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Harry E Wilson

















Articles provided by Russ “Skip” Grimm, ’76

To be Posted- Civil War

Political Correctness

On Tuesday’s 31 May’s editorial page, Leonard Pitts writes of “Confronting The History That Made Us”. He addresses the change which occurred on 23rd of January 1977 – the broadcast of the first installment of “Roots”. America awoke to it’s history, a history that had to be hidden. “Twelve Years a Slave” added to that history.
The Taliban and ISIL are compelled to destroy historical structures in the name of their religion.
Buddhas of Bamiyan…
A search of ISIL finds similiar removal.
We in America are attempting to destroy the reputations of Civil War leaders. We are removing names from schools and statues from our parks. To be blunt, if President Lincoln had allowed the South to leave the Union, there would have been no Civil War.
Is is difficult for me to understand how any one would not want future generations to know our history. If Political Correctness does not allow Robert E.Lee to be treated honestly, then Political Correctness dictates that we as a Class, must review our recognition of Washington and Jefferson.
They were Slave Holders like many of our Founding Fathers. Political Correctness dictates both must be held accountable.
Our Founding Father’s names must be removed from our schools, their statues removed from our parks. How can any one recognize the men who wrote our Constitution when a Black Man was regarded as 3/5th of a white man?
Jefferson went so far as to publish the real distinctions (Blacks / Whites) which nature has made. He was to write –…/thomas-jef…/jefferson-on-slavery.php
Political Correctness requires Jefferson’s face to be removed from Mount Rushmore, or at least covered with canvas. As a Class if we are to be Politically Correct we must request that West Point remove Jefferson from the name of our Library. The replica of his desk and chair must go.
If President Wilson’s name must be removed from a College Campus, as he was a segregationist, then for us to be Politically Correct we must rename our Mess Hall and place Washington’s Statue in storage to await better times.
Could Dennis Prager’s comment be the reason for today’s thinking?
Schools even stopped teaching American history. When American history is taught today, it is taught as a history of oppression, imperialism and racism. Likewise, there is essentially no education on civics, once a staple of the public school system. Young Americans are not taught the Constitution or how American government works. I doubt many college students even know what “separation of powers” means, let alone why it is so significant.
Robert E Lee was an Honorable Man. In today’s society Honorable Men are not in fashion.

220px-Buddhas_of_Bamiyan_in_19_century Destruction_of_Buddhas_March_21_2001

1953 – 1954 Corps of Cadets and Their Team

The Polo Grounds October 17, 1953
Much of the Material is taken from Bill McWilliams book “A Return to Glory”


Colonel Blaik, (misty eyed) leaving the field after the 1953 Team beat Navy. To the right with helmet is Rox Swain, who was yanked off the Cadet Train, suited up and kicked off to Navy.
“In the locker room after the Game he was to say –
Bob Mischak’s 73 yard run down of the Blue Devils’ All American Red Smith The Game Saving -Season Saving Tackle. Col Blaik was later to write “In somehow catching and collaring (Smith), Mischak displayed heart and a pursuit that for one single play I have never seen matched.”

Still photos are at

While the film is at

Bob’s playing and coaching career after graduation and service commitment was perhaps the most distingushed of any West Point Graduate. See



*Please note – Jerry Lodge – who wore #32 is missing from Photo as is Norm Stephen. 2d man 2d row next to Tommy Bell – Name is Zaborowski. Wynn #31 is actually in the 2d row not the 3d


Acheer copy
The 1953 cheerleaders, standing, for the Army team, with tumblers in the first row. Cheerleaders, left to right: Ed Moses, ’54; John Clayton ’55, Al Worden ’55, Billy McVeigh ’54, Jay Edwards ’54, Bill Robinson ’55; Tumblers: Peter Jones ’54, Dan Ludwig ’55, Jack Charles ’54, Charles Glenn ’56.

Taking an old war trophy, a German Rocket gun captured at Kasserine Pass in WW II, the staff in the Ordinance Laboratory volunteered to make an adapter shell that would shoot a blank 10 gauge.

Jerry Lodge – A Brahma Bull going for more yards against North Carolina

Rox Swain was pulled off the Cadet Train when it pulled into Philadelphia and his Kickoff resulted in a fumble which Lowell Sisson recovered. The Football can be seen against Lowell’s knee. Norm Stephen wa she first one down the field, making the tackle.

It is unclear who is coming down the line, but it appears Navy’s number 82 is in for a brutal hit.

17 Oct 1953, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA --- Army football team player, Chesnauskas (63), quick kicks the ball in first quarter of Army v. Duke University game at Manhattan's Polo Grounds. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS Attaya Kick

Uebel-BellUebel 34 leads Bell against Duke

Attaya, Uebel, Hagan, Farris
Attaya with the ball, Hagan 16 just handed off, Uebel 34 and Farris 55 blocking

Billy in Washington Hall copy
Ben Schemmer ’54, Alex Rupp ’55, and a Corporal from the West Point Band, Driver of the convertible.

swarming the field
Conclusion of the Duke Game – Deliriously happy Army players and cadets celebrate their stunning 14-13 upset of Duke University Blue Devils at the Polo Grounds in New York City 17 October 1953. Identified players are Lowell Sisson (83), right end; Bob Mischak (87), left end; Bill Cody (11), quarterback; Ed Zaborowski (58), center; Joe Franklin (facing Ed Zaborowski; Frank Burd (33),fullback; Peter Vann (10), quarterback.

blaik-lund copy

coaches copy

Why Women failed the Marine Officer Coarse


Second Lt. Sage Santangelo says the Marine Corps should train women to the same standard as men. (Matthew Coughlin/For The Washington Post)Sage Santangelo - Marine

I awoke to Eminem blasting hours before dawn at Quantico Marine Base. A fog of breath and sweat permeated the cold January air as I joined 104 other nervous lieutenants hauling gear to the classroom where we would receive our first instructions. With body armor, Kevlar, a rifle and a huge pack on my 5’3’’ frame, I must have looked like a child next to the buff guys assembling for Day 1 of the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course.

I was one of four women in the group, bringing the number to 14 female officers who had attempted the course since it was opened to women in the fall of 2012. All the women so far had failed — all but one of them on the first day.

I wasn’t thinking about that, though. I was excited to have a shot at the Marines’ premier training course.

I’m typical of a Marine in that I’ve always sought out challenges. I flew my first solo flight when I was 15 and got my private pilot’s license three years ago at 21. I’ve climbed 10 of the 14,000-foot peaks in my home state of Colorado. As an ice hockey goalie for more than a decade, I put myself in the path of pucks flying at 80 mph.

I expected that this, though, would be the toughest experience I’d ever had.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the arduous 13-week course used to screen and train potential infantry officers. Past participants are asked not to talk about it, in order to preserve the uncertainty for future classes. So we lieutenants had little idea of what we were getting into. But we knew that the first day is always the Combat Endurance Test, and that it pushes people to the limits of their physical and mental capabilities.

Several hours into the test, I jogged past a lieutenant who was overcome with cramps and vomiting on the side of the road. The temperature hovered just above freezing. A blister bled on my foot and sweat poured down my face, yet I felt relatively good. I had completed all the tasks so far within the time allotted, and I was determined to make it to the end without showing any weakness. A packet of MRE cheese spread gave me new life. I shook frost from my uniform, threw my pack on my back, slung my rifle and jogged on through the woods.

But there came a point when I could not persuade my body to perform. It wasn’t a matter of will but of pure physical strength. My mind wanted more, but my muscles quivered in failure after multiple attempts. I began to shiver as I got cold. I was told I could not continue.

That night I forced every step to be normal as I dragged myself — weighed down by gear, disappointment and exhaustion — back to the barracks. It was no consolation that 28 other lieutenants, including the other three women, failed along with me or that the Infantry Officer Course commonly drops 20 to 25 percent of each class. As I sat in my room, famished and waiting for pizza that seemed like it would never arrive, I reflected: Why did I fail?

The question matters because Marine leaders have been watching female participants like me to help them decide how to integrate women into units and positions whose primary mission is to engage in direct ground combat. The Marines have until Jan. 1, 2016 , to request any exemptions from the Pentagon directive to open all combat roles to women. “If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job — and let me be clear, I’m not talking about reducing the qualifications for the job . . . then they should have the right to serve,” then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said when he rescinded the direct-combat exclusion rule last year.

Marine Sgt. Maj. Micheal P. Barrett, the senior enlisted adviser to the commandant, affirmed: “Our plan is deliberate, measured and responsible. We will not lower our standards.”

My failed attempt at Quantico, and the fact that no woman has yet made it through the Infantry Officer Course, shouldn’t be interpreted as evidence that women can’t handle combat environments. To date, 13 female Marines have passed the two-month enlisted infantry training course at Camp Geiger in North Carolina. While that course is significantly less demanding than the one at Quantico, it is still grueling — participants must lug 85-pound packs on 12-mile treks through the woods — and it establishes the standard for enlisted warfighters.

Even more telling, on the front lines, where roles have already blurred, women have performed exceptionally well in traditionally male situations. Consider Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester . A Kentucky National Guard soldier, Hester was leading a team on a mission outside Baghdad in March 2005 when her convoy was attacked by insurgents. She orchestrated a counterattack with grenades and M203 rounds. The unit killed 27 insurgents, including three taken out by Hester with a rifle, and not a single soldier was lost. Hester became the first woman to receive a Silver Star since World War II.

So what’s held women back in the Marines Corps Infantry Officer Course? I absolutely agree that we shouldn’t reduce qualifications. For Marine infantry officers, mistakes mean risking the lives of the troops you are charged to protect. But I believe that I could pass, and that other women could pass, if the standards for men and women were equal from the beginning of their time with the Marines, if endurance and strength training started earlier than the current practice for people interested in going into the infantry, and if women were allowed a second try, as men are.

Female lieutenants aren’t as prepared as male lieutenants for the Infantry Officer Course’s tests of strength and endurance because they’ve been encouraged to train to lesser standards. Officer Candidates School, where all Marine officers start out, is segregated by sex. I was in an all-female platoon. We worked with the men on a few occasions but never competed with them. That was odd for me. As someone who grew up playing hockey on boys’ teams, I was used to facing off with the guys.

The Basic School, where I reported after graduating from Bowdoin College in 2012, has long been co-ed. But physical double standards persist. In the Physical Fitness Test, for example, a male perfect score is achieved by an 18-minute three-mile run, 20 pull-ups and 100 sit-ups in two minutes. A female perfect score is a 21-minute three-mile run, a 70-second flexed-arm hang and 100 sit-ups in two minutes. There was a move to shift from arm hangs to pull-ups for women last year. Yet 55 percent of female recruits were unable to meet the minimum of three, and the plan was put on hold.

I understand not wanting to discourage new recruits. But dual standards highlight and foster differences in a way that undercuts the goal of integrated military units. Women aren’t encouraged to establish the same mental toughness as men — rather, they’re told that they can’t compete. Men, meanwhile, are encouraged to perceive women as weak. I noticed that women were rarely chosen by their peers for some of the harder tasks in basic training.

Yes, men have biological advantages in tests of upper-body strength. But women can do pull-ups if given enough time to build that strength. (I did 16 in my last physical fitness test, and I have no illusions that I’m the most qualified female Marine.) Recognizing biologically based advantages and disadvantages and developing training programs that work to balance them are key.

It would be especially helpful if the Marines allowed people to decide on an infantry career earlier and offered some infantry-oriented training earlier, too. Basic training doesn’t include enough physical gruntwork under a combat load. More exercises such as running, jumping and climbing while wearing a flak jacket, Kevlar and a pack would help build strength and endurance. They would also help prevent injuries by increasing bone density. My class had only a month between the end of the Basic School and the start of the Infantry Officer Course. I wish there’d been more time to train to the endurance test’s demands.

I also would have liked to have had the opportunity to try the course again. The Marine leadership has said it doesn’t want female lieutenants taking the course multiple times, at least until combat positions are available to women, because it doesn’t want to delay the rest of their training. Yet many of the men who failed alongside me in January are back at Quantico, training to retake the course in April.

They’re more likely to pass the second time around. The course is designed to create young officers who thrive in an uncertain environment. Going into the endurance test, you don’t know how far you’ll have to go, what the obstacles will be or what time constraints will be imposed. The uncertainty makes the test overall much more difficult than any of its individual parts. Some of the details change for each new class. But the male lieutenants who have taken it before have an advantage in that they know generally what to expect.

For me, the next stop is Marine flight school in Pensacola, Fla. I’ve been told, though, that it will be 12 months before there will be an open slot. So reporting for Infantry Officer Training next month wouldn’t have hurt my career.

UPDATE, April 4: In response to this essay, Gen. James F. Amos announced that female Marines would be allowed to retake the Infantry Officer Course, as male Marines are, and he offered Sage Santangelo a posting in Afghanistan while she waits for a flight school opening.

I’ve always been taught that failure provides the greatest learning opportunities. My failed effort at Quantico has helped me better understand the needs of the Marines on the ground and will allow me to better support them in the future. At the same time, I love the Marine Corps philosophy that failure should never be viewed as permanent or representative; it is an opportunity to remediate. Marines cannot meet standards all the time. What do we do? We train until every Marine is competent. “No Marine joins the Corps to be a failure,” Gen. James F. Amos has said. “We don’t raise them up that way.”

It’s frustrating to me that there are still doubts about whether women are capable of handling combat environments. The women who have been awarded for their valor in combat, and the women who have died in combat for their country, have already answered the question about capability.

Now, instead of passively evaluating their performance, we need to figure out how to set women up to excel in infantry roles. My hope is that the Marine Corps will allow every Marine the opportunity to compete. And that when we fail, our failure is seen simply as a challenge to others to succeed.

Vietnam War Myths and Facts

LZ Center
Vietnam War Myths and Facts
Common Myths | Facts about the end of the war | Vietnam: Looking back at the facts by K.G. Sears, Ph.D. | MIT Study of the Vietnam Death Rates by Dr. Arnold Barnett
9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the official Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975

2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam

Vietnam Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation

240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War

The first man to die in Vietnam was James Davis, in 1958. He was with the 509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was named for him

58,148 were killed in Vietnam, 75,000 were severely disabled, 23,214 were 100% disabled, 5,283 lost limbs, 1,081 sustained multiple amputations

Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21, 11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old, of those killed, 17,539 were married, average age of men killed was 23.1 years, five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old, and the oldest man killed was 62 years old

As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War

97% of Vietnam Veterans were honorably discharged, 91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served, 74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome

Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups, Vietnam veterans’ personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent

87% of Americans hold Vietnam Veterans in high esteem

There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group (Source: Veterans Administration Study), Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison – only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes

85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life

Credit: Capt. Marshal Hanson, USNR (Ret.) and Capt. Scott Beaton, Statistical Source
Statistics from the Combat Area Casualty File (CACF) as of November 1993 (the CACF is the basis for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial). Average age of 58,148 killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years (Although 58,169 names are in the Nov. 93 database, only 58,148 have both event date and birth date. Event date is used instead of declared dead date for some of those who were listed as missing in action).

Deaths Average Age
Total: 58,148, 23.11 years
Enlisted: 50,274, 22.37 years
Officers: 6,598, 28.43 years
Warrants: 1,276, 24.73 years
E1 525, 20.34 years
11B MOS: 18,465, 22.55 years
Interesting Census Stats and “Been There” Wanabees: 1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of August 1995 (census figures).
During that same Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in country was: 9,492,958.
As of the current Census taken during August 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to believe, losing nearly 711,000 between ’95 and ’00. That’s 390 per day. During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE VIETNAM VETS ARE NOT.
The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially provided by The War Library originally reported with errors that 2,709,918 U.S. military personnel as having served in-country. Corrections and confirmations to this error index resulted in the addition of 358 U.S. military personnel confirmed to have served in Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of Defense (All names are currently on file and accessible).
Common Myths
Common belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted. Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.
Common belief that the media reported suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 – 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population. Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. “The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans’ group.
Common belief is that a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War. Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, and 1.2% were other races. Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book “All That We Can Be,” said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam “and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia, a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war.”
Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated. Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best-educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better.
The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19. Fact: Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.
The common belief is that the domino theory was proved false. Fact: The domino theory was accurate. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam. The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in 1966 because of America’s commitment in Vietnam. Without that commitment, Communism would have swept all the way to the Malacca Straits that is south of Singapore and of great strategic importance to the free world. If you ask people who live in these countries that won the war in Vietnam, they have a different opinion from the American news media. The Vietnam War was the turning point for Communism.
The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II. Fact: The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter.One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,148 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.7 million who served. Although the percent that died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II. 75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled. MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half were American). The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one percent of all Americans wounded, who survived the first 24 hours, died. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure the 800-mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would secure the border).
The common belief that Kim Phuc, the little nine-year-old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972 (shown a million times on American television), was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang. Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is currently living in the United States. Even the AP photographer, Nick Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese. The incident in the photo took place on the second day of a three-day battle between the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) who were trying to force the NVA out of the village. Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. “We (Americans) had nothing to do with controlling VNAF,” according to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported that two of Kim Phuc’s brothers were killed in this incident. They were Kim’s cousins not her brothers.
The common belief that the United States lost the war in Vietnam. Fact: The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. General Westmoreland quoting Douglas Pike (a professor at the University of California, Berkeley), a major military defeat for the VC and NVA. The United States Did Not Lose The War In Vietnam; The South Vietnamese did after the U.S. Congress cut off funding. The South Vietnamese ran out of fuel, ammunition and other supplies because of a lack of support from Congress, while the North Vietnamese were very well supplied by China and the Soviet Union. The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973. How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sides’ forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification. The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives. There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 than there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam. Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly to the American media and their undying support-by-misrepresentation of the anti-War movement in the United States. As with much of the Vietnam War, the news media misreported and misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was reported as an overwhelming success for the Communist forces and a decided defeat for the U.S. forces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite initial victories by the Communists forces, the Tet Offensive resulted in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with Wellington, Grant, Lee and MacArthur as a great commander. Still, militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist forces on all fronts. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The Organization of the Viet Cong Units in the South never recovered. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front and that was the News front and the political arena. This was another example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the perceived truth. However, inaccurately reported, the News Media made the Tet Offensive famous.
Facts about the end of the war

The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973. How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sides’ forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification. [1996 Information Please Almanac]

The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives.

There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 then there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam.
More realities about the Vietnam War

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – it was not invented or unique to Vietnam Veterans. It was called “shell shock” and other names in previous wars. An automobile accident or other traumatic event can also cause it. It does not have to be war related. The Vietnam War helped medical progress in this area.
Vietnam: Looking Back – At The Facts

1 Jun 01 © By: K. G. Sears, Ph.D., with permission – Ron Leonard (<; )

One reason America’s agonizing perception of “Vietnam” will not go away, is because that perception is wrong. It’s out of place in the American psyche, and it continues to fester in much the same way battle wounds fester when shrapnel or other foreign matter is left in the body. It is not normal behavior for Americans to idolize mass murdering despots, to champion the cause of slavery, to abandon friends and allies, or to cut and run in the face of adversity. Why then did so many Americans engage in these types of activities during the country’s “Vietnam” experience?

That the American experience in Vietnam was painful and ended in long lasting (albeit self-inflicted) grief and misery cannot be disputed. However, the reasons behind that grief and misery are not even remotely understood, by either the American people or their government. Contradictory to popular belief, and a whole lot of wishful thinking by a solid corps of some 16,000,000+ American draft dodgers and their families and supporters, it was not a military defeat that brought misfortune to the American effort in Vietnam.

The United States military in Vietnam was the best educated, best trained, best disciplined and most successful force ever fielded in the history of American arms. Why then, did it get such bad press, and, why is the public’s opinion of them so twisted? The answer is simple. But first, a few relevant comparisons.

During the Civil War, at the Battle of Bull Run, the entire Union Army panicked and fled the battlefield. Nothing even remotely resembling that debacle ever occurred in Vietnam.

