Hey! You Shouldn’t Address A Bunch of Marines As ‘Gentlemen’ When the Group Includes Female Marines

The Long March
DoD photo

Editor’s note: The Long March will be closed for inventory the month of August. We regret any inconvenience this causes our loyal customers. In an effort to keep you reasonably content and focussed, we are offering re-runs of some of the best columns of the year. We value your custom and hope you will stick around for . . . the Long March.

Two short words can change the Marine Corps: “Ladies and . . . .”

As a brand new lieutenant to the fleet, I was shocked standing in formation when my commanding officer began by addressing the unit as “gentlemen.” I was not the only woman in my unit and there have been women serving in my unit for years. He knew I was there, but it seemed as if my presence was being disregarded. A commanding officer is responsible for setting the tone of the entire unit and, without words, he made women feel unwelcome.

Leaving out “ladies and” is so subtle that it is often overlooked. Language is one of a commander’s many powerful tools to influence change and reach every member of the unit. The words and opinions leaders choose to communicate are reflected in the Marines under his or her charge. Marines will take on the persona of their leadership and they will hear what is said and what is implied by what is not said. Each rank and level of leadership has their own sphere of influence beginning with a Private First Class utilizing the proper greeting of the day all the way up the chain of command to a Sergeant Major and a Lieutenant Colonel addressing a battalion.

The Marine Corps has an uncomfortable relationship with women serving in their ranks. The service was the only one to request an exemption from the lifting of the Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, and conducted a multimillion dollar study to prove that women couldn’t hack it in combat jobs. With the highest ranking decision makers publicly trying to keep women out and spending large amounts of taxpayer dollars to do so, equality has not been possible. Over the course of the last year, the service has continued to be troubled by failure to tamp down on nonconsensual photo sharing, as originated in a Facebook group called “Marines United,” which had over 40,000 members, including several active duty members.

When rank and situation permit, I have been able to address the men who forget to say “ladies.”  It has been very uncomfortable exposing myself as vulnerable. The response I often hear is that the man has never worked with a woman. This is absurd. Men and women work together our whole lives. Starting from the time we meet on the playground, through school, college, previous jobs, and in the household.

This year marks 100 years of women in the Marine Corps. For the Marines who served their entire career in units with only men, the habit of only saying “gentlemen” must be broken. Words matter. Women make up 8% of the Marines Corps, which means we do not have as many seats at the table. Without men as allies and advocates of females, change will never occur.

As a woman in an artillery battalion of approximately 800 Marines, with less than ten other females, I was fortunate to have had a platoon sergeant who had worked with women his entire career. He chose to use humor to address these types of situations. His humor was my voice when I felt powerless and disregarded. His tactics often made people realize their mistake in a comfortable setting. Unfortunately, since he was addressing another man, it carried more weight than if I, as a women, had addressed the situation.

I offer a solution to a small problem that I believe can begin the change that the Marine Corps needs. If “ladies and gentlemen” is too long or difficult to remember, I offer “Marines,” “Warfighters,” a unit’s call sign, or just the greeting of the day. If not, we will continue sending the message to our Marines and future leaders that women are not yet equal in our Corps.

1stLt Virginia Brodie is a Marine artillery officer currently serving in 11th Marine Regiment. She is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. She recently returned from a Unit Deployment Program where she served as a Company Fire Support Officer in support of artillery and infantry operations. The views and opinions expressed are her own and do not represent the views of the U.S. Government. 

President Donald Trump speaks during an event with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Pratt Industries, Sunday, Sept 22, 2019, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he discussed Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son in a call with Ukraine's president.

Trump's statement to reporters about his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came as the Democratic leader of a key congressional panel said the pursuit of Trump's impeachment may be the "only remedy" to the situation.

Read More Show Less
"It's kind of like the equivalent of dropping a soda can into canyon and putting on a blindfold and going and finding it, because you can't just look down and see it," diver Jeff Goodreau said of finding the wreck.

The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.

The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.

Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.

Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.

Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.

Read More Show Less
(CIA photo)

Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.

Read More Show Less