Monday, January 13, 2014

Pullups, Marines, Men, Women, and Hand-to-Hand Combat

Photo from
It appears that the Marine Corps has discovered something that a high-school football coach and/or biology teacher could have told them if asked. Men and women are built different. Because they are built different they perform physical tasks to different levels of ability. This ability to perform physical tasks translates into how much weight they can carry or lift (a rucksack, wounded Marine, or mortar plate), how fast they can run (when dodging bullets dressed in kevlar and body armor and carrying a machine gun), how many pullups they can do (physical fitness test), and how successful they would be in hand-to-hand combat with a determined enemy who wants to kill them (pick any war in the past or the future).

In November 2012 the Marines sent out a message saying that effective January 1, 2014 there will be a new minimum standard for Marine females (see ALMARS 046/12, 271120ZNov12). The new standard for Marine females is now a minimum of 3 pullups (for 40 points) to pass and a maximum of 8 to get 100 points. For men the minimum is 3 (for 15 points) and the max is 20 (for 100 points). The establishment of the same minimum standard for men and women is a weak attempt to show that the standards are the same. Recent news shows that men passed the 3 pullup minimum with ease while over half of the women failed the physical fitness event. Just 1% of men failed the 3 pullup minimum.

In 2013 the Marines published a website (see below) to help unit commanders and females adapt to the new training requirement. The website provides training information to help females transition from the Flexed Arm Hang (FAH) to the manly pullup.

The initial results have not been good. The new physical fitness test (less than one month old) for women has now been put on hold (hard to use a test where over half of the women fail). For the time being the Marines will return to the 'flexed-arm hang'.

This speaks volumes about the validity of the Obama administration to force the military to integrate women into armor, artillery, infantry and special operations units. Men and women are built different and perform physical events to different standards. Belonging to a combat unit means the physical demands are greater. Common sense should prevail over social experimentation. Where are our hard-core Marine generals when we need them? One could expect Army generals to "roll over" on this issue; but the Marines? Are the Marine generals too concerned with their next promotion being approved by Congress that they cannot express the truth?

Read more in:

Marine Corps Female Physical Fitness Test - Pullup Training Website

"Female marines can't do three pullups, shows some military tasks are for men", The Washington Times, January 9, 2014.

"Flexed-arm hang out, pullups in", DVIDS, December 13, 2012.

"Bye bye flex arm hang", DVIDS, December 3, 2012.

"Order issued changing physical fitness rules for female Marines", ABC 10 News, November 28, 2012.

Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test Standards. Wikipedia.
USMC Physical Fitness Test

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