safe in their home.

The respite care benefit was initiated in 2008 to take some stress off of Marine families caught between the challenges of frequent deployment and the need to provide care for family members. The Marine Corps says that as it transitions to peacetime levels of funding and since deployments are less frequent, there is less need and fewer resources available to fund respite care.

Respite care allows primary family caregivers a break from the direct care responsibility.

In addition, the Marine Corps announced that after October 1, they will no longer fund age typical sibling reimbursement, and that adult EFMs (exceptional family members) will no longer receive age typical reimbursement for their children.

Civil Liberties Organization Sues on Behalf of Marine Jailed, Committed to VA Psychiatric Ward for Facebook Post

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

Marine jailed for Facebook postsThe Rutherford Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving civil liberties, has filed suit against the Government on behalf of a Marine veteran who was jailed and then involuntarily committed to a VA psychiatric hospital for posts he wrote on his Facebook page.

According to the Rutherford Institute, a team of police, FBI agents and Secret Service personnel came to the home of Brandon Raub, then 26, near Richmond, Virginia, and asked to speak with him about the content he was posting on his Facebook account. He had been posting a lot of song lyrics, politics content, and items that suggested that the U.S. Government itself had masterminded the attacks on 9/11. For example, he posted a photograph of the damage to the Pentagon in the aftermath of the attack, with the caption, “where’s the plane?,” suggesting that the Pentagon was struck by a missile, not by a passenger jet.

Again, according to the Rutherford Institute and contemporary news accounts, the agents asked him to step outside, and without explanation nor charges, nor did they read him his rights at the time of the arrest, part of which was captured on cell phone video.

Raub was taken to the police station, and from there transported to the psychiatric ward of a local VA Medical Center, where he was held against his will until he received a hearing. Virginia law allows physicians to hold individuals in psychiatric institutions involuntarily for a period of time if they believe they may be a danger to themselves or other people. A magistrate reviews the involuntary hold in a few days to ensure that there is a rational legal basis for the hold.

Meanwhile, his mother, Cathleen Thomas, was able to get on Facebook herself to generate publicity and get attorneys to work on Raub’s behalf.

Raub received a hearing before the magistrate four days after his arrest, on August 20th. At that hearing, law enforcement officers told the magistrate that his controversial Facebook posts were the sole reason for the hold. Among the posts that law enforcement found troubling were the lines, “sharpen up my axe and I’m back/ it’s time to sever heads.” This post and others in that vein had caused others who saw the Facebook posts to report him to authorities. Raub countered that his posts were actually song lyrics, or dialogue from an online card game, and law enforcement officials were reading them out of context. The axe quote above is indeed from the lyrics to a song called “Bring Me Down” from a band called Swollen Member. However, the judge ruled against Raub, and ordered him to be held involuntarily for another 30 days. Officials also ordered him transferred to a facility some three hours away from his legal team and his family.

At that point, Raub’s attorneys, provided to him by the Rutherford Institute, appealed to the court system for his release. On August 23rd, a judge threw the case out, ruling that there was no factual basis to detain Raub, and ordered him released immediately.

The judge found that the paperwork used to send police to Raub’s door contained “no facts,” that Raub was not informed of the reason for his detention as required by law, and that the charging sheet contained a signature but not even an allegation of a crime. The affidavit detaining Raub, the judge ruled, was “so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.”

Raub, with the support of the Rutherford Institute is now suing the government for false imprisonment, denial of due process and unlawful search and seizure. He filed the suit last week, personally suing Daniel Bowen and Russell Granderson, both Chesterfield County law enforcement officers, as well as Michael Campbell, a licensed psychotherapist, and social worker Lloyd Chaser and LaTarsha Mason, according to the Chesterfield Observer.

Among the complaints: The therapist who advocated detaining Raub had not even met him.

The complaint also alleges that a special Department of Homeland Security program, called Operation Vigilant Eagle, contributed to Raub’s unlawful incarceration. Vigilant Eagle is ostensibly intended to help law enforcement prevent ‘lone wolf’ terrorist attacks. However, the DHS put special emphasis on returning Afghanistan and Iran veterans as potential risks for terrorist attacks.

Two More Women Drop Out of USMC Infantry Officer Course

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

women at Marine Infantry Officer SchoolTwo more women marines dropped out of the USMC Infantry Officer Course at Quantico, Virginia today. They were, fortunately, not injured. They were simply unable to complete the challenging obstacle course.

Two other women who enrolled in the course last year didn’t make it very long. One didn’t pass the endurance test at the beginning of the course, and the other dropped out in the second week due to a medical issue.

According to NBC News, the there were also twelve men who were unable to complete the obstacle course. No women passed the obstacle course. However, 96 men out of an original 112 students are still enrolled after the obstacle course hurdle.

The normal historical attrition rate for the entire 10-week course is about 25 percent. 

We first looked at this issue in this article, where we noted:

  • 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:

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.


