Monday, March 14, 2011

Yeah? So's the NBA.

Your tax dollars and mine have been spent on a report to determine that the officer corps of the US military is overwhelmingly composed of one skin tone and gender. The skin tone part is pretty easy to figure out, since it mirrors within a few percentage points the melanin spectrum of 40+ year-old US college grads in general, of which "people who are senior military officers" is a subset:
Seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic...
On the other hand, only 16 percent of officers are women while out here in the broader society, over half of us use the restroom without the urinals.

The reason for this is that combat arms postings are still off-limits to women. Without getting into whether that will ever change or even whether it should ever change, that brings us to the conclusion of this inane report:
The report ordered by Congress in 2009 calls for greater diversity in the military’s leadership so it will better reflect the racial, ethnic and gender mix in the armed forces and in American society.
This is ridiculous. The purpose of the armed forces is to kill people and break their stuff. This isn't the frickin' Peace Corps we're running here, it is a warfighting machine. Much like the Los Angeles Lakers, it doesn't get its score at the end of the game graded on a curve based on how well it reflects "the racial, ethnic and gender mix" of America.

(H/T to Ed Rasimus.)

44 comments:

McVee said...

Recently I had read somewhere one of the PD's indicated they did not have a diverse force with the correct (?) ratio of races.
So they're solution: Lower test standards.
1st: As a minority I would be outraged.
2nd: If your testing is working correctly it should mean the proper candidates are not applying.
I guess all that matters is how good you look on the 6 O/Clk news.

Joseph said...

This is ridiculous. The purpose of the armed forces is to kill people and break their stuff. This isn't the frickin' Peace Corps we're running here, it is a warfighting machine. Much like the Los Angeles Lakers, it doesn't get its score at the end of the game graded on a curve based on how well it reflects "the racial, ethnic and gender mix" of America.


I'm guessing that the same sort of thing was said when the US was talking about desegregating the military. Justifying an injustice, perceived or not, by saying that it isn't the job of the military to make nice, isn't a valid argument. You had your valid argument by stating that the ratio was essentially the same as college grads.

Tam said...

Joseph,

I am failing to see an "injustice". Perhaps if any given race or gender was barred from the military of from attaining senior leadership positions, there might be one, but this is not so.

The only thing that may be potentially considered such is the barring of women from certain ground combat branches, and I'm on the fence about that. On the one hand, I think that in a perfect world, any job should be open to anyone physically capable of doing it(which would still result in damned few woman cannon cockers and tank crews) on the other hand, I think modern American society is pretty frickin' far from a perfect world.

Ian Argent said...

Make every warfighter meet the same physical norms for the same MOS and we'll talk.

(Warfighter is apparently the current DoD-speak for that which fills out a uniform, per my war profiteering wife)

Anonymous said...

As a vertically-challenged American, I demand inclusion and representation in the NBA! So what if I can't hit the basket without using a ladder? Think of how my presence (and paycheck) will inspire and encourage other vertically-challenged Americans!

/sarc, sortof.
LittleRed1

mikee said...

First the diversity-mongers complain that white males ran roughshod over the natives of Africa, Asia and the Americas for the past 500 years.

Now they complain that some white males, mirabile dictu, remain in positions of authority in the one organization in the US specifically designed to run roughshod over the natives of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

There is just no pleasing some people!

Ken said...

Congress's report is nonsensical, for the reason our host cites. It's the same reason Bill Bennett's spark of a couple of years back -- "reintroduce conscription to promote social cohesion" -- is equally nonsensical.

global village idiot said...

Joseph,

Statistics in a vacuum are dead numbers, nothing more.

If the report doesn't show whether a similar disparity exists across industries. If the percentages were compared to leadership/managerial positions in banking and business, as well as in the licensed professions, something the report doesn't look at (or at least one that the story fails to mention), then there might be better analysis of why it is.

It could also be better analyzed if reasons were found. Are the proportions for black college graduation lower than the population average? They are and that's your first clue. A college degree is functionally mandatory for receiving a commission in the Armed Forces.

