Marines involved in a controversial experiment evaluating a gender-integrated infantry unit say they feel betrayed by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus after he criticized the results of a nine-month study that found women are injured more frequently and shoot less accurately in simulated combat conditions.
As Reported By Thomas Gibbons-Neff for The Washington Post:
“Our secretary of the Navy completely rolled the Marine Corps and the entire staff that was involved in putting this [experiment] in place under the bus,” said Sgt. Danielle Beck, a female anti-armor gunner with the task force.
Mabus questioned the findings of the research after a four-page summary of the results was released Thursday, saying he still thinks all jobs in the Marine Corps should be opened to women. He said results that found women were more than twice as likely to be injured and ultimately compromise a unit’s combat effectiveness were an “extrapolation based on injury rates, and I’m not sure that’s right,” he told NPR.
Sgt. Joe Frommling, one of the Marines who acted as one of Beck’s monitors for the experiment, said he was frustrated with the secretary’s comments.
“What Mabus said went completely against what the command was saying the whole time,” said Frommling. “They said, ‘Hey, no matter what your opinion is, go out there and give it your best and let the chips fall where they may.’”
“All the work that the task force did, the rounds that we shot, didn’t mean anything if he had already made up his mind,” he added.
Capt. Patrick McNally, a spokesman for the secretary, said Mabus had no further comment beyond his earlier remarks and “remains committed to opening combat fields to women.”