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?

12 thoughts on “The Rangerette Reckoning Comes

  1. McThag

    I am officially a sexist for taking the position that if women are equal, then they should not need the bar lowered for them.

    It’s an old meme but the military is for killing people and breaking shit. Does the proposed change make it cheaper, have no cost or make it more expensive to kill people and break shit? So far, everything associated with women in the military has made it cost more.

  2. Xavier

    I love all the tabs and CIB’s on the Officers and NCOs making these decisions.

    In other news, all our PT scores are about to go up.

  3. earthman

    Is your reading/opinion/inside info of this crap mean that a female E5 Clerk Typist can transfer to a 11B slot without MOS training? Just show up one day and shazam! Team Leader in a Infantry squad? I’m sure that will work out well (even with MOS training). I wonder what’s in-store for RASP and Ranger school, female walkers with the RI’s just to “protect” the female students. I can only laugh at this shit these days…

    1. Hognose Post author

      ETA (at the beginning!) that I’m not sure how they’re going to do it. Presumably they’ll be “selected,” but then, so have been some of the other women downrange (civil affairs, female engagement teams) that have not been an unqualified success.

      The poor Ragnars are being pulled both ways. ADM McRaven has organized a two-year study of SOF roles to see where women can either (1) add to the mission or (2) at least fit in without making an unholy mess. And presumably Ranger Regiment is covered under that. But the Army G1’s plan has the Rangers going co-ed in 2015, both school (if you’re going to have women in infantry officer positions, you’re going to have to find a way to stick tabs on them) and Regiment/Battalions.

      This idea is highly unpopular with incumbents and veterans, but the conventional wisdom in the suit suites in the Pentangle is that Rangers and former and reformed Rangers are Neanderthals who just need to die out quietly so that our bigger-brained Yarvard lawyers can lead us forth into the bright sunlit uplands of “gender” which is “socially constructed” instead of old Neanderthal “sex” which starts on your 23rd Chromosome and builds out from there by making radically different proteins and switching on and off different traits throughout the organism.

      The denial of biology is strong with this besuited element, and it manifests itself far beyond simple blindness to, say, sexual dimorphism. I don’t think some of our foreign rivals are crippled by this PC, which is becoming more like Lysenkoism, an antiscientific religion that pretends it’s science. “We can change human nature!” Yeah. Lots of luck with that. Check out how Lysenko did.

      ETA (at the end): while women this side of steroid-swollen circus freaks (who themselves would still fail because the roids make them even more fragile) just can’t succeed in infantry or Ranger ops, and can’t do the full-spectrum range of SOF operations, there are some places in SOF world where they can certainly add to the mission. (AFO, ASOT, clandestine operations in general, personnel recovery are a few). It might be a mistake to assume that they haven’t been doing so.

      1. earthman

        Right, as you know, females are “augmenting” SF teams in Afghanistan. My oldest son’s team has four females (the second set) attached and are apparently worthless., though they take alot of pictures of themselves in various “hooah” poses, they can’t hook up a washing machine. His biggest headache, besides getting shot at, are the generators out there.

        1. Hognose Post author

          The two things you hear about these augs are (1) “useless” (and synonyms, often profane) and (2) “you can’t say that out loud, because the program was declared a success at launch.” If it makes him feel any better, “war tourism” and generators were already taking up way too much mindshare there in 2002.

          In hindsight, we should have just nuked the place.

  4. Aesop

    One hopes that Marine recruiters will helpfully point out these facts of life to wannabe women recruits, and nudge them ever-so-gently down the corridor to the helpful Army recruiter.

    Semper Fi, Mac.

    And if the four star sphincters at Babylon on the Potomac would like to settle a few old scores with SF, they could simply ship the Ranger and SF establishment wholesale down the road instead. HQMC will welcome y’all with open arms.

    Then we can just rename the whole thing the Men’s Department, and cut the crap once and for all.

    In the meantime, expect the term “fragging” to experience a resurgence in the military in the near future, as long as combat activities persist.
    No one is more attached to his own life than an 18-year-old infantryman helpfully provided with a couple of live grenades by his command.

  5. Y.

    What I don’t get is who is pushing this crap.
    Surely not the brass?


    “We can change human nature!”

    You probably could, if you tried. These dolts just ignore reality.

    Women are smaller, but that can be remedied by more HGH before adolescence. IMHO, should be done. I wouldn’t mind women being taller- I only see some of my own height only about three times a year..

    There’s also less muscularity. Fixing that’d be more difficult. Perhaps engineering in some partial resistance to myostatin would do the trick and that’d really put Abrahamic knickers into a twist.

    All of it’s kind of pointless, In twenty years’ time, infantry’s going to be full of combat robots, with live people as NCO’s and officers.. so why bother, really.

    1. Hognose Post author

      “not the brass?” Depends. It’s coming from the Pentagon suits and higher: Secdef, Assistants, Deputies, Under’s, all those, as Lenin would say, “useless eaters.” As far as the brass goes, there has always been a minority who got where they got by being willing to push granny’s wheelchair in front of the A Train. (Cough Dempsey cough). Remember Rick Shinseki? He was that kind of a general before he was a disaster at DVA. (Funny thing about Shinseki. He was a stone stud as a company grade officer, respected and admired by his peers and NCOs. What happened? Ambition and Washington, maybe).

      “Combat robots.” We’ll see. Turning over tasks where the risks of human decision-making are great to machinery has, so far, only changed the key nexus of the error chain from on-scene to the design and development lab. NASA’s biggest errors were never made by astronauts, but by engineers and program managers. One of Macarthur Job’s excellent slim volumes on air crashes has a theme of automation-induced accidents. That’s also one underlying theme of Perrow’s Normal Accidents, although Perrow draws (I think) the wrong conclusions, arguing that some things (like nuclear power) are just too dangerous for humans to do, anywhere, period. Perrow is not an economist and doesn’t grasp the concepts of that field. (If you multiplied all the nuclear power deaths by 10, and threw in the radiation deaths from nuclear weapons, we’d probably be looking at a year or two’s global accidents in the energy extractive energies (oil drilling, mining, transport).

      Right now, human intelligence can do some things the computers don’t do well. We’re better at parallel processing and at prioritizing sensory input than the relatively crude computers we’ve built so far. I see the computers assisting, not replacing. But we’ll see… it’s going to be an interesting future to live in.

      1. Y.

        DVA head?

        Last I heard of him, not being interested in VA, he retired after criticizing the Iraqi invasion plans for not having enough troops.

        Ruthless people are pretty common near the top of hierarchical organisations, I’d say. Isn’t always due to power, power draws such people.


        But we’ll see… it’s going to be an interesting future to live in.

        Yeah, in the meaning used in the Chinese curse (“May you live in interesting times!”).
        Yeah. Killer robots, self-driving cars, practical mind control, ubiquitous surveillance (I bet that within 20 years, there’ll be 20 autonomous surveillance drones for every cop) ..

        I’m kind of hoping Federal Gov’t goes bankrupt, because nothing else could save liberty in the US. If NSA is allowed to go on, it’ll eventually know everything on everyone, which coupled with the vague laws US has is going to result in effectively a dictatorship by the national security organisations.

        In addition, they supposedly have access to 0-day exploits to almost all kinds of software, so a couple of guys working for the Feds can easily hack someone’s computer to make it access for example child porn over a period of time, stash some CP on it and then wait for the police to catch-up. Or outright fake the records to accomplish the same..

Comments are closed.