Big Red Car here. Well, the day has dawned and it is bright, sunny, and cold. Still flirting with 52F as a high. This is winter!
On Earth as it is in Texas. Winter good in the ATX.
So, the Navy Secretary, one Ray Mabus, has sent a scolding memorandum to the United States Marine Corps,the Marines, telling them to get with integrating women into the Marine combat arms including specifically the infantry.
The policy decision was made on 3 December 2015 but already the Sec Navy is in the “scolding” mode. Huh?
Mabus is a former Democratic Governor of Mississippi and has been a loyal Obama acolyte since his 2009 appointment as Navy Secretary. The Marines, of course, fall under the Navy in the Pentagon.
He also served as Bill Clinton’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Who is this Ray Mabus guy, Big Red Car?
This is not the first controversial action by Secretary Mabus. He also tried to name some warships after Cesar Chavez, disgraced former Democratic Congressman John Murtha, and gun crime victim former Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Curious choices when the Navy usually favors former Presidents and Medal of Honor winners for that honor.
In addition to being a Harvard Law grad, he was the youngest Governor in Mississippi history at 39 years old having ascended to the throne by declaring famously “Mississippi Will Never Be Last Again”.
I don’t know about you but the Big Red Car finds that incredibly inspiring. Almost Donald Trumpish. Maybe not.
“Make Mississippi not last again!” It just doesn’t have that certain magic for the Big Red Car.
What exactly did he tell the Marines to do, Big Red Car?
Mabus directed the Marines to:
1. Create an integration plan which injects women into combat units as a matter of policy rather than as a matter of quality selection.
2. He further advises: “I expect you will ensure that a worthwhile goal does not unreasonably delay or prevent the execution of a policy imperative.”
Nothing about combat readiness or lethality, a policy directive. Sends shivers up my spine, you?
3. Ban the use of “man” in any job title and to make all job titles “gender-neutral” thereby spelling doom for “infantrymen, mortarmen, artillerymen, reconnaissancemen, corpsmen (medics).”
He also directed the Navy to do away with “seamen.” Seapersons?
4. He considers this as an “…opportunity to update the position titles and descriptions themselves to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these MOSs (military occupational specialties).”
5. Integrate men and women into the same basic training units. Immediately. What could go wrong with that?
6. He wants a written report on progress every three months.
Hey, I am sure that that went over well in the Commandant’s office, no?
The Secretary did not directly address the Marine Corps recruiting motto of “A Few Good Men” but you have to know that’s going to get the heave ho, no?
Note there are some women in this picture of Marine basic training. Can you pick them out? [Trick question, be careful.]
How did this happen, Big Red Car?
The Secretary of the Navy has complied with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s 3 December 2015 directive to open USMC combat jobs in the infantry, armor, artillery, and special operations to qualified women. Yes, the Sec Def did say “qualified women” and that distinction was lost somewhere along the way in the translation. That will happen sometimes when you rule via memorandum.
The Marines had conducted an extensive three year study which concluded that including women in combat roles would result in extensive damage to unit cohesion, more injuries, and the risk of higher casualties in combat. The Marines stand by those conclusions.
The Sec Navy blew the study off and disregarded it completely thereby cementing a great relationship with the Commandant of the Marine Corps. A sort of critical relationship for a Sec Navy, no? Considering the Commandant has been in the Marines for more than 30 years? And has seen plenty of combat? Made it to the top of the heap in the freakin’ Marine Corps? Yeah, this is a guy I would ignore and then send a memo to. You?
The exact change went something like this.
Then Commandant Marine Corps, General Dunford: “Sir, did you see that report? The three year study report?”
Sec Mabus: “Yes, I saw the fucking report, General Dunford.”
Gen Dunford: “And, sir?”
Mabus: “Fuck the report. Me, President Obama, the Sec Defense know waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than you fucking Leathernecks know about your Marine Corps. Trust us, we’re smarter than you Jarheads. End of discussion.”
Gen Dunford: “Sir, we’re the world’s elite fighting force. We are the United States Marine Corps. Why jeopardize our combat effectiveness, particularly at a time like now?
Mabus: “Cause some shit is more important than being a badass Marine, General. Shit like winning the women’s vote in the next election.”
Gen Dunford: “Sir, with all due respect, there is NOTHING more important than being a badass Marine. Sir.”
The last “sir” was a little late to the party.
Marine General Joseph Dunford was the Marine Commandant who made that utterance about the report and he has, of course, now become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mabus has picked a fight with a very powerful Marine.
The Marine Corps itself, 188,000 MEN and 13,000 woMEN, is not very enthusiastic about this change. The big chubby husky Marines are a little worried whether the gals will be able to drag them from the battlefield if they get wounded. Back in the day, the dragging of a 250 lbs wounded man was a critical skill. Even a little Marine is a lot of trouble to move.
I suspect the Marines really loved the approach — ignoring the three year study and sending down a memo. The Marines are not that big into memorandi. It is something about that warrior ethos. But, not to worry, they will come around. Right?