09 May 2018


By Andy Weddington
Wednesday, 09 May 2018

Deterrence is the art of producing, in the mind of the enemy, the fear to attack. Sterling Hayden

A few days ago a Marine sent along an article titled 'Why co-ed bootcamps will curb sexism in the Marines' that appeared in the New York Post on the 28th of April 2018.

The piece co-authored by Kate Germano and Kelly Kennedy. 

Germano is a Marine (lieutenant colonel). Retired. She hit the public eye after being relieved of battalion command (female recruit training) at Parris Island, SC. Kennedy is unfamiliar (to me). Too, the two wrote a book - 'Fight Like A Girl' (which I have not read).

Three words in their article describing the Marine Corps caught my attention: hyper-masculine culture

Imagine, a predominately male outfit with one purpose for existence - national defense - being hyper-masculine.

Recently, I reread, again, E. B. Sledge's non-fiction classic 'With The Old Breed' - a personal account of his combat experience during World War II in the South Pacific. 

For its gruesome description of ground combat, I had to occasionally pause and find something else to do. 

Just last week, I read, for the first time, James D. Hornfischer's non-fiction sure to become a classic 'The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors' - ship against ship combat during World War II in the South Pacific. 

For it's gruesome description of combat, I had to occasionally pause and find something else to do. 

After reading the Germano and Kennedy article I wondered if they have read either book.

Hyper-masculine culture? 


A behavior of Nature. 

A survival behavior.

Why disrupt?

Is integrating bootcamp with the theory it will end sexism in the Marines even relevant?

Two evenings ago I sat at a dinner table, one of a dozen or so seating eight each, on the 16th floor of a professional building overlooking a heartland big city - a spectacular view. 

The audience a mix of senior military officers (all branches) and prominent citizens. 

One of America's combatant commanders spoke. 

He mentioned deterrence during remarks. 

As I looked at the faces of the civilians seated across and to port at our table, and those about the room, a couple of thoughts hit. 

In their minds, what is (military) deterrence? And how is deterrence realized to them, felt by them? 

The four-star general assured the crowd they and their families could rest easy - they were safe. 

At once to my questions came the answer - the well-known George Orwell thought: "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

Looking out over the darkening sky and glowing city, I wondered the extent of peaceful sleep? And how many at the dinner would do likewise reassured by the general? 

During the drive home, and since, much time invested mulling over the Germano/Kennedy article, the World War II books, and the general's remarks (the last necessary variable of the "problem").

Yesterday afternoon I watched President Trump address 'we the people' about his decision to withdraw from the (nuclear) agreement with Iran.

And that clarified all for me.

There is no such thing as "hyper-masculine." It is a clever term concocted to attack (an enemy).

Truth ...

Men are men.

Women are women.

Human tinkering to make men women or women men - as to appearance, thinking, behavior, and physical performance - is inane. That is, in fact, destructive to Nature. 

So rather than destroying Nature, correcting Her "mistakes," we must celebrate and exploit - male-bonding as we do "the sisterhood," "girl power," and yes, "fight like a girl." 

Granted, it is impossible to reflect on history, while applying current events, and rethink outcomes. 

But the laws of Nature endure and the common sense to appreciate those said laws says had South Pacific Marine ground combat units and Navy ship crews during World War II been 25% women (a Navy target) there would not be the history we read, and can learn from, today. 

For three years I served in a male recruit training battalion at Parris Island - commanding series and a company. Not a single male-bonding nor warfighting reason for integrated Marine Corps recruit training comes to mind. 

Too, I am an infantryman. And reflecting on my days as a lieutenant leading platoons of "hyper-masculine" men not a single male-bonding nor warfighting advantage for the presence of a woman comes to mind. 

Writing in reply to the Vietnam veteran Marine who sent the article, " ... The price paid will be heavy. And shocking. A new word will have to be invented - for slaughter and massacre will not suffice. But we are, after all, clever inventing necessary words."


A Colonel of Truth said...

Posted, with permission, from a retired Marine colonel (artilleryman) ...

Andy, you’ve succinctly described the misplaced movement (perhaps innocently presented by the naive) to “dumb down” the realities of the intense physicality associated with Marine Corps ground combat units.

It’s stunning (even if presented by some, or many, or a majority, as a well-intentioned social tonic) to believe (“make-believe”) males and females acquire similar physical strength attributes ... equating to maintaining, or improving, the effectiveness of OUR combat training ... and ground combat.

I acknowledge some (very few) outlier females would likely “deliver” physically in such circumstances ... but to open the gates to gender opportunity/equality as justification of a social experiment for (equaling or improving) OUR national defense ... is stupid.

The female body (hormones, size, burst dynamic strength, sustaining repeated stamina exertions) clearly isn’t “typically designed” for repeated explosive efforts developed through training ... and amplified by male adrenaline. The number of females in soccer, football, baseball, basketball, hockey and wrestling with males at the collegiate and professional male level is ZERO. Not because they are prohibited... but because they simply aren’t strong enough. (Okay, there might be a several, but I don’t know of any, you get my point)

I’m not further addressing the obvious sexual realities associated with gender integration for OUR ground combat units. It’s simply, intuitively and potentially ... a disaster scenario.

Those men who have served “in the arena” of ground combat must continue to fight the insane concept of gender neutrality (in this matter) as a ridiculous, irresponsible endeavor. It’s not that we hate women or want to oppress, we love them. We respect their contributions, we understand, we acknowledge common sense.

Sleep well, America.

Unknown said...

I believe all the rationale and all the sensible understanding about warfare and the brutality of combat, is not going to sway people who want "equality" and ending the "hyper-masculine" culture. As you know, not every male that passes the tests in training responds under hostile fire the same. But to change minds, I would offer the lessons from Vietnam - live coverage under fire had enough to turn opinion. Being reduced to bloody fragments, tortured prisoners of war, or PTSD-afflicted and damaged beings might change the push to these political experiments. But then only if the politicians lead the charge into battle. Perhaps this is the only way.