Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A sad sign of the times and double standards: 51 year old woman completes Army Basic Training.

Congrats.... I think.

But as the focus has shifted to women in combat, I have to wonder:  How is it that a 51 year old woman who was 30 pounds overweight when she wanted to enlist could possibly make it through Army Basic?

What does that say about Army Basic?  That you have to be a crippled moron to fail?

The story says the woman passed "with one of the highest physical fitness scores in her company."

What it neglects to mention is that the scores are based on an age curve.

To get the max scores at her age, in two minutes, she only had to do 34 push ups, (10 is passing)  66 sit ups (30 is passing)  And run two miles in 17:36 (24 minutes... that's right... 24 minutes is passing for women.)

Meanwhile, for men, 59 push ups (25 passing)  66 sit ups (30 is passing) and a 14:24 2 mile (19:30 is passing) are the age group standards.

Oddly enough, the article did not mention her actual scores, and the nebulous phrase "one of the highest scores" given how little that achievement actually took has little value without providing the scores in question.

Particularly in a combat situation, there should be precisely one standard, for all, and that standard should be gender-neutral given that first, militarily, they're attempting a gender neutral mission set and second, combat don't care. Yes, I realize, according to the article, that she will not BE in a "combat situation."  But neither will most Combat Service Support types... and we all have to meet at least some realistic minimum.

You have to be able to keep up.  You have to be able to carry your gear and that of others (the wounded) at the same time.  A unit is only as good as its weakest (slowest) member; if everyone else can run 10 minute miles with gear and it takes you 15 because you're female and that was good enough to get you through training in the PC world, then someone(s) going to pay the price because of it because they can't leave you behind.

That a 51 year-old female could make it through Army basic represents a sad commentary on how low those physical standards have become.

What is happening to us?  Have we lost our minds?  Do we really believe our Armed Forces are better with such a lax standard in place than we would be if all soldiers generally had to make the same, high, standard regardless of age or gender?

Because I believe that if you want it bad enough, you'll work hard enough to make it so.  And while people will die, it won't be because you couldn't keep up.

1 comment:

Martin Hash said...

Hmmm... Something's amiss. Below are the posted age limits:

Army - 35 (must ship to basic training prior to 35th birthday. The Army experimented with raising the age limit to age 42 for a brief period of time, but effective April 1st, 2011, the Army has reverted to the lower age limit.
• Air Force - 27
•Navy - 34
• Marines - 28
• Coast Guard - Age 27. Note: up to age 32 for those selected to attend A-school directly upon enlistment (this is mostly for prior service).

Reserve Non-Prior Service
•Army Reserves - 35 (must ship to basic training prior to 35th birthday)
• Army National Guard - 35 (changed from 42 in 2009)
• Air Force Reserve - 34
• Air National Guard - 40 (Changed from 34 in Aug 2009)