And if there are fewer women in the Officer Corps, is this ANY surprise? Uh, maybe it's because fewer women choose the military as a career field? I don't remember growing up and hearing Sarah Bridegroom in 3rd grade writing a paper titled, "When I Grow Up, I want to be a helicopter door gunner."

And what the report ALSO doesn't make note of is any changes. Is the rate for black/hispanic officers shrinking, staying the same or growing? THAT'S an important number too.

Of course, the easy thing is to say that it's all because we hate blacks and women and think they're incapable of leadership. That gets headlines. Reasoned analysis doesn't.

Ferchrissakes.

gvi

Midwest Chick said...

Is it me or is Michael Williamson's vision of the UN of Earth coming closer and closer with every stupid study like that?

I personally don't want a firefighter my size to come drag me out of a house.

I want my military commanders and police officers to meet VERY high criteria rather than dumbing down those criteria to be more 'inclusive'.

Diversity for diversity's sake leads to mediocrity.

Ken said...

@Midwest Chick: Diana Moon Glampers will get you for that.

jimbob86 said...

"Justifying an injustice, perceived or not...."

Ummm ..... errrr.... is he sayin' that we don't see the injustice that he sez IS there, or that because there is the perception of injustice, real or not, then there is an injustice????? For some, particularly herd animals, perception is reality- feelin's trumps physics, for some people....

As for "female cannon cockers and tank crew":

I am a former cannon cocker (M110a2/M109A3). I'm also the father of a daughter that can outlift, outrun, and probably outfight 75% of the boys in her high school (reflects as poorly on those boys as it does well on her!). I see a couple of problems with adding women in 13B slots...

1)Living in an armored vehichle redefines "close quarters" .... there's enough behavior problems w/o adding sexual tension into the mix ......

2) Having lived in the field for extended periods, and seeing guys get infections from minor scrapes because it nigh impossible to stay clean, I can not imagine the health/hygeine issues a female living in those conditions would face.....

Tam said...

jimbob86,

"2) Having lived in the field for extended periods, and seeing guys get infections from minor scrapes because it nigh impossible to stay clean, I can not imagine the health/hygeine issues a female living in those conditions would face...."

The upper body strength issue is a very real one. However, the "It's dirty in the field" issue is just leftover Victorian sensibilities. They have yet to dig up a fossilized port-a-john in the Olduvai gorge. ;)

jimbob86 said...

"Diversity for diversity's sake leads to mediocrity."

Diversity for diversity's sake leads to failure.

There, fixed it for ya ....

"What good is it to redouble your effort after you have lost sight of your goal?" Really, what is it we are trying to do, here? I thought the idea of having a military was to win wars....

Frank W. James said...

Focusing just on the gender issue; I think the wealth of experience would have to go to the Israeli military and while they still draft females for their obligatory military service, they have reduced their profile and presence in most combat units.

Why? Because they learned there IS a difference in both psychological profile and endurance among genders. The '73 War taught them a lot of things that the politically correct idiots don't want to talk about.

Why don't the people who wrote this report ask the Israelis why they don't have any major female combat Generals? They certainly have enough female officers in their various military branches...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

jimbob86 said...

"However, the "It's dirty in the field" issue is just leftover Victorian sensibilities."

Squatting to pee isn't the issue ..... spend 4-5 weeks without a hot shower, while working up a good sweat several times a day, getting covered in mud or dust, and you may get time for a sponge bath out of a bucket every few days (hoping that you don't strip down, and then hear either "Fire Mission!*" or "March Order!") .... then tell me "dirty in the field" would not be a hygeine issue for females..... I have 4 daughters, and know way more about bladder infections than I want to.......

* My first fire mission of Desert Storm was fired at a "target of opportunity" a week before the ground war kicked off .... I was wearing nothin' but an RTO headset and my unlaced boots .... I was standing in a plastic tub of soapy water in the back of my '548 nekkid as a jaybird when "Fire Mission! Battery 3 Rounds!" came over the bitchbox .....

