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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on January 7th, 2013 at 8:24 am

If Allowed How Many Women Would Want To Join the Infantry?

» by in: US Military

This is something that I have been saying for a long time that when women are allowed to serve in the infantry few will even try:

If or when the Pentagon lets women become infantry troops — the country’s front-line warfighters — how many women will want to?

The answer is probably not many.

Interviews with a dozen female soldiers and Marines showed little interest in the toughest fighting jobs. They believe they’d be unable to do them, even as the Defense Department inches toward changing its rules to allow women in direct ground combat jobs.

In fact, the Marines asked women last year to go through its tough infantry officer training to see how they would fare. Only two volunteered and both failed to complete the fall course. None has volunteered for the next course this month. The failure rate for men is roughly 25 percent.

For the record, plenty of men don’t want to be in the infantry either, though technically could be assigned there involuntarily, if needed. That’s rarely known to happen.  [Army Times]

Read the rest at the link, but I personally have not met one female soldier that would want to serve in the infantry.  I have met one female officer who was fitter than most men I know and if she wanted to I think she could have been an infantryman.  However, when I asked her about it she said she wanted nothing to do with the infantry especially since her husband was in the Ranger battalion and she knew full well what it entailed.  The infantry is not for everyone.

I was just reading in the print edition of the latest Army Times an article about women wanting to serve in the infantry that I could not find on the website.  In the article the Chief of Staff of the Army General Ray Odierno discusses changing infantry and other combat arms standards to become “gender neutral”.  I hope this is not code for changing standards so more women can make the cut like what has been done with the PT test.  General Odierno is a good guy so it will be interesting to see how this plays out because I am sure he is facing a difficult political balancing act on this issue.

There is already an established standard and either people can make it or they cannot.  For example here is the fitness requirements just to be able to enter Ranger School much less complete the 2 month course:

Ranger PFT Minimum Scores
Push-ups in 2:00 49 in 2:00
Sit-ups in 2:00 59
Pull-ups 6
Two-mile run 15:12
5 Mile run 40:00
16-mile hike w/65lb pack 5 hours 20 minutes
15-meter swim with gear Pass/Fail

These requirements are even harder then they look because for example the push-ups are completely breaking the plane and the pull-ups are free hang after the completion of each repetition.

Many men cannot make the standard that it takes to be an infantryman.  That is why I have continued to maintain that the solution to this is quite simple.  Let women serve in the infantry and other combat arms if they can meet the established standards.  I think something the Army can do is explain why the standard is what it is because many people outside the military do not understand what an infantryman and other combat arms MOSs do.  I think the vast majority of servicemembers would have no problem with women serving in the Infantry as long as they meet the established standards.

Anyway I think the Duffel Blog continues to explain this issue the best.

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45
  • Eddie Cantor
    5:41 pm on January 7th, 2013 1

    How many would volunteer to take the PT test with the same standards?

  • Teadrinker
    6:46 pm on January 7th, 2013 2

    #1,

    Whatever. I checked the standards for men no more than 2 minutes ago. Not impressed.

  • Glans
    7:08 pm on January 7th, 2013 3

    It could be like sports. Our female units against the enemy’s female units. And everybody’s chromosomes get tested before the battle.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    9:25 pm on January 7th, 2013 4

    @2- You are commenting about something you know nothing about. The minimum PT standards are not supposed to be hard and something to impress you with. The minimum PT standards are just that a minimum. They are easy enough for the vast majority of males to meet. However there are few women that can meet the minimum male standards and thus why there is two different PT tests.

    If women were forced to meet male PT standards many women would be forced out of the military which no one wants since the military is depended on the skills that these women being to the force. I for one think fitness standards should be based on your MOS and do away with gender based standards. There are certain aptitude scores soldiers must meet to qualify for certain MOSs regardless of gender. PT standards per MOS should be treated the same way.

    With that said the groups suing the military for inequality for some reason do not mind keeping inequality in regards to the PT test, height weight standards, and fitness standards for certain schools.

  • John
    9:53 pm on January 7th, 2013 5

    Teadrinker only comments on things he knows nothing about because he doesn’t know much about anything.

    Look at the content of his comments. They are almost always sarcastic or sour, they have no real information and they always try to make him seem superior to others. In this case, He is not impressed, leading us to imagine his physical condition is better than active duty American soldiers.

    After a couple months reading his comments, I Teadrinker’s life story. Special forces, scientist,

  • Teadrinker
    10:56 pm on January 7th, 2013 6

    4
    :lol:

    I was referring to what gets you a top score.