In WWII at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, elements of the US Army were overrun by the Germans. In the course of that battle, Hitler’s General Rommel (The Desert Fox) inflicted 3,100 US casualties, took 3,700 US prisoners and captured or destroyed 198 American tanks. In Vietnam no US Military units were overrun and no US Military infantry units or tank outfits were captured.

WW II again. In the Philippines, US Army Generals Jonathan Wainwright and Edward King surrendered themselves and their troops to the Japanese. In Vietnam no US generals, or US military units ever surrendered.

Before the Normandy invasion (“D” Day, 1944) the US Army (In WW II the US Army included the Army Air Corps which today has become the US Airforce) in England filled its own jails with American soldiers who refused to fight and then had to rent jail space from the British to handle the overflow. The US Army in Vietnam never had to rent jail space from the Vietnamese to incarcerate American soldiers who refused to fight.

Desertion. Only about 5,000 men assigned to Vietnam deserted and just 249 of those deserted while in Vietnam. During WW II, in the European Theater alone, over 20,000 US Military men were convicted of disertion and, on a comparable percentage basis, the overall WW II desertion rate was 55 percent higher than in Vietnam.

During the WW II Battle of the Bulge in Europe two regiments of the US Army’s 106th Division surrendered to the Germans. Again: In Vietnam no US Army unit ever surrendered.

The highest ranking American soldier killed in WW II was Lt. (three star) General Leslie J. McNair. He was killed when American warplanes accidentally bombed his position during the invasion of Europe. In Vietnam there were no American generals killed by American bombers.

As for brutality: During WW II the US Army executed nearly 300 of its own men. In the European Theater alone, the US Army sentenced 443 American soldiers to death. Most of these sentences were for the rape and or murder of civilians.

In the Korean War, Major General William F. Dean, commander of the 24th Infantry Division, was taken prisoner of war (POW). In Vietnam no US generals, much less division commanders, were ever taken prisoner.

During the Korean War the US Army was forced into the longest retreat in its history. A catastrophic 275 mile withdrawal from the Yalu River all the way to Pyontaek, 45 miles south of Seoul. In the process they lost the capital city of Seoul. The US Military in Vietnam was never compelled into a major retreat nor did it ever abandon Saigon to the enemy.

The 1st US Marine Division was driven from the Chosin Reservoir and forced into an emergency evacuation from the Korean port of Hungnam. There they were joined by other US Army and South Korean soldiers and the US Navy eventually evacuated 105,000 Allied troops from that port. In Vietnam there was never any mass evacuation of US Marine, South Vietnamese or Allied troop units.

Other items: Only 25 percent of the US Military who served in Vietnam were draftees. During WW II, 66 percent of the troops were draftees. The Vietnam force contained three times as many college graduates as did the WW II force. The average education level of the enlisted man in Vietnam was 13 years, equivalent to one year of college. Of those who enlisted, 79 percent had high school diplomas. This at a time when only 65% of the military age males in the general American population were high school graduates.

The average age of the military men who died in Vietnam was 22.8 years old. Of the one hundred and one (101) 18 year old draftees who died in Vietnam; seven of them were black. Blacks accounted for 11.2 percent the combat deaths in Vietnam. At that time black males of military age constituted 13.5 percent of the American population. It should also be clearly noted that volunteers suffered 77% of the casualties, and accounted for 73% of the Vietnam deaths.

The charge that the “poor” died in disproportionate numbers is also a myth. An MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) study of Vietnam death rates, conducted by Professor Arnold Barnett, revealed that servicemen from the richest 10 percent of the nations communities had the same distribution of deaths as the rest of the nation. In fact his study showed that the death rate in the upper income communities of Beverly Hills, Belmont, Chevy Chase, and Great Neck exceeded the national average in three of the four, and, when the four were added together and averaged, that number also exceeded the national average.

On the issue of psychological health: Mental problems attributed to service in Vietnam are referred to as PTSD. Civil War veterans suffered “Soldiers heart” in WW I the term was “Shell shock” during WW II and in Korea it was “Battle fatigue.” Military records indicate that Civil War psychological casualties averaged twenty six per thousand men. In WW II some units experienced over 100 psychiatric casualties per 1,000 troops; in Korea nearly one quarter of all battlefield medical evacuations were due to mental stress. That works out to about 50 per 1,000 troops. In Vietnam the comparable average was 5 per 1,000 troops.

To put Vietnam in its proper perspective it is necessary to understand that the US Military was not defeated in Vietnam and that the South Vietnamese government did not collapse due to mismanagement or corruption, nor was it overthrown by revolutionary guerrillas running around in rubber tire sandals, wearing black pajamas and carrying home made weapons. There was no “general uprising” or “revolt” by the southern population. Saigon was overrun by a conventional army made up of seventeen conventional divisions, organized into four army corps. This totally conventional force (armed, equipped, trained and supplied by the Soviet Union) launched a cross border, frontal attack on South Vietnam and conquered it, in the same manner as Hitler conquered most of Europe in WW II. A quick synopsis of America’s “Vietnam experience” will help summarize and clarify the Vietnam scenario:
Prior to 1965 – US Advisors and AID only
1965 to 1967 – Buildup of US Forces and logistical supply bases, plus heavy fighting to counter Communist North Vietnamese invasion.
1968 to 1970 – Communist “insurgency” destroyed to the point where over 90% of the towns and villages in South Vietnam were free from Communist domination. As an example: By 1971 throughout the entire populous Mekong Delta, the monthly rate of Communist insurgency action dropped to an average of 3 incidents per 100,000 population (Many a US city would envy a crime rate that low). In 1969 Nixon started troop withdrawals that were essentially complete by late 1971.
Dec 1972 – Paris Peace Agreements negotiated and agreed by North Vietnam, South Vietnam, the Southern Vietnamese Communists (VC, NLF / PRG) and the United States.
Jan 1973 – All four parties formally sign Paris Peace Agreements.
Mar 1973 – Last US POW released from Hanoi Hilton, and in accordance with Paris Agreements, last American GI leaves Vietnam.
Aug 1973 – US Congress passes the Case – Church law which forbids, US naval forces from sailing on the seas surrounding, US ground forces from operating on the land of, and US air forces from flying in the air over South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This at a time when America had drawn its Cold War battle lines and as a result had the US Navy protecting Taiwan, 50,000 troops in South Korea and over 300,000 troops in Western Europe (Which has a land area, economy and population comparable to that of the United States), along with ironclad guarantees that if Communist forces should cross any of those Cold War lines or Soviet Armor should role across either the DMZ in Korea or the Iron Curtain in Europe, then there would be an unlimited response by the armed forces of the United States, to include if necessary, the use of nuclear weapons. In addition, these defense commitments required the annual expenditure of hundreds of billions of US dollars. Conversely, in 1975 when Soviet armor rolled across the international borders of South Vietnam, the US military response was nothing. In addition, Congress cut off all AID to the South Vietnamese and would not provide them with as much as a single bullet. In spite of the Case – Church Congressional guarantee, the North Vietnamese were very leery of US President Nixon. They viewed him as one unpredictable, incredibly tough nut. He had, in 1972, for the first time in the War, mined Hai Phong Harbor and sent the B-52 bombers against the North to force them into signing the Paris Peace Agreements. Previously the B-52s had been used only against Communist troop concentrations in remote regions of South Vietnam and occasionally against carefully selected sanctuaries in Cambodia, plus against both sanctuaries and supply lines in Laos.
Aug 1974 – Nixon resigns.
Sept 1974 – North Vietnamese hold special meeting to evaluate Nixon’s resignation and decide to test implications.
Dec 1974 – North Vietnamese invade South Vietnamese Province of Phouc Long located north of Saigon on Cambodian border.
Jan 1975 – North Vietnamese capture Phuoc Long provincial capitol of Phuoc Binh. Sit and wait for US reaction. No reaction.
Mar 1975 – North Vietnam mounts full-scale invasion. Seventeen North Vietnamese conventional divisions (more divisions than the US Army has had on duty at any time since WW II) were formed into four conventional army corps (This was the entire North Vietnamese army. Because the US Congress had unconditionally guaranteed no military action against North Vietnam, there was no need for them to keep forces in reserve to protect their home bases, flanks or supply lines), and launched a wholly conventional cross-border, frontal-attack. Then, using the age-old tactics of mass and maneuver, they defeated the South Vietnamese Army in detail.
The complete description of this North Vietnamese Army (NVA) classical military victory is best expressed in the words of the NVA general who commanded it. Recommended reading: Great Spring Victory by General Tien Van Dung, NVA Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Volume I, 7 Jun 76 and Volume II, 7 Jul 76. General Dung’s account of the final battle for South Vietnam reads like it was taken right out of a US Army manual on offensive military operations. His description of the mass and maneuver were exquisite. His selection of South Vietnam’s army as the “Center of gravity” could have been written by General Carl von Clausewitz himself. General Dung’s account goes into graphic detail on his battle moves aimed at destroying South Vietnam’s armed forces and their war materials. He never once, not even once, ever mentions a single word about revolutionary warfare or guerilla tactics contributing in any way to his Great Spring Victory.

Another Aspect – US Military battle deaths by year:
Prior to 1966 – 3,078 (Total up through 31 Dec 65)
1966 – 5,008
1967 – 9,378
1968 – 14, 589 (Total while JFK & LBJ were on watch – 32,053)
1969 – 9,414
1970 – 4,221
1971 – 1,381
1972 – 300 (Total while Nixon was on watch – 15,316)
Source of these numbers is the Southeast Asia Statistical Summary, Office of the Assistant Secretary or Defense and were provided to the author by the US Army War College Library, Carlisle Barracks, PA 17023. Numbers are battle deaths only and do not include ordinary accidents, heart attacks, murder victims, those who died in knife fights in barroom brawls, suicides, etc. Those who think these numbers represent “heavy fighting” and some of the “bloodiest battles” in US history should consider the fact that the Allied Forces lost 9,758 men killed just storming the Normandy Beaches; 6,603 were Americans. The US Marines, in the 25 days between 19 Feb 45 and 16 Mar 45, lost nearly 7,000 men killed in their battle for the tiny island of Iwo Jima.

By comparison the single bloodiest day in the Vietnam War for the Americans was on 17 Nov 65 when elements of the 7th Cav (Custer’s old outfit) lost 155 men killed in a battle with elements of two North Vietnamese Regular Army regiments (33rd & 66th) near the Cambodian border southwest of Pleiku.

Parallel Point

During its Normandy battles in 1944 the US 90th Infantry Division, (roughly 15,000+ men) over a six week period, had to replace 150% of its officers and more than 100% of its men. The 173rd Airborne Brigade (normally there are 3 brigades to a division) served in Vietnam for a total of 2,301 days, and holds the record for the longest continuous service under fire of any American unit, ever. During that (6 year, 3+ month) period the 173rd lost 1,601 (roughly 31%) of its men killed in action.

Further Food For thought

Casualties tell the tale. Again, the US Army War College Library provides numbers. The former South Vietnam was made up of 44 provinces. The province that claimed the most Americans killed was Quang Tri, which bordered on both North Vietnam and Laos. Fifty four percent of the Americans killed in Vietnam were killed in the four northernmost provinces, which in addition to Quang Tri were Thua Thien, Quang Nam and Quan Tin. All of them shared borders with Laos. An additional six provinces accounted for another 25 % of the Americans killed in action (KIA). Those six all shared borders with either Laos or Cambodia or had contiguous borders with provinces that did. The remaining 34 provinces accounted for just 21% of US KIA. These numbers should dispel the notion that South Vietnam was some kind of flaming inferno of violent revolutionary dissent. The overwhelming majority of Americans killed, died in border battles against regular NVA units. The policies established by Johnson and McNamara prevented the American soldiers from crossing those borders and destroying their enemies. Expressed in WW II terms; this is the functional equivalent of having sent the American soldiers to fight in Europe during WW II, but restricting them to Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, etc., and not letting them cross the borders into Germany, the source of the problem. General Curtis LeMAY aptly defined Johnson’s war policy in South Vietnam by saying that “We are swatting flies in the South when we should be going after the manure pile in Hanoi.”

Looking back it is now clear that the American military role in “Vietnam” was, in essence, one of defending international borders. Contrary to popular belief, they turned in an outstanding performance and accomplished their mission. The US Military was not “Driven” from Vietnam. They were voted out by the US Congress. This same Congress then turned around and abandoned America’s former ally, South Vietnam. Should America feel shame? Yes! Why? For kowtowing to the wishes of those craven hoards of dodgers and for bugging out and abandoning an ally they had promised to protect.

The idea that “There were no front lines.” and “The enemy was everywhere.” makes good press and feeds the craven needs of those 16,000,000+ American draft dodgers. Add either a mommy or a poppa, and throw in another sympathizer in the form of a girl (or boy?) friend and your looking at well in excess of 50,000,000 Americans with a need to rationalize away their draft-dodging cowardice and to, in some way, vilify “Vietnam” the very source of their shame and guilt. During the entire period of the American involvement in “Vietnam” only 2,594,000 US Military actual served inside the country. Contrast that number with the 50-million plus draft dodging anti-war crowd and you have the answer to why the American view of its Vietnam experience is so skewed.

Johnson made two monumental Vietnam blunders. First he failed to get a declaration of war, which he could have easily had. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which LBJ regarded as the “Functional equivalent of a formal declaration of war.” was passed unanimously by the House and there were only two dissenting votes cast in the Senate. This would have altered the judicial state of the nation, exactly as the Founding Fathers had intended. The Founding Fathers were all veterans of the American Revolutionary War and knew just how hard it had been to maintain public support during their war (At one point, 80% of the “American” people were against that War. If the Founding Fathers had bowed to public opinion, today we would still be British subjects not American citizens). A formal declaration of war would have allowed for control of the press. If Vietnam had been fought under WW II conditions (during WW II Congress formally declared war) folks who gave aid and comfort to the enemy, people in the ilk of Jane Fonda and Walter Cronkite, would have been charged with treason, tried, found guilty (their “treasonous acts” were on film / video tape), and then hanged by the neck until dead. Second, LBJ exempted college kids from the draft. Presto! The nation’s campuses immediately filled with dastardly little dodgers and became boiling cauldrons of violent rampaging dissent. The dodgers knew they were acting cowardly and could appease their conscience only if they could convince themselves that the war was somehow immoral. Once the “immoral” escape concept emerged and became creditable, it spread across the college campuses and out into the main streets of America like wild fire. Miraculously, acts of cowardice were transformed into respectable acts of defiance. Anti-war protests and violent demonstrations became the accepted norm. However, when one goes back and scrutinizes those anti-war demonstrations, one quickly finds they were not really against the war. They were only against the side fighting the Communists! This of course turns out to be the side which had the army, from which the dodgers were dodging. Hmmmmm!

Once the draft dodging gang’s numbers reached critical mass, the media and politicians started pandering to those numbers (with media it is either circulation numbers or Nielsen ratings. With politicians it is votes). Multi-million dollar salaries are not paid to people for reporting the news, in any form, be it written, audio or video. Multi-million dollar salaries (e.g., Cronkite) are paid to entertainers, stars and superstars. One does not get to be, much less continue to be, a superstar unless one gives one’s audience what it wants. Once the dodging anti-war numbers started climbing through the stratosphere it was not in the media’s interest to say something good about Vietnam to an audience that was guilt ridden with shame and with a deep psychological need to rationalize away the very source of their burden of guilt.

A good example of this number pandering can be found in a 1969 Life magazine feature article in which Life’s editors published the portraits of 250 men that were killed in Vietnam in one “routine week.” This was supposedly done to illustrate Life’s concern for the sanctity of human life; American human life (During WW II the U.S. Media were not allowed to publish the picture of a single dead G.I until after the invasion of Normandy, D-Day 1944, was successful). And furthermore, to starkly illustrate the Vietnam tragedy with a dramatic reminder (i.e., the faces staring out of those pages), that those anonymous casualty numbers were in fact the sons, brothers and husbands of neighbors. In 1969 the weekly average death toll from highway accidents in the United States was 1,082. If indeed Life’s concern was for the sanctity of American lives, why not publish the 1,082 portraits of the folks who were killed in one “routine week” on the nation’s highways? Then they could have shown photos of not only the sons, brothers and husbands of neighbors, but could have depicted dead daughters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, babies, cripples, fools and draft dodgers as well. No way. Life knew where its “numbers” were.

The most glaring example of the existence of the dodging guilt syndrome can be found in a statement made by the ranking head dodger himself. When asked for his reaction to McNamara’s book In Retrospect, Clinton’s spontaneous response was “I feel vindicated.” (of his cowardly act of dodging the draft). Clinton is a lawyer and understands the use of the English language very well. For one to “feel” vindicated, as opposed to being vindicated, one must first have been, by definition, feeling guilty.

The Battle of Xuan Loc; Mar 17 – Apr 17, 1975 & The End

Xuan Loc was the last major battle for South Vietnam. It sits astride Q. L. (National Road) #1, some 40 odd miles to the northeast of Saigon (on the road to Phan Thiet), and was the capitol of South Vietnam’s Long Khanh province. The NVA (North Vietnamese Army) attack fell on the ARVN (Army Republic of Vietnam) 18th Division.

On 17 Mar 75 the NVA Sixth and Seventh Divisions attacked Xuan Loc but were repulsed by the ARVN 18th. On 9 Apr 75 the NVA 341st Division joined the attack. After a four thousand round artillery bombardment, these three divisions massed, and, spearheaded by Soviet tanks, assaulted Xuan Loc; but again the ARVN 18th held its ground. The NVA reinforced with their 325th Division and began moving their 10th and 304th Divisions into position. Eventually, in a classic example of the military art of “Mass and Maneuver” the NVA massed 40,000 men and overran Xuan Loc.

During this fight, the ARVN 18th had 5,000 soldiers at Xuan Loc. These men managed to virtually destroy 3 NVA Divisions, but on 17 Apr 75 they were overwhelmed by sheer numbers and the weight of the “Mass.” Before overrunning Xuan Loc the NVA had committed six full divisions, plus a host various support troops.

In the Sorrow of War, author and NVA veteran Bao Ninh writes of this battle: “Remember when we chased Division 18 southern soldiers all over Xuan Loc? My tank tracks were choked up with skin and hair and blood. And the bloody maggots. And the fucking flies. Had to drive through a river to get the stuff out of my tracks.” He also writes “After a while I could tell the difference between mud and bodies, logs and bodies. They were like sacks of water. They’d pop open when I ran over them. Pop! Pop!

The Irony

It’s ironic that in spite of all the hype and hullabaloo about the “Viet Cong” and the “American Soldiers” both were absent from the final battles for South Vietnam. The Viet Cong had been bludgeoned to death (During Tet 1968) on the streets of the cities, towns, and hamlets of South Vietnam. The Americans had left under the terms of the Paris Peace Agreements, and then were barred by the US Congress, from ever returning. The end came in the form of a cross border invasion. Two conventional armies fought it out using strategies and tactics as old as warfare itself.

A quick word about the South Vietnamese government lacking support from the people, and of the so called “Popular support” for the Communists. During the 1968 Tet Offensive the Communists attacked 155 cities, towns and hamlets in South Vietnam. In not one instance did the people rise up to support the Communists. The general uprising was a complete illusion. The people did rise, but in revulsion and resistance to the invaders. At the end of thirty days, not one single communist flag was flying over any of those 155 cities, towns or hamlets. The citizens of South Vietnam, no matter how apathetic they may have appeared toward their own government, turned out to be overwhelmingly anti-Communist. In the end they had to be conquered by conventional divisions, supported by conventional tanks and artillery that was being maneuvered in accordance with the ancient principles of warfare. But then, as with mathematics, certain rules apply in war, and, military victories are not won by violating military principles.


General Dung’s Great Spring Victory was supported by a total of 700 (maneuverable) Soviet tanks, i.e. Soviet armor, burning Soviet gas and firing Soviet ammunition. By comparison, the South Vietnamese had only 352 US supplied tanks and they were committed to guarding the entire country, and because of US Congressional action, were critically short of fuel, ammo and spare parts with which to support those tanks.

