US Forces Basic Training - Co-ed

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Mr Happy, Feb 3, 2004.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Had this sent through to me, I understand it's alos on the www somewhere.

    Copyright : David Hackworth.
  2. This sounds similar to here too...
  3. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator


    Congrats on finding the time to read the article. Seriously, how similar is it to our ITC's?

    As I recall there were no blankets allowed in the chapel at Basingbourne, now I know why...

    Mr H
  4. From some of the feedback i've heard from anumber of the DS scattered across them there is a big problem with oxygen thiefs turning up at the recruitment selection centre and getting through that - asthma, psychotic etc etc....also the number of rather "weak" candidates is quite high, with in one case a bloke being back squaded 3 times before the CO would bin him!!

    Also was quite alarmed to hear that other arms basic training does not involve learning the basics of infantry soldiering - namely section level attacks and all the fun stuff that goes with it!

    Now I may be speaking herasy here, but they are all soldiers first and trade experts second and thus they need to know the basics of their profession.

    I agree that this is a different generation and are "softer" than previous ones, but rather than cut training time, I belive it should be extended to allow time for fitness to be built up and for the recruits across all arms to learn the basics of soldiering - i.e. how to live, fight and survive in a battle field - the excuse of "but i'm going to drive a lorry" ain't going to wash when some b*st*ard with a bayonet or rpg is about to ruin your day!

    I also think that it is a good thing that there currently are no coed platoons (to my knowledge) but there are issues of individuals moving together in short sharp jerky motions - bound to happen when you put them together in the same accomodation blocks.....

    Big question is - will anybody do anything to sort the issues or will the Army continue to take quantity over quality so that they can say they are now fully recruited :?:
  5. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Seems something strange to me. When I was a recruit the earlier stages there was no time to fraternise with the lumpy jumper types - every moment of every day was spent running from a to b doing something. Thirty minutes to wonder off to a quiet spot with a member of the opposite sex! Impossible.
  6. One minor point; the author of the original article (David Hackworth) had an illustrious career through Vietnam, but these days is starting to be regarded as a bit of a fanatic....

    ...namely, won't change his mind, and can't change the subject.

    He's getting a reputation as a man with an axe to grind (amongst US service types) and while he makes some valid points, he's been known to tear the arrse out of it.....
  7. GB
    If Hackworth could be said to have an axe to grind, then, having read his article and a considerable amount of the same on Fred Reed's column, it might be because said axe is blunt as a c*nt and incapable of chopping wood when the time comes.
    I suspect the only ones who consider him to be a fanatic are those who have surrendered to the PC tendency to keep their careers running smoothly. 'Don't make any waves, PLEASE!'
    Keep on grinding axes until you get a good, sharp edge; even if you drive the Headshed screaming mad, in the process!
    Oh, what was that bit about 'gender-neutral' army? Sounds more like 'gender-NEUTERED' army to me.
    What a load of bo££ocks! Or not, as the case may be.
    Mr Hackworth; a good, illuminating piece. More power to your elbow!
  8. Totally agree with OldAdam. Original post was an illumination of what the majority of British soldiers have been saying for the past few years.
    Obviously when I say "majority", that doesn't include the PC, tree hugging, uniform wearing civvies, which have invaded our beloved army, solely because they were too thick to sign on the dole.
    The aforementioned dross love the co-ed thing because for them, that first frenzied fumble at the ATR, in the NAAFI shadows, just before they shot their tatty water over their brand new C95, was their first enjoyable experience in the army.
    The fact that the experience was shared with a munter of biblical proportions with a 'tache Saddam would be proud of, matters not a jot.
    Get the chicks back in the med sqns and clerks offices, put their weapons back in the armoury, slap 'em for forgetting their station in life and lets get this army of ours back on track.
    Ranting finished. Out.
  9. Get the chicks back in the med sqns and clerks offices, put their weapons back in the armoury, slap 'em for forgetting their station in life and lets get this army of ours.