  • Teadrinker
    11:00 pm on January 7th, 2013 7

    5
    :roll:

    So, you’re saying that 77 pushups in 2 minutes is hard? Get out of here.

  • Teadrinker
    11:29 pm on January 7th, 2013 8

    Really, the bar is set low for the top scores. I am certain you’ve got plenty of guys who can run 2 miles in about 10 minutes. The standards need to be raised so that people who are happy with doing the bare minimum see a greater gap between their own score and the top one.

    And so, spare me the misogynistic comments about women not being able to pull their weight. Based on what I saw in my years in Korea, there are plenty of male American soldiers who can’t pull their own.

  • Liz
    5:00 am on January 8th, 2013 9

    #8: You believe that the fact the vast majority of female candidates cannot meet the minimum standards that a male must meet for the equivalent job to be a misogynistic observation?

    Okay. The majority of male Canadians cannot bare children. That makes me a xenophobic misandrist cause hey, I had em with no problem. In fact, I had less problem than most women (no epidural). Until all women have babies without anesthesia, no one should notice the fact that men can’t have babies. Brilliance.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    6:25 am on January 8th, 2013 10

    @8- How many US military PT tests have you participated in? I have participated in more than I can remember and I can count on two hands the number of women who could pass the male minimums. Push ups is usually the hardest event for a female to meet the male minimum of. In fact for young soldiers 42 is the minimum for males and 42 is the maximum score for females. This is a big difference in standards which is obvious to anyone who has spent time in the US Army. This is a fact based observation that does not make someone misogynist. If this fact based observation wasn’t true there would not be two different standards on the PT test. Once again you are commenting on something you know nothing about.

    Also who said anything about women not being able to pull their weight other than you? I said the military needed the skills women bring to the force and thus why there is two different PT standards so women are not forced out for a reason that has nothing to do with whether or not they can execute their chosen MOS.

    Finally just because you can do 77 pushups in 2 minutes doesn’t mean you are fit. Let me guess you can run 2 miles in ten minutes as well as leap over tall buildings? Once again if you knew anything about the PT test you would know the maximum scores are not the absolute maximums that you scoff about. The PT test has an extended scale to where people can get more than 300 points on the test if they max all three categories. That means the max on the PT test is the maximum of what ever fitness level someone is at. The fittest people I seen score 350+.

  • Teadrinker
    7:07 am on January 8th, 2013 11

    #9,

    You’ve got things all screwed up. It’s a running theme around here that women should be held to the same PT standards as men. Lots of chest thumping going on about that. I’m laughing at those cavemen because for me, a guy who’s been working out regularly all his life, the PT standards for men aren’t all that impressive.

    With that said, of course women should have different PT standards. Why? Do I have to explain? Anyone who’s too stupid to tell the physiological and anatomical difference between a man and a woman should be prevented from handling weapons.

    And just so you know, there are women in the Canadian infantry.

  • Teadrinker
    7:18 am on January 8th, 2013 12

    #10,

    ” How many US military PT tests have you participated in? I have participated in more than I can remember and I can count on two hands the number of women who could pass the male minimums. Push ups is usually the hardest event for a female to meet the male minimum of. In fact for young soldiers 42 is the minimum for males and 42 is the maximum score for females. This is a big difference in standards which is obvious to anyone who has spent time in the US Army. This is a fact based observation that does not make someone misogynist. If this fact based observation wasn’t true there would not be two different standards on the PT test. Once again you are commenting on something you know nothing about. ”

    Irrelevant and you’re putting words in my mouth. Did I say women should be held to the same standards are men? Don’t be ridiculous.

    “Also who said anything about women not being able to pull their weight other than you? I said the military needed the skills women bring to the force and thus why there is two different PT standards so women are not forced out for a reason that has nothing to do with whether or not they can execute their chosen MOS. ”

    Oh, come on. You know it’s a running theme here. You never said it, as far as I remember, but many others have. Care to dig back in your past threads? I’m sure you can find plenty of instances where that argument is made.

    “Finally just because you can do 77 pushups in 2 minutes doesn’t mean you are fit. Let me guess you can run 2 miles in ten minutes as well as leap over tall buildings? Once again if you knew anything about the PT test you would know the maximum scores are not the absolute maximums that you scoff about. The PT test has an extended scale to where people can get more than 300 points on the test if they max all three categories. That means the max on the PT test is the maximum of what ever fitness level someone is at. The fittest people I seen score 350+.”

