Monday, August 12, 2013

Does U.S. Army Colonel Ellen Haring Want Physical Fitness Standards "Dumbed Down" To Accommodate Women In Combat Positions?

I knew it. It was just a matter of time before someone would call for military physical fitness standards to be "dumbed down" in order to accommodate women in combat. After all, the services are still allowed to have separate physical fitness qualification criteria for men and women, with women having the lower standards.

Does this look like a colonel to you?
On August 12th, 2013, the Washington Times reports that Col. Ellen Haring, on the staff of the U.S. Army War College, said commanders need to downplay obstacle courses and judge a service member’s ability to stay calm and think quickly. She said that perhaps it's time to take a hard look at what really makes a competent combat soldier and not rely on traditional notions of masculine brawn that celebrate strength over other qualities. She claims that focusing on physical strength diminishes the ability to remain calm, focused, creative and quick-thinking in times of extreme duress. And she cites World War II hero Audie Murphy and North Vietnamese insurgents as examples of small people who came up big on the battlefield. Col. Haring's full paper entitled "Women and the Audie Murphy model" has been published by the Armed Forces Journal, but requires an account to read it.

Obviously, Col. Haring is oblivious of the fact that many North Vietnamese soldiers literally walked the Ho Chi Minh Trail south to South Vietnam, in most case bearing significant amounts of equipment and supplies. Since the Ho Chi Minh Trail wasn't exactly a six-lane motorway with rest stops every 10 miles, this means to do this required incredible amounts of strength and endurance. Just because NVA troops weren't buffed like Hulk Hogan didn't mean they didn't have physical strength. Of course, a look at Col. Haring's service record explains her ignorance; not only has she not had any combat-related experience, but her highest decoration is a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM), although she also has an Air Assault Badge. No Purple Hearts or Bronze Stars. While the MSM is a significant decoration, it does not require service in combat.

It should also be noted that Col. Haring was one of two female soldiers who filed a lawsuit in May 2012 challenging the legality of Pentagon and Army policies that exclude women from certain ground combat units because of their sex, just weeks after the Army and Marine Corps opened up additional positions to women, allowing them to work in headquarters jobs of some units that engage in direct ground combat. So it should be obvious that all of Col. Haring's protestations about how women are prepared to accept more responsibility fly in the face of the gobbledy-gook she spouts downplaying the importance of physical strength. There's no doubt that certain women can achieve the same physical fitness as men, but it is inexcusable to jeopardize the fundamental military mission by degrading existing physical fitness standards to accommodate women. The services' existing physical fitness standards were crafted by senior officers and senior NCOs who know first hand what it takes to rescue and evacuate a buddy who's under fire or who must hump rucks containing 50 lbs. or more over long distances featuring difficult terrain. In many cases, grunts in Vietnam had to hack their own trails through the jungle.

The purpose of opening up combat positions to women should be to allow women to compete for qualification under existing standards, and not to dumb down existing standards to make it just another affirmative action gimmedat.

Public Reaction: Over 462 comments have been appended to the Washington Times article so far, and disagreement with Col. Haring is almost overwhelming. A sampling (after the jump):

wraith67 August 12th an hour ago:
...There's no avoiding the fact that the kevlar, body armor, ruck, weapon, grenades, combat load of ammo (or double/triple that), water etc, meet and exceed 70lbs - and that's not if the soldier isn't carrying a machine gun or parts of a mortar. The infantry don't take a cab to the battlefield. There's maybe 1 in 1000 that would be able to keep up for a full tour/enlistment. Maybe 1% of that could make it a career. Some female COL in an incidental support MOS doesn't need to be pontificating on cr*p she knows nothing about.

William McKinnies August 12th an hour ago:
Just in Land Survival Training, there was a woman in my unit. After constantly lagging behind everyone else and slowing us down, on the third of our little cross country trek, she laid down and refused to move. They had to airlift her out of the training area.

In a real life situation, how many people's deaths would this woman have been responsible for?

ohmama August 12th 5 hours ago:
Being politcally correct is going to get our soliders killed. If the women can't pass the same high standards in training as the men, then they have no right being there. Men and women are NOT the same and never will be. Political correctness will be the death of this country. And BTW- I AM a woman and my daughter was in the Army.

Women need to step it up if they want "equality", but the standards should never be lowered for them. Men wash out, why make it easier just for women?

And what happens if/when one of your 250 pound collegues is injured and needs to be rescued on the battlefield....are YOU going to be up to the task, Col. Haring?

buzzman1 August 12th 2 hours ago:
At MG [machine gun] ranges I'd have to send a minimum of 2 female soldiers to carry a single case of 7.62. I carried 2 at a time. Ma Duece? That was a 4 -6 female carry. I carried 1 at a time and didnt strain myself. I weighed in at all of 150lbs


  1. "Does this look like a colonel to you?"

    NO. BUT she IS A Semitic- Mongoloid Mongrel.




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