Female Marine Claims Corps to Blame for Infantry Officer Course Failures

Female Marine Claims Corps to Blame for Infantry Officer Course Failures

Ever since the federal powers that be decided that it was a good idea to open combat jobs to women, female members of the armed forces have been trying to get into those jobs.  So far, fourteen women have tried—and failed—to pass the Marine Infantry Officer’s Course.  2Lt Sage Santangelo thinks she knows why she and the other women failed, and naturally, it’s not their fault—it’s the Marine Corps’ fault.

I believe that I could pass, and that other women could pass, if the standards for men and women were equal from the beginning of their time with the Marines, if endurance and strength training started earlier than the current practice for people interested in going into the infantry, and if women were allowed a second try, as men are.

Let’s parse this out a moment.  Women have different standards in the military than the men because most of them cannot physically perform at the same level as a man.  This is not sexist idiocy, this is biological fact.  So Lt. Santangelo wants the entire Marine Corps to make those standards the same for men and women from Day 1, so she would have been better prepared for the Infantry Officer’s Course that she could not pass.

While this all sounds nice and “fair” on its face (if you’re not paying attention, that is), there are several parts to this that aren’t apparent to the average reader.  If you notice, Lt. Santangelo was in The Basic School—Marine officer candidate training—for six months before she was in The Infantry Officer Course.  She was being tested mentally a physically every single day.  She complains that she ‘only had a month’ to prepare for Infantry training after getting out of The Basic School, and that she didn’t know it would be so hard.  Here’s what one Marine had to say about all that:

She had every opportunity to prepare. Before IOC she was in TBS for six months. That women and men have different physical standards was known – we all take the physical fitness test (PFT) together. When I was in TBS, that IOC was physically demanding was also no secret. When I was in TBS, I knew that in order to succeed (and pass) IOC, I had to be at the top of my TBS class when it came to physical performance, and I, any many other Infantry Officer aspirants, pushed and competed to be the best. We all knew who wanted to be Infantry, and so we knew the competition. TBS platoons are mixed-sex, so she had to see it too, and should have prepared accordingly.

In other words, there’s no reason why Santangelo could not have trained on her own for the officer course.  She knew what was coming, and didn’t prepare.  It’s as simple as that.  In typical Marine fashion, the comments on that article lay open the entire sad state of Santangelo’s argument.

If Ms. Santangelo really thinks the only reason women can’t compete equally is because they’re not trained equally from the start, then she doesn’t have either the intelligence or the integrity to serve in the armed forces as an officer…

Santangelo also invokes the name of Leigh Ann Hester, who is the current go-to for female combat apologists because if Leigh Ann can do it, we all can, right?  Here’s the thing: Leigh Ann Hester was incredibly brave, showed tremendous calm under pressure, and was pretty amazing—but she still needed a male soldier to throw the grenades because she didn’t have the upper body strength to get them where they needed to go.  That doesn’t take away from what she did do, because she absolutely outperformed any female (and some males) on that day, but let’s be realistic.  If her own strength was all that was available, would the ending of that story have been any different?

What if the Marine Corps did as Santangelo asked, and forced all females in The Basic School to adhere to the same standards as their male counterparts?  I’ll give you a hint.  They wouldn’t pass TBS either, just like they don’t pass IOC.

I have been thru the course, was the Director for the course for 3 years, and commanded a school in the Marine Corps where gender integrated training occurs first for enlisted Marines (MCT). First off, this article is written from the individual’s perspective and desire, not military women in general. The Marine Corps would “break” a lot more women, officer and enlisted, if the physical standards for entry level training were geared towards infantry training prior to Infantry training courses. Why should the Marine Corps add/change its physical training focus? The result would almost certainly lead to the loss from injury additional qualified and exceptional Marines with tremendous service potential.

As one other Marine put it, it’s got nothing to do with hating women or discriminating.  The Marine Corps is about killing people and breaking things, and women who cannot do it to the Marine Corps standard should not be doing it. Does Santangelo want to be an infantry officer?  She’s currently slated for flight training; there are few more different career tracks.  Was she simply padding her resume?  Doing it to say she did it?  The Marine Corps does not exist to serve as someone’s personal career journey, and training courses do not exist to make someone’s resume look more filled out.

The Marine Corps didn’t fail Lt. Sage Santangelo, she failed herself.  She failed to prepare for a demanding course; she failed to rise to the level that the occasion demanded.  On top of it, she failed to take responsibility for her failure.  I hope she enjoys that coveted active duty flight spot, while she contemplates the supposed inequity of it all.  She’s not a leader, and she’s not an exemplary Marine—and in her career field, that matters just as much as her gender.

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  • Kate says:

    Lt. Santangelo wants a fighting chance? Nothing stopped her from training up. THAT was her fighting chance and she failed.

  • Deb says:

    Excellent points made. I, too, am tired of hearing all the ‘masculine-minded’ women blameshift when they can’t meet the requirements of the job, both military and civilian. They stir up the pot and follow up by complaining when they personally fall short.

