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Climate change affecting Army training

By: C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 27, 2016) — For the Big Green Machine — America’s Army — climate change, efforts to prevent it, or to at least adapt to it are about more than saving Mother Earth or even the whales. It’s about training, training space, how the Army fights, how often the Army will be called upon to fight in the future, and where.

Last Friday, April 22, was Earth Day. The day has been observed annually since 1970. In conjunction with that observance, Richard G. Kidd IV, who serves as the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability, along with his counterparts from the Navy, the Air Force and the Department of Defense discussed service-related perspectives on climate change during a panel discussion, April 26, in the Pentagon.

CLIMATE CHANGES TRAINING

A very visible effect of climate change on Soldiering, Kidd said, involves how weather affects a unit’s ability to prepare for its combat mission.

Kidd said the Army needs to train. Following 14 years of counter-insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is looking to build readiness across the “full spectrum of operations,” also referred to as “decisive action in support of unified land operations.” That readiness has been tagged as the No. 1 priority for the Army by its chief of staff, and large-scale training at the Army’s combat training centers are a key part of that effort.

“Without access to ranges and land, the Army’s readiness suffers,” Kidd said. “One of our key areas of training is Fort Irwin, California, where we do bridge-level maneuvers.”

Kidd said Fort Irwin suffered three years of drought, and so the ground there was unprepared for substantial rainfall. “Then suddenly we got all that water — in one day. It washed out brigade-sized live-fire training complexes across Fort Irwin.”

The rain at Irwin, Kidd said, “exceeded the ability of the land to absorb that water, it created flash floods and erosion which destroyed the ranges: control towers, firing platforms, and target berms that come up. Much of that was destroyed. We couldn’t use those ranges for training. And that’s a unique asset in the Army. It affected the training cycle. And there was a significant cost to fix that.”

Kidd also pointed to flooding at Fort Eustis, Virginia; to melting permafrost up in Alaska which affected the ability of Soldiers there to use firing platforms; and to erosion of tank trails at Fort Benning, Georgia.

At Fort Benning, “a lot of the tank trails on the installation have eroded significantly,” Kidd said. “We’ve always had an erosion problem. But it’s accelerated in the past year due to the shift in rain patterns and the amount and intensity of the rain fall.”

TOO HOT TO TRAIN

Soldiers, Kidd said, are subject to heat stress, and their performance decreases with increased heat.

Army Technical Bulletin MED 507 spells out various temperature categories and the level of intensity of activity that can safely be performed during those temperature conditions. A “Category IV” temperature condition, for instance, is defined as being between 88-89.9 degrees. A “Category V” temperature condition is above 90 degrees.

The bulletin offers specific types of activity that can be performed during different temperature conditions, as well as recommendations for durations for those activities. Such activities include patrolling, calisthenics, low crawling, field assaults, walking on loose sand with a load, and construction of defensive positions.

Climate change affects the number of days in certain regions of the country that are classified as either Category IV or Category V days. And that affects the Army’s ability to train in those areas.

Citing a temperature chart for Fort Stewart, Georgia, Kidd said “if you take a middle-road estimate of future climate change, we’re going to go from around 80 days a year of Category IV or Category V weather to 130 days a year of Category IV and Category V.”

Fort Stewart is just 150 miles south-east of Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where the Army trains as many as 35,000 basic trainees each year.

“Can we really train Soldiers if roughly half of our training days are going to be Category IV or Category V, where we have to curtail or eliminate their outdoor activity?” he asked.

MORE FIGHTS POSSIBLE; ARC OF INSTABILITY

The phrase “win in a complex world,” is all over the Army. Factors that make the world “complex” include population growth, increasing consumption, urbanization, transitions in energy, and the spread of technology, for instance.

“But the one item that cuts across all of those trends is climate change,” Kidd said. “For the Army what does that mean for plans and operations?”

Kidd pointed out that in any particular state, “governance capacity” describes the ability of a government to provide public goods and services to their citizens and constituents.