    Dude, I’m fit. I just came back from the gym, as a matter of fact. I’ve been working out all my life. I have a resting pulse of 56.

    So there is an extended scale. That’s good. Still, I find it hilarious that some of the guys here, and don’t pretend you don’t know their names just because they aren’t around (yet), keep bitching about how women should be held to the same standards as men on the PT exam when they probably bared squeaked by themselves.

  • Teadrinker
    7:19 am on January 8th, 2013 13

    barely squeaked by, that is.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    7:29 am on January 8th, 2013 14

    @11- People are not chest pumping they are pointing out the hypocritical nature of those who are suing the military for unequal treatment and yet say nothing about the unequal standards on the PT test for example.

    Also you were the one claiming that women could meet the minimum standards for males and claiming I am a misogynist for stating the obvious that the majority of women cannot meet those standards thus the reason for two different PT tests. Now you are backtracking. I look forward to your apology for calling me a misogynist.

    As far as stating that there are women in the Canadian infantry, we all know that already. How about stating how that is relevant to this discussion? Do they have to meet the same standards as their male counterparts? What is relevant is that the Canadian military also has two different fitness standards for males and females just like the US military:

    http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=2848

    However, their minimums are lower than the US military in similar events like pushups where males need to do just 19 push ups. Women do 14. I look forward to your scoffing at Canadian military PT standards.

  • Teadrinker
    7:32 am on January 8th, 2013 15

    Here…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHxYE1VxFEI

    She’s awesome.

  • Teadrinker
    7:35 am on January 8th, 2013 16

    Here’s more…

  • Teadrinker
    7:57 am on January 8th, 2013 17

    #14,

    “Also you were the one claiming that women could meet the minimum standards for males…”

    Where? I’m guessing you’re misconstruing my response to Eddie Cantor, who seemed to me to be suggesting in an oblique way that women shouldn’t be in the infantry. I may have jumped the gun, but you’re being disingenuous to suggest that there has never been any chest thumping going on. Come on, the argument against “preferential treatment” has been used as a smokescreen time and time again here by certain people who were clearly homophobic. It doesn’t take a large leap to conclude that the same argument about women and PT is also a smokescreen for something else.

    “As far as stating that there are women in the Canadian infantry, we all know that already. How about stating how that is relevant to this discussion? Do they have to meet the same standards as their male counterparts? What is relevant is that the Canadian military also has two different fitness standards for males and females just like the US military”

    Now you’re being obtuse.

    “I look forward to your scoffing at Canadian military PT standards.”

    It was a fricking joke, yes. I will be the first to admit it (I wouldn’t mess with any of the guys in JTF-2, though). Otherwise, the technical training was top notch. I studied the whole time I was in, as a matter of fact.

  • Teadrinker
    8:04 am on January 8th, 2013 18

    …and, if I recall correctly, it was 33-36 pushups without a break for men and 14 for women when I was in.

  • The Joker
    8:14 am on January 8th, 2013 19

    Males just have to do 19 pushups in the Canadian military? Is that why it took TWO Canadian special forces solders to beat the Somali boy to death?

    Great video link, Teadrinker. “Business & Professional Women’s Club, women working for working women.” What? I cant join? Sounds like discrimination, special treatment and misandry. You Canadians are a sexist lot.

  • Glans
    8:15 am on January 8th, 2013 20

    Let’s declare female war on Canada. Their women against ours.

  • Teadrinker
    8:47 am on January 8th, 2013 21

    #20,

    :lol:

    You could teach a thing or two to The Joker on how to tell a good joke.

  • Liz
    9:25 am on January 8th, 2013 22

    #20 We vastly outweigh them! We’ll win by the laws of momentum…

  • Teadrinker
    5:22 pm on January 8th, 2013 23

    #22,

    :lol:

    It would actually be a match-up of gargantuan magnitude.

    The rate of obesity in Canada is similar to that in the US. Remember, we’ve got 5-6 months of winter to fatten up. Just like in the US, it started becoming an epidemic in the ’90s when people’s eating habits began changing. I remember returning home in the late ’90s and noticing that people seemed bigger than during my previous trip. My mother, who’s still very trim and fit (she’s worked out twice a day for over 40 years), would argue at first, saying, “It only seems so to you because people are so slim in Korea”, but she’s not denying it anymore. People have gotten big.

