Category Archives: Rangers and Rangerettes

Award-Winning Essay: Women Do Not Belong in the Infantry

rangerette-benjaminLauren Serrano is a Marine officer, and one dedicated to the idea that women ought to serve in the ways that are best for them, and best for the service. It is clearly with great reluctance that she stepped up and touched the Third Rail of military PC these days: the women-in-combat issue. She wrote an essay about it. She submitted it to a Marine Corps Association contest. And she won 1st Prize in the “MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest” for her entry.

She’s going to have a lot of the Sisterhood mad at her. But if a Marine officer can’t take it, who can? Here’s just a taste of her excellent essay:

My argument has little to do with whether women can pass the Infantry Officer Course or Infantry Training Battalion, or endure the hardships of combat. Even those select women who can physically endure the infantry are still posing a threat to the infantry mission and readiness. Female Marines who want to stir the pot by joining the infantry ranks are more interested in their careers than the needs of the Corps—they are selfish. 2dLt Sage Santangelo’s recent article in The Washington Post about why women are failing Infantry Officer Course argued that “the Marine Corps needs to set women up to succeed in combat roles.”2 Why? How will that contribute to a better fighting force, the needs of the Marine Corps, and the success of young enlisted Marines? The time, energy, and conflict associated with setting women up for success in infantry billets will not make the Marine Corps more combat effective.

I have no doubt that there are women who can pass initial infantry schools—and I applaud their strength. However, as Capt Katie Petronio argued in her 2013 Gazette article, “Get Over It! We are not all created equal,” long infantry careers for female Marines will eventually lead to career-ending medical conditions as they get older and their bodies are unable to withstand the years of constant infantry training.3 For the already fiscally strained military, this will lead to an increase in medically retired Marines who rate medical financial support for the rest of their lives.

You would be well advised to Read The Whole Thing™ on the Marine Corps Association website. Among the other points she makes in the article:

  • The people who are pushing this have the least experience in the military. For example, the officers in favor tend to be green 2nd Lieutenants, and a lot of the support comes from people who have never served in the military.
  • Even the careerists who think this is a ticket punch they need for their imagined Courtney Massengale careers are probably wrong: the Marines (like the other services) have a lot of jobs outside of direct ground combat where good leaders are prized — and promoted.
  • She points out that examples like Israel and Kurdistan are not on point, because in those cases the women fight because the alternative is extermination (actually, the Kurds are a bad example, as we’ve seen, but she’s been conned by the same PR campaign that has conned so many).
  • Then, there’s what the military euphemistically calls, “fraternization.” Our Marine’s take on it:

Women in the Marine Corps are already in better shape than the average civilian and it can be assumed that any infantry woman will be a physical specimen. In the young, testosterone-filled infantry ranks, this is asking for love triangles, unit drama, and the potential for intraunit relationships. Platoon commanders in co-ed units already deal with a tremendous amount of drama, pregnancies, and sex in the co-ed unit barracks. Each time an issue arises, the platoon leadership spends a lot of time switching Marines’ barracks rooms, billets, etc.

And finally, there’s the involuntary side of sexual attraction, the sexual-assault and -harassment angle, something the writer has seen from a number of diverse angles.

There’s a lot to read here, so do Read The Whole Thing™ and let us know in comments where you agree (or not). For our part, we strongly agree with the sentiment in Capt Serrano’s essay. Note that it is that Women do not belong in the Infantry, not that Women do not belong in the Marines (or the Army, or Special Operations Forces). Because they do belong there (and she actually cites a SOF example in the essay). But there are things, frankly, that men are better at and women are better at. Infantry’s mission (and that of DA-oriented SOF elements) is to close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver. When women are Division 1 college football and other contact-sports players, then they’ll be ready for the grunts. Not before.

Army Ranger Chicks — Official Message

Soon available in ladies' sizes....

Soon available in ladies’ sizes….

This is the original source document, documenting the first half of the story we had last week — yep, they want chicks in Ranger School. Note that this is a “recruiting effort” directed by the command, but they specify that women will not be commanded to attend. The second part, about the women commissars, was in a separate ALARACT (ALl ARmy ACTivities) message. We note that, while units must fund the attendance of their men at this school, word is that some DA slush fund will fund the attendance of these women, so it costs units nothing to send their females except the absence from duty. (That’s probably why they had to order them not to order women to attend, or every unpleasant female in the Army would be Benning-bound in early ’15 while her leaders and subordinates relaxed). They want a headcount by 1 Nov 14 and names of volunteers by 1 Dec. Other than that, no editorial comment on this. Read our original story for that! — Eds.