The effects of climate change, he said, such as rising sea levels, or scarcity of fresh water, for instance, can overwhelm the capacity of a government to provide the services it is supposed to, and that makes for failed states.

“If a state can’t meet those requirements, it tips over,” Kidd said.

Areas with failed states, or other “ungoverned” areas, Kidd said, leave a vacuum that is ripe for takeover by terrorists. “These are the spaces that are the petri dishes that nurture these threats.”

Kidd referred to the area from sub-Saharan Africa up into central Asia as an “arc of instability.”

“These are the same countries that are going to be the most adversely affected by climate change,” he said. “The effects of climate change, along with other global trends, have the potential to overwhelm the governance capacity of states in this region. And when that governance capacity gets overwhelmed, you have the opportunity for insecurity — an unstable, uncontrolled space. And from that could come terrorism, crime, civil war and all of these other security threats.”

When that happens, he said, “The decision will have to be made by the civil command authority: is that worth the intervention for the U.S. military?”

Climate change, he said, can mean increased engagement by American Soldiers.

With that in mind, Kidd said, such problems can be inoculated against with the Army’s regionally aligned forces concept, with development of host-nation capacity, strategic engaging by combatant commands, as well as with involvement by other government agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development. All are examples of how America can contribute to bolstering governance capacity to avoid future failed states.

WHERE ARE THE BULLETS?

In 2011, a tsunami, triggered by an earthquake, caused the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Eastern Japan.

Japanese manufacturers who relied on power produced at Fukushima were themselves responsible for producing a small plastic part that is used to attach automobile dashboards to the chassis.

“Every car has these grommets in them,” Kidd said, adding that Japanese manufacturers of those parts produced the preponderance of them, globally. “So When Fukushima went out, BMW lines in Europe shut down.”

Kidd said that today, major consulting firms in the private sector now consider supply chain resiliency for the companies they consult for.

“Private industry is thinking about the potential disruptions to supply chain,” Kidd said. But for the Army, he said, “we don’t think enough about our supply chain and our suppliers and their vulnerability to disruptive events. Where are the vulnerabilities in the Army supply chain, to extreme weather, or in particular, to water-driven events?”

“We need to get a better understanding of the vulnerabilities in our supply chain,” Kidd concluded.

Kidd said the Army does spend a great deal of time and effort on ensuring the adequacy and security of its supply chain.

“But we need to integrate climate change considerations into our ongoing processes,” he said. “We have initiated this effort within the last two years. Specifically, we have developed and are constructing a range of water savings features across our industrial facilities focused on the very large amount of water used in manufacturing.”

EARTH DAY FOR THE ARMY

“For the military, it’s about national security,” Kidd said of Earth Day. “The effects of climate change and environmental degradation are going to increase our requirements while also imposing more constraints on our training and readiness and use of scarce dollars. The sooner we get started, the more prepared we will be, and the less costly it’s going to be to adapt.”

Source: http://www.army.mil/article/166803/Climate_change_affecting_Army_training/

 
 

Decided Not to Get Married

URBAN ROMANCE – I Changed My Mind: Why I Decided Not to Get Married

By Atiya Shrieves

I was over my close friend Bam Bam’s house about to have a conversation I’d had about a million times with numerous people in the last few months. I hadn’t seen my friend in over a year and a half because of her deployment. The last time we spoke was a few months earlier through email when I told her I was engaged so, needless to say, the face-to-face conversation we were having in her living room came as a bit of a shock to her.

“So, how are the wedding plans coming along?”
“Girl… the wedding is postponed, indefinitely.”
“WHAT!!!! What does that mean?”
“It means I am not getting married!”
“I am so sorry,” Bam lamented
“I’m not.”

I know, a bit harsh, right? But I wasn’t sorry. Let me explain. I’d had this same conversation for a few months now and I’ve been getting the same reaction. Friends, family, and strangers alike were sorry for “my loss,” but what they all failed to realize is it wasn’t a loss, at least not for me.

