Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 8, 2012

It’s Physics: Why Women Shouldn’t be Allowed to Fight with the Marine Corps Infantry

Filed under: Homeland Defense — by Dan OConnor on May 8, 2012

This summer, for the first time in the Marine Corps’ 237-year history, women will be enrolled in the Officer Infantry Course, one of the most demanding training evolutions in the entire military. Women Marines now serve in a variety of combat support and combat service support roles splendidly, as they do in the Army, Navy and Air Force.

It should stay that way.

Not because men are superior to women, or because male Marines want to discriminate against female Marines. Marines are Marines. But men are different from women. And that difference, when exposed in combat will be deadly, not only for the fighting female Marine, but for her male and female counterparts.

The Infantry Officer Course (IOC) teaches Marine Officers to be better leaders and killers than their enemies. It’s where we build Marine Infantry skills to win our wars and lead our Marines. War is killing. Let that sink in. It is legal murder, encouraged, ordered and demanded. In order to be effective at it, proficiency must not only be gained, but practiced and perfected.

The Basic School is where all Marine Second Lieutenants go to become basically trained officers prior to their military occupational assignment. During one of their training exercises years ago, the evaluators “killed” a 6’1”, 195 lb. male Marine Officer. He was within prescribed height and weight standards, and in an excellent state of fitness. He was also 30 years old. The evaluator then assigned the only available Marine, a female officer to carry the “dead” officer from the training battle field. The female officer was within the “normal” or “average” range for size; she was 5’4” and 125-130 lb. She was in superior physical condition, was 23 years old, and had a perfect physical fitness score on her most recent test. Both were wearing typical combat loads of 65-80 lb. of gear.

What happened? The female could not lift the male Marine. She could barely move him. She removed her gear to improve her strength-to- weight ratio. She still was unable to manage the weight.

Then what happened?

In order to move the problem along, the evaluator “unkilled” the male and “killed” the female and reversed their roles. The male put back on all his combat gear. So did the female officer, both adding the additional weight. Even though the male was not in the same physical condition as his female peer, he bent over and scooped her up, gear and all, and carried her several hundred yards.

Years before the phrase entered the language, the evaluator engaged in what today is called “gender norming.”

Military gender norming is the practice of judging female military service members, applicants or recruits by less stringent standards than their male counterparts. Physical standards are lowered, modified, or just plain overlooked. Norming is all about fairness and equity. Norming metrics allow for “equal competition”.

But there’s nothing equal, normal or fair about war. Anyone who’s ever fought in one can tell you that.

Women Marines have every bit of integrity and are every bit as good and possibly better than their male counterparts in marksmanship, intellect, problem solving, managing stress, and leadership. But it’s for the same reason women don’t play in the NFL, NBA, NHL, or run marathons as fast as men, or bench-press 1,000+ pounds, nor will they ever be truly equal in combat.

The march of women’s rights simply cannot overpower the Laws of Physics. The average man is 5” taller and 50 lb. heavier than the average woman. Men have a lower body fat percentage than women, more lean body mass, and are anatomically different in terms of physical make up, angles of leverage, and skeletally. The physics favor the male species, not the female. Men create more force.

This is Newton’s second law of motion. Force is equal to mass times acceleration. Bigger things that go faster create more force. They always have and always will. There is no engineering feat or physics norming phenomena that can mitigate the capability of a male to lift more, jump higher, run faster, hit harder, and execute violence better than a woman. There is no formula to replicate the combination of force and aggression.

Combat is the most physically demanding, most mentally fatiguing, and most forceful violent interaction humans can perpetuate against one another. It is highly kinetic in nature; blunt force trauma if you will. And it’s final.

It follows, then, as sure as the laws of physics, that if women are introduced to Marine Combat Infantry Units the readiness and capability of those units will be denigrated. If women are not successful in completing the training, the uproar against the “sexist men’s club” and purposeful exclusion will rain down from the sky. In either case trust will be compromised, and trust is a vital element in successful combat.

