Category Archives: Rangers and Rangerettes

All women meet new Marine recruit pull-up standards!

Pull-ups? Never mind! C'mon down, girls.

Pull-ups? Never mind! C’mon down, girls.

But before you all celebrate, the way it was done is this: the Marines dropped the standard for the convenience of the majority of women, who could not meet it.

The old standard? Three pull-ups. The new? None. That’s because even with extra training, most Marine women couldn’t do three pull-ups by the end of recruit training. This was much lower than the requirement for men, but only 45% of women Marines could achieve this goal.

So, the USMC has erased the goalposts — quietly, without a press release to the outside world.

Meanwhile, 14 enlisted women entered Marine infantry training. Ten of them failed, three passed. The Marines’ propaganda machine described four as passing, for example in this video report, but was forced to admit that one of the four passed, except for “the combat fitness and the physical fitness tests.” Oh, that kind of “pass”.

Comrades, the chocolate ration has been raised from 30 grams to 20 grams a week! And all women Marines have passed their pull-up test.

Army Flips over Ugly Women, PR Flacks Hardest Hit

All she asked was a little more publicity for the ugly ones. Col. Lynette Arnhart, one of the paper-shufflers managing the Army’s shuffle to the bright sunlit uplands of True Gender Equity® (however the Womyn define that at any given moment), took exception to a picture supplied by Army flacks to an Army-related publication: the female soldier was “too pretty.” It wasn’t fair to the Ugly Sisterhood.  Arnhart bitched (no pun intended) that the soldier, CPL Kristine Tejada, was, “a pretty woman, wearing makeup while on deployed duty.” She snarked that such a photo “may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty.” Tough talk from Arnhardt, whose Army career in the ever-demanding Adjutant General’s Corps has threatened her with such hardships as a copier out of toner, and having to work with an outdated version of PowerPoint. She’s an over-the-hill PR dolly herself, and bitter about it.

Now, we would never put such a story before our readers, male and female alike, without answering the question: what do these two soldiers look like? So, here is a scan of the article, with the very picture of CPL Tejada that brought out COL Arnhart’s claws:

CPL Kristine Tejada

The article, as you can see, is ironically enough about the Army leadership’s plan to ram through women in direct combat arms units. Now, women like CPL Tejada make an important contribution to the Army. We don’t know what her unit or MOS is, but we look at that picture and don’t think, wow, she’s pretty. Maybe she isn’t, and you’d have to be a pushing-fifty menopausal broad to be threatened by her (not naming any names, but if the shoe fits). Maybe she is. You can’t tell from an unsmiling picture in full battle rattle. What you can tell is that, despite Col Arnhart’s vapors about her nails, CPL Tejada looks like she’s competent. She has a good hold on her well-worn M4. Her unit has troops’ names on the guns, which may be suboptimal OPSEC but probably instills a degree of pride and supports weapons maintenance. Her gear seems to be on right and sqaured away. She’s also a hard-stripe corporal rather than a soft-stripe specialist, so someone thought she was NCO leadership material and put her in charge of somebody. The picture inclines us to think well of her on a purely professional basis. What’s the problem, Colonel?

“In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead,” Arnhart wrote.

Wow. This is after she’s identified CPL Tejada, whom we doubt she knows from Adam Eve, as one of those “pretty women.” Is she saying this kid used her looks to get, where? Onto some convoy in Paktika where she can get her pretty (or whatever) ass blown off? That sounds like a lot less desirable an assignment than, say, writing waspish emails criticizing the PR flacks, which seems to be what some soldiers do. Not naming any names.

Of course, given Arnhart’s optically Manichean view of Army women, we probably ought to have a look at her visage. Turnabout is fair play, no?

COL Arnhart Lynette

Two chins… check… turkey neck… check… butch hairdo… check… smoker’s teeth… oh yeah, Lynette babes, call us… not. She was probably alright, 25 years ago.

That was just gratuitously cruel and we apologize. Those responsible have been sacked. But we bet she does think she was Ranger material, back in the day, before her butt was two axe handles wide.

OK, we’re not going to ask you to rate them on “pretty.” This is, not “Hot or Not?”, after all. We will ask you — which one would you rather have in one of the seats of your RG-31 or whatever as it rolled into Paktika?