    Dont know when you joined but we never used to have "chicks" in "Field Ambulances" till '91. Didn't get Regimental or Squadronised till '00 if you want to get really archaic bring back the WRAC.
  10. Yeah, get the chicks out of the RA and the RLC those well known combat organisations and back into the med sqn's, Dickhed don't you know it's been called a "Battlespace" for some time now and those AGC clerks will probably be further forward than most of the outdated 16 AA will get. In fact I do believe 1 CS Med Regt DS was on a number of occassion's further forward than the "Regt" (hushed awe). I will assume that you have spent your veteran years in a variety of places Omagh,Antrim, Belfast managed Kosovo once got to the Gulf finally (were'nt used) other than Eagle VCP's.
    One last point, without the chicks in the RAMC you if you get hit are now more likely to be treated by a chick than a bloke 8O
  11. This piece was posted by Cutaway a few weeks ago. It comes from Fred Reed Column No 138 ( ). In this case I think it's appropriate to throw it back into the pot and stir; see what comes out.
    A long time ago, when I didn't know any better, I had to take female RUC officer ( a Greenfinch? or was that a fem UDR?) on foot patrol.
    Pre-Bobby Sands era, 1975-76; a guy called Frank Stagg had just starved himself to death in Parkhurst and his erstwhile neighbours were pretty steamed up about it and throwing lead around like it was going out of style.
    I spent more time worrying about her safety than doing the job! The patrol was utter pants and, by the time we got back into Glassmullin, I never wanted to see this bird again, ever, pretty as she was. This was all due to me being an old fashioned, sexist, chauvenist pig, as I was told many years later.
    I love women! 'I mean that, truly and from the bottom of my heart, folks,' but in a stressful situation, having a woman to worry about is not conducive to doing a professional job. Blokes will get themselves killed trying to protect women. They can't help it! They are genetically programmed to do so; it's what evolution has dictated ever since that psycho Ogg the 'Orrible tried to take over from Fred Flintstone!
    Anyway, here's Fred's piece:

    Women In Combat

    Facts From A Closet

    Occasionally I have written that placing women in physically demanding jobs in the military, as for example combat, is stupid and unworkable. Predictably I've gotten responses asserting that I hate women, abuse children, cannibalize orphans, and can't get a date. A few, with truculence sometimes amplified by misspelling, have demanded supporting data.

    OK. The following are from documents I found in a closet, left over from my days as a syndicated military columnist ("Soldiering," Universal Press Syndicate). Note the dates: All of this has been known for a long time.

    From the report of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces (report date November 15, 1992, published in book form by Brassey's in 1993): "The average female Army recruit is 4.8 inches shorter, 31.7 pounds lighter, has 37.4 fewer pounds of muscle, and 5.7 more pounds of fat than the average male recruit. She has only 55 percent of the upper-body strength and 72 percent of the lower-body strength… An Army study of 124 men and 186 women done in 1988 found that women are more than twice as likely to suffer leg injuries and nearly five times as likely to suffer [stress] fractures as men."

    Further: "The Commission heard an abundance of expert testimony about the physical differences between men and women that can be summarized as follows:

    "Women's aerobic capacity is significantly lower, meaning they cannot carry as much as far as fast as men, and they are more susceptible to fatigue.

    "In terms of physical capability, the upper five percent of women are at the level of the male median. The average 20-to-30 year-old woman has the same aerobic capacity as a 50 year-old man."

    From the same report: "Lt Col. William Gregor, United States Army, testified before the Commission regarding a survey he conducted at an Army ROTC Advanced Summer Camp on 623 women and 3540 men. …Evidence Gregor presented to the Commission includes:

    "(a) Using the standard Army Physical Fitness Test, he found that the upper quintile of women at West point achieved scores on the test equivalent to the bottom quintile of men.

    "(c) Only 21 women out of the initial 623 (3.4%) achieved a score equal to the male mean score of 260.

    "(d) On the push-up test, only seven percent of women can meet a score of 60, while 78 percent of men exceed it.