Those who advocate that women and men are the same and can perpetuate physical brutality equally are far more abusive and anti-women than any group who advocates against putting females into this “opportunity”. There is nothing “Pro Woman” about making women second-class killers.

From a national security perspective, this latest experiment by the Marine Corps, conducted largely because of politics, will only damage and weaken our nation and our ‘Corps.

We have met the enemy, and it is us.

Dan O’Connor is a retired Marine officer with 22 years service.  These are his opinions.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn


Comment by Martin

May 8, 2012 @ 1:00 am

Except that the conclusion of your argument should be to norm women by the same standards as men. You should not say “no” to the best women because the “average” woman is less capable in the combat role than the “average” man. If the best women are good enough when using the same standards as for men, they are good enough, and thus should be allowed to serve.

Comment by Gomi

May 8, 2012 @ 7:37 am

I agree with Martin. Get rid of all gender restrictions, but hold strictly to physical requirements. Most women won’t meet the requirements, and some men won’t either. But those few women who can qualify, will.

Then, it’s not about gender, women are considered equally to men, and it’s truly about individual merit and unit success.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 8, 2012 @ 7:58 am

Not sure why this post on this blog but because it is here must comment.
I once had an All-American BB player who worked for me that was 6’7″! That player did something no 6’7″ male BB player has ever done when she delivered her first and second baby.

When was the last time Marines crossed a defended beachhead?

And I agree there are still situations existing where topnotch seaborne infantry can make a difference and not just guard the officers quarters of the least democratic of the Armed Forces, specifically the NAVY.

And why are the Marines and Army somewhat democratic?

When you look over your should and see a platoon of armed personnel following you then you always hope the target is someone else!

Isn’t the real question not gender but how, when, where, and with what do the Armed Forces now fight.

With 125 pilots for each drone what is that physical requirement to serve? How about languages? How about IT skills?

What now is considered combat? Certainly those winning legitimately the CIB are a rare breed IMO. But as always having offended many I am sure by this comment could be wrong!

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 8, 2012 @ 7:59 am

Did I mention that long ago understood my own physical cowardness. But did win my last fight in 4th grade.

Comment by Chris

May 9, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

Martin, Gomi, & William-

I am quite surprised by your collective ignorance and naivete in regard to the National Security through a force in readiness. The real question here is not one of equality or progression for females, it is a matter of winning. And I’m not talking about a 4th grade scuffle on the playground. Winning in combat is final. The task of the infantry is to destroy the enemy. I don’t expect you to understand a culture of warriors that keeps the wolf at bay. But you know the type, the 1% of the pop oulation that raises their right hand a swears an Oath to the Constitution. Willing to fight and die for the rights and freedoms of the other 99%. We are called the “zero level” heros. We are the ones who train ruthlessly, leave our loved ones, pick up a rifle and do what our country asks of us—go to war.

So why do I feel Dan is right? It’s simple, we are winning. Male dominated combat arms military occupational specialties create conditions the enemy can not defeat. The characteristics of the offense are surprise, concentration, audacity and tempo. You must look at the difference between combat arms and those that support combat arms. The enablers that allow the infantry to focus on the eneny are critical to mission success. I know many women who serve in a variety of billets-they are smart, fit, and extremely capable yet they do not belong in combat arms.

So I know that the words of an Infantry Officer with 16 years experience in training and combat will not change your minds. That is not even my intent. I care more about this country and have sacrificed more than you can imagine. My intent is to hold you accountable for your comments. Know that before you kiss your loved ones goodnight and tuck yourself in, there are men in harm’s way ready to do what must be done on your behalf.

So, enjoy your freedoms, liberties and rights but don’t hamstring those that provide them.

Your welcome.

Comment by HGRATTAN

May 10, 2012 @ 4:43 am


Thank you.