I called off the wedding. I decided that I no longer wanted to spend the rest of my life with the man I once wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I changed my mind. Therefore, I am not sorry. I am actually at peace. Why? Because I’d just avoided one of the biggest mistakes I could have ever made—marrying the wrong person.

When I was proposed to, I felt like I was on top of the world. What woman doesn’t want the man she loves, to ask her to spend the rest of their lives together? Of course I said the only proper thing to say: YES! And it was off to the races after that! I started making the guest list, looking at venues, picking my wedding party, and, of courses, trying on dresses. I was so excited, I actually bought my dress within a month of being engaged.

Once the euphoria of becoming the future Mrs. Fill-In-The-Blank wore off, reality set in. What was I getting myself into? Without bashing or being too transparent (as if I’m not already), this man and I had our fair share of problems and I’m being modest when I say that. I mean he was just anokay boyfriend, so what made me believe he was going to be a good husband. Was I being like those women on reality television reunion shows? You know the ones who say yes to their deadbeat celeb boyfriends, who feel the best time to get on one knee is after their side piece throws a chair at their main chick, in this case, me? My life wasn’t being played out on television, but I could certainly relate to drama.

My situation was more down than up. So why did I say yes? Was I stupid?  No, I was hopeful. I hoped that maybe being engaged would help us and magically make everything alright. Well it didn’t. It made things worse.

I was engaged to the okay boyfriend, now my  fiancé. And what did that mean? Just more of the same problems with a different title. I could not, I repeat, could not turn this man into the okay husband.

I made a list. It wasn’t your usual list of pros and cons. It was a list of things I wanted in my life, things that I liked, and things that really grind my gears. Then I asked myself a few questions: Does he add to any of these aspects of my life? Does he know any of these things about me? Do any of these things matter to him? The results were staggering. I realized one thing with this simple list and these simple questions. I was settling. I realized that these things only mattered to me. That he wasn’t really in tune to me and what I liked at all. I was about to make a huge mistake. I was about to marry someone who I was good for (because for me, all of these things mattered when it came to him), but who was not good for me. I realized that I did not exist in my relationship at all. I gave so much of myself that I barely knew who I was until I made that list. In fact, I now understood why he wanted to get married. Not because he loved me so much, but because I gave, and did so much to uplift him and I didn’t require much in return. Who wouldn’t want to keep getting the best while only giving the bare minimum?

My heart sank, the tears fell, and the hurt was piercing as more questions flooded my head. How could I not see this before I’d said yes? How could I let it get this far? How could I be so stupid? What was I going to tell all of my friends and family? What was I going to tell him? I asked that question of myself, God, and my bestie. How could I tell him that I no longer wanted to spend forever with him; that I realized I was settling? Walking down the aisle would only end in heartache for both of us and I knew that. I should’ve never said yes in the first place. There was no point in beating around the push. It wasn’t going to change how I felt and wasn’t going to change my mind.

It was hard. Very hard.  He didn’t give up easy. He fought tooth and nail against what I believed would be best, not only for me, but for the both of us, in the long run. The hard part was over… or so I thought. Imagine telling a bunch of people who already started planning for time off, telling family members on both sides who just love you two together, and calling venues telling them you are no longer interested because there isn’t going to be a wedding. Let’s not even get into that wedding dress that you just had to have!

The point of me sharing all of this is I want someone to take my story as a lesson—an example of what not to do when you know something isn’t right in your relationship. Saying yes to an engagement doesn’t mean you have to say yes to the marriage. We all hope that is what will happen, but sometimes you must take a step back and look at all the factors involved. Just because it feels good at that moment and you love that person doesn’t mean that marrying that person is the right thing to do. Never stay in a situation because you don’t want to hurt the other person or you are afraid of what other people are going to say (even on Facebook). We all make mistakes, but it’s not the mistake that matters, it’s how we fix that mistake and grow from it.