Recommended Reading

Works by Bao Ninh, the author of The Sorrow of War. He tells of being drafted into the North Vietnamese Army in 1968 and fighting for nearly seven years. His unit lost over 80% of its men to battle deaths, desertion and sickness. In all those years, he never once fought against the Americans. His war was strictly a Vietnamese affair.

Related Comments

For those who think that Vietnam was strictly a civil war, the following should be of interest. With the collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union along with the opening up of China, records are now becoming available on the type and amount of support North Vietnam received from China and the Soviet Block. For example:

China has opened its records on the number of uniformed Chinese troops sent to aid their Communist friends in Hanoi. In all, China sent 327,000 uniformed troops to North Vietnam. Historian Chen Jian wrote “Although Beijing’s support may have fallen short of Hanoi’s expectations, without the support, the history, even the outcome, of the Vietnam War might have been different.”

In addition, at the height of the War, the Soviet Union had some 55,000 “Advisors” in North Vietnam. They were installing air defense systems, building, operating and maintaining SAM (Surface to Air Missiles) sites, plus they provided training and logistical support for the North Vietnamese military.

When I asked a well known American reporter, who had covered the war extensively, why they never reported on this outside Communist support, his answer was essentially that the North Vietnamese would not let the reporters up there and that because “We had no access to the North during the war…meant there were huge gaps in accurately conveying what was happening North of the DMZ.”

By comparison, at the peak of the War there were 545,000 US Military personnel in Vietnam. However, most of them were logistical / support types. On the best day ever, there were 43,500 ground troops actually engaged in offensive combat operations, i.e., out in the boondocks, “Tiptoeing through the tulips” looking for, or actually in contact with, the enemy. This ratio of support to line troops is also comparable with other wars, and helps dispel the notion that every troop in Vietnam was engaged in mortal combat on a daily basis.

The Reason it all, Hangs Like a Pall

There always has, and always will be, American opposition to war. The Revolutionary War had the highest, 80 percent, and that was because it was fought on home soil. Opposition to WW I was 64 percent, in WW II the peak was 32 percent, and in Korea it was 62 percent. What makes Vietnam different is the dodger disaster. Of the 2,594,000 million US Military personnel that served in Vietnam only about 25 percent, or 648,000+ were drafted. Compare that to the 16,000,000+ who dodged, and it works out to 25 dodgers for every draftee who went. Today, America’s crocks are crammed chock-a-block full of dodgers, and the crocks of academia are more fully crammed than most. America’s schools colleges and universities are overloaded with dodgers, who, to this day have a need to rationalize away their acts of cowardice and have a compulsion to vilify the very source of their guilt, Vietnam.

The antiwar movement was akin to a national temper tantrum that eventually engulfed and then afflicted the entire nation with its warped rational. This group, fueled and led by dodgers, were responsible for poisoning the American mind on the subject of Vietnam and eventually those dodging hordes influenced the American body politic to elect a Congress that stripped the soldiers who fought in Vietnam of their victories, and voted to cut and run in the face of adversity. To this day, academia, the media, the politicians, talking heads, and the draft dodging multitudes continuously feed off one another with their preposterous, addictive hallucinations about “Vietnam” and, this is done at small expense, only a handful of veterans bear the brunt of their vicious absurdities.

The reason “Vietnam” will not go away is because the story the dodging masses and their cohorts are perpetuating is not true, and it simply sticks in the craw of the none dodging population. Especially the young. If a teacher wrote 1 + 1 = 2 on the black board, kids going by would take one look and forget it. However, if 1 + 1 = 6, a certain portion of the kids would stop and question it. Same with Vietnam. The supposed “facts” being taught or presented just don’t add up.

Recently I had a young man ask me “How come North Vietnam, which has a land area smaller than the state of Missouri, and had a population of less than one tenth the size of America’s, could defeat the modern armed forces of the United States?” I answered “Son, they didn’t.” He came back with “Then why did my teachers tell me that? My answer was “Son, they are mostly either draft dodgers or wannabes (as in wannabe a draft dodger but was too young, the wrong sex, or ?), or their descendents, or kin of, or other wise trick with, the dodgers. Take this article, go show it to them, and then ask for a detailed explanation of the American military defeat.”
MIT Study of the Vietnam Death Rates by Dr. Arnold Barnett, professor of operations research at MIT’s Sloan School of Management

Vietnam Deaths Spread Over Economic Spectrum, Charles H. Ball, News Office, September 30, 1992

The widely held belief that many more poor and working class youths died in the Vietnam War than their middle and upperclass counterparts is “a great exaggeration,” say MIT researchers who studied the family incomes of the 58,000 American war dead in Vietnam.

In a report based on the study, the researchers said that their data analysis “offers substantial evidence that, in terms of the bereavement it brought to America, Vietnam was not a class war.”

The study, funded by the US Army and MIT, found that affluent communities had only marginally lower casualty rates than the nation as a whole, while poor communities had only marginally higher rates.

Furthermore, the report said, “Data about the residential addresses of war casualties suggest that, within both large heterogeneous cities and wealthy suburbs, there was little relationship between neighborhood incomes and per capita Vietnam death rates.”

The authors of the report-which appears in the September-October issue of the journal Operations Research-are Dr. Arnold Barnett, professor of operations research at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and two former graduate students, Captain Timothy Stanley, who now teaches at the US Military Academy, and Michael Shore. Professor Barnett specializes in applied probabilistic and statistical analyses related to health and safety. His earlier studies on such topics as air safety and homicide have been widely reported.

The researchers believe that their study was “the first comprehensive scientific analysis relating Vietnam war casualty patterns to economic status.” They undertook it, they said, because of a “strong public interest in the historical accuracy of judgments about the bitterly controversial Vietnam War” and because the belief about class war “continues to influence contemporary policy debates” and even the current presidential election campaign.

The existing perceptions “contribute to a sense of pervasive unfairness in which the benefits of being rich go well beyond material possessions,” the authors said. They took note of present Vietnam War-related controversies about Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s draft status and Republican vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle’s National Guard duty.

The perception that Vietnam was a class war, they said, “seems to arise more from anecdotes and personal impressions than from any systematic study” relating casualty patterns to economic status.

Citing several examples, the authors declared that “prestigious newspapers and magazines and Academy Award-winning movies have depicted the conflict as a `class war,'” and “distinguished defense analyst James Fallows explicitly described it as one.”

They added: “If untrue, the belief that affluent citizens were conspicuously missing from the Vietnam war dead is harmful to all Americans. It demeans the sacrifices of the wealthy by implying that such sacrifices were nonexistent. It demeans the sacrifices of the nonwealthy by suggesting that, manipulated and misled, they shed their blood in a conflict in which the privileged and influential were unwilling to shed theirs.”

The study concentrated on US servicemen killed in the war, reasoning that they and their families were presumably the Americans who suffered the most in the conflict, the researchers said. It considered how the families of the 58,000 war dead compared with a random sample of 58,000 contemporary American youths.

In their analysis, they said, they used information about the deceased that appears in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Directory of Names, supplemented by more precise data from the National Military Archives in St. Louis, MO, about key subsets of casualties. Through scrutinizing the data in conjunction with diverse statistics from the 1970 census, they were able to make inferences about the economic backgrounds of the war dead.

The authors performed numerous analyses of local, regional and national data, some based on a random sample of essentially every 40th name in the alphabetical list of US casualties. While the data analyses were individually imperfect, their weaknesses did not overlap, the researchers stated. Hence, “the credibility of their collective outcome may far transcend that of any isolated result.”

In analogy with a widely used economic indicator, the authors devised a “disparity score” under which “zero” means no net link between economic status and casualty rates, and “one” means an extreme concentration of war deaths among the poor. They estimated the national disparity score for Vietnam to be about 0.06, which suggests only weak association between income and per capita casualty rates.

The researchers said they also undertook several specialized calculations, one of which examined the contention by Fallows that, with gold stars going to families in rural and working-class areas, “the mothers of Beverly Hills [CA] and Chevy Chase [MD] and Great Neck [NY] and Belmont [MA] were not on the telephones to their Congressmen screaming “you killed my boy.”

“We found,” they said, “that per capita death rates exceeded the national average in three of the four `upscale’ communities, as did the overall rate for the four.”

Another calculation involved the fact that public discontent with the war grew steadily over time. “A concentration of casualties among wealthy citizens towards the start of the war, therefore, might imply that such citizens rapidly withdrew from participating in the conflict once they ceased supporting it,” they said. “Date-of-casualty data indicate, however, that deaths of servicemen from the richest 10 percent of the nation’s communities had essentially the same distribution over time as the deaths of other servicemen.”

Other specialized calculations estimated that, among the dead, those from prosperous communities were about twice as likely as the others to have been officers (24 percent vs. 13 percent) and that men from such communities who went to Vietnam were about 10 percent likelier to die there than were other servicemen.

They explained: “That excess reflects the disproportionate presence of the affluent in such hazardous roles as pilots or infantry captains and lieutenants. Even if few affluent youths were among the `grunts’ in the Vietnam front lines, it could be fallacious to infer from that circumstance that well-off Americans were out of harm’s way.”

Because few conscripts become officers, the relatively high ranks of affluent servicemen also raised the issue of voluntary vs. compulsory Vietnam service, the researchers said, and whether “the real difference between rich and poor was that Vietnam service was optional for the former and and mandatory for the latter.”

“One should be cautious in advancing that viewpoint,” they said, “given strong evidence that many `volunteers’ only enlisted as an alternative to imminent induction. But suppose that middle- and upper-class youths were in fact far better equipped than other Americans to avoid the military draft. To reconcile that premise with the findings in our paper, one would have to infer that the affluent did not proceed en masse to exploit their special advantages. Less vulnerable than other youths to unrelenting pressure to serve in Vietnam, they nonetheless appear to have gone there in sizeable numbers.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 30, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 8).

1953 -1954 Corps of Cadets Highlights – Room 405

Col. Blaik (Football Coach of the Year) leaving the field late afternoon Nov. 28th 1953 after the Army Team beat Navy 20 to 7.





*Please note – Jerry Lodge – who wore #32 is missing from Photo as is Norm Stephen. 2d man 2d row next to Tommy Bell – Name is Zaborowski. Wynn #31 is actually in the 2d row not the 3d



Acheer copy
The 1953 cheerleaders, standing, for the Army team, with tumblers in the first row. Cheerleaders, left to right: Ed Moses, ’54; John Clayton ’55, Al Worden ’55, Billy McVeigh ’54, Jay Edwards ’54, Bill Robinson ’55; Tumblers: Peter Jones ’54, Dan Ludwig ’55, Jack Charles ’54, Charles Glenn ’56.


Cadets swarm the field after the Duke Game. 

The Nomination of the 1953 Football Team for the Army Sports Hall of Fame is at

While Bob Mischak’s Nomination is at – – –




1952ArmyTeam copy



Army 55 Team

ArmyTeam 1956

Civil War Photos









 Antietam Hospital

Antietam Hospital

Civil War Dead

Civil war dead

Civil War Gunner

civil war gunner


Note Cut and paste IndividualPhotos 

Lincoln and ?



N B Forest


Siege of Petersburg – Fort Sedgwick

Seige Of Petersburg - FortSedgwick



US – – – CSA


Erin Mauldin

A West Point valedictorian who received her diploma in May from President Obama. A Rhodes Scholar who studies at Oxford and trains with the university’s rowing team. The first American woman to graduate from French Commando School.

Erin Mauldin

Second Lt. Erin Mauldin’s résumé has more than its share of superlatives, but this month’s magazine rack adds another, from a less-than-expected source:
She’s now a “Cosmo girl” — sort of.
The 22-year-old was the lone American representative in a Cosmopolitan magazine feature entitled “8 Incredible Women Who Will Inspire You to Break the Rules,” a compilation put together with support from some of the magazine’s 60-plus international editions and backed by the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings initiative.
Mauldin’s “world-rocking work” is listed alongside an 18-year-old Polish chemist developing a treatment for pancreatic cancer, the first female soccer agent in South Africa and an Olympic weightlifting hopeful from the United Arab Emirates. Chelsea Clinton wrote the introduction. Mauldin’s labeled “the trailblazer” for her post-Oxford plans to enter the infantry.
“We thought, this is someone we need to have in the magazine and tell our 18 million girls about,” said Laura Brounstein, special projects editor for the magazine. “When this project came up, we thought this is exactly where we should be celebrating Erin and her accomplishments, because what’s more American than the valedictorian at West Point?”
Mauldin spoke with Army Times on Tuesday about the magazine honor, her take on being a “trailblazer” and how she believes her time spent abroad — she’ll return for Basic Officer Leadership Course in late 2016, likely with two master’s degrees under her belt — will make her a better soldier.

Erin and Pres
President Obama presents Class of 2014 valedictorian Erin Mauldin with her diploma during U.S. Military Academy graduation ceremonies in May.(Photo: U.S. Military Academy via Twitter)
Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q. You’ve had a lot of accomplishments since your time at West Point and while you were there, but in terms of things that you might not have expected to have happen, where does seeing your photo in Cosmo rank in that list?
A. That was definitely a pretty big shock for this year. Being at Oxford has been even bigger — I keep pinching myself every couple of days, going, “Am I really here? Is this really happening?” So I’d say that one is a little bit higher up on the list, followed by graduation. Cosmo definitely ranks somewhere. It’s not something I was expecting whatsoever.
Q. How was that process? Cosmo editors say you’d kind of been on their radar since the May graduation.
A. They reached out to me a couple of days before graduation, which was a pretty hectic time, and we did an initial interview. I was a little bit concerned, just because I only knew Cosmo through what I had seen of it on stands before … but the lady who interviewed me was absolutely awesome. And I think the nature of the article changed based on between that first interview and later on that summer; I could see that it went from something where they thought they would focus on me to me being a part of this group of women, which I was much happier with.
Q. You’re looking to do some things in the Army that traditionally women either haven’t done or not a lot of women have done. When did these goals come into your head? Is it something that’s been with you since you were a kid? Something you grew into at West Point?

Mauldin copy  (Fairly certain this is Erin Mauldin)

A. I was fortunate enough to grow up with a lot of strong woman role models, particularly climbers. I spent a lot of time at the Climbers’ Ranch in the Grand Tetons, and so I never saw being a woman as being a limitation there. Also, I think my parents and my siblings [two sisters and brother Ian, now a West Point cadet] did a very good job of fostering a sense that you can do whatever you work hard for. …
I didn’t consider going into the Army until the end of my junior year in high school, and so that had never been something in the back of my head until then, but I guess being a woman had never been something in the back of my head as a limitation. In choosing what to pursue at West Point and the Army, I have tried to do what I find meaningful and what I can make a useful contribution to.
When I first went to West Point, there were some aspects of the summer training that were a bit frustrating. … One, the lack of woman role models — there just weren’t a whole lot of women represented in both the lower and higher levels of leadership. The second thing came from the fact that we did a lot of basic infantry skills as well as a lot of basic soldier skills and the perception that I always had was, “OK, we’re teaching you this because we have to, but really, you, the women, are not going to be doing this later on.” That was especially frustrating to me, since I really enjoyed that training.
At West Point, I continued to do things that challenged me, which happened to include things that involved infantry-type skills, but also general soldering skills that I think are valuable for everybody to have. I had wanted to try out for French Commando School since I had heard of it my first year at West Point. I thought that it would be challenging, forcing me to use French in a military setting and to work on small-unit leadership and allowing me to do things I really liked, such as climbing and obstacle courses.


Overall, I thought it would help my development as a whole person, and I think it did. Never was being a woman an issue at French Commando School — I worked to be competent at what was expected of us and to contribute to every one of our missions. As a result, I was seen as just another member of the team.

Then-cadet Erin Mauldin trains on the Anzio Obstacle Course at West Point’s Camp Buckner.(Photo: Courtesy of Erin Mauldin)

Q. Have you spoken to anyone about Ranger school? Obviously you have a few other things on your plate …
A. I am in contact with my friends who are training for it, and my fingers are crossed for their success. I definitely want to be a part of it when the time comes. I want to go to Ranger school because of the valuable skills to learn there. I did some of the Ranger preparation at West Point that they were doing for some of the men who were going before BOLC and was excited by the small-unit leadership that is at the core of training. The missions we did at French Commando School hinted at the tight teamwork necessary to execute missions on a squad level or a platoon level, but due to language barriers or a different focus of the course, we never could quite accomplish that.
At Ranger school, I see the opportunity to hone those skills in terms of small-unit leadership, as well as developing the confidence in very sucky situations to be able to know as a team that you can either lead or be a part of a team that accomplishes what needs to be done. Yes, I want to go to Ranger school — for the skill sets and for learning the confidence for those situations.
Q. When you are looked at as a “trailblazer,” as a “glass-ceiling breaker,” is that a label you care for? That you don’t care for?
A. I would resist any characterization of what I do as for the sake of “trailblazing.” I think it’s important that the first groups of women who go through are doing it for the reasons that line up with their personal interests of what they want to contribute to the Army … so that they’re driven by, “I want to do this because this is what I want to do,” rather than, “Oh, it would be really cool to be part of the first group of women to go through and do it.” …
I acknowledge that there is going to be a need for trailblazing, but those doing the trailblazing need to find within themselves legitimate reasons that will carry them through. For me, it’s because I think I can contribute to the infantry based on my skills, and I want to be a part of that mission. Perhaps there is an aspect of trailblazing to that, but I won’t say I’m doing it to be a trailblazer.

Editors Note

The training received at the Academy ensures Women Graduates will succeed in Ranger School.  The concern is Branch of Service.  Does this Officer have what it takes to walk the line in the middle of the cold night as Chesty Puller did at the Chosin Reservoir as he checked the men of his Marine Regiment – – Probably.

It is the worst of what an Infantry man must face and do face that should exclude the vast majority of women from Infantry Units.  It is not worth it to allow a few women into Infantry Units just because it is Politically Correct.

This is what they might face – Korea World War II Vietnam War on Terror

In the middle of the night, two marines stood on the high ground, one loading 8 round clips, the other doing the shooting as an M-1 was handed to him. Up and down the road similar examples of Marine Lore was established. When the last bugle sounded and the last was dead on the wire, the loader looked at the shooter and said “You don’t have your boots on”. It was 40 below, wind blowing. (One near breakthrough collapsed under the BAR and rifle fire of Pvt. Hector A. Cafferata and Pfc. Kenneth R. Benson, a pair of young men from New Jersey who had enlisted together. As Cafferata blazed away, his blinded partner, Benson, loaded weapons. Caught with his wet boots off, Cafferata fought five hours crippled by frostbite. Before the battle ended, he’d lost one arm to a grenade and the use of his other arm to a bullet. Taken from “The Last Stand of Fox Company) These two wore the patch of the 1st Marine, a 1 arched by Guadalcanal where Marines with their uniforms rotting off, surviving on captured Japanese rice, with diseased ridden bodies, gave America our 1st Victory. A machine gunner who was at Guadalcanal, like a few others, developed an inability to wake up in the middle of the night to relieve himself (nocturnal enuresis – stress). The doctors told him there was no cure as long as he was on the front line, it was just another complication of combat and he was sent back into the line. Carrying a Thompson as he fought his way north, finally worn out on Saipan and sent home to recover.

In the Bulge a paratrooper went to relieve himself, when his buddy “Yelled get back in here” (meaning do it in our foxhole) he went ahead, dropped his trou and was immediately shot at by a German sniper. Hitching his pants up without cleaning himself he jumped back into their foxhole. The smell did not bother any other members of his Rifle Company, as they all smelled the same. Some who were never able to get their trousers down in time, did smell worst than the others.

Ranger Class December ’62 – February ’63. Normal rain in North Georgia Mountains, crossed a river, then the winds and freezing temperatures hit – 40 some cases of frost bite.

