Obama Administration plans to put women in combat roles are being set back because military officials are finding that half of female Marines cannot do the minimum of three pullups in boot camp.
The Marines are now delaying the physical requirement, which had been scheduled to begin with the new year.
The requirement had been part of a plan to equalize physical standards as the Administration pushes women into frontline roles that critics have said all along are not suitable for or doable by women.
The idea had been that women would have to be able to do a minimum of three pullups to pass their test, eight to get a top score.
The pullups are required because they simulate the upper body strength needed to do things like scale a wall, carry heavy gear or climb a rope.
Three is also the minimum for male Marines, but they have to complete 20 pullups to earn a top score on their annual physical, so the standards are already being lowered for women.
Since the new standard is now being delayed, female Marines in the meantime will be able to choose how they pass that portion of their physical: by pullup, or by performing a “flexed-arm hang” for 15 seconds minimum, with a perfect score for 70 seconds.
Critics point out that working out to be able to perform pullups can build a Marine’s strength, but the flexed-arm hang doesn’t alter a person’s fitness. The test is considered so easy that it isn’t even an option for men.
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