Are Women Fit for Combat Roles in the Military?
How can a person not strong enough to do three pull-ups during a drill still be expected to climb ropes, scale walls and do other physically demanding activities in a war zone?
On January 1, female Marines became subject to the new standard of minimum fitness—the same standard men were subject to. One of the requirements was the ability to do three pull-ups. Now, the minimum fitness standard has been delayed, since more than half of female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, failed the test in late 2013. As the Associated Press reported, this delay “rekindled sharp debate in the military on the question of whether women have the physical strength for some military jobs, as service branches move toward opening thousands of combat roles to them in 2016.”
The length of the delay is indefinite. It will give time for training officials to “continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed,” according to Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman.
But time has absolutely nothing to do with the differences between male and female stamina. Time, even practice time, will never make up for those differences.
Ever since the Pentagon succumbed to feminist pressures and lifted a 1994 ban on women serving in combat units, military officials have struggled to come up with implementation plans that were gender-neutral. They assured us that standards would not be lowered. The current standard requires both men and women to do a minimum of three pull-ups, although a perfect score requires 20 pull-ups for men and only eight for women. But 55 percent of female Marine recruits at Parris Island couldn’t even meet the minimum. How many women could meet the perfect score required of a Marine?
Expecting women and men to be equal is not good for our military. It’s not good for the men, and it’s not good for the women. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness and a staunch critic of deploying women in combat zones, said that one result of these proposals will be that “women will suffer more injuries and resentment they do not deserve.”
In a January 2013 article, “America Thrusts Wives and Moms Into Combat,” Trumpet columnist Joel Hilliker wrote:
The average woman is almost 5 inches shorter, with nearly 40 fewer pounds of muscle and 6 more pounds of fat, than the average man. She has less than half of his upper-body strength, 20 percent less aerobic capacity, and lighter, brittler bones. She cannot run or jump as far; last as long; grip as well; push, pull, lift or carry as much. The military has dealt with this by implementing separate conditioning standards for women, by lowering standards generally and eliminating some altogether.
Though civilian leaders love to speak of the “new warfare” being a tidy, push-button, technology-driven business, reality has never matched that fiction. War is brutal, physical, demanding and deadly. Politicians can easily overlook that fact in the midst of relative peace. They present their views as support for women, but how can their eagerness to plunge women into the nightmare of warfare be viewed as anything but disregard for women? … Women face greater danger than men in most combat situations. Physical limitations make them likelier to be injured, captured or killed. This reality also endangers the men who are forced to fight alongside them …. And when women are captured, experience has shown that they are treated far worse—unimaginably worse—than male prisoners of war. … The military agency that trains pilots in survival, evasion, resistance and escape as prisoners of war actually includes a component to desensitize male soldiers to the screams of their women cohorts.
This is reality that the Trumpet reports out of love and respect for women. Men and women are equal in their spiritual potential, but vastly different physically and psychologically (1 Peter 3:7).
Ignoring sex differences harms families, military establishments and, ultimately, nations. Understanding them—and why they were put their by the Creator of male and female—helps build harmonious societies which strengthen nations.
For more on this subject and on the difference between the sexes, read “The Vanishing ‘Man of War’” and request our free book The Missing Dimension in Sex.