As the main body, 6,900 of the Japanese 51st Division steamed toward Lea, Lieutenant General Kenny ordered in waves of bombers sinking all 8 transports and 4 of 8 destroyers leaving men in life boats, on make shift rafts and swimmers in the water who began to head toward shore. General Kenny ordered the air crews to strafe the defenseless men. The air crews did not meet the eyes of the dying soldiers and sailors, but the crew of PT Boat 121 made repeated sweeps through the mass of men, killing with rifle fire individuals, machine gunning and dropping depth charges among larger groups of Japanese were forced to look them in the eye. General Kenny was correct, but far from Politically Correct in his order, as Japanese survivors would have picked up weapons on shore. Today such orders and subsequent action would result in Court Martial, yet one wonders, would the young women training with todays version of the Navy’s PT Boat been able to respond as the men of PT 120 responded? Lieutenant (j.g.) Edward T Hamilton U.S.N.R. after completion of the task “As long as we saw a Jap alive, we kept up our relentless hunt. Not until the job was done, did we turn for home, while behind us those black dots still bobbed through the waves – but now they were corpses floated still by unpunctured life belts, carrying them toward the shore they had set out to conquer. We were a sad lot coming home. We hardly dared look one another in the eye or speak. We felt more like executioners than fighters.” It had to be done.

Can even the most ruthless of today’s young female warriors approach such brutality. August 18, 1976 North Korean soldiers (probably preplanned by the N Korean Government) wielding axes, hacked to death Captain Bonifas and 1Lt Mark Barrett during a required tree trimming in the Joint Security Area, Panmunjom. America’s Politically Correct response several days later was a show of force to backup trimming the tree. Kim Jong-il in addressing the Conference of Non-Aligned Nations asked that a resolution condemning the grave US provocation, demanding withdraw of American forces from Korea and dissolution of the UN Command. It passed.

Black Hawk Down, now some 20 years ago may be a more reasonable example for women to consider. When Administrations changed, the mission changed from humanitarian assistance to regime change. There was then an immediate request for a small American mechanized force which was denied by Sec Def. When a chopper went down while supporting ground troops, 2 snipers dropped in to protect the pilot. The two were ultimately killed, their naked dead bodies dragged through the streets to the joy of the cheering mob. The pilot was captured, exchanged, the US left, SecDef resigned and Somalia remains as it was before our humanitarian entry.

Knowing we cut and ran in Somalia did the Politically Correct, Politically Appointed Bureaucrat consider what some future President would face when the body of an American female was dragged through the streets to the cheers of the mob. Did he consider what some future President would face when a captured female soldier was paraded through the streets with several ropes around her neck – perhaps her sniper rifle over her shoulder.

As mentioned women are better snipers than the average male as their ability to control breathing is superior. Should female soldiers train with real life like targets – a known terrorist face as the target. Perhaps a known women terrorist holding a baby. Let them look into the eyes of a known foe.

In the MATA Coarse at Bragg in the mid 60’s Vietnamese instructors told of interrogation techniques used on the enemy. One was to take several prisoners up, tell them what you were going to do and if the first one refused to talk, he was tossed out. Normally the others talked. There was a very repulsive technique used to interrogate women prisoners. It will not be listed, but if you must know, send an email to and an answer will be provided on an individual basis.

VA report of injuries from 80 pound loads carried by today’s male soldiers A signature injury of America’s latest wars has been musculoskeletal, cases of which exceed the number of wounds from firefights and improvised explosive devices. One study found that between 2004 and 2007, about a third of medical evacuations from the Iraq and Afghan theaters were due to musculoskeletal, connective tissue and spinal injuries. There is no data for Women as yet.

Rifle Company Command Vietnam –Two to four weeks in Jungle was very routine – no showers or enough water for good hygiene –when rains came, put security out and strip naked and use rain as shower, then re-dress with wet jungle fatigues and walk them dry –carry 3 days of C-rations (cans could be heavy) – hot meal every 2 to 4 days –double basic load of M-16 ammo (240 rounds – twelve 20 round mags) –two hand grenades per man; claymore – one per man; help machine gunner with ammo cans –sometimes (very seldom) help mortar platoon hump 81mm mortars and ammo for short relocation – mostly this was done by help –two water canteens per man (we got helo resupply most, but not all, days) –steel pot –shovel – every second man –bayonet –many times we moved all day and stopped at night and dug hasty defensive positions –most carried ponchos and liners (we never pitched tents) –some carried air mattresses –carried one or two extra pair of socks – no extra jungle fatigues –we would change fatigues and shower when we returned to base camp – we spent an average of 1 1/2 days per month in our base camp –even during Christmas cease fire we were pulled out at 2 AM Christmas day to rescue an SF camp near the Cambodian border that was in trouble –of course the radios were heavy – and still the radio man had to carry most of the same gear as everyone else –pee on the move –poop at night or in the AM – no privacy for this, just dig a 6″ hole and squat away –during combat helo assaults (we did many) carry everything with you because you never knew if or when you would return to your previous location –on occasion set up defensive positions – a series of two man foxholes with overhead cover and connecting trenches – stay there 7 to 10 days and patrol from there – we did this on road clearing exercises or near Cambodian border to interdict infiltration routes.

Other units, other situations – In 1st Cav – went light with the expectation of resupply and hot meal every day, bath in bomb crater or stream, moved every day.

Women Rangers – it should have been done years ago

The key is the last sentence – Similar to the current process, earning a Ranger tab will not automatically move a soldier into the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Army’s special operations unit.

The U.S. Army’s top officer said he expects between 70 and 80 women to apply to become the first-ever female students at Ranger School.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno cited the figures on Wednesday during an interview at Atlantic Media’s Defense One conference in Washington, D.C.
When asked how many women will apply to the historically all-male combat training course, Odierno said, “We’re still waiting to see. By December-January, we’ll know the number of women who have asked to actually participate in Ranger School. I expect it will be somewhere around 70 or 80.”
Like the other military services, the Army must open all combat jobs to women by 2016 or seek a waiver and explain why any must remain closed. The Pentagon last year lifted its ban on women serving in such roles, but gave the services time to integrate female troops into male-only front-line positions.
The Army recently picked 31 women — 11 officers and 20 noncommissioned officers — to undergo training to become observers and advisers for the course, most of which takes place at Fort Benning, Georgia. The punishing two-month ordeal is designed to train future infantry leaders. More than three dozen women had applied for the positions.

The so-called observer-advisers underwent a week of modified training last week to give them a sense of what the program is like so they can work alongside male instructors and help observe the female students selected for the first-ever co-ed class, known as the Ranger Course Assessment, tentatively scheduled for this spring.
“Their performance and professionalism over the course of the week was extraordinary,” Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said of the women, according to a release posted on Fort Benning’s Facebook page. “This group did very well for what was a very physically challenging week for any soldier.”
Women make up about 15 percent of the U.S. military’s 1.3 million active-duty service members, according to Pentagon statistics. As of August, there were almost 71,000 female soldiers in the Army’s active component, which is the largest of any branch and totals some 510,000 soldiers.
While the vast majority of jobs in the Army are open to women of various ranks – enlisted, officer and warrant officer – less than 10 percent of infantry, special operations and security forces positions in the service are open to female enlisted personnel, and less than half of tactical operations positions are open to female officers, according to a 2012 report to Congress.
Service officials hinted that the number of women actually interested in applying for combat assignments will be relatively small.
NATO countries that have opened infantry jobs and similar positions to women report that only about 1 percent of potential female recruits apply for the jobs, Col. Linda Sheimo, who works for the Army’s human resources policy directorate, has said. What’s more, if the U.S. military fully integrates women into all jobs, the services’ various recruiting offices will vie to recruit that small subset of the population, she said.
“Unfortunately, all of us will be competing for those same women,” Sheimo said.
Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, among others, are expected to make a decision sometime after Jan. 1 on whether to approve the plan to allow female soldiers to enroll in Ranger School.
On Wednesday, Odierno said the service plans to finish by spring or summer assessments to determine the feasibility of opening engineering, artillery, armor and infantry jobs to women.
“It’s going very well,” he said. “We still have some final assessments to do. For me, it’s about talent management. We need to take the best, no matter who you are, if you’re qualified. We’re not going to lower the standards. If you can meet the standard, we should give them the capability to service.”
The application deadline for female students interested in applying to Ranger School has passed; units have until Dec. 1 to provide names of the volunteers to the Army’s Infantry School. Women selected for the highly competitive slots will be identified in January, Sheimo said.
The Ranger Course Assessment was open to all women in the grades E-4 through O-4 who had the support of their chain of command and whose end term of service, or ETS, was no earlier than Oct. 1, 2016, according to All-Army Activities, or Alaract, notices about the proposal.
Similar to the current process, earning a Ranger tab will not automatically move a soldier into the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Army’s special operations unit.

— Brendan McGarry can be reached at

World War I Photos



Too many are are British Soldiers – check soles of boots (hob nails) , shoulders and slevesassult






TrenchUp and overgas

MG Images






PAIU1989_140_01_1The Front 1917

 W W I snow

gun trench

trench tt4








Verdun City













Civil War Photos

civilwar-photo Foodprocessing dead horses


Kim Kawamoto

Lt. Col. Kim Kawamoto joined the Army Athletic Association as an Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator in 2005. Among her duties in this role were sports supervision (women’s basketball, rifle, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, softball), and handling human resources operations for the athletic department. She also served as the Academy’s representative for the Patriot League Sport Management Committee and Committee on Athletic Administration.
Kim KawamotoKawamoto was a four-time Army women’s basketball letterwinner and still holds the Academy record for career assists. She was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1992. Following graduation, Kawamoto served as a graduate assistant at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School at Fort Monmouth, N.J. Kawamoto completed a myriad of military assignments before returning to her alma mater in her current role.

Kawamoto deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, to serve as the Chief, Joint Operations Center for the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan from July 2008-July 2009, and returned to her current position at West Point.

Kawamoto holds a master’s degree in leadership and management from Webster University. Her military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Parachutist Badge.

Kim currently is Director of Athletes and Women’s Basketball Coach at the
Taipei American School

Full Team IASAS Champions-12017 Women’s Basketball Gold Medal Winners – Kim is on the right


2018 Women’s Basketball Gold Medal Winners

2018 Champs
2018 Women’s Basketball Gold Medal Winners – Kim is kneeling on the right
Banner in the background indicates where the Championship game was played in 2018


John R Meigs

Class of 1863

The grave of Lt. John R. Meigs at Arlington National Cemetery …

Click on Photo

Oct. 3, 1864, the eldest son of the influential Union Army’s Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs was shot and killed in the Shenandoah Valley while scouting a wooded area in Dayton, Va.

John Meigs’s body was returned to Washington, and when his father decided to make Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Arlington House property a Union cemetery, his son was the first to be buried there, close to the house and within the Lees’ prized rose garden.

John Meigs’s grave, now beside that of his father, is topped by a recumbent sculpture of the young soldier as he was found by a search party. His head is turned slightly to the right, his jacket thrown open and his left hand rests on his waist. His right arm hangs straight down his body, and about a foot away lies the gun he fired once, badly wounding one of his Confederate attackers.

U. S. Marine Corps Research Findings: Where is the Case for Co-Ed Ground Combat?

Interim CMR Special Report October 2014

Center for Military Readiness  P. O. Box 51600  Livonia, MI 48151

Kathleen Parker, Author and syndicated columnist, the Washington Post

“Women have performed admirably throughout history in a variety of roles that have included combat situations, which is not the same as directly engaging an enemy. But there are other ways to promote women without pitting them against men, who, if women are given special treatment, will resent them to the endangerment of all. That our Congress is accepting this change without any debate isn’t progress. It is a dereliction of duty and, one is tempted to say, suggestive of cowardice.”

− Washington Post, “Combat Puts Women at Unique Risk,” Apr. 13, 2013.


Interim CMR Special Report − October, 2014
US Marine Corps Research Findings: Where is the Case for Co-Ed Ground Combat?


This is an Interim Special Report on the multi-phased research effort, initiated by Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos to gather quantitative data identifying the physical strength requirements of combat arms units. The goal is to find ways that women can be integrated into the combat arms without lowering standards. Researchers are finding this difficult (actually, impossible) to do, owing to naturally-occurring physical differences that make men significantly stronger. Androgenic hormones that are not going to change account for greater muscle power and aerobic capacity for endurance.

USMC Training & Education Command (TECOM) has used research methodology involving convoluted statistical formulas to “correlate” basic Physical and Combat Fitness Tests (PFT and CFT) with “proxy tests” simulating combat. TECOM also has produced abundant data indicating that gender-related disparities are most obvious and consequential in tests of upper-body strength. Upper body strength and endurance are essential for survival and mission success in direct ground combat. Significant percentages of female volunteers were unable to perform several proxy tests simulating upper body strength requirements in direct ground combat units that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.

An analysis of the TECOM data prepared by associated researchers recommends minimum scores for entry-level qualification purposes, determined by average performances of the weakest performers in combat proxy tests. Lower-but-equal standards would elevate risks for all concerned, leaving men less prepared for close combat and women exposed to resentment they don’t deserve.

At the present time, training standards at the Marines’ Infantry Officer Course (IOC) remain high. To date, twenty female officers attempted the extremely tough course but were not successful. It is not clear, however, where announced plans to achieve “gender neutral standards” will or will not use “gender-normed scores” to account for physiological differences. Administration-endorsed mandates for “gender diversity metrics,” (read, “quotas”) could result in standards that are made equal but lower than before.

Nothing produced by the research so far indicates that women can be physical equals and interchangeable with men in the infantry. Nor is there any evidence that women want to be treated like men in the combat arms. Ongoing research programs are producing significant data, but the methodology and choice of outside advisors effectively precludes careful consideration of many unresolved issues. There is a great need for more transparency, independent analysis, and diligent congressional oversight to defend the interests of women, men, and the armed forces as a whole.



Interim CMR Special Report – October 2014

US Marine Corps Research Findings: Where is the Case for Co-Ed Ground Combat?

̶ Table of Contents ̶

Executive Summary ……………………………………………………………………………………. vi

Introduction & Overview ……………………………………………………………………………… 1

I. The Women in Service Restrictions Review (WISRR)………………………………………..2

A. Correlations of PFT/CFT Scores with Proxy Tests of Physically

Demanding Tasks …………………………………………………………………………………… 2

1. Performance Results: PFT, CFT and Proxy Tests ………………………………………………. 2

2. Concerns About McGuire Presentation re PFT and CFT Correlations

with Proxy Tests…………………………………………………………………………………………… 4

a. Gender-Normed PFT/CFT Requirements…………………………………………………. 4

b. Proxy Test Battery Results …………………………………………………………………….. 5

c. Basic Facts Have Not Changed……………………………………………………………….. 5

B. Naval Health Research Center (NHRC): Analysis in Support of the
Women in Service Restrictions Review Study ……………………………………………………….. 5

1. NHRC Discussion of Performance Levels…………………………………………………………. 6

2. Concerns About NHRC Analysis of PFT/CFT Correlations

to Proxy Tests………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6

a. No Evidence of Discrimination Against Military Women …………………………… 6

b. Stretching the Truth with Misleading Claims …………………………………………… 7

c. Tables & Graphs of Running Performances……………………………………………… 7

d. Previous Studies Disregarded ………………………………………………………………… 8

e. Significance of Relevant Findings …………………………………………………………… 9

f. PFT/CFT “Correlations” with Proxy Tests ………………………………………………. 10

g. “Validation” of “Lower but Equal” Standards…………………………………………. 10

h. Initial Strength Test (IST………………………………………………………………………. 12

i. Physical Screening Test (PST) ………………………………………………………………. 13

j. “Training to Task” and Other Amazon Warrior Myths …………………………….. 14

k. “Gender-Neutral” Might Mean Equal But Lower Than Before …………………. 15

l. Impact of Gender Diversity Metrics on the Ethos
of the Combat Arms …………………………………………………………………………….. 16


C. WISSRResearchInitiatedin2012……………………………………………………………..17

1. The Infantry Officer Course (IOC) and Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) …………….. 17

2. DSIW and Gender Diversity Dividends ………………………………………………………….. 19

3. Survey of Marines………………………………………………………………………………………. 19

4. “Common Task” Research Omitted from WISRR Program ………………………………. 20

D. FutureResearch&ExperimentalTaskForces……………………………………………..21

1. Marine Corps Force Integration Campaign Plan Summary………………………………. 21

2. Concerns About Future Research & the Marine Corps Force

Integration Plan ………………………………………………………………………………………… 23

a. The Definition of “Direct Ground Combat” ……………………………………………. 23

b. What Will it Take for the Pentagon to “Follow the Numbers?”………………… 24

c. Incrementalism + Consistency = Radical Change ……………………………………. 26

d. Misunderstandings About Legislative Action …………………………………………. 26

e. Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Forces (GCEITF) ……………………… 27

f. Consultants, Objectivity and the Need for a Real “Red Team” …………………. 28

g. “Analytical Questions” Deserve Objective Analysis ………………………………… 30

– Individual Impacts ………………………………………………………………………….. 30

– Unit Impacts ………………………………………………………………………………….. 31

Medical readiness/deployability ……………………………………………………. 31

Cohesion, Morale & Discipline ………………………………………………………. 31

– Institutional Impacts ………………………………………………………………………. 32

Recruiting & Retention ………………………………………………………………… 32

MOS Screening and Selection/Suitability of
Entry-Level Training…………………………………………………………………….. 33

Training & Readiness Manual Tasks/ Infrastructure/
Equipment & Modifications …………………………………………………………. 33

E. Unaddressed Concerns: What is Missing from the Research?………………………… 33

1. Most Military Women Do Not Want Combat Arms Assignments …………………….. 33

2. Violence Against Women — Cultural Ambivalence ………………………………………… 34

3. Selective Service Obligations on an Equal Basis……………………………………………… 34

4. Lack of Congressional Oversight & Approval …………………………………………………. 36

5. Risks of Relying Upon Best-Case Scenarios ……………………………………………………. 36

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 37

Exhibit A: Distribution of Male & Female Performances in Physical Fitness and Combat

Fitness Tests (PFT & CFT)

Exhibit B: Partial List of Studies and Reports Relevant to USMC Research on Women in Direct Ground Combat

Exhibit C: Graph: The Gender Diversity Dividend Exhibit

D: Statements From Women Marines



The Center for Military Readiness is indebted to a number of active-duty and retired military personnel who provided expert advice and guidance in the preparation of this Interim CMR Special Report. Special thanks go to Paul O. Davis, Ph.D., Hugh P. Scott, D.O., Rear Admral, MC, USN (Ret.), Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, USA (Ret.), Prof. Kingsley Browne, Professor of Law, Wayne State University, and William J. Gregor, PhD, Professor of Social Sciences at the School of Advanced Military Studies, Fort Leavenworth, KS, who have been generous with their time in providing background information or reviewing this document.


Interim CMR Special Report − October, 2014
US Marine Corps Research Findings: Where is the Case for Co-Ed Ground Combat?

Executive Summary

In February 2012, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta set in motion incremental policy changes intended to result in the assignment of women to direct ground combat (DGC) units that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action. These include Marine and Army infantry, armor, artillery, and Special Operations Forces. The deadline for this unprecedented policy change, which was not mandated by Congress or needed to advance women’s career opportunities, is January 2016.

Physical strength is not the only issue of concern, but it is the primary focus of USMC research programs that Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos initiated in April 2012. The goal is to find ways that women can be integrated into the combat arms without lowering standards. Researchers are finding this difficult (actually, impossible) to do, owing to naturally- occurring physical differences that make men significantly stronger. Androgenic hormones that are not going to change account for greater muscle power and aerobic capacity for endurance.

This is an Interim Summary of significant data and findings produced so far:

1. Gender-Related Differences in Physical Strength − In 2013, the USMC Training and Education Command (TECOM) collected data from 409 male and 379 female volunteers performing five “proxy” tests simulating ground combat element (GCE) tasks. Data produced in Physical and Combat Fitness Tests (PFT and CFT), together with proxy test battery results, confirm that gender-related disparities are most significant in events measuring upper-body strength and endurance. These capabilities are essential for survival and mission success in direct ground combat.

