Author Topic: The Overweight Infantryman  (Read 177 times)

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Offline rangerrebew

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The Overweight Infantryman
« on: January 11, 2017, 05:35:48 AM »
The Overweight Infantryman
By James King
January 10, 2017

The Infantry has a weight problem. The amount of weight soldiers or Marines are asked to carry has grown exponentially while their ability to carry that load has not. This issue was brought to the forefront recently when retired Army Col. Ellen Haring wrote an opinion piece for the Marine Corps Times in which she was critical of the requirement for Marine Corps infantry officers to carry a load of up to 152 pounds for more than nine miles, at a twenty-minute-per-mile pace—a standard that Haring argues is unrealistic and prevents women from successfully completing the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course. At first glance this may seem like a reasonable argument: 152 pounds seems like more than most humans can carry.

Many of the rebuttal articles, including one on Tom Ricks Best Defense blog by former Marine infantryman Aaron Ferencik, state that not only is this a realistic requirement, it happens regularly in Afghanistan. Ferencik writes that he was required to carry almost 200 pounds of gear, armor, and weapons.

http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/01/10/the_overweight_infantryman_110609.html
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 05:38:07 AM by rangerrebew »
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Offline Maj. Bill Martin

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Re: The Overweight Infantryman
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 12:38:28 PM »
The Overweight Infantryman
By James King
January 10, 2017

The Infantry has a weight problem. The amount of weight soldiers or Marines are asked to carry has grown exponentially while their ability to carry that load has not. This issue was brought to the forefront recently when retired Army Col. Ellen Haring wrote an opinion piece for the Marine Corps Times in which she was critical of the requirement for Marine Corps infantry officers to carry a load of up to 152 pounds for more than nine miles, at a twenty-minute-per-mile pace—a standard that Haring argues is unrealistic and prevents women from successfully completing the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course. At first glance this may seem like a reasonable argument: 152 pounds seems like more than most humans can carry.

Many of the rebuttal articles, including one on Tom Ricks Best Defense blog by former Marine infantryman Aaron Ferencik, state that not only is this a realistic requirement, it happens regularly in Afghanistan. Ferencik writes that he was required to carry almost 200 pounds of gear, armor, and weapons.

http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/01/10/the_overweight_infantryman_110609.html


Col. Haring should go make me a sammich.

Offline dfwgator

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Re: The Overweight Infantryman
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2017, 12:46:07 PM »

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Re: The Overweight Infantryman
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2017, 12:57:22 PM »
http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=65106

Ellen Haring, a former Army colonel who famously sued the Pentagon because she wasn’t allowed to compete with her male peers by serving in combat arms units, wrote in Task & Purpose last month that the Marines are cheating female Marines out of good coombat training because they are conducting separate basic training classes for males and females. She compares the separation to Jim Crow laws of the Old South;

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. We have only to look at the discredited Jim Crow-era laws that segregated people by color to know how this establishes structural inequalities and perpetuates bias and discrimination. The reality is that separate is never equal. In fact, “separate” creates a very negative two-class culture that disadvantages one group, but cloaks the disadvantage by claiming that it actually benefits the minority group.
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Decades ago, the Marines experimented with mixed basic training and found that they were cheating their trainees and went back to the separate units. The men, the Marines most likely to end up in combat, were held back from their potential because a unit is only as good as it’s weakest member. Haring complains that the pipeline for female Marines is narrow because there is only one training battalion for women;

Because the Marine Corps maintains a narrow training pipeline, just one battalion for female recruits, they ensure that women make up less than 8% of the Marine Corps. This, in turn, causes the only battalion that trains women to be perpetually understaffed. The result is that there are negative training outcomes for the female recruits. They don’t receive as much instruction and the women graduate from boot camp with lower average training scores than their male colleagues.
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Maybe there’s only one battalion because only 8% of the people who volunteer for the Marine Corps are women. Haring implies that there would be more female volunteers if training was de-segregated, but she offers no proof, just more words. I’m not aware of any females who can’t get into the Marines because of this narrow pipeline. Is there a line at the recruiters’ offices? There is also no evidence that Women Marines aren’t trained as well as their male counterparts because of segregation in basic training. The Marines have been forced to allow women into their combat units, but I guess that’s not good enough for the social justice warriors like Haring. Now she’s just making excuses, like when she sued the Pentagon for her own piss-poor performance as an officer in the Army.


