Do YOU have what it takes to join Her Majesty’s Royal Marines?
I’ll be very honest here: I sure as Hell couldn’t have passed that test, when I was 18. I was very fat and quite slow and my cardiovascular endurance was piss-poor.
A year and a bit of hard cycling through the streets of London, combined with using weight machines at the gym, fixed the cardio issues pretty quickly – but I still wasn’t what you might call “fit”, not by my standards today.
Today, in my mid-thirties, I might just barely pass the fitness tests. The push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups would be relatively easy, but DAMN do I hate running, especially given the dodgy state of my left knee. Distance running is out of the question for me now; years of punishing my joints in the gym and on the sparring mat have left me with numerous injuries all over my body.
Let that be a lesson for all you fuzz-faced squeaky-voiced greener-than-snot whippersnappers who turn beet-red when a girl smiles at you and think with your little heads and need to be slapped a few (hundred) times with a wet mackerel to make you see sense:
Time doesn’t wait for you. If you want to serve your country and your people, then do it when you are young.
Looking back over the past half of my life, my biggest regret is that I only found a true purpose and family when I joined my martial arts school in 2013. I would have found something similar, maybe even better, if I had joined a military organisation in my youth. Now it is probably too late – and I certainly am not joining the Armed Forces of my country of birth, I have almost nothing in common with any of them and it isn’t my country by the very definition that its own spiritual and temporal authorities provide.
The requirements of that Royal Marines physical test come to mind especially poignantly when looking at news items like this one, which detail the fact that female soldiers in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces are suffering serious injuries because they can’t take the sheer weight and burden of all of that armour and gear:
Female Royal Marine and Army recruits are suffering career-threatening injuries from wearing a kit-carrying system designed for men.
The high-tech £79 million Virtus battle equipment system is causing women trying to become Britain’s first commandos and infantry soldiers to endure agonising leg and hip problems, according to scientists.
They say the 90-litre capacity rucksack is too big for most female troops while the webbing pouches used to carry ammunition and worn around the waist hurt their hips, which are naturally wider than a man’s.
Troops who have suffered lower-limb injuries while wearing Virtus include the first female Royal Marine recruit, Philippa Birch.
The super-fit international rower spent months recovering from a stress fracture after collapsing during a march over Dartmoor.
At the time she was carrying equipment weighing 70 lb and a rifle. The Mail on Sunday understands Recruit Birch remains determined to complete the gruelling 32-week course and earn the Corps’ coveted green beret.
She had completed the first ten weeks at Lympstone in Devon and shaved her head to blend in with the male recruits.
No exceptions have been made for her beyond having a separate room and shower area.
The failure by top brass to provide female-friendly kit could expose the Army to expensive legal claims.
In 2013, female RAF recruits were awarded £100,000 after suffering pelvic fractures caused by marching in step with taller male colleagues during basic training.
The fact that most female recruits are shorter than male recruits is a factor while using Virtus, according to scientists who attended the Defence and Security Equipment International military exhibition in London last week.
In case you’re wondering, the bird mentioned in that Daily Mail article, Ms Philippa Birch, looked like this once upon a time:
The fact that she was an Olympic-level rower for the Pommie Bastards simply adds a bit to the irony here.
The hard reality of being a Marine, whether we’re talking one of Her Majesty’s Royal Marine Commandos or one of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, is that you have to train very hard to become a very tough, hardened, disciplined, and strong infantryman.
The Marines do not impose that kind of basic training regimen by accident. They created those tests of physical strength through centuries of experience, because they realised that the tasks that they have to perform require a minimum level of fitness and musculature that has to be tested and selected for, with recruits who fail to meet the mark weeded out.
This is not done because of “discrimination” or “MUH PATRIARKEEEEEE!!!”. This is done because, as hard as the tests for entry are, and as hard as the training is, the trials faced on the battlefield will be far harder still.
Anyone – man or woman – who cannot meet those requirements is a danger to his or her brothers on the field who can meet them, and needs to be removed from the ranks forthwith.
Women do not seem to be capable of understanding this logic, by and large, especially not these days. But it is very simple. A woman who cannot carry a 90L rucksack on her back, with roughly 70lbs in it, is sure as shit not going to be able to carry a wounded comrade away from the battlefield in a fireman’s carry.
Nor is she going to be able to carry the necessary kit and equipment required to keep herself and her brothers alive on the battlefield.
These standards were not imposed arbitrarily. The 70lb weight of a standard Marine rucksack is not that different from the roughly 70lbs in equipment and supplies carried by the legionnaires of the Roman Republic and Empire.
You want to know how much those guys could march, carrying that weight?
Roughly 40 miles in a single day – which, to quote Robert A. Heinlein’s STARSHIP TROOPERS, “is pretty good mileage for a horse if you’ve never used your legs”.
And remember, the legionnaires were line infantry, not light infantry, the way that most (but not all) Marines are supposed to be.
The reason why the Roman legions were so fearsome in combat was simple. Their troops were the fittest, toughest, most well-equipped, best-trained, best-disciplined infantry anywhere. You simply could not break their lines with a purely infantry-based charge, as many an opponent found to their miserable cost.
The answer to the fact that women cannot handle the stresses of training for Marine units is not to reduce the standards. There has been quite enough of that already, and the result is that Western armies, from Her Majesty’s Royal Army to the US Army to the French and the Germans, are all facing a serious problem with overweight, unfit, slovenly recruits who need months of additional training just to get into decent fighting shape – and then lapse back into squishy pudginess once their stint is over.
No, the answer is to ban women in combat units entirely.
And then there’s the fact that having a woman in a combat unit is disastrous for unit cohesion and morale, because that whole “no fraternisation” rule always goes straight out the window instantly – “Eros makes Mars his bitch”, as a certain retired US Army bird-colonel once rather crudely, yet somehow eloquently, put it. There is nothing so deadly to a band of brothers who fight and die for each other as a woman who gets in the way, which is what decades of experience with actual women in actual militaries tells us will inevitably happen.
So if women cannot hack the physical demands, and they are deadly to unit cohesion, morale, and performance, and they cannot be relied upon to do a man’s work in the field… exactly what good are they?
Evidently they are good for making us feel good and virtuous about ourselves. Which is all fine and dandy when dealing with children, but is precisely the wrong approach to use when attempting to create troops who can fight and win in wars.
I can assure you from personal experience that the Russians are not nearly so actively stupid when it comes to putting their women in harm’s way. They do allow women to train in police units, certainly – but they absolutely do not permit women into their front-line combat roles.
The aforementioned bird-colonel above did a lot of hard thinking about how to integrate women successfully – that is, without compromising combat effectiveness and readiness – into a modern fighting military. His answer was to create an all-female unit with specialised equipment and training methods. He even wrote a whole book about it – good one too, if you haven’t read it.
Beyond that, though… the answer is to get women the Hell out of the military, feminists be damned. There is simply no good reason to pander to them.
Back at my martial arts school, the guys there used to call me “Robocop”, “Terminator”, and “Titanium Shins” because of my ability to absorb punishment and keep hitting during our sparring sessions. Guys used to hurt themselves when throwing kicks and punches in my direction. I loved sparring and got to the point where I would do a very hard leg-day workout on Wednesdays, and then go in for a sparring class on Thursday evenings, and most of the guys simply wouldn’t be able to keep up with me.
Those days might be long past me, or they might not – I won’t know until I get back into a serious martial arts school and start training again. But, if I cannot hack the Marine entrance requirements given my age and injuries – what possible business do women have in the same environment?
The answer, of course, is: none whatsoever.