The U.S. Marine Corps has quietly pushed back a deadline that will require all female marines to be able to perform three pullups.
Lance Cpl. Ally Beiswanger told NPR that the delay is being done to “ensure all female marines are given the best possible chance to succeed.”
Currently, female marines upper body strength is tested with a flexed-arm hang, not with pullups. But with a looming change that will allow female marines to train and deploy in combat, the USMC wanted to raise their standards for female strength. The only problem is most female Marines can’t perform three pullups.
Fifty percent of female recruits tested at the end of basic training could not successfully complete the exercise. The same test has long been used to measure strength in male marines, and only 1% of male recruits tested at the end of basic training could not perform three pullups.
The failure of female marines to complete the test has led some to again question whether female marines are fit for combat duty. But one former male marine says passing the test is not a matter of ability, but training. This marine is former Infantry officer Greg Jacobs. When he was a marine trainer, Jacobs required his female marines to perform pullups just as the males did.
"At first, a lot of women weren't able to do it," Jacob says. "They were able to do one, some were able to do two, but what happened was by having that standard and enforcing that standard, it made my Marines, it made the troops go to the gym and train to that standard."
Within six months, Jacobs said all females in his company could perform 8-12 pullups.