  • In a Pull-up test of upper-body strength used in the PFT, women averaged 3.59 pull-ups, compared to 15.69 for the men − more than four times as many.
  • The Clean & Press event involves single lifts of progressively heavier weights from the ground to above the head (70, 80, 95, 115 lbs.), plus 6 reps with a 65 lb. weight. In this event 80% of the men passed the 115 lb. test, but only 8.7% of the women passed.
  • In the 120 mm Tank Loading Simulation, a gunnery skills test, participants were asked to lift a simulated round weighing 55 lb., 5 times, in 35 seconds or less. Quoting the report, “Less than 1% of men . . . [compared to] 18.68% of the women . . . could not complete the tank loading drill in the allotted time.” The report added, “It would be very likely that failure rates would increase in a more confined space [such as a tank].”


  • In the 155 mm Artillery Lift-and-Carry, a test simulating ordnance stowing, volunteers had to pick up a 95 lb. artillery round and carry it 50 meters in under 2 minutes. Noted the report, “Less than 1% of men, compared to 28.2% of women, could not complete the 155 mm artillery round lift-and-carry in the allotted time.” If trainees had to “shoulder the round and/or carry multiple rounds, the 28.2% failure rate would increase.”
  • On the Obstacle Course Wall-with-Assist-Box test, a 20” high box, (used to simulate a helping-hand) essentially reduced the height of the 7 ft. wall to approximately 5’4.” Quoting the report, “Less than 1.2 % of the men could not get over the obstacle course wall using an assist box, while wearing [protective equipment] . . . [compared to] 21.32% of women who could not get over the obstacle course wall . . .”Recent TECOM proxy tests cannot replicate the demands of actual direct ground combat, but they do constitute empirical data based on reality, not theories about gender equality. Some physically-demanding artillery and armor MOSs already have been gender-integrated even though significant percentages of women volunteering for proxy tests were not able to perform tasks simulating physical requirements of the recently-opened MOSs.

    2. “Gender-Norming” Contradicts “Gender-Neutral” − Pentagon leaders insist that women eligible for combat arms units will be required to meet “gender-neutral standards.” Research data compiled so far indicates that this expectation cannot be met.

  • In a June 2013 report to Congress, the Marines indicated that “gender-neutral” events in Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Tests (PFT and CFT) and obstacle courses would be “gender-normed for score . . . in order to account for physiological differences.”
  • Researchers have described the USMC project as a way to determine whether the PFT and CFT can serve as “valid predictors” of success in “combat-related tasks.” The gender-normed PFT and CFT, however, were designed to reduce injuries and encourage overall physical fitness − not to train personnel for the infantry and other combat arms.
  • Gender-norming for fitness is appropriate in basic, pre-commissioning, and entry-level training, but it is not acceptable when determining qualifications for combat arms units such as the infantry, armor, artillery, and Special Operations Forces.3. Will “Gender Diversity Dividends” Be Used to Qualify for the Combat Arms? − In a March 2014 briefing on the Combat Fitness Test presented to the Pentagon’s Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), Marine officials again stated that “Gender- neutral events [would include] gender- and age-normed scoring.”

• Gender-normed scoring tables allow women to accumulate more “points” or “gender diversity dividends” adding up to 3rd, 2nd, or 1st Class status.


• It is not clear whether extra points for women only will become the key to achieving supposedly “gender-neutral standards.” If this happens, promises of gender-neutrality will be perceived as statistical deception.

4. “Lower but Equal” Minimum Standards − Some researchers analyzing the new data have suggested acceptance of lower-but-equal performance standards, with “the worst performing decile” to calculate minimum qualifications.

  • Pressures to accept “lower but equal” standards would be accelerated by political and ideological demands for “gender-diversity metrics” (read, quotas) recommended by the Pentagon-endorsed Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC).
  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey has suggested that if a particular standard was found to be “so high that a woman couldn’t make it,” officials would ask the services, “Does it really have to be that high?”
  • Acceptance of lower-but-equal minimum standards would erode fundamental principles of excellence in elite fighting units. This would leave men less prepared for ground combat and women exposed to disproportionate injuries and undeserved resentment.5. “Training to Task” and Other “Amazon Warrior” Myths − Some researchers have claimed that more “training to task” would help women to significantly improve in pre-screening and other upper-body strength tests. No specific study is cited in support of this assertion; there are none that withstand scrutiny.
  • In 1997 the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command found that specialized, more intense training could strengthen some women on a temporary basis, but the same intense training, if offered to men, would strengthen them even more.
  • According to retired RADM Hugh Scott, an expert in military medicine, “Androgenic hormones that are not going to change account for greater muscle power among men and aerobic capacity for endurance. . .That also is the reason why women develop less muscle in weight training and exercise.”
  • Women have served bravely “in harm’s way,” at risk of incident-related combat, but not in direct ground combat units that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.6. Contrary to Popular Beliefs − Eligibility for the combat arms would harm women, not help them. There is a need to be honest about sound policy for women, men, and the combat arms.

• Defense Department data have shown for decades that military women are promoted at rates equal to or faster than men.


  • A 2013 survey of Army women found that 92.5% of 30,000 respondents would reject combat arms assignments if they were offered.
  • As stated in 2013 congressional testimony confirming involuntary assignments should women become eligible for the combat arms, “That’s why we call them orders.”
  • The theoretical 3% who might qualify under minimal male standards would move from rising career levels to lower status in ground combat units where they are physically disadvantaged and subject to disproportionate stress and risks of debilitating injury.7. Future Experiments & Unresolved Issues − Marines will soon stand up “Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Forces” (GCEITF), to include 25% women, which will engage in simulated combat experiments in groups.
  • These bear watching, since task-shifting that disguises individual weaknesses would be unworkable in small units actually engaged in direct ground combat.
  • Some of the organizations involved in the design of Marine Corps Force Integration Plan projects and subsequent studies, such as RAND, are not independent, objective, or likely to challenge the administration’s monolithic group-think on military/social issues.8. Need for Diligent Oversight − Congress should review all research closely, and consider the many unresolved controversies that are barely mentioned in current research. For example:
  • Military women’s opposition to being treated like men in the combat arms
  • Disproportionate risk of debilitating injuries among female personnel
  • Readiness implications of non-deployability and health-related personnel losses
  • Impact on unit cohesion, properly defined as mutual trust for survival in battle
  • Dynamics of male and female relationships in the military “workplace”
  • Distractions and tensions leading to sexual misconduct, both voluntary and involuntary
  • Consequences for recruiting, retention, and reassignment costs
  • Cultural ambivalence about combat violence against women
  • Eligibility for Selective Service obligations, tied to direct ground combat assignmentsNone of the USMC research results produced so far support activists’ theories that women can be physical equals and interchangeable with men in the combat arms. Reliance on unrealistic “best case” scenarios would impose heavy burdens on women and put all troops at greater risk. Congress should exercise diligent oversight, challenging all assumptions and theories, political mandates, media bias, public misperceptions, and misguided group-think in academia and the administration. Respect for military women, which is greater than ever, demands nothing less.

    Prepared by the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), an independent, non-partisan, public policy organization that specializes in military/social issues. More information at:



Interim CMR Special Report – October, 2014
US Marine Corps Research Findings: Where is the Case for Co-Ed Ground Combat?

Introduction & Overview

This is an interim analysis of events and research that have occurred since February 2012, when then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta set in motion incremental changes intended to result in the assignment of women in direct ground combat (DGC) units. At issue today are Marine and Army infantry, armor, artillery, and Special Operations Forces units that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.

The administration set a January 2016 deadline for this unprecedented policy change, which was not mandated by Congress or needed to advance women’s career opportunities. In response, Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos initiated a multi-phased research effort called the Women in Service Restrictions Review (WISRR), leading into the Marine Corps Force Integration Plan (MCFIP) in 2014.

The Center for Military Readiness, an independent public policy organization that specializes in military/social issues, has been following this program closely since 2012. This Interim CMR Special Report presents new information on results already obtained, and anticipates research plan changes in the coming months − some of which may be implemented without notice.

USMC research projects have included a troop survey, proxy tests simulating combat physical requirements, “exception to policy” assignments, and try-outs for female volunteers on officer and enlisted infantry training courses. In the fall of 2014, the MCFIP will stand up gender- integrated experimental task forces to simulate ground combat operations.

Physical strength is not the only concern in this controversy, but it is the primary focus of current research programs. The stated goal is to assign women to the formerly all-male combat arms without lowering standards. New data produced so far, however, in addition to three decades of highly credible studies involving physiology, indicate that this goal cannot be met.

When a member of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces asked a female Marine whether women should serve in ground combat, she replied, “Not if it’s not good for the Corps, Ma’am.” Military officials, who are accountable to Congress as well as the President, should assert the same principle today.

None of the specific data resulting from research done so far meets the burden of proof that inclusion of military women into what the Marines call ground combat element (GCE) units would strengthen those fighting (infantry) units, or improve combat readiness and effectivenessin battle. The case for gender-integrating direct ground combat units simply has not been made.Interim Center for Military Readiness Special Report

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CMR will continue to analyze ongoing research projects, encouraging policy makers to safeguard high, uncompromised standards and sound policies for the only military we have.

I. The Women in Service Restrictions Review (WISRR)

The courage of women serving “in harm’s way,” especially since the attacks of September 11, 2001, is not in question. Nor is the controversy under discussion about support for women in uniform. Respect for military women for their courage while serving “in harm’s way” has never been higher. To an unprecedented degree, women have been subjected to incident-related or contingent combat violence in war zones. They still remain exempt from assignment to DGC units such as the infantry, in which they would be at a severe disadvantage.

Direct ground combat units, which historically have been designated all-male, require superior physical strength and endurance for survival and successful mission accomplishment. The WISRR and subsequent projects were established to assess military occupational standards (MOSs), and to draw logical conclusions about the need for women to serve in the combat arms.

A. Correlations of PFT/CFT Scores with Proxy Tests of Physically Demanding Tasks

In 2013, the USMC Training and Education Command (TECOM) conducted a series of tests involving 409 male and 379 female volunteers performing physically demanding tests. At the April 2014 Training, Strength, and Conditioning (TSAC) professional conference in San Diego, CA, Col. Brian J. McGuire, USMCR, presented data resulting from these tests on an unofficial, personal-opinion basis.

The 20-page slide presentation, which was posted on the conference website, acknowledged contributions of the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) and TECOM. Data confirms that women are strong, but not as strong as men in tests of upper body strength. These results do not support unrealistic expectations of “gender-neutrality” in the combat arms.

1. Performance Results: PFT, CFT, and Proxy Tests

The McGuire presentation compares requirements of the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) to the Combat Fitness Test (CFT), and both of these to a battery of five proxy tests selected to simulate the physical demands of combat.1 The presentation does not acknowledge ways that gender-normed scoring systems are used in evaluations of the PFT and CFT events.

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  • In the PFT, for example, women still do timed flexed-arm hangs instead of pull-ups, and are allowed extra minutes to finish the 3 mile run. In the CFT, extensive differences in gender-specific (normed) scores make it possible for women to earn ratings higher than men would earn for performing at the same levels. 2
  • Gender-normed training, which makes allowances for physiological differences, should not be described as “gender-neutral.” Gender-specific requirements or scoring systems for men and women are not the same; they are determined by gender.
  • The 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, which carefully considered all aspects of the women-in-combat issue, approved of gender-normed training in basic, entry-level, and pre-commissioning training, but not in preparation for the combat arms. 3The McGuire briefing includes several pages evaluating physical capabilities measured by the PFT and CFT, and correlates performance results on those events to a Proxy Test Battery composed of the following five tasks and 14 variations: (p. 15)
  1. Deadlift: Lower/upper body lift of 60, 70, 80, 95, 115, and 135 lbs, 1 repetition each
  2. Clean & Press: Overhead lift of 70, 80, 95, 115 lbs and 6 X 65 lbs.
  3. 120 mm Tank Round Lift & Load: Lift and load (5) 120mm projectiles @ 55 lbs <35 sec.
  4. 155 mm Artillery Round Lift & Carry: Pick up and carry one 155 mm projectile @ 95 lbs,50m < 2 min. wearing 40 lb. fighting load
  5. Execute Lower-Level Entry: Negotiate Obstacle Course 7′ Wall with 20″ box assist,wearing 40 lb. fighting load

Several pages of the briefing present complicated calculations to draw “correlations” between PFT, CFT, and limited “proxy” test scores. 4 On page 17, an “Overall Closed MOS Testing Score” is calculated as a simple percentage of the 14 pass/fail proxy tasks that were successfully completed on the five overall tests. 5

The purpose of the composite score is not clear, since the individual events are not uniform in levels of difficulty. Data in the TECOM presentation is useful, but the overall methodology of the research plan is flawed. Correlating gender-normed PFT and CFT scores with proxy tests provides only limited information about the abilities of women to train for or serve in direct ground combat units such as the infantry.

Color graphics on page 18 highlight “mean” (average) scores, deviations, and “standard error means,” but the statistical jargon does not disguise plain facts such as these:

• On a page titled “Testing Results,” the first of two box graphs shows average performance figures on the five PFT and CFT events. Among other things, the first graph

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indicates that 379 female trainees averaged 3.59 pull-ups, while the average for 409 male trainees was 15.69 pull-ups − more than four times as many. (p. 16)

  • The second box graph shows scores on the Clean & Press event that are not close. The exercise involves single lifts of progressively heavier weights from the ground to above the head (70, 80, 95, 115 lbs.) plus 6 reps with a 65 lb. weight. Of the men, 80% passed the 115 lb. Clean & Press test, but only 8.7% of the women did so successfully.
  • Women performed better in some of the other events, but men still achieved at levels higher or faster than women. This was the case even in the PFT sit-up crunch test, in which women are not physiologically disadvantaged. 6As stated by the Presidential Commission, gender-norming to promote fitness and wellness is acceptable in basic, entry-level, and pre-commissioning training, but not in preparation for the combat arms. It would be demoralizing and disruptive to gender-norm PFT, CFT, and obstacle courses, awarding extra “gender diversity dividend” points only to women.

    Findings derived from the McGuire data are useful, even though the standard PFT/CFT and proxy tests performed were not comparable to actual direct ground combat. It is unfortunate that results were stretched into a highly-misleading overstatement in the Naval Health Research Center paper, which is analyzed in Section B below.

    2. Concerns About McGuire Presentation re PFT and CFT Correlations with Proxy Tests a. Gender-Normed PFT/CFT Requirements

    No one disputes the point that PFT and CFT tests provide useful information in determining the abilities of men and women to perform routine military tasks. And of course, the more demanding CFT evaluates physical abilities better than the PFT does. However,

  • The primary purpose of PFT and CFT tests is to promote fitness and wellness, not to prepare men for service in the combat arms.
  • The McGuire presentation correlates PFT and CFT performance with a battery of five proxy tests, employing elaborate statistical computations that professionals often use. The purpose of the exercise, from a policy perspective, is not clear.
  • There are important facts to consider in the professional jargon, but most non- professionals (including members of Congress) would find it incomprehensible.Interim Center for Military Readiness Special Report Page 4

b. Proxy Test Battery Results

Findings presented in the McGuire presentation do not support theories that women can be interchangeable with men in physically-demanding direct ground combat units. Instead, they discredit the case for co-ed combat.

  • Quantitative tests that measure upper-body strength are most relevant to the discussion of direct ground combat requirements. Because the Clean & Press tests evaluate both upper body strength and endurance, they are more significant than other TECOM proxy tests.
  • Lower-body and mid-section strength can narrow the gap in some tests, but upper-body strength and physical endurance over time are essential for survival and mission accomplishment in the combat arms.
  • With the exception of the one-time 135 lb. dead-lift event, which involves lower body strength, female volunteers in the proxy tests did not come close to the men’s levels of physical performance in tests of upper-body strength. This information, though not conclusive, is relevant to the discussion of future policies regarding military women.c. Basic Facts Have Not Changed

    Present-day research results confirm what was already known years ago. In a September 22, 2011, presentation to the Defense Advisory Committee on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Services (DACOWITS), the Marines noted that women on average have 20% lower aerobic capacity, 40% lower muscle strength, 47% lower lifting strength, and 26% lower road march speed. 7

    The same briefing indicated that female attrition and injury rates during entry-level training were twice those of men, and non-deployable rates were three times higher. Other physiological studies have shown even higher rates of injury. Nothing has changed since then, except increased political pressure to pretend that unchanged facts do not matter.

B. Naval Health Research Center (NHRC): Analysis in Support of the Women in Service Restriction Review Study

Researchers associated with the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) in San Diego, CA, prepared a 39-page paper titled Analysis in Support of the Women in Service Restriction Review Study. 8 The document, associated with the U.S. Marine Corps Training Command (TECOM) under work unit N1235, presents unofficial views of the authors, Jason Jameson of SAIC and Karen Kelly, Ph.D. The names of Brian McGuire and Leon M. Pappa of TECOM also appear on the cover page.

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The paper expands upon highly relevant information that appears in the McGuire presentation described above, but also includes inaccurate statements and the same flawed methodology that fails to live up to expectations.

1. NHRC Discussion of Performance Levels

In its Summary and Introduction, the NHRC paper repeats the unsupported claim that ground combat roles are essential for career advancement. It also suggests that physical differences are “obstacles” to overcome (as if the military could redesign the human race), and poses a rhetorical question: “Can women overcome them?” (p. 2) The paper fails to answer that question, except to provide data, in two Appendices, indicating that the answer is “no.”

When distracting statistical jargon and stretched interpretations are stripped away, the NHRC paper presents abundant evidence that men are better performers in a variety of proxy tests and, presumably, heavy ground combat element MOSs that the tests attempt to simulate. The methodology is not perfect, but resulting data are more credible than unsupported theories of gender-equality. In combat MOSs, deficiencies in upper body strength cannot be ignored.

2. Concerns About Naval Health Research Center Analysis of PFT/CFT Correlations to Proxy Tests

a. No Evidence of Discrimination Against Military Women

The main premise of the Navy Health Research Center Analysis appears in the first sentence but not in the McGuire presentation: “Military career advancement depends crucially on service in combat roles, which is a restriction that has placed inherent limits on a woman’s abilities to advance to leadership roles.” (p. 2 and p. 6) This unsupported statement is not correct.

  • The Department of Defense has acknowledged numerous times that for decades, women have been promoted at rates equal to or faster than men.9 Combat (infantry) training or experience is not required for advancement to high rank.
  • Despite higher attrition rates, women are significantly represented in leadership positions. 10 Factors of personal choice affect the number of female admirals and generals, in the same way that many successful civilian women do not choose to become corporate CEOs. Implementation of radical changes affecting all military women, to address a non-existent problem, cannot be justified.Emphatically stating an unsupported first premise calls into question the objectivity of the paper’s authors, even though the paper presents raw data requiring careful review.

    Interim Center for Military Readiness Special Report Page 6

b. Stretching the Truth with Misleading Claims

The NHRC analysis describes the purpose of the research as follows: “The primary aim of this [WISRR] study was to determine whether the benchmark physical fitness tests − the PFT and the CFT − can serve as valid predictors of successful completion of combat-related tasks.” (p. 8)

This fails to acknowledge that the Physical and Combat Fitness Tests were not designed to train personnel for the combat arms; they were designed to promote wellness and fitness. The statement also omits mention that the PFT and CFT in question are evaluated with gender- normed scoring tables that are different for men and women. 11

The NHRC paper includes several pages of convoluted statistical jargon purporting to calculate whether PFT crunches or CFT maneuver-under-fire events are better “predictors of combat readiness.” 12 (pp. 16-17) These conclusions, which over-state the obvious, may divert attention from actual physical requirements and realities of direct ground combat that are not reflected in basic tests such as the PFT and CFT.