So I’m not going to say “I do” and get to have the wedding of my dreams, right now, but I do get to have peace of mind and the satisfaction in knowing I did the right thing. In the end, that is what matters the most. Oh, and I’ll wear my beautiful dress just because. Who knows? Maybe I’ll marry myself in it!

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Atiya is a mother of two who served eight years in the United States Navy. She has an A.A.S in Justice and is currently pursuing a degree in Nursing. Atiya is also writing her first novel.

 

SMA Dailey’s 7-Day Workout Plan Kicks Butt

ARMY TIMES – SMA’s 7-Day Workout Plan Will Kick Your Butt!

By Michelle Tan

sma2 Photo: Army Times

For Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey, PT time is special.

“That’s my sanctity time,” he said. “It’s my time to reflect on the day. You ever hear about artists who experience clarity when they’re painting or creating music or doing pottery? That’s PT for me. That’s my time of the day where nothing seems to be troubling. It’s my getaway.”

But Dailey, who was sworn in Jan. 30 as the Army’s top enlisted soldier, doesn’t just work out for fun. He views his three runs each week, along with a tough regimen of upper body and core strength-building exercises, as a critical part of his routine and life as a soldier — and he’s trying to spread that enthusiasm across the force.

“I just want soldiers out there doing good PT, working hard every day,” he said. “It’s critically important for them to be physically fit, not just as soldiers but for the rest of their lives. Extend your life. Do some physical fitness.”

Dailey has previously called to task leaders for allowing fitness standards to slide among their troops.

“One of the most important things that we do every day is typically one of the first things that we do each morning, that being physical fitness training,” Dailey wrote in a March 30 letter to the force. “Yet as I travel to various locations across the Army, I find fewer and fewer soldiers actually conducting physical training.”

Dailey said he knows it can be easier said than done, but physically fit soldiers are healthier over time, and they’re ready for any mission they might be called upon to do.

“There are a million things out there that will compete with that hour [of PT],” he said. “It’s the sacred hour, and you’ve got to preserve it.”

sma3 Photo: SFC Michael R. Zuke

The SMA workout

Dailey formed his PT routine over years of training and learning what works best for him. He noted that it’s not for everyone, and nor is he advocating for it to be.

The plan he strives to follow each week is made up of “things that I felt were keeping me in good physical fitness for what I needed to do for my mission as a soldier,” he said.

The regimen includes a lot of focus on upper body and core strength because of his job as an infantryman, Dailey said.

“It’s extremely difficult when you’re in combat when you have to pull yourself up a window or over a wall,” he said. “You’ve got to be prepared to do that.”

He also puts a keen focus on cardiovascular fitness.

“You need to have that burst of energy to sprint 100 yards, but you also have to be able to go the distance for 12- to 18-hour patrols,” he said.

Dailey’s last two-mile run took him a mere 11 minutes and 40 seconds, but he typically runs at least five to seven miles during PT, averaging between 7 and 7-1/2 minutes per mile. He also uses a lot of free weights, and he has a Bowflex at home, but Dailey said he likes to keep it simple.

“I like to use a lot of body weight to train,” he said. “It’s consistent because I’ve deployed a lot and it’s easy to do. You don’t have to have a fancy gym to stay in shape. You can do dips on the side of a wall. You can do dips on railings. You just need to look around, and there’s a gym everywhere.”

An important part of physical fitness is knowing your body and what you need it to do, Dailey said.

“Units need to design PT plans based on their mission, based on the physical capabilities of their soldiers,” he said. “This is my goal workout, but it shouldn’t be the thing everybody copies.”

Dailey always works out with one or more soldiers, sticking to a simple but tough PT plan. Here’s a look at his typical PT routine.

sma Photo: Army Times 

Monday

Five- to seven-mile run, outside, rain or shine.

Tuesday

He does four sets of the following combination of upper body and core exercises:

For the upper body: 10 reps of free weight dumbbell bench presses and dumbbell curls.

For the core: 100 crunches on an exercise ball, followed by 150 crunches on the ball or floor. He follows those up with two sets of 75 sit-ups.