Tam said...

jimbob86,

"Squatting to pee isn't the issue ..... spend 4-5 weeks without a hot shower, while working up a good sweat several times a day, getting covered in mud or dust, and you may get time for a sponge bath out of a bucket every few days..."

You're describing how the entire human race lived for much of its 500,000 years on the planet, and how much of it still does. What do you think your average Yanomamo would give for a sponge bath every few days? ;)

Ian Argent said...

@Jimbo86: There's a reason to stand clear of the recoiling breech...

Geodkyt said...

Frank's got a point.

One of the issues that comes up is the psychological issue -- it's not necessarily that the women cannot handle battle; the men tend to get all verklempt when females start taking casualties -- moreso than when the only ones endangered are other men.

As for teh hygiene issue, I have seen too many females have to be evacuated from the field for a variety of infections (and they weren't malingering -- when you're running a fever over 102 and aren't tracking too well, or you are incoherent from pain, it ain't a case of just punking out), whereas males (or at least modern American ones) are apparantly just less suceptible to the grunge.

Comparisons with prehistoric populations don;t apply, unless you happen to have a prehistoric population where the shamens managed to keep childhod death rate from disease down to modern industrial levels -- it's entirely probable we have a significant shift towards a more susceptible population as a whole, because we save kids who wouldn't have lived to take their first step. Not that teh genetic suscpetibility is different -- only that more highly suscpetible people survive to adulthood than when Og the Caveman reportd in to Basic to learn the maximum effective range of a sharp rock.

Tam said...

Geodkyt,

That's part of it, but an even bigger part is that for the last 40-50 or more years, we've been increasingly raising Bubble Babies, by sterilizing everything they touch and "No, no, no, no! Don't put that in your mouth!"

It's a wonder somebody turning 18 these days even has an immune system at all.

Anonymous said...

There's a reason the physical fitness tests have male and female scoring differences. The unasked question is why the age segregated scoring differences. The 38 yo Platoon Sargent in an Infantry Platoon has the same physical job requirements as the 22 yo Platoon
Leader. But they have different scales to determine physical fitness.

At one time it was proposed that there be no age differences, no gender differences and the soldiers who wanted a specific MOS would be required to pass a PT test for that MOS. If someone wanted to wear crossed rifles, be able to walk 20 miles in five hours. If you want to be a tanker, be able to load 120mm shells from the seated position. Never happened.

FWIW, two decades back, the Commandant (USMC) was heavily criticized when he tried to explain why the Corps Officer Corp was mostly lily white. The Army on the other paw, has "normed" every officer selection board (at least up to O-6) for race and gender since the '80's.

Al T.

Earl said...

I want to stay out of the females in combat theme, I have my very strong opinion. But, there are entirely too many people near the centers of Power in the United States that believe the military is exactly where all their wonderful social engineering ideas should be displayed as perfection... and the military thrives of accomplishment of the mission and pleasing the boss. So, of course, it will work - back to the killing people and breaking things - which a well trained American Armed Forces can do so well with a large smile on its face over a beer afterwards.

staghounds said...

Mikee wins.

The answer to this is just for the affirmative action hires/promotions to be clearly labeled as such.

In all professions- that way the accountants and teachers and others who are there because some politician thought their appearance was the most important thing about them will know for sure.

Easier in the services- there could be a distinctive badge. Maybe a bullseye shaped one to symbolise those elusive diversity targets.

T said...

I used to get in all kinds of trouble for suggesting that the different gender standards on the APFT were discriminatory against men. I still hold to a go-no go approach. Either you're fit enough and capable enough to fight a war, or you're not.

DirtCrashr said...

My girl-friend K. just retired from the Army as a Lt. Col. She's 6'-1" tall and that was distinctive enough. She took jump-school in Panama where she got sweat a lot in a tropical environment and do the sponge-bath thing standing-up.

global village idiot said...