It is clear that women are at a significantly elevated risk not only of course failure – which is expensive to the taxpayer – but also of long-term debilitating injuries that could even preclude them from serving in other specialities and drive them out of service. This is expensive, too – and doubly so when you add in the cost of long-term chronic knee, pelvis, hip and back injuries that will require ongoing care from the military and VA health care systems. As noted above, the cost of stress fractures alone in the military runs about $100 million per year, or a billion dollars every ten years.

Those mustering arguments in favor of including women in the military have never addressed the very real physiological and cost-effectiveness arguments above. Even if a woman completes the course, she will still have years of hard, grueling training and possibly combat in front of her when she joins her unit – and as a marine infantry platoon leader, she must lead from the front – not limp along behind. Or she is not doing her job.

We will cause many women to fail a course, and permanently injure many others, before we find one who can last eight years on the job as an infantry officer.

Nevertheless, the grand experiment to include women in the infantry continues apace, in a monument to the stupidity of PC wishful thinking over the hard reality of gender differences.

It is our very best women who will be volunteering for this course – out of youthful enthusiasm and a desire for challenge. They are fantastic young women and will make excellent officers. Let’s make sure we can keep them so they can serve long, productive careers – in other vital specialties. 

Pass The Bill or the Troops Get It: Army Abruptly Suspends Tuition Assistance Program

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

Tuition Assistance cutsThe Army abruptly suspended its popular Tuition Assistance Program, effective Friday, March 8th, citing the combined budgetary constraints of sequestration and the looming potential expiration of the continuing resolution that funds Department of Defense operations and activities only through March 27th. Troops currently in school could finish out their terms, stated Army sources. But no new applicants would be accepted after 1700 Eastern Time on March 8th. (UPDATE: Even if you got in a registration prior to 1700 ET on the 8th, don’t expect it to be funded. An Army spokesperson informed us that funding had already been cut off. – Ed.)

The news came out with less than 24 hours to go before the deadline, and the notice and sent soldiers around the world flocking to computer terminals, trying to get in their applications. 

(UPDATE: Even if you got in a registration prior to 1700 ET on the 8th, don’t expect it to be funded. An Army spokesperson informed us that funding had already been cut off. Why the confusion over the deadline? According to the spokesperson, the Army intended to give no notice, specifically to avoid confusion. But Military Times got wind of the impending decision, forcing the Army to go public with the news sooner than they intended, and were forced to rush some of the communications. Hence you had soldiers standing in line trying to get their applications in on Friday. – JVS.)

The news affects all components of the U.S. Army, including the Reserve and National Guard.

The news only affects the federal Tuition Assistance program itself. Other popular veterans and military education programs are not affected at this time. Soldiers continue to pursue their educational goals with VA education benefits, if applicable, that include the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty, (Chapter 30), Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606, Reserve Education Assistance Program (Chapter 1607), The Post 9/11 GI Bill, federal grants and federal financial aid. National Guard soldiers may also be eligible for state Tuition Assistance benefits.

Last fiscal year, some 201,000 soldiers in the Army alone enrolled in the Tuition Assistance program. The program provided $373 million to soldiers pursuing their educational goals. Using the program, 2,831 soldiers earned associate’s degrees, 4,495 earned bachelor’s degrees, and 1,946 completed graduate degrees. On average, that equates to about $40,229 per degree earned.

The U.S. Marine Corps has also suspended its tuition assistance program, and also announced that the cuts would also interrupt benefits for those already enrolled. The Air Force and Navy have not yet decided to do so, though the Defense Department has urged the service chiefs to consider slashing their funding for the program.

Sailors and airmen interested in participating in the program should enroll now, as the other services will likely follow suit in the next few days.

While troops putting their lives on the line are having their benefits cut, the Government continues to provide for the Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Credit – both of which provide a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for attending college to those who meet the strict income thresholds.

Enlisted Ranks Hardest Hit

Nearly all officers already have bachelors’ degrees, though some enroll in the Tuition Assistance program to pursue graduate degrees. Officers who do so incur an additional service obligation, in exchange.

The program has a flat cap of $4,500 per enrollee for all ranks. That $4,500 value is a much greater percentage of compensation for a junior enlisted soldier or NCO than it is for officers. They are less likely to be able to afford to pay out of pocket for their educational expenses than officers. Lower-ranking troops will likely feel more pain from the decision than the officer corps.

Alternative Resources

The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides up to $2,500 per student each year for up to four years of college, while the Lifetime Learning Credit provides a tax credit of up to $2,000 annually. There is no cap on the number of years a taxpayer can claim the Lifetime Learning Credit. The income threshold for the full American Opportunity tax credit is an adjusted gross income of $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples filing jointly). Your credit amount is reduced for any amount you earn over those thresholds, and disappears entirely for those with incomes of $90,000 for singles and $180,000 for married couples filing jointly.

Most troops can qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit (though if all your income is tax-free combat zone income it might not do you much good).

