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Pull-Up Test for Female Marines Postponed

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By Cynthia Fagen   |   Friday, 27 Dec 2013 05:17 PM

At ease! The Marine Corps has quietly delayed the requirement for female Marines to do three pull-ups because most women have so far been unable to pass the test during infantry training, the Washington Examiner reported Friday.

Fifty-five percent of women recruits could not complete three pull-ups, while only 1 percent of male recruits failed the test for combat readiness. Thirteen female recruits have been able to pass the upper body strength test.

The delay is raising questions about whether women have the physical strength to handle ground combat, lifting heavy equipment or climbing mud walls when they are deployed overseas, which is set to take place in 2016.

The three pull-ups bar is already the minimum required for all male Marines. Currently, female Marines only have to perform a flexed arm hang, that is hold their chin above a pull-up bar for 15 seconds.

The Marine Corps announced the postponement of the Jan. 1 deadline on twitter and on its Web TV show The Corps Report.

Lance Cpl. Ally Beiswanger explained in the broadcast that the pull-up test had been put off until sometime next year, in order to gather more data and "ensure all female Marines are given the best opportunity to succeed."

She cites her own first efforts, where she was barely able to do one pull-up, but says with extra training that she's now up to 8, and is working toward her goal of 12.

Former Marine Greg Jacob told National Public Radio that the Marine Corps could better train female recruits. He said that within six months, the women he trained were able to do nine to 12 pull-ups.

“At first, a lot of women weren't able to do it,” Jacob said. “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.”

Robert Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, says the delay shows that women can't meet the same standards.

"Young women, in spite of all the training and all the best intentions, are not going to be the equal of young men in terms of upper body strength," Maginnis says. "You've got to have a lot of upper body strength to lift the stuff. Been there, done that."

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