SECNAV Mabus Ignores Evidence, Criticizes Marine Infantry Study, Pushes Progressive Feminist Agenda

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One has the distinct feeling that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus would have criticized a study that determined that water was wet, if he believed it would be detrimental to furthering the far-left secular progressive agenda.  He was sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, but instead supports his radical left-wing political patrons, and defends their radical social and economic agenda.   Against all evidence, foreign or domestic.

The US Marine Corps recently released a rather comprehensive nine-month study regarding male-female integrated infantry units, confirming what any objective analysis would already have made clear.  Female-integrated units were significantly outperformed by male-only infantry units in nearly every infantry task.

Mabus, however, instead of acknowledging the results and admitting that such integration is a poor idea that will erode espirit de corps, unit integrity, and combat effectiveness, instead attacked the study, making claims about the selected volunteers that were directly and categorically refuted by those Marines who ran the study.

His assertions, of course, hint strongly at the prototypical activism found in the Obama appointees.  The study wasn’t “right” because it produced results counter to the trumpeted meme of the feminist zealots.  He plans to ignore the study, as well as the advice of recently-retired career Marine combat Veteran infantrymen, and the wisdom of a three-war Commandant.  Then he will once again say he “sees no reason” for the combat exemption.

Because Ray Mabus is a liar.  He lacks integrity and character.  His word is worthless, and he is without honor.  His tenure as Navy Secretary has done and will continue to do irreparable damage, and is a stain on the Naval Services.  He is unworthy of respect, or trust.  He will sacrifice a long and brilliant combat record of the United States Marine Corps for a feminist talking point he knows will have a corrosive impact on combat effectiveness.  And he will do so without blinking an eye.

“It’s my call”, he told NPR.  I cannot, in good conscience, advise a young man (or woman) to join the ranks of my beloved Corps while ANYTHING is his call, nor could I tell a parent to trust the life of their child to the Navy or Marines while Mabus is SECNAV.  Because he cares nothing for them, only for his political patrons and his own corrupt and disingenuous skin.

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I see our humble host beat me to it by eleven minutes.  But what the hell.  I am leaving this one up here.  Mabus deserves stronger words than I used, to be sure.

Some Additional Thoughts on the Relief of LtCol Kate Germano

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The recent relief of LtCol Kate Germano, CO of 4th RTBn at Parris Island, is an event that I have been following with some interest.  Quite frankly, I don’t know quite what to make of it.  I have largely refrained from commentary for that reason.  But let me put forth some thoughts.

The announcement that she was relieved because she “created a toxic work environment” smacks of whining about hurt feelings and people being offended.  The Depot Chief of Staff, Col Jeff Fultz, commented “She was telling them their male counterparts will never respect them if they don’t get good physical scores. You just don’t do that.”  Actually, Colonel, you do.  Marines who are physically marginal to substandard, regardless of gender, do not inspire the respect and confidence of seniors, peers, or juniors, especially when compared to those capable of leading by physical example.   If that was the case, LtCol Germano was speaking an immutable truth of leadership.

However, there are also allegations that LtCol Germano disobeyed her chain of command, which is a serious matter.  I can also imagine, having been at the periphery of zealous activism on the part of feminists, that she might have done and said things that she should not have, that indeed were abusive, and did undermine her boss’s authority.   I happen to know Dan Haas, the Recruit Training Regimental Commander, having served with him in 10th Marines a number of years ago.  And I think a lot of his talent and professionalism.  What seems very possible is that LtCol Germano said some magic words to or about the wrong person about a subject she was passionate about, likely more than once, and she got fired for it.  Her complaints, however, deserve examination in whole and in part.  Other than what she has written publicly, I know little about her personal views or why she holds them.

On the whole, however, LtCol Germano is witnessing the head-on collision between two mutually exclusive interests.  The advocacy for women, the accommodation made for them, the emphasis put on their importance, their empowerment to destroy careers and lives of male service members with an unfounded accusation, have caused women to serve in an environment where they are often not held to task or standard, and where they are not expected to perform.  No amount of feminist outrage can take the truth from that statement.  Women are seen, and not unreasonably, as dangerous to one’s career.  Hell hath no fury like a woman with an EEO complaint.  What LtCol Germano identifies is the predictable residue of favoritism.

