WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps has decided to delay its pull-up requirement for women after more than half of female recruits failed the test that would have furthered their goal to serve in combat roles.
According to reports, all female Marines are expected to successfully perform at least three pull-ups to fulfill the requirement, but only 45 percent of women have been able to meet the minimum. The minimum is the same for men, but to obtain a perfect score, men must show the ability to perform 20 pull-ups. Women need only complete eight to receive a perfect score.
As previously reported, in January of last year, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced his plans to lift the ban on women serving in military combat roles, a move that was said to bring about a “fully inclusive military.” While women have been able to serve in military support roles in various capacities, since 1994, they have been prohibited from being assigned to front-line ground combat.
Following Panetta’s announcement, the Army and Marines, which make up most of the ground forces, were required to come up with a plan to accommodate women for the positions. However, the Defense Department also granted the nation’s armed forces until January 2016 to seek any types of waivers in the matter, explaining why they believe that some positions should only be filled by men.
Reaction to the news was mixed, with some praising the policy change, and others advising that they had no desire to be in combat.
“This is monumental,” stated Anu Bhagwati, the executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network, who served as a former Marine captain. “Every time equality is recognized and meritocracy is enforced, it helps everyone, and it will help professionalize the force.”
But an anonymous Army officer told ABC News that while she believes the government is trying to demonstrate its desire to be “progressive” in society, some women really don’t welcome the change.
“[E]very female troop I know says publicly, ‘Sure, open them up!’ And privately, ‘But not for me personally. I know I don’t have the brute strength required and I would be crushed to let down my colleagues. So, no way, no thanks,’” she advised.
Following the Marines’ decision to halt its pull-up requirement, Elaine Donnelly from the Center For Military Readiness told reporters this week that the results show that the Pentagon’s plan is proving to be a problem.
“If you have a failure rate of 55 percent and 99 percent of the men are succeeding, obviously this is not going to work,” she stated.
Pastor Matt Trewhella of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin likewise told Christian News Network on Monday that women were never meant to fight battles according to God’s created order.
“Nowhere [in the Scriptures] did God ever have women do the fighting,” he said. “The armies of the Lord are made up of males.”
“The men are known in Scripture to be protectors of their wives and children. Women were never given this role,” Trewhella continued. “Peter made clear that women are the weaker vessel, including physically weaker.”
He said that it is the duty of the man to be the strong protector that God made him to be, and it has nothing to do with misogyny.
“It’s not because we hate women that we don’t want them to fight,” Trewhella said. “It’s that we don’t want them to fight because we love them.”