Wednesday, July 8, 2015

MarineTimes reports: Controversy surrounds firing of Marines' female recruit battalion CO

Members of 4th Recruit Training Battalion, fire during rifle marksmanship training at
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
 (Photo: Cpl. Octavia Davis/Marine Corps)

A Marine officer who led the service's only all-female recruit battalion was fired amid complaints of a toxic leadership environment — but her supporters say she was only trying to make the unit better by holding women to tougher standards.

Lt. Col. Kate Germano, the former commanding officer of 4th Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, was found to be "hostile, unprofessional and abusive," according to a command investigation obtained by Marine Corps Times. She was relieved for cause on June 30 by Brig. Gen. Terry Williams, Parris Island's commanding general.

But officers who served with her say she was a blunt reformer who spearheaded efforts to improve recruit training regardless of gender, and that a vocal minority in the battalion undercut her achievements. Germano's tactics, for example, dramatically improved range qualification rates for female recruits.

The ensuing controversy, some say, provides a glimpse into an ongoing struggle to establish equal standards for male and female Marines at the Corps' East Coast recruit depot. Now Germano is petitioning lawmakers for redress, saying she was treated unjustly by base leadership. Germano declined to provide additional details about those efforts, due to concerns about protected communications to Congress.

Williams cited a poor command climate and the loss of trust and confidence in Germano's ability to serve in command, according to a statement that was provided to Marine Corps Times. The command investigation, completed June 25 and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, states that Germano displayed "toxic leadership" by publicly berating and showing contempt for subordinates, bullying Marines and singling them out for under-performance.

On one occasion, the investigation found, she made comments during a sexual assault prevention brief that female Marines interpreted as victim-blaming, leading some to testify that it would make them feel less comfortable reporting a sexual assault within the command. 

Germano also "reinforced gender bias and stereotypes" in the minds of her Marines by telling them on several occasions that male Marines would not take orders from them and would see them as inferior if they could not meet men's physical standards, the investigation found.

The nearly 300-page document included more than two dozen partially redacted interviews and written statements from Marines at Parris Island and within Germano's unit.

It also included the results of a Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute command climate survey taken by 64 members of the battalion in April. The survey found that nearly half of respondents thought the unit did not promote a climate based on respect and trust, and nearly 20 percent of respondents believed the unit did not create an environment where victims would feel comfortable reporting a sexual assault.

Full article:

Food for thought:  At the end of the day, despite the controversy surrounding Germano's "failed" leadership, which in my view stems from the Pentagon, our girls need to be trained effectively.    Who is more qualified to train them but someone who have survived the trenches and the abuse from men all throughout her career.  She was simply preparing these young girls for the reality of  warfare within the ranks.  I've been throughout it and even wrote a book about it, but the mistreatment of our women will not change until Congress takes our complaints seriously.  

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