Marines blast Ret. female Army Col. for saying IOC standards should be lowered so women can pass

Retired Army Col. Ellen Haring believes the Marine Corps’ fitness standards are too severe and don’t reflect what officers actually have to do out in the field.

Haring wrote an opinion piece in The Marine Corps Times on October 15, saying the Marines’ requirements for infantry officers are ‘unrealistic’.

Eight women were apparently able to pass the Combat Endurance Test, but failed the IOC, or Infantry Officer Course. An IOC diploma is a must to earn the designation of infantry officer. The women reportedly flunked because they couldn’t hike while carrying loads over 100 pounds. That task must be done for 9.3 miles in a certain amount of time.

After asking some officers about their personal experiences in an operational setting, Haring reportedly found that there are very few cases in which officers would have to carry that kind of weight in the field, The Daily Caller reported.

This did not sit well with some infantry men who took to an online military forum  to blast Haring and her theories. One Marine, identified as Josh, points out that carrying that amount of weight was “common practice in conventional settings like World War II and the Korean War, where Weapons Company platoons carry heavy loads of machine gun and mortar assets for line companies.”

Dropping the fitness requirement just to let women in creates a very ‘slippery slope’ – many Marines believe. “Excellence comes at a price, and our nation’s enemies don’t give a damn about how politically correct and diverse our warrior class looks,” Josh wrote.

In an letter to Ellen -published on Funker530- Josh said:

First and foremost, stay in your lane. This is an easy enough rule to follow, and you’ve probably bashed it into the skulls of every soldier you have ever had in your charge. Since you are A. Not in the Marine Corps, and B. Not ever going to attempt to join the Marine Corps infantry, the entire situation at Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course has absolutely nothing to do with you, and your thoughts on the subject really do not matter to the Marines.”

In March, Haring published an article in Task and Purpose comparing the gender separate Marine boot camp to the Jim Crow Laws.

“The problem with the notion of separate but equal is that we have a well-established history that documents the poor outcomes of such a practice. The military did it to Japanese Americans and African Americans, but eventually discarded the practice,” she wrote.

In 2012, Haring sued the Pentagon saying the Pentagon’s exclusion of women from most combat positions is unconstitutional.

Before Defense Secretary Carter made the decision to open all occupations to women, then-Army Gen. Martin Dempsey laid down the law saying: “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?”

During a 2013 Pentagon news conference Dempsey “planted the seeds for a future downward trajectory in standards,” the Caller reported.

Haring, a West Point graduate, is a senior fellow with Women in International Security, where she ‘directs the Combat Integration Initiative project’. She’s currently completing a Ph.D. at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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