After the four sets he he finishes with 15 tricep dips followed by bicep burnouts, where you run dumbbell curls as fast as you can until you reach muscle failure. The target is 30 reps on each side. He repeats this four times as well.

Wednesday

Five- to seven-mile run, outside, rain or shine.

Thursday

A pull-up-pushup ladder and sit-ups.

This entails:

One pull-up followed by five pushups.

Two pull-ups followed by 10 pushups.

Three pull-ups followed by 15 pushups.

Four pull-ups followed by 20 pushups.

Five pull-ups followed by 25 pushups.

Six pull-ups followed by 30 pushups.

Seven pull-ups followed by 35 pushups.

Eight pull-ups followed by 40 pushups, followed by 100 sit-ups or crunches and 25 left oblique and 25 right oblique crunches.

Nine pull-ups followed by 45 pushups, followed by 100 sit-ups or crunches and 25 left oblique and 25 right oblique crunches.

Ten pull-ups followed by 50 pushups, followed by 100 sit-ups or crunches and 25 left oblique and 25 right oblique crunches.

Nine pull-ups followed by 100 sit-ups or crunches and 25 left oblique and 25 right oblique crunches.

Eight pull-ups followed by 90 sit-ups or crunches.

Seven pull-ups followed by 80 sit-ups or crunches.

Six pull-ups followed by 70 sit-ups or crunches.

Five pull-ups followed by 60 sit-ups or crunches.

Four pull-ups followed by 50 sit-ups or crunches.

Three pull-ups followed by 40 sit-ups or crunches.

Two pull-ups followed by 30 sit-ups or crunches.

One pull-up followed by 20 sit-ups or crunches.

Friday

Five- to seven-mile run, outside, rain or shine.

Saturday

Rest

Sunday

Dailey takes Sundays for personal PT. What he does on Sundays could tie into his overall fitness plan, or something recreational. This could include swimming, a long run, a bike ride or playing sports.

sma4 Photo: Mike Morones

Weight and nutrition

Dailey, who at 42 is the youngest soldier to serve as the sergeant major of the Army, has maxed out the Army’s PT test for almost his entire career.

An infantryman by trade, the 5-foot-9 Dailey tries to take care of himself, watching his weight and nutrition in tandem with his PT regimen. Dailey, who quit smoking cold turkey about 15 years ago, also tries to get six or seven hours of sleep each night, which sometimes can be difficult because of the demands of his job.

Dailey weighs himself every morning — he came in at 163 pounds after his morning run on April 17 — and he likes to stay between 162 and 167 pounds.

“I will tailor my diet that week for what I call my personal band of excellence,” Dailey said. “But you can’t starve yourself. That’s where diets fail all the time.”

Dailey also tries to stick to a low-carb, low-fat diet, “but I splurge, too,” he said.

“The reason why I can have a treat here and there is because I do run a lot,” Dailey said, laughing. “I’m not the best healthy eater in the world.”

Dailey and his wife try to eat fish two or three times a week, and they limit their red meat intake.

“And I try to never drink my calories,” he said. “Almost never in a week will I drink a calorie. It’s just a thing I’ve done my entire adult life.”

Dailey typically starts his day with hardboiled egg whites, and he’ll have chicken breast and a salad for lunch. Dinner is whatever his wife, Holly, has planned, he said.

“I’m a calorie counter and carb and fat counter, too,” he said. “You have to be, the older you get.”

His weakness, though, is pizza from one of his favorite restaurants in his hometown of Palmerton, Pennsylvania.

“I have this hometown pizza shop that my childhood taste buds refer back to all the time,” he said. “When family members come down, I make them bring frozen pizzas from that place.”

sma5 Photo: SFC Michael R. Zuke

‘A reason to get up’

Sometimes, it’s difficult to get motivated, Dailey admits.

“A lot of people might think, ‘you’re good at PT,'” he said. “But there’s no such thing. It takes work. It’s hard, hard work.”