Offline Maj. Bill Martin

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Re: The Overweight Infantryman
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2017, 01:14:51 PM »
Maybe there’s only one battalion because only 8% of the people who volunteer for the Marine Corps are women. Haring implies that there would be more female volunteers if training was de-segregated, but she offers no proof, just more words.

She's already been busted for saying that women wanted to compete without lowering the standards, then whining about the standards being too high when females couldn't complete IOC.  She's a hag.

She wants gender-integration of training for a far more insidious reason.  She knows that female are statistically going to significantly underperform males physically, and as long as that difference exists, women will not be able to have the same personal career opportunities for success as do men.  By integrating training, she hopes to lower male standards to the point where there is no performance difference with women.  And once everyone has to meet the same low standards, women will no longer be at a career disadvantage.

Bluntly put, she prioritize female careerism over military effectiveness and the lives of troops.

Offline Taxcontrol

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Re: The Overweight Infantryman
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2017, 01:19:37 PM »
Battle rattle - Infantry term for what you carry into combat
Ruck out - Full load i.e. what you carry when you move from one location to another

As a former Infantryman and squad leader, the ever increasing weight of what is required of the infantry is indeed a problem.  There needs to be a concerted effort to reduce the weight battle rattle (lighter weapons, body armor, water, first aid kits, gas masks, helmets, etc) along with an effort to reduce weight and improved carry of ruck out (rations, extra ammo, fuel, water, weather gear, sleeping bag, radios, batteries, crypto gear, crew served weapons, etc)

Consider that while a mech infantry squad has their vehicle that can carry gear, there is often not enough room for all that is needed.  This situation can be improved with support (HQ) elements providing common carry (2 1/2 ton trucks) and and common logistics (rations and kitchen, etc)

So I guess I am saying, right idea, wrong reasons.

Offline Maj. Bill Martin

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Re: The Overweight Infantryman
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2017, 01:25:15 PM »
in terms of the initial article, military theorist S.L.A. Marshall wrote a very influential book called "The Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a Nation", which essentially made the argument that militaries tend to overload their infantry, to their detriment.

It's a point worth discussing and keeping in mind, but much easier as an aspiration rather than as something achievable.  Yes, it is true that carrying heavy loads adversely affects the fighting ability of your troops.  But so too does lacking adequate ammunition, water, food, weapons, and other gear.  It's easy to say in theory "you're carrying too much", but then the question becomes what you leave behind.  Take less ammo?  Less food, or water?  Maybe don't bring any mortars, machineguns, or extra ammo for the same?  No sleeping bags (practical in summer, but in mountains, in winter?), or shovels, or extra batteries for the radio? 

Offline driftdiver

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Re: The Overweight Infantryman
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2017, 01:51:33 PM »
I was in the Air Force and did spend a year assigned to an Army post overseas.  Made me really glad to be in the Air Force but didn't teach me anything about the infantry.

My Air Force time did teach me that combining the sexes in closes environments is a recipe for discipline problems.  Even in my crypto shop the women didn't pull their weight.  Some of the equipment was quite heavy and they were given a pass so the rest of us had to do more.

Offline Maj. Bill Martin

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Re: The Overweight Infantryman
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2017, 02:30:27 PM »
Some of the equipment was quite heavy and they were given a pass so the rest of us had to do more.

That's basically what happens everywhere in the military.  The men end up doing a disproportionate share of the heavy work, either because the women generally can't, or because they do it more slowly even when they can.  That works okay in training when you have fully staffed units and can spare the women heavy lifting, but when the fecal matter hits the rotating blades, and you may not have as many people as you'd like, it can be a real problem.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 02:33:20 PM by Maj. Bill Martin »


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