That favoritism is also the cause of not a little resentment among male service members.  While they are TOLD that women are their equal at all things military (and disagreement a punishable offense, regardless of evidence to the contrary), what they really see is the dichotomy where their female comrade is portrayed as a helpless victim of unwanted sexual advances by evil men, while somehow at the same time being a fearsome she-warrior of the Ziva David variety, kicking male ass at every turn.   The truth was quite a bit different, as you can imagine.  As an example, when I was with 2nd SRIG in 1993-94, it was a staple of every quarterly conditioning hike to have to take note of the gender of the hike drops.  These were pretty mild affairs, as we carried a mere basic load for about 12 miles, and there are virtually no hills at Camp Lejeune.  From a unit of about 400 Marines (HQBn), it was not uncommon to have 30 hike drops, which would almost inevitably include every female in the battalion, of which there were between 24 and 28.   Hike after hike, not a single female could complete the event.   We were warned, however, that mentioning that fact was tantamount to sexual harassment, and we would be held accountable.   Once, one of the female Marines from 2nd UAV Company actually made the hike, and the SRIG SgtMaj wanted her to get special recognition.   If Kate Germano is looking for causes of low expectations, the climate created that would allow such a thing is a great place to start.

In detail, however, LtCol Germano’s assertions also bear some examination.  I spent three years on the Drill Field at Parris Island, graduating eleven cycles, with time thrown in as OIC of Academics and Close Combat.  My position was as a series and company commander, significantly closer to the training than Kate Germano was likely to be on a daily basis.   Though I left Parris Island before LtCol Germano was commissioned (gaaah!), some things likely still haven’t changed.  The problems she identifies regarding female marksmanship and physical fitness are not new.

First, marksmanship.  Marines, as we know, love our marksmanship.  Every Marine a rifleman, even the females.  Female recruits struggle to qualify at the same rate as males.  We explored that answer in detail some years ago, and what we found had little to do with expectations or instruction or emphasis.  It was the raw material.  Primary Marksmanship Instructors (PMIs), coaches, Drill Instructors, Series Officers, and Range Officers all came to the same conclusion, that relative to their male counterparts, far fewer female recruits had any experience handling or firing weapons.  When the PMIs would ask a recruit platoon how many had ever fired a rifle before, about a third of the male hands would go up.  On the female side, sometimes none would.  The entire concept, language, handling, and operation of the service rifle was completely foreign.  The amount of new information they have to process in comparison to their male counterparts is far greater over the same period of instruction.  (Anecdotally, the females who had fired a weapon tended to do far better than those who’d never handled one before.)   One proposal was to lengthen basic training for females by a week to give them an extra “grass week” to work on fundamentals, but with the requirements of service and cost, this was an impossibility.  While LtCol Germano may be able to work some significant improvement into female rifle scores, an effort which I loudly applaud, I believe it is the starting point of female versus male recruits that more than anything determines qualification results.

(I hate to bring this up, but LtCol Germano wears two Marksman badges, the lowest classification of qual for rifle and pistol.  What is true of physical fitness is also true of weapons proficiency.  Practicing what you preach and shooting expert would help a great deal with credibility…)

In the physical realm, we experimented back in the late 80s/early 90s with increasing female running and hiking requirements to approximate male standards.  What we wound up doing was injuring female recruits in large numbers. Here is where Mother Nature was most unfair.  The injuries to the female recruits were far more serious than to their male counterparts.  Males would suffer stress fractures in their shins, below the knee.  Painful, for sure, but when healed, not debilitating.  Female recruits would suffer their stress fractures in the femur and pelvis.  Often those injuries did permanent damage.   We were breaking female recruits at an alarming rate, so the experiment was stopped.  I don’t know if the prevalence of girls and young women on the sports field will eventually have some impact on the disparity, but I would caution that we would continue to break females at an unacceptably high rate, with serious injuries, by implementing male standards for female recruits.

I didn’t see where LtCol Germano advocated for integration of male and female platoons.  If she did, I missed it.  I hope she does not.  Such would be a catastrophe, destroying the character of both male and female training.  The reasons are legion, and I will not explore them here.  Perhaps in another post.  But her lament about being “away from male training” doesn’t really hold water.  When I was at Parris Island, Third Recruit Training Battalion was farther from the main parade deck than Fourth Recruit Training Battalion was/is. “Where nobody can hear your pleas for mercy”, as one of my favorite Senior Drill Instructors was fond of saying.   4th Bn should embrace being “away from the flagpole”, as we did out in the woods with 3rd Bn.

So, I cannot get a feel whether I find LtCol Germano’s relief justified.  I can empathize with and agree with some of her assertions.  I can applaud her zeal in trying to ensure her Marines are trained to the sharpest edge.  I also cannot tell whether I would agree with her in a sit-down regarding the training and leadership of Marines.  She does not come across as a girl-power feminist whose cause comes before Corps.  But again, I don’t know.  I would be disappointed if she were.   What I do surmise is that her relief had little to do with “integration of women in the Marine Corps”, as both sides of the discussion seem to want to make it.