During a recent trip to observe the Best Ranger Competition, Dailey and his team arrived late in the evening at Fort Benning, Georgia. But they went to the gym and worked out for two hours anyway, from 8 to 10 p.m., before waking up at 5 a.m. to run and do stair drills.

“That stuff’s important,” Dailey said. “Everybody gets tired, I understand that.”

For that reason alone, Dailey’s goal is to do PT every morning with at least one other soldier.

“Personally, you’re going to be tired, but if you always have a soldier you can’t let down, it gives you that extra boost to go outside and do PT,” he said. “You have a reason to get up, a reason to drive yourself out there.”

During his monthly visits to the Pre-Command Course, Dailey said he encourages soon-to-be battalion commanders and command sergeants major to PT with their soldiers.

“Whenever your unit’s PT time starts, if you’re not at your flag pole on your installations with your soldiers, leading from the front, you can assume your soldiers aren’t doing it,” Dailey said. “That’s all soldiers want. They want leaders out there leading soldiers.”

Doing tough, realistic PT as a unit also builds camaraderie, Dailey said.

“Sometimes the toughest, most austere environment brings organizations together,” he said. “I don’t mean for PT to be austere, but everybody feels good after a 5K run. There’s a lot of mental preparedness that this builds for the Army, too, so it’s not just physical wellbeing but mental wellbeing.”

Some of Dailey’s former soldiers had high praise for his PT prowess.

“He’ll out PT anyone,” a reader named Thaddeus Cruiser recently wrote on the Army Times Facebook page. “Used to show up on a run at Carson and run platoons into the ground. Legendary.”

As a brigade command sergeant major, Dailey would “join our company/platoon runs all the time,” Steven Brown, another reader, wrote.

“This dude is a PT monster,” Army Times reader Jake Brewer wrote. “He would come in the pool when I was on lifeguard detail and swim laps for a solid hour, hour and a half.”

 

Burt of Burt’s Bees Dies at 80

bb

Burt Shavitz, co-founder and namesake of natural personal care company Burt’s Bees, has passed away at 80.

“We remember him as a wild-bearded and free-spirited Maine man, a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of golden retrievers…” the company said in a statement. “Above all, Burt was always Burt — an uncompromising individual of his own invention.”

Shavitz died of respiratory complications in Maine, and was surrounded by family and friends.

Burt’s Bees started by chance — Shavitz, a bearded beekeeper who sold honey from a roadside stand, pulled over one day in 1984 to pick up hitchhiker Roxanne Quimby. The two hit it off, and Quimby started making candles from Shavitz’s beeswax.

The pair made $200 at their first craft fair selling the candles, and within a year, pulled in $20,000, according to a company timeline. Soon, they started making all kinds of other products — featuring Shavitz’s face and beard on the labels — including Burt’s Bees’ iconic beeswax lip balm.

Burt’s Bees was sold for $1 billion to Clorox (CLX) in 2007.

The company remains one of the most recognizable natural care brands in the U.S.

Sophia Yan, CNN

 

Lawmakers Want Clearer Army Breastfeeding Rules

bf-army

House lawmakers want clearer rules on breastfeeding in the ranks, a few weeks after the issue of public nursing caused an uproar at an Idaho Air Force Base.

In an amendment to the House Armed Services Committee’s defense authorization bill draft, lawmakers required the Secretary of the Army to “develop a comprehensive policy regarding breastfeeding” for female soldiers that addresses the availability of facilities and allows for work breaks for pumping milk.

The measure — sponsored by Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass. — also specifies that areas with “adequate privacy and cleanliness” for breastfeeding should include electrical outlets to allow use of breast pumps. “Restrooms should not be considered an appropriate location.”

The move comes just days after the commander of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho was forced to rescind a policy requiring mothers breastfeeding in public areas on base relocate to a private room, use a nursing cover or leave the premises.