An exaggerated claim in the NHRC analysis stretches modest findings of the McGuire/TECOM research. The original Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) in the McGuire presentation reads, “The PFT and CFT can serve as a sound basis for making valid inferences about a Marine’s capability to perform physically demanding MOS tasks.” (Pages 5 and 19, emphasis added)

The NHRC analysis cites the same data but stretches the final phrase to read, “The PFT and CFT can serve as a sound basis for making valid inferences about a Marine’s physical capability to perform well in combat.” (p. 21, emphasis added)

Given widespread misunderstandings about the word “combat,” the highlighted words easily could become a highly-misleading “money quote” used to spin a false headline in the Washington Post; e.g., “USMC Research Proves Women Can Serve in the Infantry.” 13

c. Tables & Graphs of Running Performances

The NHRC analysis presents data from the McGuire TECOM slide presentation discussed above, but there are additional tables and illustrations to consider in the attached appendices. In Appendix A, for example, three color-bar graphs show male/female performance time distributions in three events: the PFT 3-Mile Run, the CFT Movement to Contact (MTC), and CFT Maneuver Under Fire (MANUF). 14

These bar graphs, reproduced in Exhibit A of this report, illustrate wide differences in the capabilities of male and female test subjects. Men perform significantly better in all events, with small overlaps representing a few women who achieved at male minimum levels.

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Running events show significant differences in speed, even though some women are strong runners. The graphs do not analyze how abilities would be affected when heavy weights comparable to infantry loads are being carried.

d. Previous Studies Disregarded

The NHRC paper does not acknowledge the many research studies and reports that have been produced in the United States and United Kingdom over more than 30 years. Exhibit B of this paper includes a partial list of extensive research, experiments, and studies, some of which involved experiences with gender-integrated basic training.

William J. Gregor, PhD, Professor of Social Sciences at the School of Advanced Military Studies, Fort Leavenworth, KS, has written extensively about his work with ROTC and other training 15 programs. Dr. Gregor explains why these military studies remain useful and relevant today:

Recent articles and commentaries also have provided abundant empirical evidence and insightful commentary on the subject. For example, in an article published in the July 2014 edition of Marine Corps Gazette, Dr. Paul Davis drew several conclusions based on the empirical results of his own performance tests with Marines in High Altitude/Cold Weather conditions, and with Police & Fire Combat Challenges over 23 years. 16 These are a few of Dr. Davis’s conclusions:

  • The current initiative of revisiting the subject of women in combat has seemingly ignored the large body of evidence-based science that suggests significant differences between men and women.
  • Ergonomics can greatly enhance our understanding of the reasonable, versus wishful thinking.
  • Performance under load is highly influenced by lean body mass and muscular power.
  • Smaller Marines are at a distinct disadvantage when required to carry heavy loads.
  • The pull-up has face validity in the performance of those tasks that require manipulationof one’s body over barriers.
  • Lack of critical physical abilities carries a risk for injury or loss of life.
  • Women can train up to standards; [staying there] results in overuse injuriesdisproportionate to their numbers. Attempting to perform like-duties at similar

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“There is no study that indicates that training can overcome the large physical differences between men and women. Additionally, training women to perform heavy work jobs increases dramatically the skeletal-muscular injury rate among women which is already far greater than men. Attempting to train women with men will require either training men less well or accepting a high attrition rate among the very few women who will meet the nominal qualifications for heavy work jobs.”

intensities exacerbates the musculoskeletal system, resulting in four times the frequency (and costs) of injuries.

e. Significance of Relevant Findings

Appendix B of the NHRC analysis provides greater context for basic data in the McGuire presentation that resulted from PFT, CFT, and proxy tests. For example:

  • Pull-ups – In addition to findings that men performed four times as many pull-ups, (p. 33), TECOM research found no correlations between PFT “flexed-arm hang” exercises, still permitted for women only, with upper-body strength. (p. 33-39) Attempts to replace the timed flexed-arm hang option with a 3 pull-up requirement had to be suspended until December 2015, since 55% of female Marine recruits were unable to perform the minimum test. These facts call into question theories about gender equality in physical strength required to perform effectively in the combat arms.
  • In the Deadlift test, 100% of the men could lift 135 lbs., and 98.4% of the women were able to do the same. The report adds, “The deadlift is primarily a lower-body weight movement utilizing the larger and stronger muscles of the posterior chain.” (pp. 33-39)
  • Participants in the Clean & Press exercise had to do single lifts of progressively heavier weights (70 to 115 lbs.) from the ground to above the head. Of the 409 men, 80% lifted the heaviest weight, but only 8.7% of 378 women did so successfully. Six repetitions of a lesser weight (65 lb.) increased the failure rate even more.17
  • In the 120 mm Tank Loading Simulation, a gunnery skills test, participants were asked to lift a simulated round weighing 55 lb., 5 times, in 35 seconds or less. Quoting the NHRC report, “Less than 1% of men . . . [compared to] 18.68% of the women . . . could not complete the tank loading drill in the allotted time.” The report added, “It would be very likely that failure rates would increase in a more confined space [such as a tank] and actually taking a round out of a horizontal tube and placing it into a horizontal breech.” (p. 35-39) 18
  • In the 155 mm Artillery Lift-and-Carry, a test simulating ordnance stowing, participants were asked to pick up a replica 155 mm artillery round weighing 95 lb. and carry it a distance of 50 meters in under 2 minutes. Quoting the NHRC report, “Less than 1% of men . . .[compared to] 28.2% of women could not complete the 155 mm artillery round lift-and-carry in the allotted time.” The report added, “Marines were not required to place the round on their shoulder and were allowed to cradle the round. [If women had been] required to ‘shoulder’ the round and/or carry multiple rounds, the 28.2% failure would increase.” (pp. 35-39)Interim Center for Military Readiness Special Report Page 9

• On the Obstacle Course Wall-with-Assist-Box test, a 20” high assist box, (used to simulate and standardize what could be a 1- or 2-Marine’s helping-hand) essentially reduced the height of the 7 ft. wall to approximately 5’4.” Quoting the report, “Less than 1.2 % of the men could not get over the obstacle course wall using an assist box, while wearing Kevlar helmet, flak jacket, plate carrier, and SAPI . . . [compared to] 21.32% of women who could not get over the obstacle course wall using an assist box, while wearing [the same protective gear.]” (pp. 35-36)

If the intent is to “follow the numbers,” the way forward should be clear.

f. PFT/CFT “Correlations” with Proxy Tests

The NHRC paper uses technical terms and statistical jargon that dresses up obvious facts. One does not have to be a scientist to know that CFT tests are more challenging than the PFT, and men and women who exercise regularly and lift weights will be better prepared for any civilian or military job that involves physical strength.

So what is the significance of all this? Of course the battery of five proxy tests, performed under controlled conditions, cannot replicate the demands of actual direct ground combat. And physical strength requirements of close combat far exceed minimum levels, whether they “correlate” with the PFT and CFT or not.

Recent TECOM proxy test results are important because they constitute empirical data based on reality, not theory. They are more credible than unsupported claims being made by advocates for the assignment of women to ground combat (infantry) units. Current findings also are consistent with abundant research and reports on military physiology that have been produced in the United States and the United Kingdom over the past thirty years.

Assignment policies that replace men of average strength with female personnel, even women on the higher end of achievement on the physical fitness scale, would weaken the overall capability of units that require superior physical strength, speed, and endurance. The NHRC paper does not contradict these realities; it confirms them.

g. “Validation” of “Lower-but-Equal” Standards

Some observers expect the WISRR and similar projects to “validate” high training standards, without lowering them. Others believe the research will produce a plan to match women’s physical capabilities to the demands of closed MOSs, without lowering standards. Research results and recommendations do not meet these expectations.

In describing their approach to the subject, the authors explain that in calculating minimum standards, they focused on men and women who were defined by “the worst performing

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decile.” Then they calculated and adopted as the recommended minimum score for combat readiness the “mean [average] performance” of the weakest performers in the group deemed most prepared for combat.” (p. 4)

Use of the “worst performing decile” would help in setting lower-but-equal standards, and activists demanding “consistency” will push for extension of this dubious achievement into training for the combat arms. Dr. Paul Davis observes, “There is no way that standards will not be lowered, since the very nature of this and similar studies is to focus on minimums, not the highest levels of performance.”

Gender-normed standards and qualifying tests have been unnecessary in all-male direct ground combat units because most men are strong enough to do the job. If they are not, most can become strong enough with extra training. This usually is not the case with women, due to physiological differences that retired Rear Adm. Hugh Scott, an expert in military medicine, discussed in a letter to House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Rep. Howard P. McKeon. 19

Drawing attention to medical realities, Dr. Scott explained why additional training can make the difference for men who fall short of high standards. Extra training does not work for women in the same way, due to physiological differences that are not going to change:

“In the male, testosterone has a profound effect on protein formation and increased muscular development that begins after the start of puberty during which there is a doubling of the muscle mass of all muscle groups. While men and women have an equal number of muscles and muscle fibers, the strength difference relates exclusively to muscle size that is determined by testosterone levels. Because women have less testosterone than men, they have smaller muscle fibers that result in the development of small-size muscles; in effect, women have less muscle to activate. That also is the reason why women develop less muscle when training with weights and exercising.”

How will previously all-male DGC units handle disparities in personal strength in order to make gender-integration “work?” An Army source in the 4th Infantry Division has reported that in previously all-male armor and artillery units, leaders are interpreting “equality” to mean no entry level standards at all.

Since men did not have to take qualifying tests, women are not being asked to do them either. Nor are the women asked to do heavy work beyond their physical capabilities. Because male colleagues do more to pick up the slack, the experiment is described as an example of successful teamwork.

Approving similar adaptations in Marine GCE units, in order to make gender integration “work,” would create a new paradigm that is not consistent with the warrior ethos of the combat arms.

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Such a change would do women no favors. Perceptions of policy-imposed “double standards involving women” (DSIW) are divisive and demoralizing to all who are aware of them. Double standards also could cost lives and undermine missions in the combat arms.

h. Initial Strength Test (IST)

The NHRC paper recommends an Initial Strength Test (IST) as a pre-screening system for Marine recruits. To separate recruits aspiring to the combat arms from others, the IST proposal would include a “+” factor related to PFT and CFT scores and correlations with proxy tests. (p. 21)

Depending on modest accomplishments, such as five pull-ups in the PFT or a higher percentage of combat proxy tests (CPTs) performed (greater than 75%), scores would be used to separate “Good performers” from the “Best” ones. Potential infantry trainees would be considered among the “Best” for doing only five pull-ups and 70 ammo can lifts. (See IST+ table, pp. 21-22)

A footnote adds that according to the statistical analysis, one pull-up should be the recommended minimum. The authors nevertheless deferred to the existing minimum standard of 3 pull-ups for all, even though that minimum has not been workable for female basic trainees to date. 20

The authors used the “lowest recommended” values for their Initial Strength Test plan because “they are strongly influenced by the scores of female students who are early in their Marine training.” The report notes that of the best performers in the combat proxy tests, 92% were men and 8% were women. (p. 22) The paper further explains,

“We calculated the mean (average) for all Marines whose performance values were worse than the lowest decile cutoff score. Currently, these numbers are higher than those that need to be achieved on the CFT for the AL [ammunition lift] and MTC [movement to contact]. Thus it can alternatively be recommended that the current minimum standards for the CFT be the passing score for the IST+. However, based on this recommendation, the current minimum passing standards for the CFT may be too low.” (p. 22).

The concluding statement is correct and not surprising. Current CFT passing standards, which are gender-normed, are indeed too low for men aspiring to the combat arms. The PFT and CFT were never intended to prepare men for the physical demands of direct ground combat.

Methodology that ties standards to “lowest decile” levels could create lower-but-equal standards that accomplish gender-integration, but Marines soon would recognize on-paper versions of equality that make mediocrity the norm. Such a plan would erode the unique values and ethos of the Marines and elite combat arms communities in the other services.

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i. Physical Screening Test (PST)

In a recent article published in the Marine Corps Gazette, General James Amos wrote about a Physical Screening Test (PST) with requirements that resemble the IST+ system recommended in the NHRC analysis. 21 The PST is supposed to be a “gender-neutral” tool for screening aspirants to the combat arms, but it is difficult to determine when gender-normed PFT and CFT scores are supposed to end and “gender-neutral” standards begin.

The PST concept appears to be a work in progress. General Amos wrote that in order to earn a “third-class” designation, enlisted Marines would have “two steps,” including 2 pull-ups, 44 crunches, and a 1.4 mile run under 13:30. Basic Officer Course (BOC) graduates from The Basic School (TBS) would have to meet higher requirements to accumulate sufficient points for a “first-class” rating.

The Physical Strength Test is supposed to “include a series of occupational task performance metrics that will inform and determine combat arms MOS assignments.” This sounds logical, but political pressures to extend into the combat arms gender-normed scoring systems that are used in the PFT, CFT, and obstacle courses are unlikely to end. The Pentagon’s drive for “gender diversity” and a “critical mass” of women in the combat arms eventually will erode and override promises of gender neutrality.

Several additional concerns come to mind:

  • Plans for initial strength tests seem to disregard empirical studies that discredit assumptions behind the current drive to gender-integrate direct ground combat units. (See Exhibit B)
  • The costs of establishing pre-screening tests, which were not needed previously in qualifying men for the combat arms, would put additional pressure on tight Marine budgets. There have been no estimates of costs for PSTs, but it should be up to Congress to authorize or reject diversion of funds for this purpose.
  • The NHRC paper also suggests a plan for Initial Strength Tests for recruits, but fails to acknowledge that previous Pentagon efforts to “match the person to the job” at entry processing stations have not survived criticisms from recruiters and activists who have perceived such efforts as “barriers” to women’s careers. 22The Military Entrance Physical Strength Capacity Aptitude Test (MEPSCAT) was a well- designed plan for screening new recruits that was proposed in the early 1980s. Initially, the DACOWITS praised the MEPSCAT concept. The committee withdrew its support, however, when they perceived the pre-screening test as a threat to women’s careers. The MEPSCAT plan was never implemented as planned, and eventually was dropped. 23

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j. “Training to Task” and Other Amazon Warrior Myths

The NHRC analysis claims that additional “training to task” would make it possible for women to significantly improve in pre-screening and PFT and CFT tests that show a “correlation” with “combat-related tasks.” (pp. 21-23) Anyone of any age can benefit from more physical activity and resistance training, but it is a stretch to suggest that minimal tests and a little extra training would make women the physical equals of men.

General Amos stated in his article, “[F]emales in the various studies did not match the performance of males.” There are no credible studies supporting the theory that physiological differences can be overcome with extra training. 24

The NHRC analysis fails to mention a previous study, initiated by then-Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder (D-CO), which attempted to prove training-to-task theories but failed to meet expectations. In November 1997, the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command conducted specialized, more intense training with about 50 women, and evaluated the results. The Natick Study report noted that specialized training could strengthen some women on a temporary basis, but the same intense training, if offered to men, would strengthen them even more. 25

Dr. Paul Davis notes that extra training can improve performance, but staying at peak levels of physical fitness over time is another challenge all together:

“Being ‘male’ accounts for most of the variability in the physical strength of men and women. Everyone can improve with extra training, but staying there is another thing. Injuries are a consequence of over-training and can be career-ending. This and other studies under consideration are driven by “minimums,” not excellence; there is no way that standards will not be lowered.”

Dr. Hugh Scott amplified the point in his letter to HASC Chairman McKeon:

“The fact remains that men and women are not the same due to the intrinsic effects of greater levels of androgenic hormone in males, which give them the edge when it comes to carrying out all of the required PFT and GCE functions, and to serve successfully in all of the combat specialties, without the need to change the current standard.”

Popular culture and films have created images of “Amazon Warriors” − fictional female characters who routinely fight men and defeat them with equal strength. At a Pentagon briefing in June 2013, General Bennett Socolick, representing Special Operations Forces (SOF), inappropriately commented, “The days of ‘Rambo’ are over.” 26

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Never mind that the film character played by Sylvester Stallone had little in common with highly-professional Special Operations Forces of today. Nor was Demi Moore in GI Jane typical of women in our military. It makes no sense for Pentagon officials to base their decisions on Hollywood fantasies and ideological theories, not objective reality.

k. “Gender-Neutral” Might Mean Equal But Lower Than Before

The NHRC Analysis does not mention the Pentagon Briefing on January 24, 2013, during which Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said, “If a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain…why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?” 27

Since the stated goal is to “set women up for success,” officials will find it difficult if not impossible to defend high standards that detract from “gender diversity” goals. Contrary to promises of gender-neutrality, gender-specific adjustments likely will be made to mitigate injuries and to accommodate gender-related physical differences.

In a June 18, 2013, report to the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, the Marines described plans to implement gender-integration in the combat arms. 28

  • The Marine report stated in a footnote, “[T]he PFT will be comprised of three gender- neutral events designed to measure general physical fitness.” (pull-ups, crunches, and a 3-mile run) (p. 2)
  • The next footnote, however, contradicted that statement with the admission that standards would include “gender-normed” requirements and scores in the PFT, the CFT, and on certain obstacle courses, in order “to allow for physiological differences.”
  • The same contradiction follows a statement pledging “gender-neutral” standards in the Combat Fitness Test. As stated in the Marine report footnote, “The CFT is also gender- normed for score, similar to the PFT, in order to account for physiological differences between genders.” (p. 2)The Marines presented a briefing on the Combat Fitness Test to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) on March 14, 2014. 29 The briefing included a bullet-point stating that administration of the CFT involves “Gender-neutral events; gender and age-normed scoring.” A table showed raw number performance averages of women and men on the three CFT events, together with average total “point” scores that created the appearance of “equality” with the use of gender-normed scoring tables.

    According to current CFT tables, all trainees must earn a total of 225 points in the PFT and 270- 300 points in the CFT in order to achieve a “1st class” classification. 30 Looking solely at the 17-

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26 groups, the average score listed for both men and women on the DACOWITS briefing was 285 − more than enough for a 1st class rating.

However, a comparison of the average raw performance numbers to scoring tables for the three CFT events changes the picture. Women performing at levels lower than men would not achieve high ratings, but gender-normed scores put them over the top. 31 CMR has requested more information to resolve apparent discrepancies, and to determine when gender-norming such as this will continue and where it will end.

Officials keep giving assurances that training standards will not be lowered. However, if gender-normed requirements and scores in PFT and CFT exercises are used to accumulate “points” toward a higher class rating, the extra points given to women would be seen as a “gender diversity dividend.”

Marines and all combat arms personnel will recognize what is happening if gender diversity dividends are used to achieve supposedly gender-neutral standards in the combat arms. The result would be undeserved resentment of women and increased risks for all. Gender-normed standards serve a purpose in basic training, but they are not the same as high, uncompromised standards that are needed to train men for the physical demands of direct ground combat.

l. Impact of “Gender Diversity Metrics” on the Ethos of Combat Arms

The NHRC report downplays traditional standards of excellence in the Marine Corps and other combat arms, and implies that minimum standards that are equal between the genders should be acceptable for the Marine Corps. No one makes the claim that such standards would improve combat effectiveness; it is self-evident that they will not.

Conspicuously missing from the NHRC paper is a frank analysis of the implications of mandates for “gender diversity metrics,” recommended by the Pentagon-endorsed Military Leadership Diversity Commission, (MLDC). This is a significant omission that disregards the administration’s intent to assign highest priority to egalitarian “diversity” goals.

The MLDC is a congressionally-established committee that is largely composed of civilian and a few military “equal opportunity” experts. In March 2011 the MLDC published a 140-page 32 report titled From Representation to Inclusion: Diversity Leadership for the 21st Century. Among other things, the MLDC recommends that all regulations exempting women from the combat arms be repealed, in order to improve women’s career opportunities and to promote “gender diversity metrics.” (pp. xiii – xix)

• On 9 February 2012, DoD Military Personnel Policy officials Vee Penrod and Army Maj. Gen. Gary Patton officially announced a report to Congress on rule changes affecting

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women in combat. The Pentagon briefing specifically referenced the MLDC’s 33 recommendations that women’s exemptions from direct ground combat be repealed.