SUBJ/ALARACT 222/2014 - FEMALE STUDENTS FOR THE UNITED STATES ARMY
MANEUVER CENTER OF EXCELLENCE (MCOE) RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT
THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN TRANSMITTED BY US ARMY INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
AGENCY (USAITA) ON BEHALF OF HEADQUARTERS, US ARMY TRAINING AND
DOCTRINE COMMAND (TRADOC)
SUBJECT: FEMALE STUDENTS FOR THE UNITED STATES ARMY MANEUVER CENTER
OF EXCELLENCE (MCOE) RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT
NARR/(U) PURPOSE OF THIS MESSAGE IS TO SEEK ARMY-WIDE SUPPORT OF
ELIGIBLE FEMALE STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MCOE RANGER COURSE
ASSESSMENT(DECISION REGARDING EXECUTION OF ASSESSMENT WILL BE MADE IN
JANUARY 2015).
1. (U) BACKGROUND: AS PART OF THE ARMY SOLDIER 2020 INITIATIVE TO
ENSURE THE BEST-QUALIFIED SOLDIERS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE IN
ANY POSITION WHERE THEY ARE CAPABLE OF PERFORMING TO STANDARD, THE
MCOE MAY CONDUCT A RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT IN 3RD QTR FY15 (EXACT
DATES TBD).
1.A. (U) MCOE MAY CONDUCT A RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT TO INFORM FUTURE
DECISION MAKING.
1.B. (U) FEMALE VOLUNTEERS SELECTED TO ATTEND THE RANGER COURSE
ASSESSMENT (EXACT CLASS TBP) WILL BE REQUIRED TO MEET ALL COURSE
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS AND TRAINING REQUIREMENTS.
2. (U) ARMY COMMANDS (ACOMS), ARMY SERVICE COMPONENT COMMANDS
(ASCCS), AND DIRECT REPORTING UNITS (DRUS) WILL CONDUCT A RECRUITING
EFFORT TO IDENTIFY FEMALE VOLUNTEERS FOR THE RANGER COURSE
ASSESSMENT.
3. (U) PREREQUISITES FOR ENTRY INTO THE RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT CAN
BE FOUND IN THE ARMY TRAINING REQUIREMENTS AND RESERVATION SYSTEM
(ATRRS). ADDITIONAL STUDENT INFORMATION AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
CAN BE FOUND ON THE AIRBORNE AND RANGER TRAINING BRIGADE (ARTB) WEB-
SITE UNDER THE STUDENT INFORMATION LINK
(HTTP://WWW.BENNING.ARMY.MIL/INFANTRY/RTB/)
3.A. (U) ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRICTIONS PROHIBITING WOMEN FROM ATTENDING
THE RANGER COURSE ARE SUSPENDED FOR SELECTION INTO THE RANGER COURSE
ASSESSMENT.
3.A.1. (U) THE RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT IS OPEN TO ALL FEMALE
VOLUNTEERS IN THE GRADES E4-O4.
3.A.2. (U) FEMALE SOLDIERS MUST BE VOLUNTEERS. FEMALE SOLDIERS WILL
NOT BE DIRECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT.
3.A.3. (U) ALL FEMALE VOLUNTEERS MUST HAVE AN END TERM OF SERVICE
(ETS) NO EARLIER THAN 01 OCTOBER 2016.
3.A.4. (U) FEMALE VOLUNTEERS MUST COMPLETE AN APPROVED RANGER
PHYSICAL EXAMINATION (DD FORM 2807-1, DD FORM 2807-2, AND DD FORM
2808) AND AUDIOGRAM (DD FORM 2216) PERFORMED IAW AR 40-501, CHAPTER
8. FEMALE VOLUNTEERS MUST PROVIDE COPIES OF ALL LABORATORY OR
SPECIALIZED CONSULTATIONS SIGNED BY A DOCTOR AND DENTIST, DATED
WITHIN 18 MONTHS OF COURSE START DATE. VOLUNTEERS MUST MEET MEDICAL
FITNESS STANDARDS IAW AR 40-501, CHAPTERS 2, 5-3, AND 5-4.
ADDITIONALLY, VOLUNTEERS MUST PROVIDE A CURRENT COPY OF MEDPROS THAT
INCLUDES A ROUTINE ADULT + H1N1 MODULE AND A ROUTINE IMMUNIZATION
SUMMARY.
3.A.5. (U) FEMALE VOLUNTEERS WILL BE ADMINISTERED A PREGNANCY TEST
DURING IN-PROCESSING. POSITIVE TESTS WILL RESULT IN DISENROLLMENT.
3.A.6. (U) ALL FEMALE VOLUNTEERS WILL BE REQUIRED TO ATTEND THE US
ARMY NATIONAL GUARD, RANGER TRAINING AND ASSESSMENT COURSE (RTAC)
CONDUCTED AT FT BENNING, COLUMBUS, GA PRIOR TO ENROLLMENT IN THE
RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT CLASS.
3.A.7. (U) ALL RTAC COURSE (ATRRS) RESERVATIONS, IN SUPPORT OF THE
RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT, WILL BE COORDINATED THROUGH THE US ARMY
INFANTRY SCHOOL (USAIS).
3.A.8. (U) ALL FEMALE VOLUNTEERS WILL HAVE A COPY OF THEIR COMMANDERS
VALIDATION LETTER FOR IN-PROCESSING. IN-PROCESSING PREREQUISITE
INFORMATION, INCLUDING AN EXAMPLE COMMANDERS VALIDATION LETTER, CAN
BE FOUND ON THE ARTB WEB SITE UNDER THE STUDENT INFORMATION LINK
(HTTP://WWW.BENNING.ARMY.MIL/INFANTRY/RTB/).
3.A.9. (U) THE COMMANDERS VALIDATION LETTER WILL CERTIFY ALL
PARTICIPANTS ARE PROFICIENT ON RANGER TASKS AND RANGER ASSESSMENT
PHASE REQUIREMENTS, INCLUDING: THE RANGER PHYSICAL ASSESSMENT (49
PUSH-UPS, 59 SIT-UPS, 5-MILE RUN IN 40 MINUTES, and 6 CHIN-UPS); 12-
MILE FOOTMARCH IN 3 HOURS; THE COMBAT WATER SURVIVAL ASSESSMENT
(CWSA); AND LAND NAVIGATION. THE 12-MILE FOOTMARCH IS CONDUCTED IN
THE ARMY COMBAT UNIFORM, BOOTS, FIGHTING LOAD CARRIER (FLC), PATROL
CAP, AND RUCKSACK WEIGHING A MINIMUM OF 35 LBS (WITHOUT WATER) WHILE
CARRYING AN INDIVIDUAL WEAPON.
3.B. (U) VOLUNTEER IDENTIFICATION AND ENROLLMENT TIMELINE.
3.B.1. (U) UNITS WILL PROVIDE USAIS THE NUMBER OF POTENTIAL
ASSESSMENT VOLUNTEERS NLT 3 NOV 14.
3.B.2. (U) UNITS WILL PROVIDE USAIS STANDARD NAME LINE INFORMATION OF
ASSESSMENT VOLUNTEERS NLT 1 DEC 14.
3.B.3. (U) DETAILED SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS AND INFORMATION WILL BE
PUBLISHED IN A SUPPLEMENTAL MESSAGE. ALL ATRRS RANGER COURSE SEATS
FOR THIS ASSESSMENT WILL BE HELD AND MANAGED BY THE USAIS.
3.C. (U) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
3.C.1. (U) FEMALE VOLUNTEERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO COMPLETE THE 90-DAY
RANGER COURSE PREPARATION PROGRAM ON THE ARTB WEB SITE
(HTTP://WWW.BENNING.ARMY.MIL/INFANTRY/RTB/).
3.C.2. (U) ALL WOMEN WHO SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE AND GRADUATE FROM THE
RANGER COURSE WILL RECEIVE A GRADUATION CERTIFICATE AND BE AWARDED,
AND AUTHORIZED TO WEAR, THE RANGER TAB. UNTIL FUTURE INTEGRATION
DECISIONS ARE MADE AND REQUIREMENTS UNDER TITLE 10 US CODE, SECTION
652 ARE SATISFIED, FEMALE GRADUATES WILL NOT RECEIVE THE ASSOCIATED
RANGER SKILL IDENTIFIERS OR BE ASSIGNED TO RANGER CODED UNITS OR
POSITIONS.
4. (U) FUNDING INFORMATION FOR ASSESSMENT PARTICIPANT ATTENDANCE AT
RTAC AND THE RANGER COURSE ASSESSMENT WILL BE PUBLISHED IN A
SUPPLEMENTAL MESSAGE.
5. (U) POINTS OF CONTACT (POCS).
5.A. (U) INITIAL REQUESTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WILL BE SENT TO
THE USAIS AT USARMY.BENNING.TRADOC.MBX.OCOIWEB@MAIL.MIL OR BY VOICE
MESSAGE AT (706) 545-0458; DSN 835-0458
5.B. (U) INDIVIDUAL POCS (FOR FUNDING, ORDERS, AND ATRRS) WILL BE
IDENTIFIED IN SUPPLEMENTAL MESSAGES.