The policy applied to civilians and off-duty civil service employees, but not to active-duty service members or on-duty civilian employees. But it caused a public uproar, and a promise from officials to look for ways to better accommodate those mothers.

The Army is the only of the four services not to have a specific, service-wide breastfeeding policy.

The authorization bill will have to survive months more of House and Senate debate and be signed by the president before the Army breastfeeding requirement would become law.

Leo Shane III

 

Military Chicks: Ace Pull-Ups?

“PT 365” Blog, Military Times
Author: Jon Anderson

Marine Maj. Misty Posey demonstrates pullups. Courtesy of Maj. Misty Posey

The dreaded pullup.

Among the basic bodyweight exercises, few garner more fear and loathing than standing below that hated bar.

That’s because the pullup works not just your biceps and forearms, but also taps something deep down in your shoulder muscles, plus the core-stabilizing lats, abs and middle back. It’s a full upper-body workout unto itself.

No wonder women can’t do them. Or maybe it’s only the Wonder Women who can. Most just aren’t built for that kind of heavy lifting. It’s basic biology — right?

Not really. At least not according to Marine Maj. Misty Posey.

Challenge her to a pullup showdown and you’d better be ready to knock out more than 30 reps. And hers will be better than perfect: Her chin will come a little higher than required; she’ll drop all the way down between each rep; and there will be no kipping to juice out a few extra reps.

She knows what you’re going to say next, and you’ll be wrong again. She’s not some genetic freak of athletic awesomeness or trained-from-birth sports ninja. And this 4-foot, 10-inch fireplug says she’s no Wonder Woman.

“I did not play sports in high school or college. I was never a gymnast. I only began lifting weights after I could do 20 pullups. I am very close to the maximum weight for my height, and my body fat is average,” she says.

So if she can do it, she insists, any woman in reasonable shape can do it.

Pulling their weight

And that’s not just a platitude. As the chief of the Common Skills Branch for the Marine Corps Training and Education Command, she’s in charge of all the Corps’ physical fitness programs.

Marines are known for having the toughest of the services’ physical fitness tests. Now they’re trying to make it harder — or at least equally hard for everyone by requiring women to pass a pullup portion of the test just like male Marines have had to do for more than 40 years.

The transition has been tough. The new requirement was supposed to take effect in January, but officials decided to punt that change for a least a year after more than half of female recruits were unable to do at least three pullups. The issue needs more study, leaders say.

But what it really needs is more women like Posey.

“Women have been conditioned to think they can’t do it,” she says. “There is this notion that weakness is a woman’s natural condition.”

Sure, she says, men are generally faster than women. “But that has nothing to with pullups, so who cares?” And, yes, men are generally stronger than women, but the difference isn’t nearly as big as people think.

Expecting more

It all starts when they’re young. We expect less of girls. And so they deliver less.

That wasn’t true of Sparta’s girls, who were trained how to kick enemy butt just like the boys.

Start expecting more, and you’ll see today’s warrior women rise to the task as well, Posey says. And she’s not alone in that view.

“By delaying the pullups and questioning women’s abilities to perform to that standard, we are imposing external limits,” writes Marine Cobra gunship pilot Maj. Jeannette Gaudry Haynie in a recent post for the U.S. Naval Institute.

“We’re saying that women should not be expected to have great strength, that pulling our own weight up to a bar 20 times, or even 3 times, is too much to ask. And that, right there, is what makes me worry,” Haynie wrote. “I believed it for years, and I was wrong. And now I’m older — I could have been doing these for years! Instead of limiting our Marines, we should ask more of them: set the bar high, and encourage them to fly right past it.”

Getting a grip

Posey knows it’s possible because she has personally trained dozens of women — and plenty of men, too — on how to get a grip on doing pullups.

“Pullups are a learned skill, not an innate ability,” she says. And learning that skill takes dedicated training.

She learned the secret from a crusty old gunnery sergeant who ran a base gym in San Diego.

Posey was still an NROTC midshipman at the time, trying to figure out a way make it through the obstacle course, when she saw a female Marine doing pullups.