Yeah, that’s not fair either. Anyway, Politico got hold of the “ugly women are perceived as competent” email and things rather predictably got, well, ugly. It went particularly ugly for Arnhart, and for some homunculus named COL Christian Kubik, another overpaid flack who apparently added a “you go, girl” and forwarded Arnhart’s email, thereby labeling himself as a Wrecker, Saboteur, Diversionist or something. Arnhardt had been leading a team scheming to jam women into combat-arms units, and she got the sack, although they’re spinning it as a resignation from the position. (Sounds to us like: “Ask for a transfer and we won’t have to write a relief-for-cause OER”). Kubik is “suspended,” which is Army-speak for “will soon be spending more time with his family.”

The one Unforgiveable Act in the Army’s vast PR machinery is to get into the press Off Message. Politico, again:

Col. Lynette Arnhart had agreed to step aside from the Training and Doctrine Command study she was leading.

In addition, [Army spox George] Wright said, Col. Christian Kubik, a public affairs officer at TRADOC, was suspended for his involvement in the email chain.

“In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing work on gender integration in the Army, Col. Lynette Arnhart agreed to step down as the gender integration study director,” Wright said in a statement. “Concurrently, TRADOC suspended Col. Christian Kubik from his position as the public affairs officer pending the outcome of an investigation.”

Now, the Army will survive without the talents of Lynette Arnhart and Christian Kubik. (Indeed, the part of the Army that does the actual fighting — a part that the abused CPL Tejada has been at least in proximity to, unlike Arnhart and Kubik —  has survived without them for two-hundred-thirty-something years), and the only tragedy in their removal is that there are still legions more of desk-bound assclowns to slide into those positions.

By the way, “The TRADOC experts who are studying gender integration,” as Arnhart describes her late coven, kept meeting and spending throughout the Sequester and the Government Shutdown, which indicates its priority: combat aviators had their flight hours cut, for example in the Navy to 11 hours a month, and combat soldiers saw training schedules disrupted and range time cancelled. But like rust and viruses, the forces of True Gender Equity® never sleep.

What this illustrates is the degree to which the women-in-combat-regardless push has become a violent juggernaut, which serving officers and soldiers defy at their peril. It is blind, unreasoning, animal force. It not only cannot be swayed by reason, argument, or example, it treats any of those as hostile acts to be met with devastating violence. Even those who would serve it, as Robespierre served the Revolution, are liable to take their own ride in the tumbrils and wind up minus one head, as the case of Arnhart and Kubik illustrates.

In the Politico story two legislators, Rep. Jackie Speier and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, are quoted demanding the Army and the military move faster yet, and give a higher priority yet, to subordinating the needs of combat units to the career ambitions of female officers. Neither has been in the service. Neither has had a spouse in the sevice (Gillibrand’s husband, a Wall Street manipulator, is British, not American; Speier’s current husband is also a financier. Her previous husband, a doctor, died in a 1994 accident). Neither has had a son in the service. They’re from that segment of society that raises their kids to think it’s beneath them.

Both are also extremists on gun control, which is hardly surprising. Apart from lowering combat-arms standards till the standards meet the available women, Jackie Speier’s signature issue is lowering the national speed limit to 60 miles per hour. There would be an exemption for Congresswomen. Of course.

Army Occupies Beauty Pageant

Theresa Vail is a somewhat unconventional beauty-pageant contestant.

First, she’s a sergeant in the US Army. (Indeed, her CO told her to try out for the pageant).

Second, she’s tattoed, not quite all over, but enough to make old NCOs shake their heads at the generation gap. Looking at Miss Vail, one wonders what she was trying to improve with bluish tattoo ink:

teresa vail reuters 660

She looks damn good underneath that tattooed message (which is the AA Serenity Prayer, it says here):

First off, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail is a sergeant in the U.S. Army, only the second contestant ever to be on active duty.

“Nobody expects a soldier to be a beauty queen,” Vail told People magazine. “But I’m all about breaking stereotypes.”

“My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. What a hypocrite I would be if I covered my ink,” Vail said. “How can I tell other women to be fearless and true to themselves if I can’t do the same? I am who I am, tattoos and all.”

Sgt. Vail is also an M16 marksman, a bow hunter, and a mechanic. Only recently did she add beauty queen to her resume, when she entered her first pageant just nine months ago on the advice of her commanding officer. When she was told she wouldn’t be able to use archery as her talent, she had to pick another one and quick.

