Tag Archives: defense

Some Additional Thoughts on the Relief of LtCol Kate Germano

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The recent relief of LtCol Kate Germano, CO of 4th RTBn at Parris Island, is an event that I have been following with some interest.  Quite frankly, I don’t know quite what to make of it.  I have largely refrained from commentary for that reason.  But let me put forth some thoughts.

The announcement that she was relieved because she “created a toxic work environment” smacks of whining about hurt feelings and people being offended.  The Depot Chief of Staff, Col Jeff Fultz, commented “She was telling them their male counterparts will never respect them if they don’t get good physical scores. You just don’t do that.”  Actually, Colonel, you do.  Marines who are physically marginal to substandard, regardless of gender, do not inspire the respect and confidence of seniors, peers, or juniors, especially when compared to those capable of leading by physical example.   If that was the case, LtCol Germano was speaking an immutable truth of leadership.

However, there are also allegations that LtCol Germano disobeyed her chain of command, which is a serious matter.  I can also imagine, having been at the periphery of zealous activism on the part of feminists, that she might have done and said things that she should not have, that indeed were abusive, and did undermine her boss’s authority.   I happen to know Dan Haas, the Recruit Training Regimental Commander, having served with him in 10th Marines a number of years ago.  And I think a lot of his talent and professionalism.  What seems very possible is that LtCol Germano said some magic words to or about the wrong person about a subject she was passionate about, likely more than once, and she got fired for it.  Her complaints, however, deserve examination in whole and in part.  Other than what she has written publicly, I know little about her personal views or why she holds them.

On the whole, however, LtCol Germano is witnessing the head-on collision between two mutually exclusive interests.  The advocacy for women, the accommodation made for them, the emphasis put on their importance, their empowerment to destroy careers and lives of male service members with an unfounded accusation, have caused women to serve in an environment where they are often not held to task or standard, and where they are not expected to perform.  No amount of feminist outrage can take the truth from that statement.  Women are seen, and not unreasonably, as dangerous to one’s career.  Hell hath no fury like a woman with an EEO complaint.  What LtCol Germano identifies is the predictable residue of favoritism.

That favoritism is also the cause of not a little resentment among male service members.  While they are TOLD that women are their equal at all things military (and disagreement a punishable offense, regardless of evidence to the contrary), what they really see is the dichotomy where their female comrade is portrayed as a helpless victim of unwanted sexual advances by evil men, while somehow at the same time being a fearsome she-warrior of the Ziva David variety, kicking male ass at every turn.   The truth was quite a bit different, as you can imagine.  As an example, when I was with 2nd SRIG in 1993-94, it was a staple of every quarterly conditioning hike to have to take note of the gender of the hike drops.  These were pretty mild affairs, as we carried a mere basic load for about 12 miles, and there are virtually no hills at Camp Lejeune.  From a unit of about 400 Marines (HQBn), it was not uncommon to have 30 hike drops, which would almost inevitably include every female in the battalion, of which there were between 24 and 28.   Hike after hike, not a single female could complete the event.   We were warned, however, that mentioning that fact was tantamount to sexual harassment, and we would be held accountable.   Once, one of the female Marines from 2nd UAV Company actually made the hike, and the SRIG SgtMaj wanted her to get special recognition.   If Kate Germano is looking for causes of low expectations, the climate created that would allow such a thing is a great place to start.

In detail, however, LtCol Germano’s assertions also bear some examination.  I spent three years on the Drill Field at Parris Island, graduating eleven cycles, with time thrown in as OIC of Academics and Close Combat.  My position was as a series and company commander, significantly closer to the training than Kate Germano was likely to be on a daily basis.   Though I left Parris Island before LtCol Germano was commissioned (gaaah!), some things likely still haven’t changed.  The problems she identifies regarding female marksmanship and physical fitness are not new.

First, marksmanship.  Marines, as we know, love our marksmanship.  Every Marine a rifleman, even the females.  Female recruits struggle to qualify at the same rate as males.  We explored that answer in detail some years ago, and what we found had little to do with expectations or instruction or emphasis.  It was the raw material.  Primary Marksmanship Instructors (PMIs), coaches, Drill Instructors, Series Officers, and Range Officers all came to the same conclusion, that relative to their male counterparts, far fewer female recruits had any experience handling or firing weapons.  When the PMIs would ask a recruit platoon how many had ever fired a rifle before, about a third of the male hands would go up.  On the female side, sometimes none would.  The entire concept, language, handling, and operation of the service rifle was completely foreign.  The amount of new information they have to process in comparison to their male counterparts is far greater over the same period of instruction.  (Anecdotally, the females who had fired a weapon tended to do far better than those who’d never handled one before.)   One proposal was to lengthen basic training for females by a week to give them an extra “grass week” to work on fundamentals, but with the requirements of service and cost, this was an impossibility.  While LtCol Germano may be able to work some significant improvement into female rifle scores, an effort which I loudly applaud, I believe it is the starting point of female versus male recruits that more than anything determines qualification results.