The Kurdish Women Warriors — Fiction and Fact

Arturo in comments asked about the women in the Pesh Merga’s infantry outfit, which have, it turns out, been held out as an example of the potential of women in infantry combat. And they’re largely (per the photos) rather pretty looking, which is the opposite of what the Army’s PR flacks were asking for last year.

Kurdish Chick Fighters5

Yeah, they’re quite a thing — in the western media, something the PKK is rather adept at manipulating. The stories have appeared in more Western outlets than we can count, and the Kurdish women have been cited in a Marine Corps Association award-winning essay (which we’ll cover here soon) by a decorated woman Marine officer. But there’s a Potemkin Village aspect to these female units.

In actual fact, while the Pesh Merga have some stone-hard killers and guerilla fighters, and while their women are committed as can be to the success of their resistance, the female unit is not engaged in ground combat, despite the media narrative. One dead give-away: the gals are always depicted in shiny, fresh, new uniforms. Usually with earrings and make-up. The US press, in particular, zeroes in on the most attractive females.  This should surprise nobody — look at any Cosmopolitan cover to see what turns American feminists on.

Tough, but vulnerable, lady Death Eater seeks American reporters as pen pals, reply to Box 069, Irbil.

Tough, but vulnerable, lady Death Eater seeks American reporters as pen pals, reply to Box 069, Irbil.

Apart from the racy bra-strap shots (trust us, that is racy in the Middle East) there’s the obligatory images of women doing hand-to-hand on other women. Quentin Tarantino has made a whole career of staging these kinds of cat fights.

"And then, the ISIL guy left the toilet seat up! Eeeyaaargghhh!"