She chose to sing opera.

She sounds like an interesting character. For all of her stereotype-breaking, though, her specialty is one that’s been open to women for many, many years, even in the days of the long-disbanded Women’s Army Corps: dental assistant.

No word on whether she’s being lined up for Ranger School.

Here at WeaponsMan, we are old and barnacled enough that we prefer our women without barnacles: no tattoos, no in-your-face (figuratively and literally both) piercings. And we kind of expect the pageant bureaucracy is Hollywood enough to find a deer-stalking Army sergeant haram. But we would be churlish indeed if we didn’t offer Miss Vail our most sincere best wishes for the competition. Our eyes may be drawn elsewhere, but our cultural affinity dictates that we’re rooting for Kansas in this year’s Miss America pageant.

(Come to think of it, she’s not the only would-be beauty queen in the Army in Kansas. Bradley Manning is in Leavenworth! Bradley, old boy, this is a real woman: can you stop pretending now?)

The Rangerette Reckoning Comes

rangerette-benjaminIf you can get through all the bullshit and personnel-weenie talk, the Army G1, a weaselly guy named Bromberg looking like he’s the Very Model of a Modern Major-General, lays out his plan for integrating women in combat positions. (To be sure, it’s the suits’ and the four-stars’ plan, but the G1 — the Army’s top personnel clerk — is the guy who puts the flesh on the bare bones).

BLUF: the standards are going to be the same for both sexes, but pace CJCS GEN Dempsey, they’ll be lowered until the women start passing. It’s still a criterion-referenced test, mind you: it’s just that the criterion is political, not combat-related.

Unlike the Marines, who will require women to meet the existing standards, full stop, the Army has scheduled the integration of women, standards be damned. They’ll also dispense with qualifications and transfer female NCOs and officers right in so that the little dears skipping out of the lowered-standard schools have “role models”:

Additionally, the Army will open positions to women with the Armor Branch and the Infantry Branch. Positions there are numerous. Enlisted women will for the first time have the opportunity to serve as cavalry scouts, armor crewmen, infantrymen, and indirect-fire artillery. As a result of this change, about 90,640 positions will open for women in the Army.

Within the Armor Branch and the Infantry Branch, the Army will also offer junior officers and junior NCOs the opportunity to transfer branches or reclassify into these occupations as a way to build a cadre of experienced female Soldiers prior to the arrival of Soldiers who are new to the Army.

Welcome to the Army of You Go, Girl.

One criterion nobody is looking at is how women are performing currently — in combat theaters, but not in direct ground combat jobs. Let’s see what a report about women and medevacs in Afghanistan says, shall we? Note that this is not a study of field medevacs, but of theater medevacs — that’s the one where you’re jacked up enough to be flown to somewhere out of the rock garden, like Landstuhl, or back to the USA. Women were medevaced at a higher rate, but not that much higher: 22%. But what’s interesting is why soldiers get medevaced.

Top five reasons for men to get a ride out of theater, in order (and rounded to integer percentages): battle injuries (27%), non-battle injuries (15%), musculoskeletal disorders (15%), and mental disorders (11%). That accounts for most injuries (78%, roughly).

Top five reasons for women: mental disorders (17%), “signs, symptoms, and ill-defined conditions” (15%), musculoskeletal disorders (13%), non-battle injuries (9%), and “genitourinary system disorders” (9%) which they specify does not include breast disorders. (We were unaware that was part of the genitourinary system, but defer to the quacks that wrote the report. Anyway, that would be next, if we were going over five — at 6%… and the one after that? Pregnancy, at 4%). The top five here account for 63% of medevac conditions; without the high level of battle injuries, women’s injuries are more spread out across many lower-rate causes.

There’s a lot to pick over in this study, and Time magazine has a typically dishonest report (for example, they memory-holed the “genitourinary disorders” cause of medevac) but was good enough to post the underlying study, from which we recovered the airbrushed numbers.

Here's a graph by the study authors. Note that they didn't pick the largest categories here, just ones they thought were interesting. Guys left, Gals right.

Here’s a graph by the study authors. Note that they didn’t pick the largest categories here, just ones they thought were interesting. Guys left, Gals right. Military women have some powerful crazy going on.

On the plus side, more than half of the women medevaced weren’t crazy (“mental disorders”) or malingerers (“signs, symptoms…”). So there is that. And also, we should probably note that the women left in theater after these medevacs were presumably the ones who weren’t crazy. Or at least, not medevac-strength crazy.

