The reason was simple: Despite being given more than a year’s warning that pull-ups would be the only option for testing females’ upper body strength in the Corps’ Physical Fitness Test (PFT) starting January 1, only 45 percent of those tested at Paris Island, South Carolina, met the bare minimum of three. In the wisdom of the Marine Corps, this was the minimum “muscular strength required to perform common military tasks such a scaling a wall, climbing up a rope or lifting and carrying heavy munitions.”
The delay is for an undetermined period of time because its implementation ran “the risk of losing recruits and hurting retention of women already in the service,” according to the Associated Press.
This is part of the plan of gradually install females into combat positions in the U.S. armed forces, starting in 2016. Said Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos, the Corps wants to “continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed.” In the interim, they may continue to opt out of the pull-up requirement in favor of the much less demanding “flexed-arm hang” which requires only that the soldier to hang with her chin above the bar for a minimum of 15 seconds.
This isn't the first time that females have been unable to complete tasks assigned to males in the Corps. In September, 15 female and 266 male Marines took the Corps’ grueling two-month infantry course, carrying 85-pound packs and rifles and engaging in various obstacle courses while at the same time learning how to shoot, launch grenades, conduct patrols, and avoid IEDs (roadside bombs). Of the men, 221 made it through the course, while just three women finished. Earlier 20 female Marines attempted to complete the even more difficult officers’ training course, and none passed.
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