  • Teadrinker
    5:36 pm on January 8th, 2013 24

    …The biggest shock I got was seeing one of my oldest friends, a gal I’ve known since kindergarten, on Facebook. She’s tall, dark-haired and has a naturally tan complexion. She was always very slim, too. The kind of woman who turns heads when she walks into a room. Last time I met her was in 1997 or so and she was still stunning. Well, she probably weighs about 200 pounds now based on her Facebook profile pictures.

  • chefantwon
    6:19 pm on January 8th, 2013 25

    Teadrinker “Dude, I’m fit. I just came back from the gym, as a matter of fact. I’ve been working out all my life. I have a resting pulse of 56.”

    My resting heart rate is nearly the same and I haven’t been to the gymn in damn near 20 years!

    A 2 mile run in 15:12 is pretty easy for anyone in their 20′s to do if they are in even bad shape. (it’s a fast walk) An average male can typically do a mile somewhere near the 6:30 mark or faster.

  • Teadrinker
    7:32 pm on January 8th, 2013 26

    25

    Congratulations. Average resting heartrate for someone my age is in the 65 to 70 range. Anything under 53 is considered exceptional. Yes, I’ve walked 3km (about 2 miles) in about 13 minutes. I prefer hiking and trecking off the trails. It’s a much better workout than jogging.

  • Eddie Cantor
    5:19 pm on January 9th, 2013 27

    If they want the job that’s peachy keen, but can they do the job? Lifting is a big part of the job and women can’t lift what men can lift.

    Chances are that the PC Police will make sure that the women who are in infantry units will always have men in those units. They’ll do all of the lifting and carrying but we just won’t talk about it, okay? It’ll be a dirty little secret. “What did you say, Private Numbnutts? I said pick it up for her and carry it and that’s an order.”

    We all know that this is headed to some BS “experimental units” that will never actually see any combat. But they’ll look awesome marching around in “Ellen Degeneres Day” parades.

  • Glans
    7:03 am on January 13th, 2013 28

    The Israelis have an all-woman infantry surveillance unit watching the Egyptian border. Young women, as compared to young men, seem to have more ‘discipline, pro-activeness and long-term focus’. Dan Williams reports for Reuters.

  • Liz
    7:44 am on January 13th, 2013 29

    #28 Interesting. I thought women have been barred from combat in Israel after the post conflict assessment of the 1948 war revealed the men tried to protect the women, which placed their lives in greater danger and jeopardized the survival of the unit. Also seriously adversely impacted morale. I guess if the unit is ALL women it would circumvent those potentialities.

  • Smokes
    8:15 am on January 13th, 2013 30

    All excuses…

    “Men trying to protect the women…”
    Why no complaints when men try to protect the men? In fact I often hear that very thing used as a badge of honor when you’re willing to throw it all down to protect your buddies. They gave medals out for that kinda shit.

    “Probably not many will want to anyway…”
    Oh look they surveyed a whole 12 women. Even a six year old can see the flaw with that logic. That’s an often used tactic, come up with some misleading or outright false statistics to support your claim that makes it look like they don’t wat to do it anyway so we’re actually doing them a favor… maybe… probably…

    “This will cause the standards to weaken…”
    What standard in the military doesn’t already have a billion exceptions? How would modifying a standard based on something important be worse then modfying a standard for any of the other ridiculous reasons that have already happended?

    This is all camoflague for what the real issue is; gender discrimination.

  • Liz
    8:24 am on January 13th, 2013 31

    #30: Yeah, Israel is naive and historically incompetent when it comes to issues regarding its own defense concerns.

  • Smokes
    8:46 am on January 13th, 2013 32

    #31 Huh? I’m not talking about Israel; I’m talking about the US. I know I referenced your snippet about the wanting to protect women but that line has been used over and over when talking about allowing women to serve in combat positions in the US Military.

  • Liz
    8:56 am on January 13th, 2013 33

    #32: Well, that was in fact the Israeli experience. I see no reason to disregard their experience, rather it should be instructive as there is very little historical precedent for placing women in combat infantry units (unless they have shown themselves to be incompetent in such matters).

  • Leon LaPorte
    4:04 pm on January 13th, 2013 34

    33. These Israeli experience isn’t what it is sold as. The Israeli’s pulled back from that position quite a bit.

  • Leon LaPorte
    4:05 pm on January 13th, 2013 35

    Sorry Liz, I didn’t read the whole thread. I think you and I are actually in agreement. :razz:

  • Glans
    4:31 pm on January 13th, 2013 36

    I won’t argue about it. I was just pointing out something interesting to read.