(I hate to bring this up, but LtCol Germano wears two Marksman badges, the lowest classification of qual for rifle and pistol.  What is true of physical fitness is also true of weapons proficiency.  Practicing what you preach and shooting expert would help a great deal with credibility…)

In the physical realm, we experimented back in the late 80s/early 90s with increasing female running and hiking requirements to approximate male standards.  What we wound up doing was injuring female recruits in large numbers. Here is where Mother Nature was most unfair.  The injuries to the female recruits were far more serious than to their male counterparts.  Males would suffer stress fractures in their shins, below the knee.  Painful, for sure, but when healed, not debilitating.  Female recruits would suffer their stress fractures in the femur and pelvis.  Often those injuries did permanent damage.   We were breaking female recruits at an alarming rate, so the experiment was stopped.  I don’t know if the prevalence of girls and young women on the sports field will eventually have some impact on the disparity, but I would caution that we would continue to break females at an unacceptably high rate, with serious injuries, by implementing male standards for female recruits.

I didn’t see where LtCol Germano advocated for integration of male and female platoons.  If she did, I missed it.  I hope she does not.  Such would be a catastrophe, destroying the character of both male and female training.  The reasons are legion, and I will not explore them here.  Perhaps in another post.  But her lament about being “away from male training” doesn’t really hold water.  When I was at Parris Island, Third Recruit Training Battalion was farther from the main parade deck than Fourth Recruit Training Battalion was/is. “Where nobody can hear your pleas for mercy”, as one of my favorite Senior Drill Instructors was fond of saying.   4th Bn should embrace being “away from the flagpole”, as we did out in the woods with 3rd Bn.

So, I cannot get a feel whether I find LtCol Germano’s relief justified.  I can empathize with and agree with some of her assertions.  I can applaud her zeal in trying to ensure her Marines are trained to the sharpest edge.  I also cannot tell whether I would agree with her in a sit-down regarding the training and leadership of Marines.  She does not come across as a girl-power feminist whose cause comes before Corps.  But again, I don’t know.  I would be disappointed if she were.   What I do surmise is that her relief had little to do with “integration of women in the Marine Corps”, as both sides of the discussion seem to want to make it.

But what we definitely saw was the head-on collision between special treatment and high expectations.  They are mutually exclusive.

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Mil Times: VA Doctor Regrets Post Telling Gun Advocate to ‘Off’ Himself

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So typically VA.

Gorton was responding to a post that came through his Facebook page by an apparent gun-rights supporter, according to images posted to the website Imgur and described by the newspaper.

“I am all for gun control,” the user wrote. “If there is a gun in the room, I want to be in control of it.”

Gorton replied: “Off yourself, please.”

Gorton said he would not call himself a gun-control activist.

“I have concerns about gun violence, but many of us do,” he said.

He should have concerns about his next paycheck, because he should be fired immediately.

For what it is worth, and it is worth a ton, the VA Hospital in Philadelphia commented on the incident, as the AP tells:

“The post was totally inappropriate and does not convey our commitment to veterans. We are taking steps immediately to address the situation,” the VA told the newspaper.

Yes, it perfectly portrays your commitment to Veterans.   And is a symptom of a much larger problem.

In an unrelated matter, VA officials told Congress this month that nearly a dozen employees at the regional office in Philadelphia could face discipline over their errant handling of a backlog of benefit claims.

The VA’s inspector general had found that Philadelphia staff neglected mail, altered claims dates and reviews and made $2.2 million in duplicate benefit payments as it tried to reduce backlogs.

Unrelated, my ass.  The debacles in Phoenix and in Philadelphia and across the VA system should result in people being charged with criminal misconduct (including Federal charges relating to retribution against whistle-blowers), and if clinicians are found to have had knowledge or willfully participated in the scandals, they should have their licenses to practice medicine revoked.