“It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could do pullups until then,” she says.

After four months of daily training, mostly on the local gym’s assisted pull-up machine … she still couldn’t do a single pullup.

That’s when the gunny pulled her aside.

“He told me, ‘If you want to get good at pullups, you have to get the hell out of my gym and go out and get up on a pullup bar.’”

Crazy, she thought. How could she do pullups if she couldn’t do pullups? But she tried. And kept trying.

“Within a week, I could do one. Within three weeks, I could do five.”

In the years since, the old gunny’s words have become her mantra.

“I just want women to understand they just need to get out on the bar.”

Jon R. Anderson is a staff writer for OFFduty. Contact him at jona@militarytimes.com.

(Jonn Anderson)

 

Ms. Veteran America’s Story

TheRecruiterJournal.com
Author: Cathy Pauley, USAREC

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When Staff Sgt. Allaina Guitron volunteered for recruiting duty little did she know how her title of “Ms. Veteran America” would be a perfect fit to showcase her Army story.

When a close friend approached the Montgomery Recruiting Battalion NCO about the competition, she thought it was a typical pageant. Then she found out the charitable beneficiary of the Ms. Veteran America competition is Final Salute Inc., an organization that provides homeless women veterans safe and affordable housing.

“The real question became, ‘How could I not compete?’ ” said Guitron. “I am already part of the Army and I am already a Soldier. To accomplish something beyond being a Soldier is more than I could ask for.”

For this 13-year veteran, the platform was personal. Guitron’s mother dealt with homelessness most of her life, and Guitron grew up in foster homes. In 2000, her life changed when she enlisted in the Army.

“I knew the Army would be challenging and would provide opportunities for me to better myself,” she said.

Guitron entered the competition when she was in the 55th Signal Co. at Fort Meade, Md. Her yearlong stint as “Ms. Veteran America” started when she arrived to recruiting duty in Crestview, Fla., in October 2013.

“It was an easy decision to let Guitron compete,” said Maj. Kyle Yates, then 55th Signal Co. company commander. “After learning about the Ms. Veteran American organization and its mission, I was extremely proud of her desire to represent our service beyond the uniform.”

Yates said Guitron lives the Army Values in her military and personal life.

“She successfully led and took care of Soldiers as a noncommissioned officer in the Army’s most deployed Signal Company, supported her Soldier-husband during his deployment, transitioned to Recruiting Command and provided for her extended family,” he said.

The extended family that Yates referred to was Guitron’s brother, Christian, who she was sole provider for from 2005 until she reported to recruiting duty.

When invited to speak as “Ms. Veteran America,” Guitron includes her personal biography about her job as a recruiter. She also mentors a few teens and young women.

“I try to be the voice of reason for them, even though sometimes it is hard for them to hear, but they know I have their best interest in mind,” said Guitron. “It is important that female Soldiers see a strong, positive, resilient and selfless leader they can emulate. Therefore, I choose to lead by example in everything I do.”

Crestview Center Commander Sgt. 1st Class John Carroll said Guitron is one of the most dedicated Soldiers with whom he has worked.

“I have witnessed a Soldier that gives everything to being a Soldier,” he said. “She strives to be the best at everything she does. She embodies the Army Values and is a sterling example both personally and professionally of what is expected of a Soldier in the U.S. Army.”

In Guitron’s community, she is involved with Fisher House at Eglin Air Force Base. Because of her personal story, she also speaks with local mayors, veteran’s organizations and Chambers of Commerce to bring light to the homeless women veterans’ issue.

Guitron takes to heart the Army Values and applies them to every aspect of her life.

“In her role as ‘Ms. Veteran America,’ Guitron brings the same passion and desire to help others,” said Carroll. “She shows that with hard work and dedication there is nothing they cannot achieve.”

This perfect fit is the reason she volunteered for recruiting.

“I wanted to share my life experiences with people,” she said.

(Cathy Pauley)

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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Army Life, Repost, Women

 
 
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