    "(e) Adopting a male standard of fitness at West Point would mean 70 percent of the women he studied would be separated as failures at the end of their junior year, only three percent would be eligible for the Recondo badge, and not one would receive the Army Physical Fitness badge…."

    The following, quoted by Brian Mitchell in his book Women in the Military: Flirting With Disaster (Regnery, 1998) and widely known to students of the military, are results of a test the Navy did to see how well women could perform in damage control -- i.e., tasks necessary to save a ship that had been hit. Test % Women Failing % Men Failing
    Before Training After Training Before Training After Training
    Stretcher carry, level 63 38 0 0
    Stretcher carry/up, down ladder 94 88 0 0
    Fire hose 19 6 0 0
    P250 pump, carry down 99 99 9 4
    P250 pump, carry up 73 52 0 0
    P250, start pump 90 75 0 0
    Remove SSTO pump 99 99 0 0
    Torque engine bolt 78 47 0 0

    Our ships can be hit. I know what supersonic stealthed cruise missiles are. So do the Iraqis.

    Also from the Commission's report: "Non-deployability briefings before the Commission showed that women were three times more non-deployable than men, primarily due to pregnancy, during Operations Desert Shield and Storm. According to Navy Captain Martha Whitehead's testimony before the Commission, 'the primary reason for the women being unable to deploy was pregnancy, that representing 47 percent of the women who could not deploy.'"

    Maybe we need armored strollers.

    My friend Catherine Aspy graduated from Harvard in 1992 and (no, I'm not on drugs) enlisted in the Army in 1995. Her account was published in Reader's Digest, February, 1999, and is online in the Digest's archives.

    She told me the following about her experiences: "I was stunned. The Army was a vast day-care center, full of unmarried teen-age mothers using it as a welfare home. I took training seriously and really tried to keep up with the men. I found I couldn't. It wasn't even close. I had no idea the difference in physical ability was so huge. There were always crowds of women sitting out exercises or on crutches from training injuries.

    "They [the Army] were so scared of sexual harassment that women weren't allowed to go anywhere without another woman along. They called them 'Battle Buddies.' It was crazy. I was twenty-six years old but I couldn't go to the bathroom by myself."

    Women are going to take on the North Korean infantry, but need protection in the ladies' room. Military policy is endlessly fascinating.

    When I was writing the military column, I looked into the experience of Canada, which tried the experiment of feminization. I got the report from Ottawa, as did the Commission. Said the Commission:

    "After extensive research, Canada has found little evidence to support the integration of women into ground units. Of 103 Canadian women who volunteered to joint infantry units, only one graduated the initial training course. The Canadian experience corroborates the testimony of LTC Gregor, who said the odds of selecting a woman matching the physical size and strength of the average male are more than 130-to-1.

    From Military Medicine, October 1997, which I got from the Pentagon's library:

    (p. 690): "One-third of 450 female soldiers surveyed indicated that they experienced problematic urinary incontinence during exercise and field training activities. The other crucial finding of the survey was probably that 13.3% of the respondents restricted fluids significantly while participating in field exercises." Because peeing was embarrassing.

    Or, (p. 661): " Kessler et al found that the lifetime prevalence of PTSD in the United States was twice as high among women…" Depression, says MilMed, is far commoner among women, as are training injuries. Et cetera.

    The military is perfectly aware of all of this. Their own magazine has told them. They see it every day. But protecting careers, and rears, is more important than protecting the country.

    Anyway, for those who wanted supporting evidence, there it is.


    There is a certain resonance between the two articles; neither writer could be said to be of a 'nurturing or cossetting' nature; in the manner of the Politically Correct ('Pthui!'). But then, of course, we are talking of a profession that assumes that it's primary purpose is to 'close with the enemy and kill him'...
    Oh, sorry, I forgot, some tender souls don't subscribe to that doctrine but that really is the bottom line. The peacekeeping and hearts and minds programmes are all fine, and very laudible aims; gives the liberally minded a nice, warm feeling to do good; it does me, too, I have to confess. However, you can only properly do these nice, warm, satisfying things after you have imposed your will upon the enemy and that usually means killing enough of them to make them cry 'Uncle!'
  12. Complete bollox! The only way that most of them could,ve been further forward than even the lowliest bath and shower unit, is if that bath and shower unit had been treading water south of Kuwait.

