Skip to comments.Marine colonel speaks about women in combat
Posted on 03/28/2013 7:19:51 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Even before the secretary of defense announced that the military would rescind the ban on women in combat roles, the Marine Corps was already devising a set of standards to determine who is capable of doing those jobs.
This summer, the Corps will begin testing male and female Marines and correlating the results to determine the best measure of who is physically eligible to serve in combat units.
The Pentagon's decision in January was hailed by many who believe that women who can meet military standards for combat jobs should be allowed to serve.
Marine Corps Col. Susan Seaman offered another view Thursday in a speech to women involved in the defense industry.
Inside the Corps, Seaman said, Marines of all ranks are voicing concerns about whether integrating women into infantry, tank, amphibious assault and other units could end up compromising combat effectiveness.
Seaman leads the headquarters and service battalion at Marine Corps Forces Command in Norfolk. She spoke Thursday to about 50 members of Women in Defense Greater Hampton Roads.
Marines' abiding concern is "ensuring we don't lower our standards thereby lowering our combat effectiveness," said Seaman, who described herself as one of just 16 women colonels in the Corps. "How are we going to balance that? How are we going to balance this need to fully integrate women while maintaining our standards?"
Seaman, who served three combat deployments to Iraq and Kuwait in the first and second Gulf wars, said there are enormous physical demands on combat troops.
A soldier or Marine in a combat zone will carry about 85 pounds of gear even to stand guard, she said. He is loaded down with body armor and a helmet, with battlefield items hooked onto his uniform, in addition to his rifle.
On patrol, a soldier will also carry a rucksack with food, water and job-related equipment.
He needs to move fast despite that weight and might need to put a fallen comrade on his back to haul out of harm's way.
"I've been there and was often unable to move with speed and agility," Seaman said.
So, she asked, what formalized physical standards should a Marine meet to qualify for the infantry?
"For example, does an infantry Marine need to pick up a 120-pound man and go 50 yards with him on his back with all his gear on, or is it a 160-pound man or a 200-pound man?" Seaman said.
Even if women do pass the qualifying tests, they aren't likely to exceed the standard under such tough physical conditions,and might have trouble earning the trust of their peers and subordinates.
"Women in the Marine Corps recognize their physical differences from men, especially after a decade of war and seeing what's expected from the infantry on the battlefield," she said. "And we have real concerns about what women and how many women would really be able to shoulder that load - and I mean, literally, shoulder the load."
Seaman also noted concerns about sexual dynamics in units traditionally manned by men 21 and younger - and how these dynamics could affect morale and unit cohesion.
The Marine Corps is already putting women into some combat positions in small numbers to "test the water and see what comes up," she said. The integration should be implemented by 2016.
"My hope is that emotion and good intentions do not affect our ability to prevail in the face of our future enemies," she said.
"My hope is that emotion and good intentions do not affect our ability to prevail in the face of our future enemies," she said.
Hope is a poor way to plan to win a war...
That’s what she’s saying.
Do we really want to see our daughters, wives, mothers in full blown frontline combat. Can you imagine if they were on the frontline at Normandy or Iwo Jima. The very idea of it demonstrates the utter stupidity of ANYONE even contemplating that.
“How are we going to balance that? How are we going to balance this NEED to fully integrate women while maintaining our standards?”
A more false premise has NEVER been spoken. Makes me marvel as to how the USMC ever managed that 80 mile withdrawal from Hagaru-Ri at the Chosin Resovoir to the port of Hnngnam without women infantry.
NONE OF THIS is necessary and NONE OF IT will enhance the ability of the armed forces to fight. This issue is being impelled by radical feminist activist politics and cultural marxism. Now we are being told that women are MORE suitable for recruitment for the armed forces than men. This ids the sort of propoganda that those in the cultural marxist homosexual activist movement employ when they imply that homosexual couples are more suitable to raise children than heterosexuals. Anything to achieve their objective of fundamentally changing important societal institutions.
This notion of placing women into combat roles is just so easy to refute. Many of you may have heard of a little dustup called World War II. At the peak of United States involvement in that war there were 12 ½ million personnel in uniform, many of them women. Over 400,000 personnel were killed in the line of duty, against the toughest battlefield enemies this country has ever had to face, ones that were capable of and often did inflict shattering BATTLEFIELD defeats upon our sea, land and air forces. Despite this no one saw any need to place women into combat roles that had the responsibility to directly close with, engage, and destroy the enemy..