The Marines, meanwhile, continue trying to find a Roller Derby type who will pass their Infantry Officers Course at the previous standards. A new group of five were selected as the storm petrels of the Amazon Era, following on two pairs that tried, and failed, in earlier classes. The USMC public-affairs functionaries were so sure of this group’s success that they allowed a reporter for the anti-military Gannett Corporation to embed with the would be infantrywomen.

Things got off on the wrong foot right away when three of the five didn’t even show up. The two survivors both boloed the Combat Endurance Test on the first day. One struggled on to the end of the course, underperforming all the way, to be dropped with six underperforming men. The other didn’t make it that far, being cut mid-course for inability to keep up with her peers.

The Gannett reporter, Dan Lamothe, seems to argue that the women were somehow tripped up by the requirement to climb a 20-foot rope twice during the course, and other displays of upper-body strength.

Let’s add it up: So far, nine women have been slotted in the Infantry Officers Course, and zero have completed the course, for attrition rates of, um, that would be 100%. If you don’t count the no-shows (how do you get away with that in the military? Easy, play your Girl Card) they’re zero for six, which, Combat Barbie tells me… “Math is hard!” Oops, wrong Barbie. But that would be 100%. (Note: Business Insider says the USMC is 0 for 10, not 9. What’s that in percents? Can’t we just get the waiter to split the tab?)

And unlike the women downrange, these carefully selected officers are only failing to meet a criterion-based, combat-derived standard. It’s not like they’re saying something bad about politicians or something.

Rowan Scarborough has more on the failed Marines. Hey, they could branch transfer to the Army which even now is figuring out which ropes to get rid of and which tests of upper-body strength are “irrelevant.” Because, equality. Fairness. And Martin Luther King, so there.

Meanwhile, women, who have been admitted to the service academies for about 40 years, are still not allowed to join the football team. How fair is that? And why would an Army determined to install women in Ranger units (by 2015) keep those same heroines off the gridiron?

Maybe it’s because the Army’s senior leaders care about winning. Football, of course. What else would they be thinking of?

!60th SOAR opens to women

160_SOAR(A)_Nightstalker_CrestPosted with the least of comment, just one fact missing from the press report.

The Army will soon have women flying special operations missions.

As part of a push by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno to open more combat roles for women, the Army is looking for women for pilot and crew chief billets for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, according to the Army Times.

via Army opens Special Operations flying missions to women – Stripes – Independent U.S. military news from Iraq, Afghanistan and bases worldwide.

MH-60That fact: 160th normally conducts a selection course. It’s not exactly SFAS or RASP, but the air and ground personnel who experience it feel like they were well wrung out. it’s an important rite of passage, then, into ARSOF aviation.

The selection standards will be modified as necessary so that the initial women volunteers pass.

We won’t editorialize on that. That’s the aviators’ to do, not ours.

Not everybody thinks women in the infantry is a good thing

Three Soldiers statue by Frederic Hart at the Vietnam Memorial.

Three Soldiers statue by Frederic Hart at the Vietnam Memorial.

Of course, none of them are among the payroll patriots that run things in Washington. But The Weekly Standard dug in to the story and found out where the neanderthals who resist this shiny progressive bauble of an idea hang out.

As it happens, they are, or were, in ground combat units. To be specific, in the infantry (although how you can be a tanker or artillery crew member — note our use of politically-correct, sex-neutral verbiage — without being able to toss 100-lb. shells around like footballs is beyond us, too).

One is Sergeant James Robert Webb, who served as an infantryman in Ramadi in 2006 and 2007. The 31-year-old son of former Democratic senator, secretary of the Navy, and Vietnam war hero Jim Webb took to his blog to describe how the change would harm combat effectiveness and unit cohesion. The Marine explained that a noninfantry convoy unit engaging in combat if attacked​—​returning fire and getting to safety​—​is different from the infantry fulfilling its mission to “close with and destroy hostile forces.” Furthermore, the infantry demands the utmost from Marines in terms of physical strength, endurance, attitude, and group loyalty and bonding. “More to the point, if the calculus is altered, our people, my peers, die,” wrote Webb.

rangerette-benjamin“The major concern is with women in infantry units,” Webb tells me in an email. “This is a subject which comes up every time I get together with combat veterans​—​from any branch of service. The message is an unequivocal ‘No, this should not happen.’ I have yet to receive an email, comment, text message, etc. from anyone who has served in a combat unit who supports this decision by DoD.”

