A story by PBS News’ San Diego division attempted to claim that the first female Marine Boot Camp platoon in San Diego performed better than their male counterparts- but does their story tell the whole story?
Posting the article on May 17, “Marines Still Under The Gun To Integrate Women Despite Success Of First Boot Camp Class” by Steve Walsh of KPBS was something of a love letter to the integration of females into training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.
“Now that one group of female Marines has graduated boot camp in San Diego, the Corps is still under a Congressional deadline to end gender segregation,” Walsh wrote. “The young, female recruits are moving faster than their leaders.”
Walsh highlighted an achievement of the female platoon, stating they had bested their male counterparts.
“The female platoon had the top scores in physical fitness and combat fitness — over five male platoons in their company,” he wrote.
While the unfamiliar may see this as a “win,” it is more of a “not so fast,” especially given that females in the USMC have much lower physical fitness requirements than male Marines.
Take the example case of one Marine highlighted by Walsh, Pfc. Emily Zamudio, age 19, who scored higher than anyone else on her physical fitness tests.
According to Military.com, a 19-year-old male in the United States Marines would need a minimum of 4 pull-ups, 42 push-ups, 70 crunches and a 3-mile run time of 27:40 to barely pass one’s PT test. To max, those numbers (in order) would need be 20, 82, 105 and 18 minutes, respectively.
For a 19-year-old female to pass the minimum score, she would need to perform 1 pull-up, 19 push-ups, 50 crunches and run a three-mile in 30 minutes and fifty seconds. To max out, the numbers (once again, in order) would need to be 7, 19, 50, and 21 minutes, respectively.
The disparity is so wide, it would seem, that it would be no contest on paper- but combat is a different story.
Perhaps this disparity is one reason why the US Marine Corps has been so hesitant to integrate females into their combat ranks, compounded with studies performed in recent memory that show women sustain injuries more frequently and shoot less accurately than their male counterparts.
According to the Washington Post, the aforementioned study “was carried out by the service in a nine-month long experiment at both Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Twentynine Palms, Calif. About 400 Marines, including 100 women, volunteered to join the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, the unit the Marine Corps created to compare how men and women do in a combat environment.”
The USMC’s research revealed that that all-male units from crews to squads demonstrated better performance on 93 of 134 tasks evaluated (69 percent) than units with women in them.
It was also noted that “a notable difference between genders for every individual weapons system” existed when utilizing Marine Corps small arms.
In other branches, the physical limitations and performance levels of women are clashing with the politically-correct desire to integrate them. In the US Army, the branch has faced pressure from (mostly Democratic) lawmakers to make physical fitness tests easier for women again after a “gender neutral” test was unrolled- only for women to continue scoring lower than their male counterparts (or not pass at all).
MSN.com reported that Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CONN) called the rollout of the gender neutral Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) “premature,” claiming the results could damage some female soldiers’ professional prospects.
Around 54 percent of female soldiers failed the ACFT in the second quarter of 2020, compared to 7 percent of men.
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