22 August 2016


by Andy Weddington
Monday, 22 August 2016

Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. Vince Lombardi

Saturday morning on Fox News was a segment about Marine Corps recruiting. 

Brigadier General Austin Renforth, USMC - Commanding General of Recruit Depot, Parris Island and the Eastern Recruiting Region - was a guest; clad in dress blues.

Along with the general was a female lieutenant and a handful of Marines, mostly female, demonstrating exercises - the recruiting pitch was for more women. A text bullet at the bottom of the screen read 10% female recruits by 2019. 

General Renforth spoke briefly in reply to a query from the anchors about recruiting more women for combat. He said, "Not necessarily in combat but in the operational forces as combat arms." And he said the standards for men and women to serve in the combat arms are exactly the same. (The segment was less than 5 minutes and did not include specifics about standards - the hub of ongoing debate and angst.)

With that I finished coffee and went about the day while that segment percolated. 

That evening I published commentary - Genderly, A Mess - All Mixed Up And Worsening: http://acoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2016/08/genderly-mess-all-mixed-up-and-worsening.html

More still was nagging.

Yesterday, I again watched Olympics and did a little research of competition results.  

As follows...

Relay (4 x 100): Men - 37.27 seconds / Women - 41.01 seconds.

Discus: Men - 68.37 meters / Women - 69.21 meters (Note: Men's discus weighs 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs) and is 22 centimeters (18.7 in.) in diameter. Women's discus weighs 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) and is 18 centimeters (17.1 in.) in diameter.)

Shot put: Men - 22.52 meters / Women - 20.63 meters (Note: Men's shot put weighs 7.26 kilograms (16.01 lbs) and women's shot put weighs 4.0 kilograms (8.8 lbs).) 

Marathon: Men - 2:08:44 / Women - 2:24:04 (Note: last finishers - male 2:46:18 / women 3:20:20 and 89 men finished beating the female winning time.) 

Speed. Strength. Endurance.

Those facts of Nature matter. 

During interviews, of winners and runners up, nary a women said she wanted to compete in the men's events. Nor did any man express interest competing against women. 

I reflected back a couple years thinking about something an admiral said to an audience I happened to be amongst. The admiral remarked the Navy's goal was 25% women (that statement echoing something Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said). Asking admirals seated around me if they knew the science and combat readiness justification behind that objective none did. 

These sundry variables have been gurgling for a while. 

They nag in context to what is happening, and it's not good, to our armed forces. Because our armed forces exist for one purpose - national security. To carry out that mission they must be combat ready and combat effective. They must be the best. They must be undefeatable. 

The basis for that nagging is founded in some remarks by an old warrior...

"Exposure to danger is not combat, ... Combat - it's uncivilized, ... If you want to make a combat unit ineffective, assign some women to it, ... There are requirements for speed and strength and endurance and women can't do it, ... I reflected last night at some length, things I've done, places I've been in three wars, ... And I found no where in my mental exploration any place for women to be down in the ground combat element, ... Suppose we had 15% women, 20% women?, ... My supposing led me to believe I wouldn't be here, ..."

Those the thoughts of a Marine, a four-star general, an infantryman who fought in three wars. His sworn testimony was 25 years ago and came 8 years after he had retired - years that gave him more time still to reflect and make sense of his service.

Compare to the recent words of a one-star general, an infantryman, too, who has been in battle but not to the extent of the four-star.

What's the difference? 

A retired four-star is not restrained. 

An active duty one-star is not only restrained but wants to be a two-star. 

Whom has more credibility and the more powerful message? 

Ergo, the objective question: Has ground combat, and the requirements for speed, strength, and stamina (endurance) changed in a mere 25 years?

Recent years of combat and (lab) testing women to so perform the demanding duties indicates clearly not.  

In Olympics context, has 25 years eliminated the physical delta between men and women as to speed, strength, and stamina?


The Games continue - Tokyo in 2020. To date, the International Olympic Committee has not announced plans to eliminate gender-specific events (to include any gender-norming of equipment and apparatus to make things "fair") for one competition to find the best athletes. 

The "games" continue. To date, the Department of Defense has announced nutty policy change after nutty policy change to "strengthen" our fighting forces. 

Funny is it not how winning is everything in sports but not national security and combat. 

Are you entertained? Amused? 

How about we get a Vince Lombardi type - in The White House; as Secretary of Defense; as Secretary of the Navy; as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; and as Commandant of the Marine Corps; for starters. 

And some in Congress, too, where law provides order. 

Until then, pass the bug juice (Kool-Aid in Marine speak). 

Post Script

General Robert H. Barrow, USMC, 27th Commandant

I've met Brigadier General Renforth. A couple of times when a colonel and he commanded 7th Marines - at socials, we spoke but briefly. Most recently, in July at Parris Island. He is an impressive Marine. 

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