    I take it you're a medic or one of our PC, tree hugging, uniform wearing civvy, blah, blah, blah, blah......................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  13. So, following this line of argument, you would take all women out of the military (Army, Navy and RAF because, presumably, the same principle applies to all of them).

    That would leave the Forces undermanned by how much exactly?

    Or you would only employ them in clerical jobs back in the UK. So, who exactly is going to carry out their many functions when brigades deploy? The troop Brew Bitch?

    Come up with a rational and intelligent answer to those questions OldAdam and Doorbundle, and prove to us all that you think as well as potificate - or is that just too difficult?
  14. Prodigal:
    You're quite right, I don't claim to have the answers, I wish that I did. However, there does seem to be a problem and, to return to the article by Hackworth, it's not just with female recruits but with the males too; many are just not up to standard.
    The notion of 'one size fits all' training standards is ridiculous. The physiological differences between men and women make a nonsense of it. To lower the standards for men, in order to allow women to achieve a pass, is just storing up trouble for the future. The statistics, as stated in Fred Reed's column, are very persuasive of the point that women, generally, do not have the physical capability to undertake a wide range of battlefield tasks.
    By lowering standards to meet the average female's physical capability, infers that you will then let in a percentage of males who would not otherwise make the grade. From some posts it would seem that this is happening.
    I have the greatest respect for women who genuinely decide to make a career in the forces. I'm certain that the majority are dedicated and I've met some who are truly outstanding and yet, I feel, they are being placed in an invidious position, by insistence on artificial training standards.
    Yes, any woman who joins the forces must to be able to defend herself; the battlefield is a fluid medium and the idea of FEBA went down with the Wall, but, for me, to have women employed in the Teeth Arms, goes against every instinct; military or otherwise.
    My personal experience of being worried for the safety of a female colleague is echoed by others. I know that some women are 'hell on wheels'; female operators in 14 Coy owe nothing to anyone for courage, tenacity and skill, but those are exceptional circumstances.
    I'm not suggesting that women should be excluded from the forces; DoorBundle could be considered just a tad reactionary, but that there is a need to stand back and examine how they are deployed, without becoming bogged down in PC rhetoric.
  15. With the greatest respect OldAdam, your being worried about your female colleague is entirely laudable, but should be irrelevant - it certainly shouldn't be compromising your effectiveness as a soldier. If it is, deal with it. There is a curious dichotomy in the attitiude of the military man to women it seems to me...................on the one hand they get the vapours when it looks like their female colleagues might get hurt, and on the other the military man is six times more likely to beat up his wife and children than his civilian counterpart...........please explain that to me.

    There is a tendency to associate women being employed in the military with the degradation of physical performance/restrictions imposed by Health & Safety, political correctness/civil service-imposed targets/liberal, left-wing, tree hugging and general deviant softiness - and by inference, a reduction in the manliness, virility and effectiveness of our fighting men.

    Please gentlemen, let's raise the debate to something slightly higher than the very Freudian, school-boy intellectually limited argument that is currently being deployed.

    If there is a problem with the fitness of women - only recruit women that are capable of reaching the necessary fitness levels.

    If there is a problem with men turning to jelly when their female colleagues enter anything more scary than a fight in the NAAFI, then incorporate cognitive behaviour change into basic training.

    If there's a manpower shortage because these measures are introduced then - there's manpower shortage. But then we won't have the unlovely spectacle of various men bleating about how untough everybody is now because there are women in their unit and it's all the womens' fault that the lads can't make it as soldiers anymore.

    What I suspect might then become apparent is that we will find a lot of men, who are not physically capable of being soldiers, being exposed for the frauds that they are.