But what we definitely saw was the head-on collision between special treatment and high expectations.  They are mutually exclusive.

Mil Times: VA Doctor Regrets Post Telling Gun Advocate to ‘Off’ Himself

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So typically VA.

Gorton was responding to a post that came through his Facebook page by an apparent gun-rights supporter, according to images posted to the website Imgur and described by the newspaper.

“I am all for gun control,” the user wrote. “If there is a gun in the room, I want to be in control of it.”

Gorton replied: “Off yourself, please.”

Gorton said he would not call himself a gun-control activist.

“I have concerns about gun violence, but many of us do,” he said.

He should have concerns about his next paycheck, because he should be fired immediately.

For what it is worth, and it is worth a ton, the VA Hospital in Philadelphia commented on the incident, as the AP tells:

“The post was totally inappropriate and does not convey our commitment to veterans. We are taking steps immediately to address the situation,” the VA told the newspaper.

Yes, it perfectly portrays your commitment to Veterans.   And is a symptom of a much larger problem.

In an unrelated matter, VA officials told Congress this month that nearly a dozen employees at the regional office in Philadelphia could face discipline over their errant handling of a backlog of benefit claims.

The VA’s inspector general had found that Philadelphia staff neglected mail, altered claims dates and reviews and made $2.2 million in duplicate benefit payments as it tried to reduce backlogs.

Unrelated, my ass.  The debacles in Phoenix and in Philadelphia and across the VA system should result in people being charged with criminal misconduct (including Federal charges relating to retribution against whistle-blowers), and if clinicians are found to have had knowledge or willfully participated in the scandals, they should have their licenses to practice medicine revoked.

The VA is an unaccountable, unresponsive, inefficient, bureaucratic nightmare, where medical care is decidedly uneven.  There are good people trying to do good work, to be sure.  But far, far too many who are of the ilk that begets the kind of despicable and dishonest mismanagement we hear about daily from the VA.  Secretary Bob McDonald, who took over for Eric Shinsecki, needs to fire people, loudly and publicly.  Heads on plates.  Gregg Gorton’s should be among them.  Along with his newly-revoked license to practice psychiatry.   If Gorton’s head is not on that plate today, perhaps Bob McDonald’s head should be served.

Next Marine Commandant: It’s LtGen Rob Neller

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LtGen Robert Neller has been nominated to succeed Joe Dunford as the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Neller has more than 40 years of USMC service, has commanded at every level, and has plenty of combat experience.  He was also a semi-feared Captain Tactics Instructor some 29 years ago when Yours Truly was a Second Lieutenant at The Basic School.  He commanded the famous Sixth Marine Regiment in the late 1990s, and at his change of command spoke emotionally and eloquently of the traditions of our Corps, including the grim battle of Belleau Wood, where his 6th Marines (along with the 5th Marines) would win their distinctive fourragére with the famous Marine Brigade in 1918.

LtGen Neller leaps over two Generals, ACMC John Paxton, and John Kelly currently Commander SOUTHCOM.

He is also a grunt, heart and soul.  It has always been my opinion that the Marine Commandant ought to be an 0302 Infantry Officer.  The infantry is the backbone of our Corps, with every other MOS existing to support the ground-pounder.  No artillerymen, no tankers, no amtrackers.  Certainly no aviators.  Rob Neller certainly fills that requirement.

Semper Fidelis, and Godspeed, LtGen Neller.  Guide our beloved Corps through what are sure to be hard and challenging times.  Have us come out the other side as United States Marines, Marines that could fight and win Guadalcanal or the Chosin Reservoir, or Hue City, or Ramadi, if the nation required it once again.

First Four Female Marines complete Marine Infantry training.

Stars and Stripes brings us the news that four female Marines will graduate from The Infantry School.

For the first time, four female Marines have successfully completed the service’s enlisted infantry training and will graduate from the program, the Marine Corps Times is reporting.

The four were among a group of 15 enlisted women who were the first to participate in a Marine Corps study to determine which ground combat jobs should be open to women.

The Marines’ enlisted infantry training includes a grueling 20-kilometer hike wearing more than 80 pounds of gear. Seven women began the Oct. 28 hike. Three women and 26 of 246 men did not finish it, the Marines said.