The VA is an unaccountable, unresponsive, inefficient, bureaucratic nightmare, where medical care is decidedly uneven.  There are good people trying to do good work, to be sure.  But far, far too many who are of the ilk that begets the kind of despicable and dishonest mismanagement we hear about daily from the VA.  Secretary Bob McDonald, who took over for Eric Shinsecki, needs to fire people, loudly and publicly.  Heads on plates.  Gregg Gorton’s should be among them.  Along with his newly-revoked license to practice psychiatry.   If Gorton’s head is not on that plate today, perhaps Bob McDonald’s head should be served.

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More on Door-Kicking, Aggressive, Unnecessarily Escalatory “Peace Officers”

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From that urbane sophisticate, LTCOL P over at Op-For, where he references WAPO, via SurvivalBlog:

The culture that encourages police officers to engage their weapons before gathering information promotes the mind-set that nothing, including citizen safety, is more important than officers’ personal security.

Worth the read, both LTCOL P’s cogent commentary and the original article.

Police officers should understand the risks in their jobs when they enroll in the academy, as well. That means knowing that personal safety can’t always come first.

Very tired of Police Officers asserting that their “safety” trumps Constitutional liberties.  Especially when they are more aggressive toward law-abiding American citizens than I was ever allowed to be toward Iraqis.  Sadly, as LTCOL P points out, they behave like Volkspolizei because we have allowed it.

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Farewell, Moe Greene

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“Don’t you know who I am?  I’m Moe Greene!”.   Actor Alex Rocco, a talented and versatile performer best known for his portrayal of the Bugsy Siegel-esque Las Vegas mob boss Moe Greene in The Godfather, has died at age 79.  Rocco’s character is one of the iconic performances in that magnificent film.  His screen demise as Greene is one of the most memorable in all of “mob cinema”.

Hyman Roth didn’t ask who gave the order.  Because it had nothing to do with business!  RIP Alex Rocco.  And thanks for the memorable character.

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To Hear the Media Tell It….

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This murderer is representative of all white people, and white people should feel responsible for his actions, because we all secretly want to murder black people.

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This murderer’s motive were unclear, but they are certain he is not representative whatsoever of Islam, and anyone thinking otherwise is Islamophobic, and should be ashamed of themselves for thinking so.

Got it?  Easy enough.

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“Let Facts be Submitted to a Candid World”

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security… To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

When one thinks of our wide-open borders, and the IRS, EPA, and Justice Department being weaponized to persecute political opposition extralegally, Obamacare, the Drone Memo, the race-baiting agitation engendered, the massive numbers of apparatchik “czars” having been appointed, the militarization of law enforcement, the violation of our 4th Amendment rights by NSA and FBI, and (if one substitutes “Muslim extremist” for “Indian”) the influx into our cities and towns of violent men who are sworn enemies of our country and our people, the above text resonates quite loudly even when the Obama Administration replaces that of Mad King George.  Unfit ruler of a free people, indeed.  No coincidence that the demand for political correctness has destroyed that candid world.

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Next Marine Commandant: It’s LtGen Rob Neller

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LtGen Robert Neller has been nominated to succeed Joe Dunford as the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Neller has more than 40 years of USMC service, has commanded at every level, and has plenty of combat experience.  He was also a semi-feared Captain Tactics Instructor some 29 years ago when Yours Truly was a Second Lieutenant at The Basic School.  He commanded the famous Sixth Marine Regiment in the late 1990s, and at his change of command spoke emotionally and eloquently of the traditions of our Corps, including the grim battle of Belleau Wood, where his 6th Marines (along with the 5th Marines) would win their distinctive fourragére with the famous Marine Brigade in 1918.

LtGen Neller leaps over two Generals, ACMC John Paxton, and John Kelly currently Commander SOUTHCOM.

He is also a grunt, heart and soul.  It has always been my opinion that the Marine Commandant ought to be an 0302 Infantry Officer.  The infantry is the backbone of our Corps, with every other MOS existing to support the ground-pounder.  No artillerymen, no tankers, no amtrackers.  Certainly no aviators.  Rob Neller certainly fills that requirement.

Semper Fidelis, and Godspeed, LtGen Neller.  Guide our beloved Corps through what are sure to be hard and challenging times.  Have us come out the other side as United States Marines, Marines that could fight and win Guadalcanal or the Chosin Reservoir, or Hue City, or Ramadi, if the nation required it once again.

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