• Fired Female Marine Commander Asks Congress For Support

    A female commander is heading to Congress to make the case that she was unjustly removed for trying to motivate her all-female battalion into matching male physical fitness standards.

    Both sides have different stories. According to Marine Corps officials, Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano was removed on June 30 because of poor leadership, which included hostile and unprofessional behavior, The Hill reports.

    Last June, Germano took command of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion on Parris Island in South Carolina and proceeded to work hard at improving the marksmanship of female recruits, as the failure rate for women was about three times as a high as men at the rifle range. Within a year’s time, the rate of passage for females taking the initial rifle qualification test jumped to 90 percent—about the same rate as men.

    Germano told The Hill her push to make Marine recruit training co-ed is what may have motivated an investigation into her methods. Two internal investigations and a 300-page report later, Brig. Gen. Terry Williams stated that he had lost “trust and confidence” in her leadership abilities.

    Germano reportedly told female recruits that those who decide to drink make themselves more vulnerable to sexual assault. Additionally, she said that unless female Marines could meet male physical standards, male Marines wouldn’t take orders from females seriously and would view them as inferior.

    “This whole thing started when her Marines — her female Marines — were telling us they were being mistreated,” Col. Jeffrey Fultz told The New York Times. “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.”

    The firing incident couldn’t come at a worse timing, since the services have until January to open all combat positions to women, or else file a waiver requesting that the jobs remain open to men only. Integration has been a top priority for the Obama administration, and was first kicked off by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in 2013. During his tenure, Panetta gave the services two years to remove the ban on women in all combat positions.

    It’s unclear which lawmakers in Congress Germano has contacted. She counts the communication as privileged, though several members, like Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, are known for their advocacy of women in the military.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

     

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