"You're describing how the entire human race lived for much of its 500,000 years on the planet, and how much of it still does..."

Perhaps it might be better to say that this is "how the entire human race typically perished..."

It's true that we can treat for infections that would typically do in an aborigine; not because she was hardier, but because we have resources she didn't.

What's NOT true is that we can prevent those infections in an austere environment any better. Take away soap and we're all aborigines. The difference only shows up at the clinic.

Jim said...

This report is your tax dollars at work... where they would have been better used in your wood stove to heat your home. Same hot air, just better use from it.

Jim

DirtCrashr said...

Take away soap and we're hippies looking for a Free Clinic?

Anonymous said...

It's a transparent attempt to gin up an officer corps beholden to the Left, the Left having taken to heart claims that they will do miserably in the coming Second Civil war, with few units of the standing army willing to fight and suffer on behalf of the side that despises soldiers, and the profession of arms.

Oh, and how do you like my new Mossy Oak pattern tinfoil hat? :)

Mike James

Bubblehead Les. said...

True Story time.
Back in 1978,at the ripe old age of 20, the Navy had a Program called the Naval Enlisted Preparatory School. This enabled those qualified Enlisted personnel who, through no fault of their own, to take 15 months of College Prep Classes, then go into a ROTC program, earn a degree, and become an Officer and a Gentleman. But the 2 main criteria were you HAD to have spent a couple of years in the Fleet doing what you signed up to do in the First Place, and you HAD to have become no older than 21 years old by the time you were ready to enter ROTC. There were 150 seats open every year, and only about 80 people applied. I qualified, talked to my Skipper, and he said "Go for it!', and we processed the paperwork.
3 weeks later, the Old Man came down to my watch station with my relief, and said "I have bad news, come with me to my cabin". Thinking I had just lost a family member, I went with him. He told to sit down, and said "You're not going to get that School. Here's the radio message explaining why". To the best of my knowledge after 33 years, here's what I remember it said.
".....due to the lack of Qualified MINORITY Applicants for the NEPS Program, and under the Direction of the Commander-in-Chief, (that would be the Peanut Framer From Georgia) the Secretary of the Navy has determined that from this moment on, the NEPS Program will target Qualified MINORITY Personnel in RECRUIT TRAINING (Boot Camp for you civilians out there), and offer the Program to them BEFORE they transfer from the Recruit Training Centers to their next school and/or the Fleet. Also, due to the ANTCIPATED Maximum Class size being EASILY filled, but with the possibility of EXTRA time being needed, the Age requirement has been dropped by one year."
Prior to Jimmy Carter's Reverse Discrimination Policy being implemented, I was 6 months under the age limit. With the stroke of a pen, I became 6 months too old.
For the rest of my time in the Navy, I kept track of how many people EVER entered the Program. I believe the largest incoming class was about 110 for a 150 seats.
So if the GODAMN FRACKIN MILITARY REVERSE DISCRIMINATION RACIST JERKS CAN'T FILL THEIR DAMN QUOTAS, FIND THE $&*(^&)*((&%&$ WHO GOT MY SEAT AND DRAG HIS %***&& BUTT BACK IN THE MILITARY, PIN 2 STARS ON HIS COLLAR, AND HAVE HIM STAND BEHIND BHO FOR HIS DOG AND PONY SHOWS!
And if any is curious, one of the reasons I joined the Navy was because, unlike certain Politicians, I wasn't born with a Silver Spoon in my mouth, and I wasn't looking to have a Hitch in the Military on my Political Resume. Something about 3 hots and a cot looked good to me, since no one was hiring 18 year old Vo-Ed Grads in Jimmy Frackin' Carters' Economy.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest, Tam.

Joseph said...

Tam,

I don't believe there is an injustice either. My comment is that your argument that it isn't the military's job to be representative of a population is invalid if there indeed were an injustice. Which there isn't in our mind. At least not in the sense that the officers don't represent the population appropriately.

Geodkyt said...

Let me be straight -- I am not necessarily opposed to women in combat.

