Posted 20 May 2003 - 01:24 PM
^Oh I don't know. I've seen female recruits break during course before. The weak ones who cannot ruck, falls back on runs, etc, certainly more than guys, percentage wise. There were 5 girls in my platoon. 4 of them were pretty weak and most of the time couldn't handle the physical stress part. That's 80% and the figure ran similar to other recruit platoons.
I found it true that it is 10% physical and 90% mental.
Being one of the smaller and only average fit compared to rest of my platoon, I've had my share of near breaking moments, that moment when you want to quit because you think you can't take it anymore. But I sucked up the pain and managed to pass.
Reflecting on that, there was enough mental stress to break people who can't take it. Add physical pain and the stress greater. More fit you were, better equipped you were to take the pain, because you'd be having an easier dealing with the physical demands.
Being more fit will get you through digging a trench on clay during a hot summer day and it's not just digging, you have to carry tools and other assortment of stores and sheets of metal, poles to make your trench. Then try to stay awake during stand tos because the enemy is lurking somewhere. You're lucky if you can snatch 2-3 hours of sleep because you're suppose to stay up and keep a lookout for enemy while your partner sleeps. Then when it's your turn to sleep, you'll have trouble sleeping because mosquitos are buzzing around, biting you and the bloody bug repellant isn't working and you forgot to bring your bugnet and you hope that there isn't a stand to during your sleep time. Did I forgot to mention that it rained during the night? You're huddling against the wall of the trench with raincoat and helmet on shivering trying to sleep?
You only been inside the trench two days and you think things can't get any worse. You're relieved and you go back to your bivouac area and finally have some time to brush your teeth and clean your face a bit and think you can finally get some sleep, after managing to snatch only four hours of sleep last two days. You get about three hours of heavenly sleep, leaning against the tree, but your rifle or machinegun near you, because you never know when the enemy will attack, even your biv area.
You're shaken up and be told that get ready to head out. You and your section practices section attacks, grueling battle maneuver during hot summer day for hours. You get to eat a little, then practice patrolling drills. During the night, you go on a patrol. You walk through thick woods, swamp, hills and other pleasant terrain to your objective during the middle of the night, biting off screams of pain as your ankle twists in odd manner or your knee hits a rock or something hard as you drop to the ground. When you come back to your biv area, you get maybe another two hours of sleep, plus you have to man a machinegun post in case the enemy attacks your biv area during the night for few hours.
The morning comes again and you go through patrol drills again. You have a day time recce patrol to another objective. You can easily avoid the tank ruts and other unpleasant things better, but you're still very tired and weary from the physical exertion. You return from your patrol after few hours and you're allowed another two hours of rest. More section attack drills follows, then few hours of rest, except you're not sleeping because you're cleaning your weapon. A soldier with a not functioning weapon is useless. You clean your weapon whenever a break is given and then after your weapon is clean, you might sleep. You go on another night patrol and have another night of broken sleep with doing sentry duty on machinegun post and the morning comes.
You're suppose to return to the base today. You're glad. The transport arrives and you hop on. You return to base. You have cam paint all over your face and you haven't changed in 5 days. You stink like a goat but you're not allowed to take a shower until your equipment and stores are all clean. When you're finally allowed to rest, the night has fallen.
It was five days of heavy physical exertion and maybe four hours of sleep, if you're lucky.
Road marches are terrible.
It's a long march back to the base as you're carrying about 50-75 pounds of equipment, stores, plus your ruck and your personal kit. You're off lucky if you have a rifle. Heavens help you if you have a general purpose machinegun. (American M240) Satan must be laughing at you if you're the platoon Carl G man because you have to carry the Carl G (pretty heavy rocket launcher) plus your rifle). It's long march as you climb what seems to be a 70 degree uphill. You fall back slowly as your body begins to fail you. Your arms are tired from carrying your rifle. Your back feels like it's going to break going up that hill. Sweat dampens your cloths as the summer sun scorches you. You want a sip of water, but it's hard to reach for your canteen. You're about hundred metres behind the rest of the platoon now. A master corporal walks with you, ensuring that you don't fall and gravely injure yourself and trying to help you keep going.
Your mind is hazy as you can't focus clearly due to heat exhaustion but somehow your feet keeps moving. You are near the breaking point, the point where you just want to give up and go home.
Something your master corporal says gets to you. Why are you doing this? Do you want to be a quitter and go home as a failure? You start to pick up speed. You managed to get some water down into you. You begin to exert yourself more than you thought possible. You start running. Running with 50-75 pounds of stuff on your back is no fun. But you keep going with few times you slow down to catch your breath but run again.
You catch up to your platoon. They look a bit surprised, including the NCOs as they probably thought you weren't going to catch up. Your mates welcome you back. But you are not content with being in the rear of the platoon. You keep a faster pace than the rest of the platoon and you end up in the front of the platoon. You managed to march ten kilometers.
Despite having a flat feet and pains for next few days, it was worth not quitting.
Having 90% mental stress is bad enough. Adding another 10% physical stress will break most people. Since most girls are not as fit as guys, they'll have harder time.
I'm not saying I haven't seen girls who can't keep up, but the failure rate of girls are higher than boys.
Having said that, I have no problem working with girls. If they pass the same course, doing same amount of work as the guys, able to do same job as well as the guys, what's the problem? I don't see any.
Loyalty, Vigilance, Excellence
-Motto of Imperial Space Marines
"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."
-Robert A. Heinlein
"Self control is chef element in self respect. Self respect is chief element in courage."