  • A September 2012 Public Affairs Fact Sheet describing elements of the Marines’ “Assignment of Women to Ground Combat Units Research Program” also mentioned the Pentagon-endorsed MLDC recommendations. 34
  • “Diversity” − usually thought to be the result of non-discrimination and recognition of individual merit − has been a desirable concept. But the MLDC report and related papers promote a different version of “diversity,” effectively redefining the meaning of “equality” and civil rights. The MLDC Report admits that the new diversity may be a “difficult concept to grasp” because it is not the same as the “EO-inspired mandate to be both color and gender blind.” (p. 18)
  • This redefined concept would replace individual rights and non-discrimination with group rights and “gender diversity metrics,” another name for quotas, even without any evidence of discrimination against women.
  • The MLDC report recommends that “Chief Diversity Officers” (CDOs) be appointed to ensure that “gender diversity metrics” are met. (p. xvii) With promotions contingent on compliance, it is unlikely that any officer desiring promotion would risk saying anything that questions the administration plans for women in land combat.
  • In a paper published for Wayne State University Law School, Professor of Law Kingsley Browne wrote “The recommendation of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission to lift the exclusion of women from ground combat is deeply irresponsible and cannot be taken seriously. The Commission’s lodestar was diversity, not military effectiveness, and it failed to take into consideration a wealth of information bearing on its recommendation.” 35If the decision is made to stop “hiring from the top,” in order to advance what former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen used to call “diversity as a strategic imperative,” the time- proven ethos of the Marine Corps as an elite fighting force could be permanently lost.

    C. WISRR Research Initiated in 2012
    1. The Infantry Officer Course (IOC) and Infantry Training Battalion (ITB)

    The most visible element of the WISRR research projects initiated in 2012 was the invitation for female officers to try out on the extraordinarily difficult Infantry Officer Course (IOC), located at Quantico, VA. To date, twenty female Marine officers reportedly have attempted the IOC, which begins with a unique Combat Endurance Test (CET) and continues for twelve weeks.

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Historically, the grueling course has an attrition rate of more than 20%. High, uncompromised standards reflect the need for tough infantry training, not discrimination against anyone. Female volunteers who were not successful on the course will become respected officers, but their experiences did not support the case for co-ed infantry combat. 36

Eighty-five enlisted women have made it through the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) at the School of Infantry East (SOI-E), located at Camp Geiger, NC. Even though the ITB includes gender-normed PFT and CFT scoring systems, the enlisted women did not do as well as the men. 37

Because infantry officers must lead others into battle, the IOC was designed to be much tougher than the ITB course for enlisted personnel. IOC trainers are doing an outstanding job, but some women-in-combat advocates have criticized the program. 38

The Marines need at least 100 female volunteers to attempt the Infantry Officer Course, in order to gather sufficient data points for analysis. In July 2014 Lt. General Robert Milstead, Jr., released an administrative message expanding the population of prospective volunteers. 39

  • Henceforth, in addition to new lieutenants just out of The Basic School (TBS), the IOC will be open to more experienced company-grade female officers, meaning active-duty captains. The Marine Corps Times reported that all volunteers would have to meet a “new requirement…a first-class score on the male physical fitness and combat fitness tests. For the PFT, this means they must complete a minimum of five pull-ups − assuming perfect scores of 18 minutes on the three-mile run and 100 sit-ups − to achieve an overall score of 225 or higher.” 40
  • Col. Todd S. Desgrosseilliers, Commanding Officer of TBS, has stated that both male and female officers volunteering for a try-out on the Infantry Officer Course will have to accumulate sufficient points to earn a first-class rating on the PFT and CFT; i.e., at least 225 and 270 points, respectively.
  • In this case, women will have to earn their classification points on the more demanding male tables, without gender-normed scores.This appears to be a departure from previously-announced gender-norming policies.

• The Marines’ report to Congress in June 2013 indicated that Physical Fitness Tests, Combat Fitness Tests, and obstacle courses would be gender-normed to compensate for physiological differences. The same information was provided to the DACOWITS in March 2014, with an additional note: “At present, no event or scoring table changes are being considered.” 41

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• If officials intend to hold women to identical standards before and during the IOC, the practice may not survive criticism from activists who want it both ways. Some maintain that they don’t want standards lowered, but also insist that since “equal effort” is the same as “equal results,” gender-norming should be extended into formerly all-male training.

CMR has requested more information to determine whether other formerly all-male DGC units, such as artillery and armor MOSs, are counting points in the same way. If a line has been drawn to discontinue gender-norming, where has the line been drawn, and is it a Maginot line vulnerable to political pressures for “gender diversity metrics?”

2. DSIW & Gender Diversity Dividends

Whenever gender-normed scoring tables are used, they allow women to achieve higher classifications for performances that earn lower ratings for men. 42 Such practices, which encourage fitness in basic and entry-level training, would be problematic in the combat arms, where all personnel must have superior strength and endurance for survival and mission accomplishment.

Perceptions of double standards involving women (DSIW) would do no favors for women trying to gain acceptance in the combat arms. Special allowances, which would be seen as “gender diversity dividends,” contradict the phrase “gender-neutral.” Officials should clarify exactly what is happening with gender-norming practices, since signals have been mixed for some time.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has recognized that the phrase “gender-neutral physical standards” raises questions depending on how the words are defined. 43 Many observers believe that “gender-neutral” means absolutely “the same” for men and women. Others define it as meaning equal effort, not equal results.

Either way, awarding gender diversity dividend scores to women only, so that they can receive first-class ratings they would not receive otherwise, would be demoralizing to all who are aware of the gender-based differences in treatment. (See Exhibit C) The phrase “gender-neutral” cannot be relied upon as a basis for policy because it has no objective meaning.

3. Survey of Marines

As part of WISRR research, the Marines sponsored an extensive online survey of thousands of active-duty men and women, conducted by the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA). Detailed findings of the 122-question poll, completed in September 2012, were not released. Five months later, the Associated Press obtained and reported on an inadequate five-page “Quick Look Analysis of Survey Results.” 44

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Even without access to detailed survey responses, it is reasonable to conclude that Marine respondents expressed very little support for women in the combat arms. Opinions would have been easier to discern if the survey had asked, “Do you favor or oppose the elimination of all direct ground combat exemptions for women?” Another key question not asked was, “How would the assignment of women to Marine infantry and Special Operations Forces improve mission effectiveness?”

It is unfortunate that CNA missed the opportunity to ask these questions, but the survey did ask female respondents whether an assignment to a ground combat PMOS (primary military occupational specialty) would result in “Pressure to suppress my femininity.” (Q91) The survey instrument also could have asked men whether the integration of women into the infantry might weaken the Marines’ masculine culture and unique recruiting “brand.” Absent detailed responses to either question, we just don’t know.

More importantly, the “Quick Look” summary reported that 17% and 13% of male and female Marines, respectively, would likely leave the Corps at the first opportunity if PMOSs were opened to women on an involuntary basis. (p. 4) The same percentage of men, 17%, indicated that they would not have joined the Marines in the first place under such policies. (p. 3)

Throughout the survey instrument, questions were flawed by the frequently-stated but erroneous suggestion that ground combat assignments for women would be “voluntary.” This mistaken belief, often implied in the phrase “allowed to serve in combat,” tends to increase support for a policy that would otherwise be opposed.

  • According to research done by the Presidential Commission the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, which studied all aspects of the women-in-combat issue in 1992, this is an option that does not exist. A “voluntary” option for women but not for men in the combat arms simply would not work.
  • This reality was confirmed at a HASC Personnel Subcommittee hearing on July 24, 2013. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) asked Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead, Jr., whether close combat assignments could be voluntary. The general said No, “That’s why they’re called orders.” All personnel are subject to involuntary assignment to any position for which they are qualified.4. “Common Task” Research Omitted from WISRR Program

    On April 24, 2012, Gen. Amos issued a message announcing that Training and Education Command (TECOM) would conduct quantitative research to gather physical performance data from male and female volunteers, both officers and enlisted, on a series of “common tasks.” 45

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Officials provided partial information on the tests, but CMR recently learned that plans were not implemented as originally planned. Officials are now saying that the previously-announced tasks will be incorporated in the Experimental Ground Combat Task Forces described below.

The April 2012 ALMAR stated that volunteers would participate in three activities: heavy machine gun lift, casualty evacuation, and march under load. The three “common tasks,” which were different from the PFT, CFT, and proxy tests, also were specifically described in a 46 September 2012 USMC Fact Sheet titled “GCE Common Physical Performance Standards:”

“Heavy machine gun lift – Marines, wearing an average assault load of 71 pounds, will lift a replica MK-19 (72.5 pounds) from the ground to overhead, one repetition. This event simulates mounting the weapon onto a tactical vehicle, and tests muscular strength.

“Casualty evacuation – Participants, wearing a fighting load of 43 pounds, will evacuate a casualty for a distance of 25 meters. The casualty’s total weight will be approximately 208 pounds (rescue mannequin of 165 pounds plus a 43-pound fighting load). This event will include an individual movement element where the participant will sprint 25 meters to the casualty. This event tests muscular endurance and anaerobic power.

“March under load – Participants, will conduct a “march under load” consisting of an average assault load of 71 pounds. The 20 km (12.4 mile] march must be completed in five hours or less, and it tests load-bearing capacity as well as aerobic power.” 47

As CMR reported in 2013, research plans announced to the DACOWITS in September 2011 would have involved six physical tests, three of them much tougher than the three common tasks listed above. 48

Digging and defending a machine gun fighting position, or doing crawls and sprints with an 83 pound assault load, would not have duplicated direct ground combat, but results of such tests would have provided better insight than PFT, CFT, or field exercises performed in experimental task force groups. There has been no explanation of the change in plans without notice.

D. Future Research and Experimental Task Forces

1. Marine Corps Force Integration Plan Campaign Summary

In his article for the July 2014 Marine Corps Gazette, General James Amos described research in progress since 2012, and an ongoing project called the Marine Corps Force Integration Plan (MCFIP). Coordinators of the MCFIP have prepared a 14-slide briefing presentation titled “Marine Corps Force Integration Plan – Campaign Plan Summary.” 49

The Campaign Plan begins with “Intentions of the Commandant,” stressing the need to

“maintain the highest standards for all Marines to enable them to excel in the unforgiving arena

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of human combat. For previously closed occupational fields and units, these performance standards have been, are and will remain gender-neutral.” (p. 4)

The presentation also states twice, “Should our research efforts conclude that we should not open a particular MOS or occupational field, we will pursue an exception to the current policy with the SECNAV and the SECDEF.” (pp. 2, 6)

With multi-colored graphics showing Lines of Effort (LOEs) numbered 1 through 4, the Campaign Design proclaims that Research and Assessments will be “Deliberate, Measured, and Responsible.” (p. 6) LOEs 1 and 2 display tables of “Expanded Unit” and “Entry-Level MOSs” that are being studied. (pp. 7-8)

It is not clear how evaluations of these newly gender-integrated positions have been or will be made. Since the Commandant already has declared the experimental assignments to be successful, dissent at any level is not likely.

LOE #3 introduces the unprecedented Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force (GCEITF) project. (p. 9) GCE Integrated Task Forces, described as “Purpose-Built, Integrated Ground Combat Units” will involve approximately 500 volunteers, including about 120 female Marines.

Units are to begin working up at Camp Lejeune, NC, and engage in operational evaluation at three California Marine training bases, Camp Pendleton, Twenty-nine Palms, and Bridgeport, starting in the fall of 2014.

LOE #4 lists the 20 “Focus of Research” MOSs that remain all-male, including infantry officer (0302), infantry unit leader (0369), field artillery officer (0802), and tank officer (1802). (p. 10) This number is 11 less than the 31 MOSs that were described as “Closed to Female Marines” in a similar briefing presented at a recent DACOWITS meeting. (March 2014)

The presentation reduces to bullets on one page a host of complex “Analytical Questions,” categorized as “Individual, Unit, and Institutional Impacts.” The graph shows “Research and Assessment” leading to a decision by the Commandant, with the expectation that standards will have been “validated” and “unnecessary gender barriers eliminated.” (p. 11) No one should assume that “validated” standards will remain as high as they are now.

Final pages in the slide presentation display the logos of several Marine organizations and outside research organizations involved in the four “lines of effort” in the ongoing research. A “Large Public University,” now known to be George Mason University, would be added, and a “Major Non-Partisan Think Tank,” later identified as the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), would serve as an advisory “Red Team.” (p. 12-13)

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2. Concerns About Future Research & the Marine Corps Force Integration Plan a. The Definition of “Direct Ground Combat”

The Marine Corps and all combat arms communities in the various services are under intense pressure to implement the administration’s plans to repeal all Defense Department regulations exempting women from assignments in direct ground combat (DGC) units. General Amos has indicated that he will follow orders, but has also stated that he or his successor may request exceptions to Defense Department plans to gender-integrate all combat arms units.

The Commandant deserves credit for insisting on this option, but to date little has been done to raise awareness of the many reasons why exceptions are justified. (Gen. Amos soon will be succeeded by the former Assistant Commandant, General Joseph Dunford.)

In his July 2014 Marine Corps Gazette article, General Amos praised the outstanding contributions of Marine women in recent wars, but also acknowledged that there are “undeniable physiological differences existing between men and women.” He added a bit of truth that is rarely stated: “We lack direct evidence of female Marines closing with the enemy and destroying them by fire, maneuver, and close combat.”

Both comments are important because much of the confusion surrounding this issue begins with unrealistic expectations of gender “equality” and imprecise definitions of “direct ground combat” units that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.

Women always have served with courage “in harm’s way,” and more than 140 have given their lives in service since the attacks of September 11, 2001. 50 But according to long-standing definitions, the aggressive nature of direct ground combat sets it apart from the experience of being in danger or subject to “incident-related combat” that occurs “in harm’s way.”

There are some missions in war zones that men cannot do, such as female engagement teams (FETs) and cultural support teams (CSTs). These support teams have worked with and gather intelligence from civilian women in Middle East countries. All FETs and CSTs have been subject to incident-related combat “in harms’ way,” but their missions have not been the same as direct ground combat assaults on the enemy.

Historically, direct ground combat (DGC) has been defined as “engaging an enemy on the ground with individual or crew served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile forces’ personnel.” Going beyond the experience of being “in harm’s way,” DGC involves “deliberate offensive action” and “seeking out, reconnoitering,” or “closing with the enemy by fire, maneuver, or shock effect.” 51

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The Department of Defense is having some difficulty reconciling their vision of the military as an “equal opportunity employer” with long-standing definitions of direct ground combat. Confusion is evident in several notifications that officials have sent to Congress since April 11, 2013, pursuant to a law requiring formal notice 30 legislative days prior to proposed changes in assignment policies affecting women. 52

Some of the letters have notified Congress that the MOSs or units to be opened to women do not engage in direct ground combat, defined as deliberate offensive action on the ground. Others blur distinctions between MOSs to be opened and units that are described with phrases similar to the classic definition(s) of direct ground combat. 53

Whether intended or not, imprecise designations could have serious operational and legal consequences. Personnel under fire in DGC battalions often must take the places of colleagues who are injured, lost, or evacuated for other reasons. It is not realistic to place significant numbers of women in MOSs requiring tank-driving skills, knowing that they do not have the personal strength needed to evacuate a wounded colleague, or to make repairs on heavy tracks when the track is stuck in mud. (See below)

Unlike gender designations that are based on consistent, reality-based principles, making women eligible for unsuitable MOSs at the battalion level and below likely would increase risks of injury and needlessly endanger lives and GCE missions.

b. What Will It Take for the Pentagon to “Follow the Numbers?”

On May 14, 2014, the Department of Defense notified Congress that 11 more DGC MOSs would be opened to women, leaving only 20 designated all-male. Marine officials have expressed complete confidence that women will succeed in the newly-opened positions.

However, members of Congress receiving the notice, and the American people they represent, should have been given the opportunity to review the policy changes in the context of research already done. Diligent oversight is not possible when officials do not provide relevant information on a timely basis.

Data shown in the NHRC Appendix B (analyzed above) shows serious deficiencies in the upper body strength needed for women to perform well in some of the newly-opened occupations.

For example, the May 14 notification letter to Congress described duties of the Towed Artillery Systems Technician (2131), and listed physical requirements for that position: “Physical Standards: Lift/carry/load 155 mm projectiles (average 95 lbs); Fire a prepared round (carry 95 lbs for 10 meters and place on tray 48 inches high); Handle/carry nitrogen bottle (213 lbs, 2- man team).”

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  • This description of the systems technician MOS, recently reported to Congress as now open to women, is almost identical to the 155 mm “Artillery Round Lift & Carry” proxy test described above. It should matter a great deal that 28.42% of women could not complete the 155 mm artillery round lift-and-carry proxy test in the allotted time, compared to less than 1% of the men.
  • Concern should be even greater because, according to TECOM’s analysis, it is “extremely likely” that if women were required to “shoulder” the round instead of cradling it, and/or carry multiple rounds, the failure rate would increase. 54The DoD also opened the Main Battle Tank (MBT) Repairer/Technician MOS (2146), and listed MOS requirements: “Physical Standards: Load M1A1 main gun; Mount M2 .50 cal heavy machinegun; Evacuate injured crewman (team of 2) [assuming there are two]; Unload stuck round (requires approx. 100 lbs of strength); attach tow bar or cables (300 lbs, team); Open tank breech (75 lbs); Replace track blocks (60 lbs); Operate tank loaders hatch (70 lbs); Stow ordnance (carry rounds 50 meters, 50-55 lbs); Lift/move tool box & test equipment (average 60 lbs); Remove/install generator (70 lbs); Remove engine access plate (50 lbs); Remove hull turret slip ring (100 lbs); Remove torsion bar (50 lbs); [and] Replace road arm (100 lbs).”
  • According to TECOM information in the NHRC Appendix B, “Less than 1% of men could not complete the tank loading drill in the allotted time [but]18.68% of women could not [do so. The test] strictly measured a Marine’s ability to lift and transfer a simulated round weighing 55 lb.” 55
  • This should matter, especially since “It would be very likely that failure rates would increase in a more confined space and actually taking a round out of a horizontal tube and placing into a horizontal breech.”If clear correlations such as these do not matter, what would? Expectations of success in ground combat units that engage the enemy are unlikely to be met if almost one-out-of-three female personnel cannot perform basic tasks.

    A plan to admit women meeting only minimum male requirements could result in unintended consequences, such as the inclusion of some men with lower scores, or the exclusion of other men with higher ones. Stronger personnel (men) likely will do the heavy lifting in training, but in wartime all personnel must be prepared to do each others’ jobs in order to survive and win. Workarounds are likely to fall apart if the unit loses key personnel during close combat fights.

    Policies based on best-case scenarios needlessly elevate risks in life-and-death situations. It is not an affront to acknowledge that female failure rates in various tests measuring upper body strength are four to thirty times greater than men’s. Some officials are hesitant to acknowledge

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inconvenient truths such as this, but it is far worse to pretend “success” that sets up women for life-and-death failures in actual GCE combat.

Author George Orwell addressed the risks of putting trust in information known to be false:

“The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.” 56

c. Incrementalism + Consistency = Radical Change

Unjustified distinctions without a difference invite criticism from the DACOWITS, the media, and other pressure groups that are sure to demand that “inconsistencies” be remedied with more incremental steps in the wrong direction. For example, if it is all right to open field artillery to women, knowing that 28% cannot lift and move 155 mm rounds, how can the Marines “validate” or justify exceptions to gender integration in infantry and Special Operations Forces battalions? This is not a rhetorical question.

Arbitrary distinctions between open and closed MOSs are not likely to survive first contact with the enemy − or with egalitarian political forces demanding more “gender diversity metrics.” The formula likely to play out is predictable and problematic: Incrementalism + Consistency = Radical Change.