I am opposed to women in evnironments where, due to social or physiological issues we have yet to resolve, they are net losses.

I see no justification for leaving women out of aviation billets, ship's companies (including subs), or any role where they operate from a fixed location. I'm not sure the psychological factor plays as hard in a cannon or tank crew. Most jobs, with the exception of infantry (whether mech, light, airborne, or motorised rifle, I mean, Stryker), and those billets of other branches and services that end up attached to infantry at the tactical level, should be open to women.

But I think (based on a single horizontal displacement cycle at Jackson as a Drill Sergeant) that the Marine Corps does it correctly, in terms of recruit training. Complete sex segregation in Basic (including pretty much any cadre the troops see more than once, IIRC), due to teh high stress and the issue that the are not yet mentally "troops" -- we kept catching the horny little buggers in mop closets, washrooms, etc. That's because, while their entire company may be single sex (although, cadre could be of either sex -- which caused problems at both ends *), there's another company of the other sex not 50 - 100 meters away. . . and in the new "starship" barracks (well, newer than the WWII stuff in I learned how much Fort Benning sucks in the summer), they're all connected!

I do agree with a gender-neutral APFT. Either set it according to MOS so cannon cockers, grunts, tankers, and mechanics meet the formerly "Male" standards while data procesing clerks meet the forrmerly "Female" standards, or just eliminate the "Female" standards and make everyone meet the "Male" standards.

Last I checked, it was 42 pushups in two minutes, 52 situps in two minutes, and a two mile run in 15:54 or less for a GO on the strictest APFT age/gender group (Male, 17-20). Of course that's bare minimum. . .



* Until you've seen a 6'4" bodybuilding paratrooper who has only served in airborne or light infantry units get all verklempt behind a closed door because this 17 year old recruit was staring him up and down in PT uniform, you don't know the half of it. "Rick, man, I didn't know what to do -- I mean, if it was a male recruit, I'd just smoke his bags for a few hours and "Failure to Adapt" his ass out. . . but shit (and Gene was studying to be a Southern Baptist preacher - I had NEVER heard him use profanity), you can't smoke a female that way -- EEO will own your ass.

Anonymous said...

What, Womens restrooms don't have urinals?
Quick Sparky, we need a national crash program to put urinals in womens restrooms.



Bruce'
crankyoldmanwithgun@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

"The purpose of the armed forces is to kill people and break their stuff."

Tamara, wonderful phraseology which is glaringly absent from any recent recruiting posters I've seen.

Ulises from CA

Anonymous said...

I made the same comment on yahoo about the function of the military. It isn't a summer camp. It's rationale for existence is to defend the US, not be PC. Do you think the Taliban gives a rat's behind about the color of the our skin?

Anonymous said...

All you peaple who have never served have NO right to say anything to those of us that have served.!! Those of use that have served BOTH MALE AND FEMALE!! and made retirement, have nothing but respect for each other!! The service is not for everyone and never will be regardless of race or gender. It is a mind set that most peaple can NOT understand ANONYMOUS has it right.

retired enlisted with 21 yrs service

Ed Foster said...

I'd have to back Frank James on this one.

As for women in combat, the Russians tried it in '41, with 600,000 ladies who mostly grew up during the Russian Civil War. Lots of them, probably a majority, were farmers from the Kolkoz, bricklayers, ditchdiggers, etc. A whole lot tougher, both physically and mentally, than at least 90+% of American teenies today.

After 6 months, they had 100,000 dead, 100,000 wounded (a far lower rate than male units during that time period) 200,000 captured, surrendered, or nervous breakdowns (a far higher rate than male units), 100,000 pregnant, and 100,000 still functional. Stamina, both physical and mental, dramatically favored the men. Few women can shoulder a 90 pound ruck and cover 30 or 40 miles a day, entrench, and fight a night action, then do it again on a daily basis.

Interestingly, women are less likely to crack up emotionally than men during a single great moment of stress, but far more of them suffer under repeated emotional blows, i.e., combat.