Today with a much smaller and almost hand picked elite Armed Forces, and a population base that is more than twice as large as that during World War II, there is even less need for it now than then.
This entire idiocy is being propelled by the demand for selfish feminists to qualify for chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, nothing more and nothing less than that.
This lunacy WILL weaken the ability of the Armed Forces to fight, just consider the logistical strain that it will place on the Armed Forces for separate housing and the like. The evidence of the disparity in physical suitabilities for combat MOSs as reinforced by study after study is simply overwhelming. The effort that will be necessary to obtain a relative few qualified women will not result in anything remotely resembling any accepted model of effeciency, but since that is NOT the object any way, why worry about that? This is merely another sop to the perverted Cultural Marxist notion of fairness and equality and another step on the road of fundamental transformation of the vital institutions of this nation.
“......and see what comes up....”
The same ‘thing’ that always comes up... and it WILL be a problem.
The left continually attempts to legislate to overcome physics and biology.
Doing so erodes freedom and increases their power and control.
I can’t begin to count the number of recruits with me in basic that were picked up by the cattle cars because they couldn’t force march 15 miles with full load. Of course that was almost 40 years ago. Maybe things have changed.
Thanks for your service, DMZFrank.
I was following a story around 1990 as the St. Paul fire dept was desperately trying to get their first female through the standards.
The female was exceptional, was at her peak in fitness and health, youth and motivation, and she had at least two trainers, was on a special diet, and had all the leadership, management and media pushing her and supporting her.
All of this was in the hopes that on her best day, at her peak, at that snapshot moment of the first day of her hoped for 40 year career, that she would pass the low standard of a mediocre male applicant.
I couldn’t help but wonder what that meant in regards to her having reserves, of her being able to draw on extra when a life and death situation presented itself, what would she be like only 10 years later after aging and chili dogs and beer, family life and children, and all the other things that accumulate and take their toll after her best day, when she barely squeaked through the test.
Look at those guys fighting in Vietnam, look at how skinny they were and know that being men they could still do the job, but could a women, after living on cigarettes and canned peaches and water, for 6 months, dealing with dysentery and jungle heat, and no gymnasium?
I call them cultural barbarians, because that is exactly what they are. They don’t care what they have to destroy in order to create their brave new world. Centuries of history, even reality itself, must be ignored in their quest for what? A fantasy!
Israelis have already tried this and it doesn’t work.
Its ok with me if they can run 3 miles in 21 minutes, do 12 pullups and 60 situps in one minute. Fine. Sometimes you need a short skinny Marine to do something a big assed huge Devil Dog just is to big for. Sometimes a woman can go where men can’t. But they have got to meet the requirements.
They say we are to celebrate diversity, but it’s they themselves who ignore the wonderful differences between men and women. They believe in equal outcome, not opportunity, and they will stop at nothing in their quest for fairness, to include ignoring the natural world and order.
They can’t meet the standards so the standards will be changed. But that’s only part of the problem. There are the sexual problems, the rivalries, the jealousies, etc. If your husband were in combat would you want him serving with women? It’s just insane. Of course it’s being promoted not for any military reason, but in the name of radical egalitarianism.
What you said.. +1
Tell me, where is that?
Wow. She just blew a huge whole in her career....good for her. Honest, straight forward, and clear eyed. She presents the case concisely and cogently and I say a big WHOA!!!! Too bad the dolts in the WH and the hack politico generals aren’t willing to listen to such sanity
This Marine makes me proud. Politically correct she ain’t.
I hope the scumbag African communist CiC doesn’t get wind of this speech.
I didn’t know very many 120 pound guys in that 18-21 year old range.
I think if you did a distribution curve, a physically fit 120 pound guy would be at the left tail of that bell shaped curve, with probably 150-160 lbs near the center.
I hear what you are saying about sometimes needing small size for certain things, but a 120 lb male and a 120 lb female are two different things. The disadvantage with women physically (comparatively speaking) is two-fold: muscle mass, and bone structure. Testosterone and genetics does make a big difference.
I take my hat off to this Colonel. She sounds like a real no-nonsense Marine.
Very well said, DMZFrank.
I have worked for and with smart, talented, hardworking and dedicated women. Women who could think on their feet, make decisions and would inspire me to work my tail off for them. This Colonel sounds like one of them.
But this has nothing at all to do with that. There are people, male and female, who insist that 18 year old men and women can work together as if there is no such thing as sexual interaction, that sex can be regulated away.
