A female Marine commander of an all-female battalion wants Congress to intervene after she was fired over what she believes were her efforts to push female recruits to become better.
Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano was fired from her job on June 30 as commander of a training battalion for female recruits at Parris Island, S.C., an action that has been gaining media attention due to its awkward timing.
The Marine Corps and the other military services are readying to open all combat positions to women by January, or appeal to the Defense secretary.
Marine Corps officials say Germano’s firing had nothing to do with gender, but her leadership.
Brig. Gen. Terry Williams, the top commander at Parris Island, said an investigation found Germano was to be “hostile, unprofessional and abusive,” according to the Marine Corps Times.
But Germano, an 18-year veteran, says she was treated unjustly by the base’s leadership. Her supporters say she was trying to hold women to tougher standards.
For example, when Germano took command of the unit last June, she focused on improving her female recruits’ marksmanship in order to help close a gap she found between male and female performance standards.
“Once we showed the recruits and the coaches and drill instructors it was possible, it filled them with so much confidence,” Germano said in a New York Times article published Sunday.
She said this week in an interview with The Hill that she chose to improve women’s marksmanship first, due to the saying “Every Marine a rifleman.” She said women had historically underperformed men in that area, reinforcing gender bias against women.
Germano said that after she increased training, about 90 percent of women in her battalion passed initial rifle qualification, equaling the rate for men.