The New York Post ran a physical comparison a few years ago, the last time women in combat made a splash, comparing an average male recruit of 5'9" and 154 pounds to Paula Newby-Fraser, arguably the greatest all-around female athlete of her generation.

Ms. Newby-Fraser came in last in half a dozen categories, the lack of any one of which would have gotten her killed in combat and probably endangered her squad.

However, the Russians had great success with all female anti-aircraft artillery units, and in all female flying outfits. Also snipers in fixed combat situations.

Admittedly, the snipers and flyers were there for the photo ops and their numbers were statistically infinitesmal, but the AAA gunners were many, and regularly outperformed their male counterparts.

Ed Foster said...

I confess to sharing Heinlein's objection to using up our potential mothers, especially during their prime child-bearing years, but were I a grunt whose bacon was just saved by the arrival of an armored unit, I'd be just as glad to see tanks driven by women as men, and I'm sure they could do it at least as well.

As for the eight percent of senior officers who are African-American, I notice that when Charley Rangel was hollering for the draft so blacks wouldn't be "dieing for white imperialists", it was pointed out that blacks make up less than one percent of any combat units in the U.S. military.

In the prime military age group of 18 to 32, one black man in three is in prison at any time. Throw in the ones on the outside with records, waiting to get caught again, and we're looking at about 60%.

Subtract from what's left the middleclass 25% headed for college and we're left with mostly the 15% of African-Americans who are Blue Collar (slash) Working Class men. It's a miracle any blacks enlist in combat arms anymore, and very few do.

As the last of the black, male career NCO's who came in during the Carter years take their pensions, we see a self-segregated military with large numbers of black women in support units and combat units that are 100% male and rarely contain East Asians, Jews, or Blacks.

The more "elite" the unit, the more "white" it becomes, as most bright blacks head for civil service (a majority of all college educated African-Americans work for .Gov) or affirmative action and PC tagged jobs with the Fortune 500.

The only minority group that serves in proportion to it's numbers would be the Mexican-Americans, who are, no suprise, quite often really excellent soldiers. I would rather live in a neighborhood of Mexican illegals than one filled with limosine liberals.

I'm in close, almost daily contact with returned veterans from the sandbox, and I see absolutely none of the flat out race hatred, the near civil war the U.S. military had in the late '60's.

I'm building an M4gery next week for a black service buddy of a SEAL friend of mine, and the feeling seems to be that anybody who can carry his own weight in an all volunteer and very elite military that has been at war for a decade is a true brother-in-arms.

It's a beautiful thing, but so statistically rare it's almost non-existant.

So if, at best, 1 combat soldier in 100 is black, doesn't that mean that they are overrepresented in the officer corps by about 800%?

jfruser said...

"That's part of it, but an even bigger part is that for the last 40-50 or more years, we've been increasingly raising Bubble Babies, by sterilizing everything they touch and "No, no, no, no! Don't put that in your mouth!"

It's a wonder somebody turning 18 these days even has an immune system at all."

I am doing my part by switching to non-anti-bacterial pine-sol when I mop my floors. And by mopping them less.

It's for the children('s immune system).

Brad K. said...

Did the report mention whether enlistments for non-officers suffered the same imbalance?

Enlisted military service has always been an important class-leveling mechanism for bringing talented people of poverty and stagnant community conditions an opportunity to better themselves. Don't forget that enlisted members of the uniformed services have a couple of opportunities, for the talented, to 'go officer', either OCS or warrant grade.

The officers? Not so much. It is interesting that Congress wants more officer diversity, at the same time the big guys with money are decrying Yale letting ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corp) presence back on campus.

It seems unbalanced to leave the anti-military, anti-gun teacher unions in charge of our kids at the same time we want better respect for the military.

Military service is often the first time that some people work with others of culture, race, and background different from their neighborhood. The impact of their experience on them, their families, and the communities they return to is literally incalculable, but an important factor in the relative stability of the US over the last couple centuries.