“And then, the ISIL guy left the toilet seat up! Eeeyaaargghhh!”

But the most recent (Aug-Sep 2014) spate of Kurdish Amazonia is me-too journalism at its “best.” In alphabetic order by outlet:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/08/iraq-kurdistan-female-regiment-peshmerga-fight-is.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-female-fighters-kurds-20140910-photogallery.html

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/499372/Female-fighters-of-the-Peshmerga-who-are-fighting-against-the-Islamic-State

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/09/02/isis-fighters-terrified-death-at-hands-female-pkk-warriors/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anushay-hossain/kurdish-female-fighters_b_5689904.html

http://www.ijreview.com/2014/08/167994-meet-isiss-worst-nightmare-women-battalion-kurdish-fighters/

http://mashable.com/2014/09/12/pkk-women-fighters-battling-isis/

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/09/01/female-pkk-fighters-may-be-isils-worst-nightmare.html
(this is a repop of the Stars and Stripes article. Some of the others may be dupes, too).

http://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow-daily/watch/meet-the-women-warriors-fighting-isis-320578627605
(video repop of the Vocativ article).

http://nypost.com/2014/08/14/kurdish-women-take-up-arms-against-islamic-state/

http://www.stripes.com/news/female-fighters-of-the-pkk-may-be-the-islamic-state-s-worst-nightmare-1.300259

http://www.vocativ.com/world/iraq-world/female-peshmerga-fighters/

Pack journalism is alive and well.

Note that as the outlet gets more American and more liberal, the focus on the most attractive women in the photos increases (NTTAWWT, some Kurdish women are very beautiful!) and the degree to which the writers extrapolate from these women’s combat exploits to the future of women in the US service increases. For example, the HuffPo claims that the 2nd Battalion singlehandedly recaptured the Mosul Dam. Er, no. They didn’t. Vocativ’s story, by two feminists, naturally, is full of unintelligible undergrad gender-theory cant and claims the unit was a reaction to ISIL (it dates to the Clinton era, FFS. 1996 — if not earlier. And it was a reaction to Saddam’s attacks on the Kurds). Why, gender roles are so broken down in the Pesh Merga that the women are organized in their own battalions, like the US did in WWII, and segregated from the men.

Kurdish Chick Fighters4

To give you an idea what the PKK really thinks of the unit, the female battalion commanders (LTC or jr. COL) report to a female brigade commander (COL)… who reports to a male lieutenant. Note also that all the photos are close-ups of individuals or small groups. The one shot we saw of a “large” formation had 18 women in it … being marched by a lieutenant colonel.

We’re sure ISIL are quaking in their sandals, and soiling their manjams. But then, these gals would probably stand and fight better than the Iraqi Army has done so far. (At least the Syrians, damn their eyes, are fighting).

Iraq: Women Peshmerga Of The 2nd Battalion Military Exercise

On second thought, screw “vulnerable.” Eat lead, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi! (Well, technically, “Eat steelcore.” But you get the idea).

But story after story talks about the combat prowess and exploits of these women, with no evidence at all. Well, we’re going to give one one data point of evidence. A real, no-$#!+ indicator of the combat-arms status of the unit comes from the NY Post story:

Although there have been no battle losses during the 18-year history of the 2nd Battalion, three soldiers were injured in 2003 during the battle of Kirkuk as the US invaded Iraq.

Got it? They’re not only superwomen, they’re also bulletproof! (Or maybe they, like the cameras that capture them so often, aren’t exactly in the front lines).

The Iranians have show units of women like this, too, which may be where the PKK got this predigested-for-lazy-journalists idea. So did Libyan oddjob Muammar Qadhafi. It looks like there are one or two stringers with photogs who went to press events in Irbil, and the rest of Journo World is all just copying off each other and making up more details.

Lethal aid for the Kurds is finally flowing though (which may be why the Turks’ noses are out of joint, or it may just be that Erdogan’s islamists are siding with their Islamic State pals). The US aid that’s enumerated in these articles is all ammo: 7.62 x 39, 14.5mm, and all sizes of comblock mortar rounds. (We’re taking “80mm” as a typo or journalist or PR-flack “braino”). The US is making pinprick raids on individual ISIL vehicles or emplacements, with one eye on domestic politics (“We better look like we’re doing something, we’re getting killed in the polls.”)

Bottom line — we have no doubt that Kurdish women are willing to fight. We’ve heard more than one Afghan woman express her desire to cut some Taliban throats. Remember that every Kurdish family has tales of victimization (and not the bullshit “microaggressions” that pampered collegiates whine about over here. Real, macro aggressions that leave family members dead). But they probably serve their country best in this propaganda role, frankly. Of course, that means we’re going to be hearing for decades from Social Justice Warriors™ and Women In Sensible Shoes® about ever-more-exaggerated Peshmerga-ette exploits.

We’ll tell people we’re reading the articles, but we’ll probably just look at the pictures.

 

Note

This story is a follow-up, thematically at least, to Breaking: Rangerettes, two different kinds! from 13 Sep 14, a report on the Army brass’s latest moves towards women in combat arms. We continue to develop the situation.