The public supports the change​—​66 percent, according to a Pew poll​—​but the view from inside the infantry is very different. “The overarching opinion is one of confusion and disillusionment with the decision, not just in my age group, but among those who fought wars before us in Vietnam as well,” Webb reports. “Guys just don’t understand the rationale behind it, and moreover, there’s a general feeling that those who have been fighting our wars weren’t consulted on the decision.”

via Congress Goes AWOL | The Weekly Standard.

We’ll go with Webb. The Standard goes on to show how the military is already gaming the supposedly “gender-neutral” standards so that the term is a Newspeak style self-refutation.

Another of the former servicemen (and some women) who are fighting this is California Rep. Duncan Hunter. Hunter fears that the standards will slip to meet the political mission, and plans to offer an amendment requiring such standards as may be set to be universally applicable:

“There’s going to be extreme pressure to lower the standards to make sure there’s a quota met in these combat units,” says Hunter. “I think that’s unavoidable. I think that pressure is going to exist, and our military leaders under this administration are going to acquiesce to that pressure.”

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has already suggested standards might be lowered if women can’t meet them. “If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?” Dempsey said during a January 24 press conference.

No one who’s seen Dempsey in action over the last few years is under any illusion that he has the slightest reservoir of moral courage, or the least inclination to resist any brainstorm of his political lords and masters. He used his talents at toadying to rise to the top of his profession, where he finally had some authority but couldn’t exercise it, because the character of a toady was imprinted upon him, soul deep.

Not Quite a Rangerette

rangerette-benjaminWith the Army and Marines ordered to open every job, even infantry, to women, with a strong implication that standards will be dropped, it’s not surprising to see another glass ceiling shatter. Sort of.

The first woman to try out for the National Football League just gave it her best shot. Lauren Silberman did about as well as the two carefully selected Marine officers that took a run at the Infantry officer course late last year.

Deflated-NFL-FootballUnfortunately for the self-promoting Silberman, that was not very well at all. She was trying out for a very specialized position (kicker) which is often occupied by men much smaller and more lithe than the NFL median. Like the usual First Women to go through any particular military training evolution, whether the one-day-wonders of Marine grunt school, the Army’s litigious Katie Wilder, or the Navy’s fatally incompetent jet pilot Kara Hultgreen, she did it in the glare of publicity and political influence. And like those women, she didn’t meet the objective standard, or even come close.

Even more unfortunately for Silberman, she doesn’t have a coterie of political generals and a bunch of social engineers in suits running interference for her. Her two kick attempts went 16 and 14 yards respectively, with little loft, and that was the end of her tryout, as she reported she injured herself doing that. (The average high school kicker can routinely score a 30 plus yard field goal).

She claimed her kickoffs had gone farther in practice, but wasn’t willing to cite a number and appeared to the other kickers at the tryouts to be completely unfamiliar with kicking a football — so, more Katie Wilder than the two Marines, whom everybody says are good officers and gave infantry school their best shot.

It remains to be seen what the Army’s first women infantry officers and Ranger candidates are like. Both extremes are possible, as is every other point along every axis of human behavior. We’ll only see what they’re like when the publicity tsunami hits. But we’re left with a strong impression that the officials of the NFL would never put an unready, unsafe player on the gridiron — and that the hollow-cored, sold-out-soul generals of the Army might not be so responsible.

These are the same uniformed politicians who still deny that the soldiers wounded and killed by the traitorous Nidal Hasan merit the Purple Heart and VA benefits, and who think Stateside drone pilots deserve recognition beyond those engaged in, wounded in, and valorous in face-to-the-enemy combat.  While it would be nice to count on them to do the right thing, it wouldn’t be a reasonable expectation.

Some numbers for you Rangerette fans

rangerette-benjaminA sharply worded letter to the editor on the subject of standards in the military makes some astringent points.The author: George Mason economist Walter E. Williams. Emphasis and paragraph divisions ours.

The “USMA report on the Integration and Performance of Women at West Point”, cited by Mackubin Thomas Owens, in Proceedings (July 1998) reveals sex-norming schemes whereby women receive A grades for the same performance that earns a man a D. Navy women pass physical readiness tests by performing 11% fewer sit-ups, 53% fewer push-ups, and running 1.5 miles 27% slower than men.