  • VALman says:

    Frankly, if this is an example of her flawed thinking, I wouldn’t want to be in combat with her. That she is an officer also concerns me. Mayve, she’s watched the movie Aliens once too often.

  • mark says:

    LOL equal?? then girlie, you would be in the pig farm for a long while

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    We’re always “moving forward” in the destruction of the U.S. military. Not sure which of our enemies, those from without or those from within, love this more.

  • Merle says:

    Sad to see this level of whining present in the Marines. This is an insult to ALL previous Marines.


  • Dana says:

    I find this a rather unusual article for the Victory Girls. 2ndLt Santangelo just asked for a Marine Corps which held men and women to the same standards in physical training, something I would have expected the Victory Girls to support. Remember Dejah Thoris’ article, Did the Marines Just Surrender, concerning the delay in requiring women Marines to be able to do three pull-ups to pass their PFT?

    What 2ndLt Santangelo has asked for is a Marine Corps in which half of the female recruits would have to redeploy to the Chair Force, and one in which she might not have passed. I don’t have a problem with that!

    I also do not have a problem with equal opportunity, and allowing those women who can succeed in the Infantry Officers’ Course to try and be successful, or fail, as their strengths and talents allow them.

  • Mike Bravo says:

    Kit got it right! Also, what gives the right of a LT to pen an OP-ED crticizing the Corps. Whatever she thought, and her CO’s who approved it, publishing an OP-ED was the wrong course of action. She is just a peon; the JCS knows what they are doing. Most likely someone in Congress got whiff of the article and heads will roll; a policy will be put in place so this does not happen again!

    If IOC and advanced infantry training physical requirements are lowered so females can be successful, then the dominoes will fall for Special Forces/Operations.

    If you want it bad enough, you will train on your down time. Same with academics.

    As the author stated, the “The Marine Corps is about killing people and breaking things.” Not to be used as a social experiment and/or pad a person’s resume.

    The LT stated that she was child in size and weight next to buffed alpha males (paraprhasing). Also, she had TBS (and her down time) to get prepared. This sums it up! She was not due a second chance of tax payer money.

    BTW, this is becoming a trend among female soldiers/Marines who don’t get their way. Check out COL Ellen Haring’s OP-ED.


    “The road the hell is paved with good intentions.”

    • Deebow says:

      I am a bit of an expert on this and the good Colonel is daft to think that physical strength isn’t the “end all be all” in combat.

      Yes ma’am, it is.

      We don’t enter into negotiations with them when we clear a building or sector. We aren’t out for a Sunday stroll when we leave the wire. We aren’t exchanging pleasantries or pie recipes either. We are KILLING the enemy; using bullets, bombs, grenades, bayonets, hands, rocks, clubs etc. We use fire,, maneuver, shock effect, overwhelming firepower and when the fight closes to within bad breath distance; we use our superior physical strength.

      I would take on Rhonda Rousey any day, even in my beginning middle aged, slightly chubby state. I would because I am going to play to win, and there is no replacement for displacement.

      • Marvin McConoughey says:

        “(T)he good Colonel is daft to think that physical strength isn’t the “end all be all” in combat.” The Colonel is not daft. Every Marine must pass a gamut of testing that includes such things as mental ability, attitudinal characteristics, and much more. The superb war record of the United States Marine Corps rests on far more than brute strength, important though that sometimes is.

    • Dana says:

      Mr Bravo wrote:

      She is just a peon; the JCS knows what they are doing.

      [ROTFLMAO!] The Joint Chiefs are the most political of soldiers, whose mission is to carry out the orders of the President and the civilian leadership. 2ndLt Santangelo is no more of a peon than the service chiefs.

      • Mike Bravo says:

        Dana, you are correct concerning the JCS. With another Conservative pressure, hopefully, they will do the right thing. That is why we have websites like Victory Girls to get the word out. The war is not lost yet.

  • Glen Saunders says:

    Just want to add here…..Women and men have been different since God created them. He did that for a reason and I certainly appreciate His insight. The current clown that created this fiasco is a muslim convert and his sole aspiration like his leader is to bring the US Armed Forces to their knee’s. Won’t happen. Lt Santangelo with your frame of mind you will be much better off in the tried and true role of a housewife…..Barefoot and pregnant. The Marines (men and women) meeting the challenges of earning the title Marine will be far better off. Semper Fi

    • Marvin McConoughey says:

      Glen, the fallacy in your position lies in thinking that women have only negatives as members of fighting forces and should be evaluated on only their weaknesses. This attitude long prevailed in the business world where it was widely accepted that women were unsuitable for the business environment. We know now that women are not universally more or less capable than men. They provide a different mix of strengths and weaknesses. The internal discipline and retention problems of the Marines demonstrate that men are also imperfect performers. Few males or females choose to become Marines. But we owe to all a fair and balanced opportunity to try, using standards that are not inherently sexist in conception and application.

  • Mike Bravo says:

    The military is on a downward spiral when a green LT can change policy. I guess her next position will be JCS, along with COL Ellen Haring. Liberalism has destroyed us.


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