Secondly, men and women simply are not the same physically. They aren’t. Women, on average, cannot achieve the same level of physical output for the same duration that men can.
There is a reason that there is a separate category in marathons for men and women. Women cannot compete at the same level as men. In the Boston Marathon, the first woman finished nearly twenty minutes after the first man, and would have come in 28th place overall.
I find it interesting that they do not list the results for men and women together at the official site, and as far as I can tell, there is no option to do so, but I could simply be missing it. But year after year, you hear female athletes analyzing the results and saying that “...with more women running marathons, eventually women will compete at the same level as men...”
Really? They are living in a fantasy world, and they put things like this in newspapers. A lot of people fall for it hook, line and sinker. I am no marathoner, but I will say that when seconds, or fractions of seconds separate first and second place, twenty minutes is insurmountable, no matter how many women run in marathons or how the numbers increase each year. If they take steroids, they might close it up a bit.
And marathons are simply one example. In the military, look at the SEALS, Delta, and the Rangers. It is no coincidence there are no women, or at least women who could get there on the same path the men do. Those units are the top of a pyramid, and in the former selection process, only the top physical and mental performers could clear the bar. If true that the Rangers have begun accepting female candidates, they are finished as an elite unit in the niche they currently occupy. They may be better than a standard infantry unit, but they won’t be the same as the Rangers we have seen, and they certainly won’t have the same mission capability.
They will likely all get to wear nice Ranger berets, though, and wear the snappy Ranger tabs and badges that will label them as elite troops.
Lastly, logistical issues ranging from pregnancy to habitation may not seem like much to some people, but that is only going to be true if they DO treat men and women exactly the same in the field with respect to equipment and habitation. Apart from if that is a good idea or not, does anyone think that is going to happen?
Raise your hands if you think it will.
It WON’T happen, that is guaranteed. But you know what? Nobody will notice. In 5 years after women join the Rangers/SEALS/Delta, you will hear talking heads in and out of the military who will say things like:
NEWS ANCHOR/POLITICIAN/MILITARY COMMANDER: “When we integrated women and homosexuals into these units, people were saying it was going to be a disaster, that it would hurt mission capability, morale and such. We are more capable now than we have ever been, and have the moral buttress of diversity and equality. Remember how they said the same thing about the military when blacks were going to be integrated back in 1946? Same result here...the world didn’t end, and it won’t. It was the right thing to do, and we can all be proud of the diversity we now see.”
And you know what? There will be no dissenting opinion.
The next time this comes up is when we go head to head with an opponent who is going to make our elite units use every single ounce of capability to complete a mission, and it isn’t going to happen. We may find ourselves in a situation where we don’t control the air or the sea. Our avenues of supply have been cut off, and our units have to do with their brains and brawn and endurance to win. And we are going to lose, and lose badly.
We will lose badly, because our opponents won’t be stupid enough to do what we have done to our military.
For an analogy, think of what might have happened on Edson’s Ridge on Guadalcanal in 1942 against the Japanese (or as you pointed out, Chosin Reservoir in Korea) if we had women integrated into those Marine units. That is your answer.
But hey. Nobody is going to read this thread or do anything about it. I am a dinosaur and don’t know any better, can’t change with the times...it is embarrassing for some to even read a post like this one. And if anyone even gave a rat’s patootie anymore, they might get angry and attack me personally.
But they won’t. This fight is over.
Put all the women in female only battalions. Ditto for the gays. Put the “straights” in battalion reserve. Send the women and gays into combat first because they’re the ones wanting “equality”. They’re the ones wanting to prove what they can do. Fine with me. Send ‘em in.
In combat “equality” is all about who dies and who doesn’t. Death takes the lowest private as well as lofty generals; there IS equality in combat, boys and girls.
Many years ago I saw the same thing happen at Fort Jackson, South Carolina during a typical blazing hot July day. It was hard but I did the march; I felt it below my dignity to give in.
Into the confidence of other women....intell.
A tight tunnel. An attic.
Even into the confidence of a man.
There won’t be many who can meet the physical requirements but there are plenty from what I have seen at Marathons, and triathalons first hand.
Sure buddy, sure...
LOL.....no pun intended.
I know nothing about her politics, but someone willing to be politically incorrect while wearing the uniform may end up being more interesting after her military career is over.
Interestingly, her husband is Col. Henri Boré, a retired member of the French Marine Corps. I know a few dual-career US Army officers married to South Korean female officers, but this is the first American female colonel outside the nursing field who I've heard married an upper-level officer from a foreign country.