The Lifetime Learning credit is a credit equal to 20 percent of the first 10,000 of qualified tuition. Credit eligibility begins to go away at an income of $47,000 per year for single individuals, and phases out completely at $57,000. For married couples, the thresholds are $94,000 and $114,000, respectively.

GI Bill

Soldiers can also use the GI Bill to pay for higher education courses, rather than tap into TA. However, as the Veterans of Foreign Wars points out, though, Tuition Assistance and the GI Bill have different missions. The Tuition Assistance program was developed to make it easier for discharged servicemembers to integrate into the civilian work force. Congress intended for the GI Bill education funding to benefit troops themselves, personally. The Tuition Assistance Program, on the other hand, was developed to benefit the military – under the assumption that the military would benefit from a more educated force.

In other news, the Obama Administration has announced that it intends to give some $450 million in foreign aid to Egypt. The Department of Defense is also providing matching contributions to civilian DoD employees who make contributions to their Thrift Savings Program. And the State of Colorado is all set to grant illegal immigrants in-state tuition while denying it to out-of-state American citizens and legal residents.

Afghanistan Commander “Completely Exonerated” in E-Mail Probe

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

General Allen exhonoratedThe Pentagon Inspector General has completely exonerated Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, who is currently heading the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

General Allen had been the subject of an official inquiry after former Army General and CIA Director David Petraeus was brought down over an improper affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Broadwell had sent potentially threatening emails to Jill Kelley, a friend of both Petraeus and Allen and a Tampa socialite. Kelley forwarded her emails to an FBI agent friend of hers. This led to an exercise in investigatory thread-pulling that uncovered the improper correspondence between Broadwell and Petraeus, as well as the correspondence between Kelley and Gen. Allen.

The IG investigation into Gen. Allen focused on a lengthy correspondence between Kelley and Allen. Early media reports indicated that there were as many as 30,000 printed pages of emails between the two. However, according to the Pentagon, the sum total of their correspondence uncovered was about 200 emails over several years.

The IG, however, found no evidence that Allen, 59, had done anything to warrant accusations of behavior unbecoming an officer. The vindication was complete.

 “The secretary has complete confidence in the continued leadership of General Allen, who is serving with distinction in Afghanistan,” a Pentagon spokesperson said, following the Inspector General’s announcement of the results of his investigation.

Nevertheless, in reports from last November, Pentagon sources characterized some of the emails between the two as “embarrassing.”

Gen. Allen was the Administration’s pick to become the Supreme Allied Commander for NATO. The Administration held off the nomination proceedings, however, when Allen was first implicated in the email probe.

It is not yet clear whether the Administration will go forward with Gen. Allen’s nomination to the SACEUR post.

SHOCK: First Women Fail to Complete Marine Infantry Officer School

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

Women training in USMCThe 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:

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

Black Friday Cage Match: Retailers vs. USMC

Posted by Kelli McKinney

iStock 000017149417XSmallOne week from today, after spending a day with family and friends, reflecting on our blessings and good fortune, shoppers will be rushing the gates of stores nationwide to nab cheap television sets, discounted Furbys, and whatever else they can get their tired hands on.

Last year 226 million shoppers did their part to try and boost the sagging economy, bless their hearts. We all know someone who braves the crowds and does their best to get a great deal on a gift or two. Some families make a day of it; others, however, prefer to shop when the stores aren’t so crowded.

Whether you think Black Friday is a cherished holiday tradition or you believe it’s a trumped up blitz designed to shore up somebody’s stock options, one thing’s for sure: It’s coming.

If you’re a shopper who plans to research sales, set your alarm and elbow jab your way into a good deal, here’s a training video to get you in the shopping frame of mind.

If your idea of Black Friday is more in line with that of the United States Marine Corps, this gem will get your blood rolling.

In the USMC, Black Friday is the point within basic training at which recruits meet their permanent Drill Instructors and their Company Commander. The DIs, as you would expect, physically, mentally, and psychologically challenge the fresh-faced recruits, confusing and disorienting them. It’s intense, and it’s inspiring, and it’s done to help them break those pesky civilian habits and prepare them for Marine Corps discipline.

That, my friends, is hard core.

Whether your preference is for the physical and psychological challenge of waiting in line at Best Buy in the 4 a.m. darkness, or if you’re more inclined for the rigors of USMC basic training, that special day called Black Friday holds a precious meaning for every American.

But here’s what I can’t help thinking about:

A Black Friday Face Off: Retailers vs. USMC. A sort of Black Friday Cage Match. Put an obstacle course in the middle of a big box retailer, line up the interested competitors before daybreak and when it’s all over, the toughest person wins flat screen, or an X-box, or whatever the object of their desire may be. That might be worth getting up early for.

Here’s my last thought before I go make my shopping list. If Retail Black Friday faced off with USMC Black Friday, I don’t think there’s any doubt who would win. My money’s on the Marines. Every time. Semper Fi and Happy Thanksgiving.