Breaking: Rangerettes, two different kinds

rangerette-benjaminA Friday night bad-news blast launched the Army’s latest iniquity into the weekend. The fix continues to be in for sending women to Ranger school in the Army. Indeed, they’ll be coming on two different pathways, both designed to use the halo of Ranger School and the Ranger Tab to burnish the packets of female careerists.

The first is for actual attendees at the school.

First, the Army is seeking female soldiers who want to attend Ranger school as students. Women in the ranks of specialist through major can apply. They must meet the physical qualifications and prerequisites required to attend Ranger School.

Those prerequisites are:

Physical requirements to attend Ranger school include completing at least 49 pushups in two minutes, at least 59 sit-ups in two minutes, at least six pull-ups, and a five-mile run in 40 minutes or less. Candidates also are required to complete a combat water survival assessment consisting of equipment removal and 15-meter swim in the Army Combat Uniform and boots.

These physical qualification tests must be done within 90 days of reporting to Ranger school.

Enlisted applicants must have a standard General Technical score of 90 or higher and 12 months or more active-duty service remaining after completion of Ranger school.

Those are not “fog a mirror,” but they’re also not insuperable requirements for reasonably fit women, especially the way most Army units grade female pushups — a nod of the head will do. But half the men who enter the course, after meeting that standard (with real pushups, even), drop. How’s the Army going to keep its hothouse flowers from wilting? Well, they’ll have a cadre of “observers” watching to make sure the gals are not held to the same standard as the guys.

Second, female soldiers can volunteer to serve as observers and advisors to the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. These slots are open to staff sergeants through master sergeants, chief warrant officers 2 and 3, and first lieutenants through majors.

These volunteers will not be Ranger instructors, and they won’t evaluate students in the course.

Nope. They’ll just be The Sisterhood’s eyes and ears, and any RI who writes up a dud female for a Major Minus Spot Report, or who fails a female 2LT for the things that 2LTs frequently bolo on a graded patrol, will have a notation in his file that may say some other words but will translate to: “Sexxxxxist! Career over.”

Of course they’ll have to meet high standards:

Women who volunteer to serve as observers must undergo a selection process that includes a fitness test, land navigation, a combat water survival assessment, an operations order test, as 12-mile road march with a 35-pound ruck, and review boards, according to the Army.

Note how much lower the standards than the ones for attendees. Translation: “We expect them to fog a mirror.” Note that this PT test is only to the much lower sex-normed PT standards. After all (to put it in language the President might understand), we can’t expect the Rangerettes to drive from the men’s tees.

The Army wants packets by 10 Oct 14 and the first graduates participants (can’t get ahead of the narrative) will be identified in December.

If approved, the Ranger course assessment will have male and female soldiers training together, according to the Army.

“If approved.” How droll. Let’s see, what are the odds that something that’s being dictated — including its outcome — by the E Ring suits to the Army chain of command will not be “approved”?

The standards will remain the same, and there will be no change to current performance requirements or graduation standards, officials said.

We have always been at war with Eastasia. The sugar ration has been raised from 25 to 20 grams. The standards will remain the same. I promise I’ll respect you in the morning.

“We will be prepared to execute the assessment professionally and objectively if directed,” said Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, Georgia, in a statement.

The one fact in that whole paragraph is that Fort Benning is in Georgia. This is a command-directed outcome, and the assessment will produce the outcome directed, and Miller thinks we’re ammunition-handler material if he expects us to believe him. (Well, with the press, he may have a point).

All female candidates selected for the course will be required to attend the Army National Guard Ranger Training and Assessment Course at Fort Benning before the start of their Ranger school class.

Translation: “We’re so sure this is going to be a success, that we’re going to run a prephase to see just how much coddling and how heavy a thumb on the scale will be required to achieve that success!”

via Women invited to apply for Ranger School | Army Times | armytimes.com.

UPDATE 15 Sep 14

We continue to follow this up with more reporting. Here’s a little cold water of truth on the mating dogs of the press and their Kurdish Women Warriors meme that’s going around. More to follow.

Combatives — They’re doing it wrong

Here’s a video for all you fans of women in the infantry. Female combatives! Alas, we can’t tell which one is Sage Santangelo. But that’s just our cismale gendernormative cryptofascism coming out, wise young people (like the ones in the video) tell us.

Should probably give you a pair of warnings: (1), foul language; and (2), overweening stupidity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rniCtyDoRrs

Sorry about the video being eight plus minutes of full retard, but that’s what it is.

The only surprise is that one of these two young, er, “ladies,” thinks to use a weapon. (When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have shovels!) It’s no surprise that the other one survives a shovel upside the head — it’s not clear that neither the duellists, nor the seconds, nor the Pajama Boy who’s method-acting the Gay Friend role, has anything in a head that can be damaged. Except maybe hair follicles.

UPDATE: 

Well, intercourse. YouTube has ganked the video (believe it or not, we didn’t understand what Miles meant at first until Samuel commented. Per YouTube:

This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s Terms of Service.

And yes, Jim, it was the one with several pathetic fights starting and then a full-handled shovel launched like a javelin and whacking one of the belligerents upside the head with a resounding clank. Shovel-victim, whose last several minutes of behavior have left us bereft of any sympathy for her, lies on the ground crying while the coterie of Mean Girls and Gay Friend circle in voyeuristic shock.

