Capt. Linda Vong demonstrates pullups outside Barber Physical Activity Center on March 21 aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. (Mike Morones / Staff)
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Female Marines training to do pullups as part of their physical fitness test will get a reprieve of more than a year following a Marine Corps announcement delaying the requirement once again.
According to a new message released by Marine Corps Headquarters, women will continue to be able to choose between pullups and the flexed-arm hang until the end of 2015, giving female Marines more time to train for the upcoming pullups requirement. However, Marine officials said, more women are opting to do pullups on their own, even though the challenge remains optional.
“The percentage of female Marines who have elected to execute the pullup during their PFT has nearly doubled since 2013, when female Marines were originally provided with the option,” according to a Corps-wide message released July 3. “Our female Marines have performed well over the last 13 years of war. As our Corps moves forward with research and assessment, our focus will remain on allowing every Marine the opportunity to be successful and establishing a viable career path.”
A Marine Corps spokeswoman, Capt. Maureen Krebs, said between 14 percent and 15 percent of female Marines elected to do pullups for their PFT this year.
The Marines last addressed the upcoming pullups standard on Jan. 24, reiterating that pullups “will become the single standard measure of physical fitness,” but adding that the requirement would be delayed until at least June 30 as the Corps continued to collect data on how well female Marines would adapt physically to the new standard. At the time, officials said that 55 percent of women had been unable to complete the minimum standard of three pullups to pass the PFT.
This latest extension will allow the Marines to adopt the universal pullup requirement after the conclusion of their three-year Women in Service Review, a multi-pronged study of the affect of opening previously closed ground combat specialties to female service members. Other elements of the review include opening enlisted and officer infantry training and allowing women to enter 400 combat arms billets that were previously closed. Coordinating changes to the pullups policy with WISR would provide another data point to study, officials said.
“The Marine Corps will maintain the current [pullups] policy ... in order to integrate the ongoing deliberate measured and responsible research being conducted across the four lines of effort of the Marine Corps force integration plan, and more specifically, the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force,” the message said.
The task force, which is being organized this summer at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, will integrate female Marines into ground combat units to assess performance and determine appropriate standards for women in these specialties.
Currently with the optional pullup for women, the standards are still gender-specific: female Marines are able to max out their PFT score with eight pullups, while male Marines need to complete 20 to max out. Marine officials said this standard could change after the completion of more research.