Comment by Frank

May 12, 2012 @ 10:36 am

When I was at Quantico in 1977 the gender based PC brainwashing was in it’s infancy but you can see how we’ve now come. I was assigned to Charlie Co. 2nd platoon of the 106th OCC (Officer Candidates Class). 1st platoon of Charlie Co. was a smaller “all female” platoon of mostly previously enlisted woman Marines. When we went on our “little hikes” around the Chopawamsic Creek (err swamp) in the mud and snow and cold (Jan23 – April 1 – remember it like yesterday), invariably the ladies of Charlie 1 would begin to drop back into our platoon. We were immediately ordered to grab their packs from them and assist them. It was then that we learned that their “real” equipment, heavy stuff we were all required to carry in our packs during such hikes had been trucked in advance to the overnight bivouwac site and their packs for the hike were light as a feather. During our 11 weeks of Hell, a West German news crew followed the women through their training challenges emphasizing how they did everything the men did. We wanted to scream. They didn’t do all we did. It was my first real exposure to political correctness run amuck. Can’t tell you the anger I felt. ‘Never forgot it. 250 of us started. 100 graduated. Most of the women made it – it was obvious that some exceptions were made for Charlie 1. After The Basic School (our next assignment) most of the women got plum duty station assignments like Headquarters MC in DC, and great MOS’s like Signals Intelligence. Now we are at the point where Marines will likely die in combat for political correctness. ‘Still waiting for the PC crowd and their leftist allies to mandate there be a “GI Jane” type slot in the Army Rangers, Navy Seals, and Marine Force Recon. When does the insanity end?

Comment by Dan O'Connor

May 12, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

Martin and Gomi; so is the best woman better than the best man? I agree; let’s throw gender norming out and see what happens.

Bill; “This” is here because homeland security is more than FEMA and Homeland Security policy. We read about some variant of it every day or almost every day. Readiness is a component, albeit usually as a force projection piece. I’m not sure what Marine Corps you are speaking of, but I am unaware of any Officers quarters being in Sangin, Ramadi, Fallujah, etc. But I understand your point of view.

It is a misnomer that technology can replace infantry. On the contrary, the 4th generation warfare, three block war, and COIN operations will be slugged out door to door, house to house, block to block.

Combat is killing. I am not talking about delivering babies but taking lives and defending one another. And does it really matter the last time the USMC crossed a defended beach head? It is one of their missions. I’m sure if you interviewed Marines and Soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan as infantry, they would elaborate on the need for maintaining skills as outlined in the National Security Act of 1947 as amended in 1952. And you’re never offensive!!


Don’t know if “they’re” ignorant or otherwise, perhaps you’d care to elaborate on the weight of the kit infantry marine wears and some of the physical tasks necessary to complete. Persuasion and information will carry the day and remind folks that very, very few people serve in the Armed Forces today relative to population and even less in the infantry. Probably something akin to one in 10 million.


I think your point of view and experience with this first hand “back in the day” is enlightening. I would surmise that the women of today are smarter, tougher, and more physically adept, but if I made that assertion, I’d be showing a historical bias and not capturing the context.

I chose specifically not to speak of the physiological, psychological, and social aspects of the difference between men and women because they tend to be wrestled with and are often considered subjective.

In the most objective terms, entities that are bigger, stronger, and faster will always create and deliver more force.

If we really want to see what is equal lets scrap all the norming requirements and let these young men and women have at it.

Finally, I interviewed about 15 female Marines ranging in age, rank, experience, and military occupational specialty. I posed them the question and asked for their candid assessment. All of them, 15 out of 15 said without any hesitation they would not want to fight in the infantry and were physically unable to do what their male counterparts could do. Several did state there might be “one” out there that could complete the work necessary to compete with males, but in terms of delivering violence and competing on par with their male counterparts they universally said it was not physically possible.

Let the evaluation begin.

Comment by pedro

January 28, 2013 @ 1:49 am

absolutely agree with this entire article. well written.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>