It leaves you wishing they could all be gobsmacked with shovels, or better yet, do it to one another unto death and save us the cost of incarcerating the ill-bred children they will soon spawn.

There are several shorter versions of the shovel-bonk video online, but you really needed the full 8 or 9 minutes of interpersonal relations failure to appreciate what losers these kits are (shoveler, shovelee, and eggers-on alike).

A Rangerette Roundup

rangerette-benjaminPut down the ropes, pard. Not that kind of roundup. We’re going to round up a few Rangerette stories about how our military is doing, marching off into the bright sunlit uplands of the Future with the New Soviet Non-Gendered Person in the vanguard of the proletariat.

Or something.

Navy: Chick Stands Watch. Man Dies For It

First, you all did catch the quixotic attack on the US Navy by a guy who was apparently a common-and-garden-variety ex-con with, quite possibly, some mental illness. The Navy’s in the deepest of deep denial, but the reason there’s a good sailor dead, MA2 Mark Mayo, is because the Petty Officer of the Watch on USS Mahan was a slight woman who was overpowered by, and gave up her sidearm to, the intruding ex-convict.

You all know about NCIS? No, not the one on TV with the hot chicks and all, the one in the real world, with a bunch of wannabe detectives in polyester doubleknit pants? That one. It has the responsibility for the investigation. The head of NCIS is not some grizzled old admiral or even a Naval officer, but he’s a gun-control ideologue, Andrew Traver, who was unable to get confirmed to his dream job as head of ATF, even by the Democratic Senate. Traver’s a politician, not an investigator, and the most interesting story that’s going to come out of this is what he buries and how he tries to bury it.

MA2 Mark Mayo 2The first fact they’re burying is the identity and even the sex of the overpowered Petty Officer of the Watch. If you look at news stories, like this one, they focus on the heroism of Mayo, who was forced to such an extreme by the failure of his shipmate. They don’t mention that shipmate’s name, and are careful even not to use a pronoun that might let the news leak that our she-sailors are not all Gorgonic Amazons.

The events occured in this order, according to preliminary reports (usual warnings about preliminary reports apply). These events took place on Monday, 24 March 2014, late at night.

  1. Jeffery Tyrone Savage, who’d done time for, among other things, voluntary manslaughter, had no authorization to be on base, but he had a standard transport worker’s pass, a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, and the gate guards passed him through. (This was not itself sufficient documentation, but the guards accepted it). He was driving a 2002 Freightliner tractor.
  2. He also had no authorization to be on Pier 1 where Mahan was berthed, but his pass and his patter got him through there, too.
  3. The last line of defense for a berthed ship is the ship’s own quarterdeck watch. On Mahan, the watchstanders were armed. Several (two? three?) of the ship’s watch approached Savage, suspicious of his behavior.
  4. Savage attacked and disarmed the Petty Officer of the Watch.
  5. Mayo reportedly dived in front of the PO. Savage fatally wounded Mayo with more than one shot fired from the Petty Officer of the Watch’s issue sidearm.
  6. Another armed Mahan watchstander, firing from aboard the ship, shot and killed Savage.

And… we are not making this up… the Navy called in grief counselors for the crew of USS Mahan. But there’s really only one person on that crew who should need grief counseling. Or, to be more precise, survivor’s-guilt counseling.

Might she have held on to the gun, if she knew the strange intruder was already a multi-time and a multi-time con? She might have tried harder, anyway. And she might still have failed.

A Side Note of Non-Rangerette Fail

Who issued Savage (aptly named guy) his credential? Who else, but the very Fortress of FAIL itself, the Transportation Security Administration. No one good, decent, moral, honest, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed by the TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

Go Army, Beat Navy… at Academy Beancounting

That was then...

That was then…

Once, Army was a football powerhouse. Of course, that was around 1950. Since then, you’d think the annual Little Big Horn that the Army-Navy game has become would inspire a new resolve in the Army that almost beat the North Koreans, that nearly defeated the People’s Republic of Vietnam, and that almost won Afghanistan and Iraq. And that, after all, did eke out wins over Grenada and Panama. You’d think that the new Commandant would be determined his Academy would win… at something. 

And you’d be right. Because LTG Robert Caslen is determined to beat Navy where they’re clobbering Army right now — in beancounting of women and minorities. Right now, the Navy is ahead in the very biggest statistic in Caslen’s crabbed little world — they have 22% female cadets, and West Point has only 16%.

West Point’s new superintendent said the moves — which include more outreach and the cultivation of competitive candidates — will help keep the storied academy ahead of the curve now that the Pentagon is lifting restrictions for women in combat jobs.

This is now.

…and this is now.

Translation: “more outreach” means dropping standards, and “cultivation of competitive candidates” means quotas and incentives. And dropping standards.

“We obviously have to increase the female population for a number of reasons. One is because there are more opportunities in the branches for the females,” Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr. said.