Marine Col. Susan B. Seaman assumes duties as commanding officer
Camp Allen commander reflects on career, perception of women
Seaman, one of 22 active-duty female colonels in the Marines, took command in Norfolk on Aug. 29
October 02, 2011
By Lauren Rosenberg, Tribune newspapers
It took Susan Seaman only two weeks at the U.S. Naval Academy to realize she wanted to be in the Marine Corps despite not knowing exactly what the Marines did. Seaman's 1989 commission has led her up a leadership ladder that few women have climbed. She is one of only 22 active-duty female colonels in the Marine Corps. And on Aug. 29, she assumed duties as commanding officer for the Marine Corps Forces Command Headquarters and Service Battalion at Camp Allen in Norfolk.
Taking the Reins: Marine Corps Forces Commands Headquarters & Service Battalion welcomes new commanding officer
Story by Gunnery Sgt. Alexis Mulero
Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group
Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/75997/taking-reins-marine-corps-forces-commands-headquarters-service-battalion-welcomes-new-commanding-officer#.UVlQY6KTi8A#ixzz2PCadaSjq
Colonel Susan B. Seaman is a native of Columbia, Maryland. She graduated from the United States Naval Academy and received her commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in May 1989.
Colonel Seaman's military schools and military training include the Basic School (1990), Adjutant's Course (1990), Amphibious Warfare School (1995) and the College of Naval Command and Staff, U.S. Naval War College (2003). Colonel Seaman's assignments include Adjutant, 11th Marine Regiment (1990-1993); Director, Family Service Center and Child Development Services, Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni (1993-1994); Platoon Commander, Company B, Officer Candidates School (1995); Adjutant and Deputy G-1, 1st Force Service Support Group (1995-1997); Adjutant, Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Atlantic (1997-1999); Junior Aide to the Commandant of the Marine Corps (1999-2001); Legislative Fellow in the Office of Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland (2001-2002); Deputy G-1 and Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, 1st Marine Division (2003-2006); and Section Head, Program Coordination, Programs and Resources Department, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (2006-2009). From 2009 to 2011 she commanded Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune.
Her combat deployments include Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
Colonel Seaman's personal decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (Gold Star in lieu of fourth award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (Gold Star in lieu of third award) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (Gold Star in lieu of second award).
Here’s an interesting article by Col. Seaman’s husband, the French Marine colonel, on African military operations by French troops, and how they spent lots of time learning about the culture of the people with whom they were operating.
It’s interesting reading.
My very tentative impression is that Col. Seaman has decided to take a stand on women in combat roles because she knows what she’s talking about and has the credibility to say something that lots of men can’t say.
My guess is she’s not going to back down and will keep saying unpopular things.
Thanks for pinging me to those interesting posts. That’s some good info.
Take a look at the retired French colonel’s historical expertise in places like Mali and Chad. If what I think is the case actually is the case, we may have someone with real knowledge advising the US military on the capabilities of the French in dealing with the current issues in former French colonial Africa.
That would be an extremely good thing.
I hope you are correct. She may well ‘get away’ with it because the political brass don’t have balls enough to either endorse or correct her.
Popcorn time for sure
Popcorn time is a great comment on this!
I admire strong women willing to speak up and fight. This colonel didn't get where she is in the Marine Corps by being a shrinking violet. Therefore, this could get interesting — and my guess is there are a lot of men who “have her back” since they know she can say things with credibility that a man doesn't have.
>> “How are we going to balance that? How are we going to balance this need to fully integrate women while maintaining our standards?”
you got it exactly right
... you've got it right.
It's a disaster in the making and only a disaster will turn it around - and we will be extremely lucky if when that happens it isn't already too late.
The enemy is not going to be as forgiving as our craven civilian and military politicians and their sychophantic cheerleaders and fans. No doubt we already have enemies around the globe licking their chops at our headlong self destruction.
I would have to imagine warfare is very leveling, if you are in it.
The only thing that will matter is the cold, hard, truth of capability and whether luck is on your side.
Political correctness won’t matter. Good intentions won’t matter. Women’s rights won’t matter. Homosexuality won’t matter.
The only thing that will matter is how capable you and the rest of your team are, and if luck is on your side.
Any force that has to spend any time at all dealing with issues of a sexual nature of any kind within their ranks is going to be less capable than one that doesn’t. It is that simple.