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Army’s New Physical Fitness Test Will Be Gender-Neutral, Secretary Says
The Army plans to take a step forward in eliminating the military gender gap by requiring men and women to meet the same standards on the service’s proposed new physical fitness test.
Army Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Thursday that he believes the new test should have both gender- and age-neutral standards “because the enemy does not specify who they’re going to shoot and not shoot. Combat is combat.”
Esper covered a wide range of other topics during the Pentagon news conference, including the possibility of reducing the Army’s presence in Kuwait to give soldiers more dwell time at home between deployments.
On fitness, Esper did not provide any details on what the new test would entail, but he reiterated that male and female soldiers will have to meet the same physical standards.
“That’s the direction we’re moving in: a gender-neutral physical fitness test,” he said. “By the way, the women I’ve talked to want that.”
The Defense Department allows each of the services to set different standards for troops based on gender and age. But last year’s Marines United scandal showed that many male service members feel women in the military are not worthy of respect because they are not required to be as strong and fast as men.
For the current Army Physical Fitness Test, male soldiers between 17 and 21 years old must complete 71 pushups within two minutes, run two miles in 13 minutes, and complete 78 situps to get perfect scores. Female soldiers in the same age range must do 42 pushups, complete the two-mile run in 15 minutes and 36 seconds, and also do 78 sit ups to get full credit on each event.
The double standards lead male service members to assume that female troops are less physically capable than men, when in fact women in the military have been asked to do less for decades, said retired Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano, who was in charge of training female Marine recruits at Parris Island.
“I saw first-hand on recruiting duty and at Parris Island that when women were held to higher standards for performance, they rose to the challenge every time,” Germano told Task & Purpose. “The rate at which women Marines are excelling at doing pull ups is a great example of this.”
An advocate for gender equality within the military as a whole, Germano has authored an upcoming book, “Fight Like A Girl,” about her experiences trying to improve the physical performance of women in the Marine Corps. (She was relieved of command at Parris Island for creating a toxic environment, but she and her supporters claim she suffered retaliation for pushing female recruits to meet the same standards as men.)
“Women in all of the services are proving they have what it takes to get stronger and faster,” Germano said, “and making the physical fitness test gender neutral will not only hold everyone to the same high standards, but will go far to eliminate both negative perceptions about the capabilities of women and mistrust due to double standards for their performance.”
Soldiers load a 120 mm High Explosive Anti-Tank Training Round onto an M1A2 Abrams Tank in Kuwait, July 10, 2017.U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Jeremy Miller.
During Thursday’s news conference, Esper also said the Army’s deployment-to-dwell ratio is now close to 1:1, meaning soldiers are not getting enough time at home. One reason for the high operational tempo is the Army is rotating brigade combat teams through Europe and Korea while soldiers are still engaged in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
To ease the strain, Esper said he has talked with defense officials about curtailing deployments and training missions that aren’t critical.
“An example is we have an IBCT [infantry brigade combat team] deployed in Kuwait,” Esper said. “Can we get relief from that mission and bring that unit home so we can get its readiness up to a higher level; put it in the queue for more important deployments out there; and really increase that deploy-to-dwell time to something higher than 1:1?”
The Army is not considering withdrawing from Kuwait altogether, said Esper, who has talked with the Joint Staff and the Army’s operations staff about reviewing the service’s commitments in multiple theaters.
“It may not necessarily mean pulling anything; it may mean keeping a battalion [in Kuwait]; or it may mean a different rotation schedule – maybe you’re not there full time,” Esper said. “It’s something we have to look at if we’re going to try to reduce the deployment churn and increase the readiness of our units.”
When asked if a Marine unit could possibly deploy to Kuwait instead of an Army brigade, Esper said: “I’m not sure that helps the Marines, but that would be an option.”
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.