The Democrats must be planning on pulling the Race Card out again for the next election, and are starting to drum up minority contributions. Or am I just being cynical?

Anonymous said...

The issue of gender and ability aside, a military should closely resemble the citizens it defends. When the military gets too far out of whack, the citizenry (rightly, in my opinion) will feel distanced from that military and one, or both, sides will suffer from elitism.

That said, the military is more than diverse enough. I spent way too much time boring the hell out of my guys with worthless Powerpoint presentations about diversity and EO when we should have been at the range or humpin' around the back 40.

As for women in combat, I wonder how many of the experts here have served with women in combat. I have. And you know what? It's a crock of Pelosi to say that men will take extraordinary risks to save the women in their unit or take it extra hard when one of them dies. We take extraordinary risks because that's our battle buddy. We mourn the loss of one of our own regardless of gender (or anything else immaterial to being a Soldier).

But, back to the civil/military issue here. It's not the Luddites in the military that are raising hell about women in combat, it's the American public. Since we serve the American public we, more or less, do as they say. When the American public is ready to see their daughters doing all the same things that men do in the military, we'll have full integration. Until then... there will be gender disparity in MOS and, as a result, a dirth of senior females in the military. By the way, in what used to be know as combat support and combat service support units, women (and blacks, for that matter) are disproportionately represented in senior leadership roles, both enlisted and officers.

This report is an affront, scientifically worthless and appears to be a solution looking for a problem.

jimbob86 said...

"It's a miracle any blacks enlist in combat arms anymore, and very few do."

Things sure change: In my first unit (C Btry, 3/35 FA, c.1987-89), I was one of 4 (f-o-u-r) caucasians in my platoon ..... the majority of guys were hispanic, black, or both (Puerto Rican)... Hell, there were more Non-citizens in the Btry than white guys in my platoon ..... though that evened up when Spc Herrera (from Panama) was naturalized.

Ed Foster said...

I'm wondering if that is a constant. Back in the day ('67-'68) the majority of of blacks in First Marine Division were cannon cockers in the 11th Marines, working the 105mm's.

I don't want to get jumped on by the self-rightious, so I'll only point out the first book written by Senator Jim Webb, something called "Fields Of Fire", arguably the best book ever written on Vietnam.

I don't like what Mr. Webb has done or become since we overlapped in 1/5 way back when (I was Bravo, he was Delta), but a Navy Cross, which he richy deserved, Secretary of the Navy, and a Senate seat goes a long way toward legitimising what he wrote, which was nothing but the truth.

For reference, I saw an epidemic of the "green stick fractures" in my battalion alone. So I suspect the situation nowadays is far better than what I experienced. I'm proud of these guys, and I hope the PC Police don't screw them up.

Anonymous said...

Ed - from what I've heard at thirdhand, a great deal of the issues with getting otherwise qualified and willing black servicemen into elite units is land navigation and swimming.

this is mostly due to a utter lack of any prior experience and an average increased degree of difficulty on the swimming portion, which tends to be far less true of white recruits.

without doing anything questionable like lowering or modifying standards, I suspect that opening an intensive training program in these arts for recruits interested in volunteering that they could attend ahead of time, making it open to all candidates (since urban and highly suburban candidates of all races can have similar issues), and strongly suggesting black candidates without an existing strong background attend for a long period could do a lot to affect the average pass rate.

another thing to consider that most of the elite units in the US military were founded by Southern or Western whites.

the issue is less some sort of racism and more that people tend to pull in and attract people generally like themselves unconsciously when building an organization, if for no other reason that not having enough people very much like a potential recruit to serve as obvious role models or mentors.

black servicemen tend to enlist in the Army at higher rates that the Navy and Marines in part due to there being plenty of blacks already serving in there and the existing mentorship system.

Jen F. said...

It makes me giggle to imagine if the same folks who complain about the military leadership here were to instead go to any other country and grieve the lack of diversity in their respective military roles, what the response would be.
Crickets, more than likely.