Photo of military women in an article about women in combat by LTC Allen West on the Old School Patriot

The Warrior Ethos

In Front Page, Military by Allen West

As well all know, SecDef James Mattis, a retired US Marine Corps 4-Star General, recently resigned from his position. He has been replaced by the former Deputy SecDef, someone with no military experience, who hails from the defense industry, namely Boeing. It will be important to fill the SecDef position but you can expect any new nominee for that position to run into the progressive socialist egalitarianism viewpoint of combat equality. The left believes that anyone should be able to fill any position in the military, a very false narrative, a dangerous belief.

And Heather MacDonald just penned a very timely opinion piece in the WSJ addressing this issue. As reported by the Wall Street Journal:

“The Obama-era policy of integrating women into ground combat units is a misguided social experiment that threatens military readiness and wastes resources in the service of a political agenda. The next defense secretary should end it. 

In September 2015 the Marine Corps released a study comparing the performance of gender-integrated and male-only infantry units in simulated combat. The all-male teams greatly outperformed the integrated teams, whether on shooting, surmounting obstacles or evacuating casualties. Female Marines were injured at more than six times the rate of men during preliminary training—unsurprising, since men’s higher testosterone levels produce stronger bones and muscles. Even the fittest women (which the study participants were) must work at maximal physical capacity when carrying a 100-pound pack or repeatedly loading heavy shells into a cannon. 

Ignoring the Marine study, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter opened all combat roles to women in December 2015. Rather than requiring new female combat recruits to meet the same physical standards as men, the military began crafting “gender neutral” standards in the hope that more women would qualify. Previously, women had been admitted to noncombat specialties under lower strength and endurance requirements. 

Only two women have passed the Marine Corps’s fabled infantry-officer training course out of the three dozen who have tried. Most wash out in the combat endurance test, administered on day one. Participants hike miles while carrying combat loads of 80 pounds or more, climb 20-foot ropes multiple times, and scale an 8-foot barrier. The purpose of the test is to ensure that officers can hump their own equipment and still arrive at a battleground mentally and physically capable of leading troops. Most female aspirants couldn’t pass the test, so the Marines changed it from a pass/fail requirement to an unscored exercise with no bearing on the candidate’s ultimate evaluation. The weapons-company hike during the IOC is now “gender neutral,” meaning that officers can hand their pack to a buddy if they get tired, rather than carrying it for the course’s full 10 miles.”

I do not think that in combat, the enemy is going to take a “gender neutral” approach to fighting. Sure, there are those who are going to tell me that I am a backwards Neanderthal, but hear me out. Yes, women have been serving in combat since Molly Ludwig Hays took her husband’s position on the cannon at the Battle of Monmouth. What we are discussing here is the belief, the policy, that all combat duty positions, units, be opened up to women.

One of the main drivers behind this belief is that promotions to higher levels come to those who have served and led troops in direct combat.

“The argument for putting women into combat roles has always been nonmilitary: Combat experience qualifies soldiers for high-ranking Pentagon jobs. But war isn’t about promoting equality. Its objective is to break the enemy’s will through precise lethal engagement, with the lowest possible loss of American life. The claim that female combat soldiers will perform as lethally as men over an extended deployment entails a denial of biological reality as great as the one underlying the transgender crusade.”

The true mission of our military is to deploy and engage the enemy and win our nation’s combat engagements, wars. It is not about providing a platform to guarantee equality of outcomes for promotions, advancement. Our military should not be considered a place for fairness. In a hand-to-hand engagement, fairness be damned. If you want to know the truth, the military is one of the most discriminatory organizations in our country. That reason is simple to comprehend: our profit margin is not evaluated in dollars, but rather in lives.

There are those who will tout that we have had females graduate from Ranger School, but did they have to pass the physical fitness test at male standards? And rumors still circulate about the first two female Ranger school graduates as to the command influence that was involved.

I have a simple question. If we have separate competitions between men and women in bowling, figure skating, basketball, track and field, downhill skiing, and UFC, then why do we operate under this delusion that men and women should serve side by side in direct combat units? Yes, sure, are there exceptions to any rule, of course, but to make a blanket policy that females will be serving in male-dominated direct combat units is quite disconcerting. Remember, GI Jane was a movie. You cannot say that you want equality, but reduce standards to accommodate a political, ideological, agenda.

And, yes, there is that subject that no one seems to want to discuss:

“Another Marine officer, who was stationed on a Navy ship after 9/11, told me that a female officer had regular trysts with an enlisted sailor in the engine room. Marine Cpl. Remedios Cruz, one of the first women to join the infantry, was discharged late last year after admitting to a sexual relationship with a male subordinate. Army Sgt. First Class Chase Usher was relieved of his leadership position for a consensual relationship with a female soldier that began almost immediately after she arrived at his newly gender-integrated unit in Fort Bragg, N.C. Long before infantry integration became a feminist imperative, evidence was clear that a coed military was a sexually active one. In 1988 then-Navy Secretary Jim Webb reported that of the unmarried enlisted Navy and Air Force women stationed in Iceland, half were pregnant.”

Yes, that thing called unit cohesion, good order and discipline is still vital for our military to be effective. I remember back in 1995 when I was assigned to the Second Infantry Division in South Korea, forward deployed along the DMZ, females had to undergo a pregnancy test in theater before being deployed north of Seoul. However, if a female became pregnant while serving in the 2ID, in our area, you could not redeploy her out, even though they were then classified as combat non-deployable. They were restricted from undergoing basic qualifications such as weapons and chemical training, they were not supposed to don a protective gas mask. Heck, I remember the policy of pregnant soldier PT, physical training. Yes, we had non-deployable female soldiers in a forward deployed combat Infantry Division . . . go figure.

The next nominee for Secretary of Defense of the US Military must be willing to speak truth and evidence resolve. There will be no doubt that the social justice progressive socialists in the US Senate will challenge the nominee on this issue. They need to be a ground combat experienced individual who is unafraid to push back against the leftist ideologues who would seek to undermine the effectiveness of our military.

When the next SecDef nominee is queried on this issue of gender integration in ground combat units, the response should be, “Senator, when we put men and women in direct competition in downhill skiing, soccer, and UFC fights, then we will enact a policy of placing men and women together in direct combat units. Until that day comes, please, shut up and have a nice day.”