The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

January 3, 2014

Marines delay female fitness plan after half fail

(Continued)

—Pullups, with three the minimum. Three is also the minimum for male Marines, but they need 20 for a perfect rating.

—A flexed-arm hang. The minimum is for 15 seconds; women get a perfect score if they last for 70 seconds. Men don't do the hang in their test.

Officials said training for pullups can change a person's strength, while training for the flex-arm hang does little to adapt muscular strength needed for military tasks

The delay on the standard could be another wrinkle in the plan to begin allowing women to serve in jobs previously closed to them such as infantry, armor and artillery units.

The decision to suspend the scheduled pull-up requirement "is a clear indication" that plans to move women into direct ground combat fighting teams will not work, said Elaine Donnelly, president of the conservative Center for Military Readiness and a critic of allowing women into infantry jobs.

"When officials claim that men and women are being trained the same, they are referring to bare minimums, not maximum qualifications that most men can meet but women cannot," Donnelly wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Awarding gender-normed scores so that women can succeed lowers standards for all. Women will suffer more injuries and resentment they do not deserve, and men will be less prepared for the demands of direct ground combat."

The military services are working to figure out how to move women into newly opened jobs and have been devising updated physical standards, training, education and other programs for thousands of jobs they must open Jan. 1, 2016, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman. They must open as many jobs to women as possible; if they decide to keep some closed, they must explain why.

Military brass has said repeatedly that physical standards won't be lowered to accommodate female applicants. Success for women in training for the upcoming openings has come in fits and starts.

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