  • someotherguy
    11:17 pm on January 13th, 2013 37

    Is TD still commenting on sh!t he knows nothing about? Especially the APFT. I’ve administered more of those then I ever want to remember, it’s a whole lot harder then it seems. You have to go all the way down and break the plane, then go all the way back up until arms lock out. Those little rabbit pushups everyone does in the gym don’t count for sh!t. I’ve seen too many gymthletes try to be smug about the APFT and fail miserably. They were fit enough, they just didn’t pay attention.

    Anyhow, I have zero issues with females in the infantry. They need to pass the exact same standards as the men. And seriously LOL to anyone entering any school at the minimum. No CSM would sign off on the pre-entrance paperwork if the soldier in question wasn’t near maxing their APFT.

  • someotherguy
    11:33 pm on January 13th, 2013 38

    For those questioning the APFT, it’s the duration that kills you. I used to knock out 50 PU’s in the first 60s, that doesn’t mean I was scoring 100 PU’s on the extended scale. That last 30~60s is much harder then the first 60s, your muscles are starting to get filled with lactic acid and energy production is slowing down. 120s is entirely too long for a test of upper body strength, it’s more of an endurance test then anything else.

    As for the run, this is something I can personally attest to. Prior to joining the Army I did track and field, the 1.5km and 5km run. I could run fast and I could run long, running was never an issue. During and after BCT my run times plummeted and I had to spend time on my own “fixing” what the Army broke. The Army forces everyone to run not only at the same pace but at the same stride too. This means the 180cm track athlete is running the exact same pace / speed as the 155cm Latina female. And your doing this while singing stupid cadence songs (if you have enough spare breath for singing then your not running fast enough). This ruins your stride and when it comes time for the APFT you unconsciously slip into those programmed strides and screw your time up.

  • MTB Rider
    2:26 pm on January 23rd, 2013 39

    Looks like it is now officially a “Done Deal.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/ap-sources-panetta-opens-combat-roles-women-203034238–politics.html

    Special Forces seems exempt at the moment. So now the question is indeed “If Allowed, How Many Women Would Serve In the Infantry?” My guess is “not all that many,” but I also didn’t think that many women in the Navy would want to go to a combatant.

    Professionalism will have to be the name of the game for both genders. The Navy had problems with “friggin’ in the riggin’” when I first joined, but by the time I went to the USS McKee most of that seemed to have gone away.

    I know there are some old fuddy-duddies who can’t accept that the military is more than a Boy’s Club, but the times, they be a changing!

  • JoeC
    3:38 pm on January 23rd, 2013 40

    #39

    As long as they are able to meet the existing standards for the field, why not?

  • argus mayfield
    6:25 pm on January 23rd, 2013 41

    Men and women are different. One of those differences is in how they relate to each other. Women can more easily look past a man’s appearance in a relationship. Women with disfiguring combat injuries will have lonely and tragic lives suitable only for inspiring low-budget Lifetime channel movies. Hopefully they blame nobody except the creature in the mirror.

  • JoeC
    7:11 pm on January 23rd, 2013 42

    #41

    Hmmmmm? Have you heard of congresswoman Tammy Duckworth? There are many more like her.

  • MTB Rider
    7:42 pm on January 23rd, 2013 43

    #40

    Now there lies the crux of the problem. As a sailor, all you have to do is grab your kevlar flak jacket, weapon, and MAYBE a helmet (helmets were only worn during gunnery topside, and not during Security Alert drills).

    I was originally in favor of women in combat, as I didn’t know the amount of gear the Army has mandated for the individual. Unless the Army changes to a much smaller loadout, I don’t think enough women exist that can carry a 70lbs ruck as well as their weapon, ammo and kevlar.

    The Special Operators I knew in the Navy also didn’t weight themselves down as an Infantryman. But the Army is Wise and All Knowing, and we mere mortals dare not say “Hey, dump some of that crap!” Of course, it doesn’t help to have the MSM screaming how we “fail to protect our soldiers” by not providing them with every single piece of gear imaginable. A ship is useful in that you carry anything and everything, all safely stored in lockers, and not strapped to every square inch of your body.

  • kushibo
    4:20 am on January 24th, 2013 44

    We’ll win by the laws of momentum…

    Only if we first get on our feet and moving, because, while it’s true that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

  • Liz
    3:10 pm on January 24th, 2013 45

    #44. Hm. True. Maybe we could fashion something with crane that swings.
    Kind of like a wrecking ball. :-)

 

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