Throughout the infantry training, the women were held to the same standards as men, including performing full pull-ups instead of a flexed-arm hang during the physical fitness test, the Marine Corps Times said.

A 74% attrition rate actually tells us it is folly to send women to TIS. It costs time, money, and training resources to send people to school. TIS isn’t a “weedout” course like Special Forces. The majority of attendees are expected to successfully complete the course.
So again, the diversity zampolits are sacrificing the good of the service for the optics of equality.
This isn’t to knock the accomplishments of the four Marines, just to note that just because something CAN be done doesn’t mean it SHOULD be done.

Via: TAH

Prosecutorial Reachback

Back in 2008, Congress passed a law that allows federal prosecutors to  pursue cases against discharged servicemen who are alleged to have committed crimes under the UCMJ, and yet were discharged before any proceedings.

There’s some sound reasoning behind this. Let’s say a notional service member committed an offense while deployed, say murder of a foreign national, and yet managed to escape detection until he was beyond the reaches of military law. Absent an ability to try him in federal court, it’s conceivable he could get away with murder.

But here we have a case where a Marine either negligently discharged his weapon, or purposefully shot another American.

When the gun went off inside the trailer at a Marine outpost in Iraq in 2008, the bullet pierced the left temple of a Navy hospital corpsman who was seated on his cot, rupturing his left eye and exiting though his right cheek. He survived, but was left partly blind.

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A Marine corporal who was present, Wilfredo Santiago, then 23, first told the authorities that he had heard a shot but not that it came from his own gun. About a week later, he admitted to a Navy investigator that while unloading his weapon, it accidentally discharged, copies of his statements show.

“I froze for a moment,” Corporal Santiago said, adding that he looked at the corpsman and “saw blood begin to form on the left side of his face.”

Corporal Santiago said that the corpsman, who acted as a medic for their team of Marines, which was stationed at Camp Echo and periodically rotated to the outpost, had been a close friend, and that he “would never do anything to intentionally hurt him.” He regretted not coming forward sooner with the truth, he said, adding, “I was afraid, and did not know what to do.”

The military took no action against Corporal Santiago, who was honorably discharged some months later and now lives with his wife and child in the Bronx. But last January, federal prosecutors in Manhattan had him indicted on charges of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and of lying to military investigators, all stemming from the Jan. 26, 2008, shooting of the corpsman, Michael Carpeso.

At the time of his discharge,  no punitive measures were taken under the UCMJ, neither judicial nor non-judicial.*

I tend to believe the prosecution’s assertion that an administrative error lead to Santiago’s discharge without any punitive actions.  In my experience, a negligent discharge of any type is grounds for some adverse action, and certainly one which sees a fellow servicemember**  severely wounded and disabled.  My own negligent discharge of a blank round on a training mission lead to a Summarized Article 15 (5 days extra duty, in my case). And a friend who negligently discharged 7 rounds from an M249 SAW badly wounded two other soldiers. He was sent before a General Court Martial, and sentenced to 18 months, reduction to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge.***

But here’s the thing. The government had its shot at Santiago. It is not his fault that the Marines dropped the ball on flagging his records (preventing him from being discharged while under investigation) or otherwise meting out some punishment to him. It isn’t like the Marines didn’t know the incident had taken place.  The 2008 act by Congress was clearly not meant as a way for the state to get a second bite at the apple.

Further, a delay of five years from the incident certainly seems extreme.  The government has vast resources with which to locate and interview witnesses for the prosecution, but the defense rarely has more than the barest assets with which to merely review the government’s case, let alone locate and depose witnesses for the defense. Especially, in this case, when the unit interpreter, an Iraqi national, will likely prove quite difficult to locate, let alone bring to trial as a witness.

I’m all for the vigorous prosecution of wrongdoing. That’s a keystone of a stable democratic society. But I’m even more for the concept of a fair trial, in which the vast powers of the state are constrained, and laws intended for one purpose are not imaginatively applied by zealous prosecutors for entirely different reasons (RICCO, anyone?).

What say you?

*Punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ is handled by the unit commander, and is non-judicial in nature. That is, while it has adverse administrative effects and is often the basis for separation from the service, it does not count as a conviction, unlike a court martial.

**The Navy provides medical services to the Marines, including attaching Hospitalmen to the Fleet Marine Forces as combat corpsmen. They wear Marine uniforms, and are generally accepted by the Marines in a way no other sailors are.

***Upon review by the convening authority, his sentence was commuted to 6 months, reduction in grade to E-1, and forfeiture of pay and allowances. I forget the exact nature of his discharge, but I do recall it wasn’t a Dishonorable.