The Marine Corps discovered that only 45% of female Marines could toss a hand grenade beyond its burst radius; one Army study reported only 12% could. Navy studies show that only 12% of women can accomplish the two-person stretcher carry, a requirement critical to ship security. Women may be able to drive a five-ton truck, but need a man’s help if they must change a tire. Women can fire field artillery pieces but often can’t handle the ammunition.

via Race and Sex in the Military.

The date? October 1st.


Ranger Training Brigade CoinWilliams’s irritation was due to a statement by then-Commandant “Brute” Krulak that the USMC would henceforth have a racial quota for officers. He went on to point out that, without race- or sex-norming standards, the services seemed to get good officers, and the Army even got close to the Marines’ desired percentage of black officers, without having to set separate standards and thereby create doubts about all black officers’ abilities. He shamed Krulak into repudiating the quota document — which had his own signature on it.

Williams, of course, thought that a sex-normed but criterion-dereferenced standard for combat troops, as the grenade-toss statistics showed, was absolute lunacy. Guess what? It’s coming.

This was the last time there was a press on to drop standards to make the numbers come out on quota. Read The Whole Thing™.

Dempsey: Standards will drop to meet women

Plump Air Force chicks, the future of ground combat (l.); GEN Martin Dempsey (r.) . DOD photo

Plump Air Force chicks, the future of ground combat (l.); GEN Martin Dempsey (r.) . DOD photo

At a press conference introducing his opening of all combat positions to women, legislation be damned, lame-duck SecDef Leon Panetta also insisted, “[L]et me be clear, we’re not talking about reducing the qualifications for a job.” But at the same press conference, GEN Martin Dempsey, the painfully politically correct Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, had a different take on it.

Importantly, though, if we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?

What do you think they’re going to decide when this question comes up? There are two ways of analyzing that.  One looks at logic and military culture, and one looks at history.

The logical/cultural view:  given today’s senior military officers, what’s their answer going to be to this question: Hey, what’s more important, winning wars or giving ambitious women the careers they want?

The historical view asks these questions: How is this going to come out differently than the Navy’s post-Tailhook standards-drop that gave the world Kara Hultgreen? (The issue was not whether some woman could fly an F-14. The issue became, thanks to the Navy’s standards-drop, whether anyone had the stones to tell a woman who couldn’t fly an F-14 that she’d washed out. Instead, she had to crash the jet to find out). How is this going to come out differently than the Katie Wilder fiasco (where a litigious and well-connected woman officer sued her way to an unearned qualification, after being caught cheating at the school in question)?

Remember, these questions are being answered by guys like Martin Dempsey. He is an Academy graduate, and came up in the “hollow army” of the 1970s, where officers in hopelessly unready armor units taught him the fine art of the phony readiness report, a lesson in ethics that still informs his performance today. He avidly sought ticket-punches, and sports the novice parachute wings of the “5-jump chump,” and a Combat Action Badge for being under fire — as a general. (The more prestigious CIB cannot be awarded to generals and their CSMs, to prevent “paper awards.” This is unfair to the occasional real fighting general. They’re extremely rare birds, though).

Dempsey writes (or claims authorship of, anyway) regular, and mostly worthless, columns in Joint Forces Quarterly. Here’s a taste of Dempsey’s ability to write (empty, content-free platitudes with a skill that even few of his fellow politicians can match, from one of his recent columns:

We must continue to trust our men and women at the edge of our formations, to challenge them, and to leverage their talents and experiences. We must make sure they continue to be the best led, best trained, and best equipped in the world.

Best equipped? Maybe, unless you’re measuring by day-glow safety belts, in which case we lead the world by furlongs. Best trained? You’d have to ask, on what? It would be nice to purge the training schedule of training-distractor time-wasting personnel bullshit, and concentrate on combat training, but that’s not how Big D rolls. Best led?

Well, that’s really a question of whether you think people like GEN Dempsey, GEN Casey, and COL  Johnson (all of whom we’ve covered in the past) are typical, or whether the many officers who stay out of the news are.


This post has been edited. It was initially posted without the links. Thanks to the commenter who provided the link we used, we initially read that same story on the non-mobile page but while we were writing this up had lost track of the original link!