Explain how they help the US beat a Russian or Chinese army in, say Poland or Burma or Taiwan. Explain how they help the US beat Iran, should we have to fight there. Explain why the Russians, Chinese and Iranians will lose because their military academies waste time focusing on excellence instead of “diversity.”

Women have been a presence at the nation’s military academies since 1976. Female cadets here can grow their hair longer than the standard military buzz-cut and can wear stud earrings. But they carry the same heavy packs, march the same miles and graduate with the same second lieutenant bars the men here do.

They’ve let up on the male cadets that much, eh? Maybe Caslen can argue that he might have only 16% women, but he’s way over 22% pussies. Of course, the womyn cadets don’t see it that way:

“I carry the heavy weapons whenever we do field training exercises,” said Cadet Austen Boroff, a woman who refuses to be out-soldiered by her male peers. “I’ll take the machine guns, so I’m taking more weight.”

Austen! Daddy wanted a boy, huh? Reminds us of the character Larry Correia named for an australian submachine gun, but Larry’s character was named after the good one.

[D]irector of admissions Col. Deborah McDonald said there has been an increase in the number of female nominees.

Col McDonald 2

Col. Deborah McDonald, USMA Beancounter-in-Chief Director of Admissions

McDonald is a sometime speaker at “diversity” events. Sisters gotta look out for themselves….

And the academy has begun targeting top-tier female candidates and guiding them through the demanding application process. They already do that for standout scholars, soldiers, athletes and minorities.

OK, so it is a hand-coddling affirmative action program. What did we tell you? Now they will say there are no quotas…

Caslen said there’s no long-term goal yet for a percentage of female cadets. Also, final numbers on the incoming Class of 2018 won’t be known until the new group arrives for cadet basic training July 2.

What did we just tell you? But there really are quotas…

But West Point, as of this week, has admitted 229 female applicants and as many as 36 other females from the academy’s prep school will be considered.

“I have no concerns at all that we won’t actually move right beyond the 20 percent mark,” McDonald said. “It might even be as high as 22 percent.”

So what’s the quota, Deb? Just coincidentally, Navy’s 22 percent?

Any other admissions secret weapons?

West Point women’s lacrosse team is moving up to Division I in 2015, which also is expected to draw more interest from top female athletes who now choose other schools.

Ah yeah. Women’s lacrosse. What will West Point do with its share of the TV sponsorship money? Put on The Vagina Monologues? 

In a 2012-13 affirmative action Supreme Court case, a group of “diversity” (of the bean-counting kind) -desiring generals and admirals submitted a brief for racial discrimination in college admissions.

While the Marines have had a lot of publicity for their publicity-hound female LTs who flunk out of Infantry officer basic school, females in the class that entered West Point last year, and all subsequent classes, will be allowed to go infantry if they choose, and they will still only be held to the lower sex-normed fitness standards.

What’s more likely to succeed, counting beans or promoting merit? Everyone knows the answer to this, which is why the proponents are trying to redefine beancount (“diversity”) as a form of merit, valuable for its own sake.

Exit question: Academy graduates incur a five-year obligation, unless they make a commitment (such as flight school) that extends it. Women can escape the obligation at their option if pregnant, but otherwise must complete it like men, unless injured. The most recent class that has passed their basic obligation date, then, will be the Class of 2008 (2009 is coming up). So the question is: excluding officers who extended their obligation, what percentage of the West Point women of the Class of 2008 are still serving? What percentage of the West Point men?

And How Do Non-Careerist Women Feel About Combat?

Well, nobody asks them, because this is a big project of the lesbo-feminist Official Sisterhood and is underway for the benefit of careerist ticket-punchers, who are attracted to the military for the power and the ability to inflict their passive-aggressive or just plain aggressive personalities on lower ranks who have to sit and take it. (Don’t believe us? Meet Holly Graf. Let us Google that for you. The abominable Graf, by the way, got a break a man wouldn’t get for assault and other crimes: full retirement at O-6).

The vast majority of female soldiers/sailors/airmen/Marines, who do vital jobs every day for reasons susprisingly similar, to you old-timers, to that of their male brothers and cousins who are also in uniform, don’t want any part of it. Consider these lines from a non-military story that interviewed a female Army vet whose boyfriend pressed her to take a gun for defense:

What Jewell was trying to do, she said, was convince her to keep a gun for her own protection. He meant to show her that guns are safe.

Jackson, a U.S. Army veteran, said she’s always felt uncomfortable around firearms.

“I don’t like just the uncertainty of whether or not it’s going to go off,” she said.

That gal is the sort of female trooper who’s not being interviewed. In the service, we saw lots of them (and men who were afraid of firearms, too, although the men tried to mask it). No doubt she served honorably and well, and did something useful while in uniform.

But the sisterhood thinks she needs to shup up, ruck up, and accept the Holly Graf level of leadership that comes from some of our ambitious academy women.

Lady Marine Weaponizes the Whining

2LT Sage Santangelo (she's the one with the baby fat)

2LT Sage Santangelo (she’s the one with the baby fat)

We’ve covered again and again the whole sad dynamic of women (by which we pretty much mean careerist officers and women who’d rather be men) demanding equal access to combat leadership slots for career reasons, while expecting the heteronormative male patriarchy (that’s Feminist for “men”) to (1) lower the standards to meet the women wherever they are, and (2) do it all while denying they’ve lowered the standards.

