Pressure Grows for Marines to Lower Standards for Women

Marines-Female General

When it was reported at the beginning of October that three female Marine officers had passed the Combat Endurance Test (CET), the initial entry screener for the Corp’s challenging Infantry Officer Course, the news was widely reported. You can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The story was indeed news. Up to that point, of the 24 women who had attempted the CET, only one had passed, and she had reportedly later been dropped from the overall course for an injury. Struggling to get enough female officers into the course to produce a statistically significant result for its study of introducing women into combat roles, the Corps had directed that more seasoned female officers could attempt the course. Now three had made it over the first hurdle.

What’s the Matter with Jim Amos?

James F. Amos

General James Amos, the 35th commandant of the Marine Corps, will come to the end of his term of office this week. Marines, as a matter of custom and temperament, are well known for revering their commandant. Difficult questions of doctrine or procedure within the Corps may be settled by asserting, without a shred of irony, that “the commandant wants it this way.” Famously the most disciplined of the services, this respectful and admiring deference for the leader is part of what it has traditionally meant to be a Marine.

Which makes it all the more strange that Jim Amos is so widely—and, on social media, openly—disliked by Marines.

Over the weekend there was a new outbreak of criticism about the man, inspired by an 80-page report prepared by a critic of the commandant, a former Marine and lawyer named Lee Thweatt.

The Marine Corps Times has the story:

Outrage: Troops Fighting in Iraq Not Eligible For Certain Medals

Marines.

The military’s role in Iraq has been much in the news over the last 24 hours. The Obama administration’s confusion and ambivalence over whether or not the current bombing and advising in Iraq and Syria actually constitutes a war (I’ll bet the pilots dropping bombs on people think it does) apparently extends to the Pentagon. As the Hill reported:

‘Disgraceful’: Female Marine Captain Viciously Criticized For Speaking Her Mind

Marines-Female General

The Marine Corps’ professional organization hosts an essay competition every year called the Chase Prize. Entrants are encouraged to “challenge conventional wisdom” and to be “bold.” Every few years a winner might get a bit closer to this goal than the norm, but typically—as with professionals everywhere—Marines tend to be cautious when challenging their superiors’ policies in a public forum. Whatever effects the Chase Prize has had over the years, generating genuine and widely-discussed controversy has not been one of them, at least in recent memory.

This year’s winner has proven to be an exception to the rule. Captain Lauren Serrano’s submission was entitled ‘Why Women Do Not Belong in the U.S. Infantry.’ It has generated a fair amount of criticism, both from within and outside of the Corps. Why? Here is Captain Serrano’s thesis: “Although perhaps advantageous to individuals and the national movement for complete gender equality, incorporating women into infantry units is not in the best interest of the Marine Corps or U.S. national security.”

Two Marines Are Marching to Washington with a Message for Obama

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Marine Corps veterans tired of seeing fellow Marine Andrew Tahmooressi stuck in Mexican prison are traveling nearly 300 miles by foot to Washington, D.C., to tell President Obama to do whatever he has to do to get Mexico “to turn our Marine loose.”

Marine Corps veteran Terry Sharpe is 63 years old and began walking the 287 miles from his home in Summerfield, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C., two weeks ago to raise awareness about Tahmooressi, who has been locked away in a Mexican prison since March.