Three pullups too many for female Marines

The news media today were abuzz with a report that 55 percent of female Marines in boot camp can’t do three pullups. As a result, the Marines are postponing implementation of the requirement that was supposed to take effect January 1. The delay interferes with plans to equalize physical standards and integrate women into combat roles.

My position on this is quite simple. If women want to get into combat roles, they should meet the same physical requirements as the men in those roles. Period. Changing or lowering the standards to accommodate women — even temporarily — means quite literally weakening the military. That’s nonsense. Besides, 45 percent of women did the three pullups. If they can do it, so can the others. Or they can drop out, just like any man who fails.

The problem here is that the military wants to get those women into the service because it’s the politically correct thing to do. Again, nonsense. When it comes to the military and war, you want to field the strongest possible force. Period. Because you can bet the enemy won’t be worrying about political correctness.

15 thoughts on “Three pullups too many for female Marines

  1. Just like fire fighter jobs. Be able or go home.
    3 pull ups? Seriously schools used to require more than that to pass PE…oh, wait, PE is no longer required – not on state exams…and it take up valuable time in schools K-12.
    Great post. Sick of all the stupid (and it is) nonsense taking place of common sense

    1. Yep, seems pretty simple to me. This job requires X, Y, and Z. If you don’t have X, Y, and Z, you’re out. Gender irrelevant. It’s not that women can’t do pullups. It’s that most women haven’t trained to do them.

      1. Everyone wants everyone to have the same chance, right? How hard is it? If you want any job, you find out the requirements and work to meet them.
        (which reminds me, we’ve a couple of very obese police officers here – they should get in shape so they can run, jump, climb and do the job or be put on unpaid leave until they can..that’s realistic, not mean. They weren’t that fat when they started…)

  2. I wonder if the women who could do them were small. I once knew a female Marine, about 5’3″, 110 lbs soaking wet, and she could do a bunch of them. She could also just hang there, pulled up, for several minutes, and then lift her legs so the were parallel with the ground. The guys used to ask her how she did it, and she would say “it’s all in the mind,” but as I understand it, the smaller and lighter you are, the easier it is. Probably helps to have killer abs, too. BTW, my arms are not quite like those of the woman in your picture, but they’re getting there. The waist, however, is a lost cause. 🙁

    1. My daughter-in-law does CrossFit. Not sure how she rates on pullups, but I know that’s a part of the training. Certainly it seems to me that having less body mass to lift would make things a lot easier, but with proper training I don’t see why any woman couldn’t do it eventually.

  3. Three pull-ups is nothing. In fact, I would think the bar should be set at 10 pull-ups. That’s reasonable.

    I agree with you here: “If women want to get into combat roles, they should meet the same physical requirements as the men in those roles.”
    While I don’t think women should have to lift the same amount of weight, they should be “equally capable.” A lot of machinery no longer requires brute strength but rather knowing how to use the muscles and weight you have.

    1. I don’t think they should be excused from carrying the same weight. If a basic field pack weighs, say, 60 lbs, then you should be able to carry it. That’s your gear. Who’s going to carry it if you don’t? In other situations where that much weight isn’t required, then it isn’t required for anyone and the issue is moot.

  4. Tardy on this one, sorry. I had saved it and then forgot.

    I have a different take on this report that most female Marines can’t do three pullups. I am not surprised. Women are different from men, their anatomy is different. Fat is distributed differently, but more importantly, their pelvises are larger and their shoulders are smaller. Also, their muscles are more limited in size because of the hormone differences.

    As for the physical criteria, one could easily challenge the idea that every Marine ought to be able to carry the same weight backpack. A smaller person needs less food and water and their clothing is smaller and somewhat lighter, and those are components of a backpack’s contents. Also, modern combat forces have better equipment now and rely less on muscle power than they did of yore. Rifles are lighter, for example, much lighter. I submit that one-size-fits all criteria are unrealistic. Such criteria were set not as absolutes but simply to optimize what was possible.

    A more important argument than this one ought to prevail here, and that is combining the sexes in combat units at all. It is a terrible idea and the explosion of sexual misconduct cases throughout the armed forces is symptomatic. Place young, healthy, adventuresome men and women together in stressful combat environments far from home and this is what you get. This is just plain nuts. However, I realize the reality of the politics here: women are determined to pursue the same jobs as men. However crazy it might sound, the only solution I can see is to create all-woman units, give them appropriately-sized backpacks and other equipment, set physical standards appropriate to their anatomy, and let them compete that way. Who knows, they might even out-compete the men.

    1. Granted women’s physiques are inherently different. But with focused training they can and do build their upper body strength (ever watch a CrossFit competition?). Those who can’t … can’t, just like men who can’t.

      I see your point about different pack weights for smaller individuals. I’m not sure that the difference would be significant, but in any case, everyone should be able to carry their own gear. But beyond that, there still should be uniform standards. If a man can carry a wounded male buddy to safety, shouldn’t a female soldier be able to do the same thing, for the sake of all concerned?

      We agree, though (as we have in the past), that women don’t belong in combat units with men, for all the reasons you’ve listed. The idea is ludicrous on its face. I’ve a hunch, though, that many of those women who are so determined to be treated as equals and serve alongside men would not consider all-female units as equal. “Separate but equal” has been discredited where race is concerned; gender separation will probably follow suit (hope I’m not around to deal with it, however).

      What puzzles me is the military actually wanting to integrate women (according to the reports). It may be politically correct but in practice I think it’s unrealistic and detrimental.

      1. What puzzles me is the military actually wanting to integrate women (according to the reports). It may be politically correct but in practice I think it’s unrealistic and detrimental.

        I’m glad we mostly agree on this subject, PT, but with one exception. I am confident that the top flag officers of all the services do not want to integrate women. It is an enormous distraction and administrative onus that is entirely driven by politics. Entirely.

          1. Yes, forced by the administration but let’s be realistic about the real source. It is American culture having its way through the medium of politics. If this were the man’s world of the nineteenth century, even the Democrats would disdain this mixing.

  5. Better late than never, 😀

    I’ve recently been watching the training for recruits to the Royal Navy in England,at HMS Cornwell

    ( named for Boy Seaman Jack Cornwell aged 16years who stayed at his post, though mortally wounded with dead all around him during the Battle of Jutland WWI 1915)

    and the females do exactly the same as the males no ifs no buts, do it or out. And don’t try to pull “it’s that time of the month stunt”

    The female Petty Officers instructors, are a damned sight harder than the male PO’s, seems that they have the mindset, that they have to be better/tougher than the men.

    I wouldn’t want to run unto one on a dark and stormy night that’s for sure.

... and that's my two cents