The senior leaders of all the services, generals and admirals, empty chests who’ve sold their souls for that fourth star, are certainly willing to play along. Hell, there’s no limit to the casualties they’ll send their men to take for “lip service to diversity,” the organizing principle of the American political class.

But their vision of the Bright Shining Uplands of the future with the New Soviet Man New Combat Barbie™ is struggling to make headway. As we’ve recounted, the Marines’ aggressive attempts to push carefully selected and prepared Marine women through Infantry officer training has produced three things: officers who quit, officers who flunked, and officers who injured themselves in the effort (badly enough to fail the course). This is because the New Combat Barbie™ plan is up against biological, behavioral, and psychological facts that altogether could be called “sexual dimorphism in homo sapiens

But that’s not the way at least one of these failures sees it. See, Lieutenant Sage Santangelo wuz robbed. In the real physical world, as opposed to in the fevered brain of a Unique And Special Snowflake™, she failed miserably — a first-day failure, along with the other three female LTs in her class, and 24 of 100 male ones. At some level she realizes she just could not do it: 

[T]here came a point when I could not persuade my body to perform. It wasn’t a matter of will but of pure physical strength. My mind wanted more, but my muscles quivered in failure after multiple attempts. I began to shiver as I got cold. I was told I could not continue.

But that tiny admission of failure was buried deep within a Washington Post opinion piece by Santangelo in which she excused her failure and demanded another chance.

I’ve always been taught that failure provides the greatest learning opportunities. My failed effort at Quantico has helped me better understand the needs of the Marines on the ground and will allow me to better support them in the future. At the same time, I love the Marine Corps philosophy that failure should never be viewed as permanent or representative; it is an opportunity to remediate. Marines cannot meet standards all the time. What do we do? We train until every Marine is competent. “No Marine joins the Corps to be a failure,” Gen. James F. Amos has said. “We don’t raise them up that way.”

She went on to argue that, essentially, the standards be dropped to meet her:

[I]nstead of passively evaluating their performance, we need to figure out how to set women up to excel in infantry roles.

We know what those code phrases (“set women up to excel”) mean. And, sure enough, it did. She wanted a do-over at Infantry school, which some male officers have received; but she didn’t want it to interfere with her plum flight school billet which she’d already secured.

Her whining was extremely irritating, but given the politicians in Washington these days, worked; on April 4th Marine Commandant Amos offered future women a do-over, and Santangelo a tour in Afghanistan — an offer extended to no other officer who failed out of basic branch school, as far as we know — while she waits for flight school. She’s not needed to do anything in particular in Afghanistan; it’s just a ticket-punch for someone the brass wants to smile on. She’s so special the rest of the 2LTs in the Corps have to wear shades and face away from her.

Naturally, this school failure is far more celebrated in the media than any of the Marines’ successful officers. This week, she went on ABC News and told them that she didn’t actually fail: the Marines robbed her by putting her in all-female training units that didn’t challenge her enough, physically.

[S]he was segregated into female-only training units and as a woman, was relegated to less strenuous physical training than her male counterparts. And that’s why, Santangelo told “On the Radar,” she didn’t have a fair shot at passing the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course.

Why, those mean old men Marines, they expected her to get in shape on her own. Why, like she was a male Marine or something. Call that girl the Waaahmbulance!

That’s kind of like all the BUD/S, 18X SFAS and SFQC failures saying that basic training PT wasn’t hard enough to get them ready for the big gut check. Seriously, everybody that ever succeeded at anything like this got into shape on their own — doing the minimum standard in training PT won’t prepare you, and if you’re fit enough to go to any elite unit or to infantry training, it’s because you prepared yourself, and if you rely only on unit PT in basic training units you’ll fail. QED.

Likewise, anybody in any military elite unit has passed through a crucible including “muscle failure PT.” Yes, there’s a number of reps and sets that anybody can’t do, and the instructors will make sure you do “go there.” It’s what you do after your quivering, twitching skeletal muscles have hit the wall that exposes your charachter.

Santangelo went back to the billets and ordered pizza.

“The standards have to change,” she says, and we all know what that means to Jim Amos and the other DC timeservers. But then she goes on to say, “The standards cannot change.” In pretty much the next sentence. La donna è mobile, eh. 

This person is a piss-poor officer and a pretty lousy human being. But the fix was in, according to Jonn Lilyea at milblog This Ain’t Hell:

As it turns out, the commandant of the Marine Corps, James Amos, ghost wrote the piece with the young 2LT, because, for some reason the issue was important to him. …

Santangelo still won’t accept responsibility for her own unpreparedness for participation in the course. She says that the Marine Corps set her up for failure by making initial training different for men and women.

Yeah, Waahmbulance enroute for the podgy little thing. It’s hard to top Jonn’s coda:

But, as we’ve all known since we read Santangelo’s Washington Post piece, this has been about LT Santangelo, not the Marine Corps or even women in combat. I wonder what her excuse will be when she fails next time.

Whatever it is, we’re as confident as Jonn that she will have one.

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 WeaponsMan.com, 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?)