Personnel policies should be based on sound principles, not egalitarian agendas. They should also be made by Members of Congress who are accountable to the American people − not by federal judges or outside consultants who work for the Department of Defense.

d. Misunderstandings About Legislative Action

The Force Integration Campaign Plan Summary states that the Marine Corps is following Defense Department directives, but also implies that Congress approved legislation repealing women’s direct ground combat exemptions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), particularly a “Sense of Congress” resolution. (pages 2, 3, and 6)

The resolution cited, however, has no legal effect. 57 A senior professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee has confirmed that Congress has not voted for legislation authorizing or mandating that women serve in direct ground combat.

Regulations and directives are enforceable, but there is no law passed by Congress mandating that women be assigned to combat arms units. The absence of law and regulations regarding

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such assignments does not create the equivalence of law, and it would not be wise for the Administration to cut Congress out of the decision-making process.

Some officials have muddied the water further by suggesting that the military is subject to long- standing civil rights and equal opportunity (EO) laws. On the contrary, the unique mission of our military, which must be prepared to fight enemy forces that are not limited by EO 58 mandates, justifies continued exemption from federal civil rights and employment laws.

Several European nations that depend on the United States military for defense, such as the Netherlands and allies such as Canada and Australia, have consciously decided to assign higher priority to egalitarian social goals. 59 Some have labor unions or other policies that would be incompatible with the culture and “work conditions” of the United States military. None of these should be considered role models for our military, especially since potential adversary nations and forces do not waste time and resources on social experimentation.

The Department of Defense has endorsed an updated Charter of Human Rights Goals, as well as recommendations of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission. Still, calls for “gender diversity metrics” in the combat arms do not have the force of law. Simply stated, the military is not just another equal opportunity employer. 60

e. “Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Forces” (GCEITF)

Details are not yet available, but the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Forces” (GCEITF) reportedly will be worked-up at Camp Lejeune, NC, and proceed toward operational evaluation at three California bases. (p. 9) According to USA Today and the Marine Corps Times, “Experimental Task Forces,” composed of 25% women, will engage in simulated combat operations with four types of units: all-male, all-female, mostly male, and half-and-half. 61

The MCFIP Campaign Plan Summary sets forth the “hypothesis” of the GCEITF project: “An integrated unit under gender-neutral standards will perform equally well as a gender restricted unit.” (p. 9) This pre-emptive statement, which would seem to preclude any other conclusion, represents a dramatic shift from previous statements of the Marine Corps on this subject, as well as findings resulting from recent research and previous studies conducted in the U.S. and U.K.

The Campaign Plan states that before women join the GCE Integrated Task Forces, they will undergo entry-level training (ELT) in previously all-male MOSs. It is not clear, however, how differences in physical strength will be accommodated in those units.

In his Gazette article, General Amos noted that ELT provides a “minimum baseline for a graduate to be able to function in the Operating Forces . . . In many cases, these more advanced occupational tasks require individual capabilities far beyond what is required to complete ELT.”

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The crux of the issue emerges in the general’s recognition of a simple truth: “Heretofore, the Marine Corps has functioned under the assumption that any male ELT graduate could, with sufficient training and motivation, meet these requirements.”

Gen. Amos further writes that the Marines are trying “to develop a rigorous, realistic, gender- neutral set of physical parameters that can replace this no longer valid assumption.” Stated another way, qualification tests for direct ground combat units have not been necessary because the all-male designation has served as a surrogate for specific qualification tests.

Implementation of plans to order women into the combat arms would make it necessary to replace simple procedures with complicated, less effective substitutes that are based on social theories and driven by gender diversity mandates. Combat realities and the best interests of the military will have to assume secondary priority.

Pentagon group-thinkers expect the Marines to come up with new standards that are gender- neutral but not lower than before. These two goals cannot be credibly reconciled. The use of gender-normed requirements and scores in preliminary phases of training already concedes realities about physiology, which are even more obvious when considering the combat arms.

Enter the GCE Integrated Task Forces, which will observe and evaluate the execution of individual and collective tasks in gender-mixed experimental units. (p. 9) This will bear watching as events develop. Dr. William Gregor has observed that “collective” tasks often disguise individual weaknesses: “It can be expected that commanders will shift tasks from women to men to avoid attrition from non-battle injury. It is a matter of speculation whether such task shifting is tolerable in actual combat.”

Members of the media observing the task forces in action probably will not notice or report on predictable conundrums, but they will not escape the attention of Marines.

f. Consultants, Objectivity, and the Need for a Real “Red Team”

The Campaign Plan Summary lists several Marine commands that are involved in this multi-year project, including Training and Education (TECOM), USMC Recruiting Command, and the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC), mentioned above. Additional contractors and advisors include the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), RAND Corporation, the University of Pittsburgh, and two more organizations, George Mason University (GMU) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), since named as a “Red Team.” (pp. 12-13)

Many military leaders associated with the Marines’ research effort have distinguished records of military service, including recent experience in the infantry and other combat arms. Their influence, however, likely will be eclipsed by a small army of civilians associated with organizations that were selected to help design or review research events and results.

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The Red Team concept, which the late Lt. General Victor H. Krulak pioneered in 1986, is supposed to bring in outside experts to review and challenge Pentagon problems and proposed solutions from a completely independent, disinterested perspective. An article in the Marine Corps Gazette describes Red Team members as “contrarian[s] who can help the staff and/or commander realize that they have fallen in love with their own plan.”

The organizations named to participate in the Marines efforts, particularly those that often seek contracts from the Department of Defense, do not include a true Red Team that “can challenge assumptions and prevailing notions, rigorously test tactics, techniques, and procedures, and counter groupthink.” 62 Absent a true Red Team, we have a groupthink chorus.

RAND, for example, has produced credible research for the Department of Defense on a wide variety of military subjects. On military social issues, however, periodic RAND reports have been consistently one-sided and ideological, promoting only a liberal point of view:

  • In 2007, RAND produced a “rubber stamp” report approving of Army policies that many members of Congress, led by then-House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), recognized as violations of Defense Department regulations.
  • The final RAND report used semantics and sophistry to stall and mislead Congress in a report that was released 17 months beyond the deadline set by law. As CMR reported at the time, the report was significantly altered from its original form. Inconvenient information that did not fit the template set by the Defense Department was 63 systematically omitted or “spun” to be consistent with Clinton Administration goals.RAND is studying gender integration in Allied Forces and “detection of conditions requiring DOTMLPF changes and early situational awareness of trends for individuals, units, MOSs, and the institution.” 64 This area of participation and influence, which includes training and education, gives to RAND prime opportunities to promote liberal social agendas that are inconsistent with the best interests of the “institution” in question, the U.S. Marine Corps.

    As reported above, the Center for Naval Analysis missed the opportunity to produce a better survey of Marines, and much of their work has been withheld from public view. In addition, the Naval Health Research Center report analyzed above included unsupported spin while relegating significant TECOM findings to appendices. Withholding or downplaying significant information makes it virtually impossible for members of Congress to conduct meaningful oversight before radical policy changes are supposed to take place.

    It is not clear what role Recruiting Command is playing in the overall project. Little has been said about the March 2014 DACOWITS presentation, which indicated that young women’s propensity to serve already is extremely low and likely to decline if combat eligibility rules are changed. (See below)

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George Mason University sponsors the Gender and Conflict Center, which recently hosted a receptionwithkeynotespeakerEllenL.Haring,acolonelintheArmyReserveandoneofthe 65 plaintiffs filing litigation against the Department of Defense to open combat MOSs to women.

University of Pittsburgh experts in sports physiology have provided useful information to Marine Infantry Officer Course leaders on ways to manage fluid loss in high-heat conditions. This is laudable, but it is not necessary to order women into the combat arms to obtain more research data and advice on this and related issues.

Better athletic equipment can mitigate debilitating injuries. However, the experiences of top- notch, well-equipped female athletes in the Olympics do not support the theory that better athletic equipment can make women as strong as men.

The Washington Post recently used drawings and graphs to illustrate the findings of major studies comparing the capabilities of Olympic-caliber male and female athletes. Among other things, the article reports that anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears occur in female athletes 2 to 9 times as often as male athletes. 66

Often-heard pledges that Marine research projects will be “Deliberate, Measured, and Responsible” protest too much. The overall program is producing useful information, but missing qualities include “objectivity” and “transparency.” Effective Red Team challenges are not likely to happen with the current array of Defense Department contractors and academic advisors, most of which offer ideological views ranging from A to B.

Given the politics of the Pentagon, voices of women and men who will be most affected by proposed policy changes are not being heard. This is especially so because all leaders in the Pentagon appear to be concurring without reservation or dissent.

g. “Analytical Questions” Deserve Objective Analysis

The list of “Analytical Questions” on page 11 of the Marine Corps Force Integration Program presentation is inadequate, except in drawing attention to the scores of important issues that are not being analyzed — except in non-transparent work assigned to RAND, a Defense Department contractor with a long record of liberal advocacy on military/social issues. To name just a few of the Analytical Questions that deserve objective review:

• Individual Impacts

Research done so far has not produced evidence that female trainees or personnel will be able to “successfully meet” what are called “Occupational Field Standards” in direct ground combat units. There is no satisfactory way to resolve this dilemma.

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If officials quietly gender-norm training standards that used to be high and male-oriented, or if they remove tougher challenges in order to make “gender-integration” work, men will emerge from training less prepared than they would have been. The alternative strategy, placing heavy burdens on women and treating them like men, would result in disproportionate injuries and disabilities at unacceptable rates.

Marine Capt. Katie Petronio, who wrote a widely-circulated article published in the Marine Corps Gazette, described the debilitating physical injuries she suffered while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and expressed concern about predictable long-term injuries that will result if women are treated like men in the combat arms. 67

It is not clear whether researchers will consider studies done and decisions made in the British military, which was being pressured to assign women to direct ground combat units, but decided twice not to do so. 68 The British experiment with “gender-free” basic training, described in the Gemmel Report published by the British Journal of Medicine, demonstrated the risks of training women as if they were interchangeable with men. 69

• Unit Impacts

“Medical readiness/deployability” issues would take on a whole new dimension if female medical issues are extended into GCE units. It is doubtful that anyone has considered the impact on small direct ground combat squads when a large percentage of personnel (say, one or two out of thirteen) are lost to the unit due to pregnancy, either before or after the unit deploys. Injuries at higher rates also should be objectively considered. Extrapolating estimates from current non-deployability and injury figures should not be difficult to do.

“Cohesion, Morale & Discipline” − Debates about “cohesion,” going back decades, seem tied to the “social/task cohesion” dichotomy, popular in business, academia, and contractors like RAND. But cohesion is not about being liked or working together. Military experts, who provided testimony to the Presidential Commission, defined cohesion as the relationship that develops in units bonded by mutual trust for survival in battle. 70

Commission testimony and findings also noted that cohesion can be negatively affected by the introduction of any element that detracts from “mutual confidence, commonality of experience, and equitable treatment.” Absent unit cohesion and vertical trust in the chain of command, morale suffers. Tensions and distractions related to sexual misconduct, both voluntary and involuntary, also detract from morale and discipline, doing great harm to women and everyone concerned.

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Both scenarios, and other compromises used to achieve

“gender diversity metrics,” would harm everyone involved, including commanders who

equivocate about “equality.”

Qualified men should not be discriminated against. Nor should women be set up for failure in

physically-demanding MOSs that exceed their capabilities.

Discipline in the gender-integrated military involves controversial, time-consuming issues that remain unresolved today. Incidents and accusations of sexual misconduct, both voluntary and involuntary, keep escalating every year. It appears that no one is considering the predictable impact of these demoralizing distractions on readiness and morale in the combat arms. There is no reason to believe that personnel in those units are any more perfect than human beings in other communities.

Every military community has been affected by these thorny personal conduct issues, including situations that cause officers to be removed from command based on accusations alone. It would not help women, or men, to extend these human problems into the combat arms.

The dynamics of male and female relationships in the military “workplace” also deserve closer examination. Drawing upon scholarly research in the fields of anthropology, biology, and psychology, Professor of Law Kingsley Browne has addressed these issues from a scholarly perspective in his book Co-Ed Combat: New Evidence that Women Shouldn’t Fight the Nation’s Wars. 71

Feminist advocates have suggested that ordering women into combat might increase respect for them as “warriors,” and thereby reduce problems of sexual harassment and assault. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey bought in to this unsupported hypothesis, saying in January 2013, “[T]he more we can treat people equally the more likely they are to treat each other equally.” A Pentagon report discredited the theory, finding that reports of sexual assaults were twice as high among female combat veterans. 72

The June 2013 USMC report to Congress mentioned that there would be “Integration Education” for instructors at newly-opened MOS schools, but no information on the curriculum and costs of such a program has been provided since. (p. 3)

• Institutional Impacts “Recruiting and Retention”

The December 2010 Youth Poll 20 Report of the Defense Department Joint Advertising, Market Research & Studies (JAMRS) found that the propensity of young women to serve in the military was only about a third that of men. There are no indications that recruiting rates would improve if female soldiers were involuntarily assigned to infantry battalions.

JAMRS research data that a Marine official presented to the DACOWITS on 22 September 2011 also showed that if women could serve in combat roles, 29% of potential female recruits would be less likely to join the military, compared to 12% of women who said they would be more likely to join. 73

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Recruiting efforts targeted to women reading sports and fitness magazines have been tried in the past, without success. Absent evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to conclude that eligibility for direct ground combat assignments would reduce the inclination of women to join the military.

In a more recent briefing, Marine Recruiting Command informed the DACOWITS that young women’s propensity to serve dropped to 2% in the spring of 2013, compared to 12% among young men. The briefing notes, “Females tend to view military service as incompatible with having an attractive lifestyle, are more risk averse, and [are] less confident in their ability to be successful in the military.” 74 No one has provided information indicating that combat eligibility would increase women’s propensity to serve.

MOS Screening and Selection/Suitability of Entry-Level Training

When screening tests geared to minimum standards result in the assignment of great numbers of women to previously all-male units for which they are not suited, reassignments that may or may not be possible will increase costs even more. In 1992 the estimated cost of reassigning a person who was placed in a heavy-duty billet for which they were not suited was $16,000 − an expense likely to be considerably greater today. 75

Training & Readiness Manual Tasks/Infrastructure/Equipment and Modifications

There have been no estimates of costs for assignment pre-screening tests and extra training to achieve gender-integration goals, but there ought to be. Nor have officials released analyses of DOTMLPF factors that would be affected by gender-integration. (Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership & Education, Personnel, and Facilities.)

E. Unaddressed Concerns: What Is Missing from the Research?

This Interim Special Report primarily analyzes physical strength issues because the research being done primarily focuses on that. There are several major issues that are not even mentioned in documents associated with current research projects. For example:

1. Most Military Women Do Not Want Combat Arms Assignments

The WISRR and MCFIP Campaign Plan do not mention the lack of evidence that the majority of military women want to be assigned to the combat arms on a voluntary or involuntary basis. There have been few opportunities for women to express their opinions, but when they do, the idea that gender-integration in the combat arms is a “pro-woman” policy has been vigorously questioned.

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  • According to the New York Times, during a July 2013 private meeting with 15 junior officers at the Marine Infantry School, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel got an earful when he asked what they thought about President Obama’s plans to assign women to Army and Marine infantry battalions and other direct ground combat units. Staff sergeants expressed concerns about lowered standards, negative consequences for families, and sexual misconduct. A fearless captain said, “I haven’t met a female Marine who is standing up and shouting, ‘I want to be infantry.’” This must have been a shock for Secretary Hagel, since the 15 Marines speaking to Hagel were not men; they were women. 76
  • Interview statements reported in an independent academic dissertation indicate that many women Marines are strongly opposed to policies that force them to compete with men in combat arms. (See Exhibit D)

There is no evidence that implementation of this controversial program will help women or improve the military. Secretary Hagel and other policy makers should not disregard the concerns of countless women who want to serve their country but do not want to be treated like men in the combat arms. 77

2. Violence Against Women − Cultural Ambivalence

In his book Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women into Combat,” Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, USA, Ret., suggests that the debate about women in combat “should not involve questions no deeper than how far they can carry a seventy-pound rucksack.” 78 For Colonel Maginnis and millions of Americans, a more important question is, “What kind of society sends its women into combat? Do we want to be that kind of society?”

While studying all aspects of the issue for a full year, the Presidential Commission carefully considered cultural issues of concern to Col. Maginnis. Commissioner Kate O’Beirne summarized deep-seated cultural and family values millions of Americans hold and are still teaching their children: “Good men respect and defend women.”

The nation needs women in our military, but the question of ordering them into the combat arms deserves thoughtful consideration of the cultural implications.

3. Selective Service Obligations on an Equal Basis

Current research has said little about the consequences of full gender-integration on civilian women. On April 13, 2013, a group called the National Coalition for Men (NCM) filed a lawsuit in a California U.S. District Court against the Director of Selective Service, challenging the legality of male-only registration and other obligations, including a possible future draft. 79

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This case, put “on hold” until after final decisions at the Pentagon, challenges the landmark Rostker v. Goldberg ruling. In that 1981 case, the Supreme Court upheld the right of Congress to exempt women from Selective Service obligations on the same basis as men:

“The purpose of registration was to prepare for a draft of combat troops. Since women are excluded from combat, Congress concluded that they would not be needed in the event of a draft, and therefore decided not to register them . . . Men and women, because of the combat restrictions on women, are simply not similarly situated for purposes of a draft or registration for a draft.” (453 U.S. at 77-78)

Professor William A. Woodruff of Campbell School of Law, who retired from the Army as a colonel and served as a Judge Advocate General, notes that the Rostker decision was an easy call. Since women were not eligible for direct ground combat, they were not “similarly situated” with men and did not have to be treated the same under Selective Service law.

“However,” writes Woodruff, “If we remove the combat exclusion, the obvious result is that women and men are ‘similarly situated’ and the justification for Rostker is no longer present.”

Under law, the Department of Defense must notify congressional leaders of pending changes in women’s assignments, and provide a “detailed legal analysis” of how the proposed changes would affect women’s exemption from Selective Service obligations.

In an April 11, 2013, letter to Congress written in compliance with this notification law, the Defense Department stated the expectation that positions opened at that time did not have a primary mission to engage in direct ground combat. The letter continued, “As positions in combat specialties, such as infantry, still remain closed, the rationale in the Rostker decision should still apply — over 230,000 positions remain closed to women, and consequently, men and women are not similarly situated for purposes of the Military Selective Service Act.” 80

This statement changed, however, in a notification letter sent to Congress on May 14, 2014. The letter, which was withheld from public view until July, includes speculation about what a future Supreme Court might do on the issue of women and Selective Service:

“As the Department undertakes a deliberate and thoughtful review and develops detailed implementation plans, previously closed positions will open unless an exception is granted to keep an occupational specialty or position closed. Opening all positions without a deliberate and thoughtful approach could be detrimental to mission accomplishment and impede the ability of men and women to succeed in their positions. Although these developments may alter the factual backdrop to the Court’s decision in Rostker, it remains the case that certain occupational specialties, such as infantry, still remain closed to women. Moreover, the Court in Rostker did not consider whether other rationales

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underlying the statute are sufficient to limit the application of the Military Selective Service Act to men.”

This implies that if or when women’s exemptions from DGC are eliminated and litigation brought on behalf of men is reinstated, the administration will try to make an updated argument in support of women’s exemption from Selective Service.

There are three things wrong with this argument: a) Decisions as consequential as this should be made by Congress, not federal courts; b) No one can predict what a future Supreme Court will do; and c) The Administration and its key appointees are firmly on record in favor of imposing Selective Service obligations on an equal basis; they cannot be counted on to defend the legality of exempting women from Selective Service obligations. Which brings us to the almost totally-neglected role and responsibilities of Congress.

4. Lack of Congressional Oversight & Approval

Uniformed personnel must obey Defense Department administrative policies, but the U.S. Constitution assigns to Congress the power and responsibility to make policy for the military. (Article I, Section 8). Decisions to order military women into the combat arms, and thereby to change the facts underlying young women’s exemption from Selective Service obligations, properly belong in Congress.

The federal judiciary, which is the branch of government least qualified to make policy for the military, should not be given power, by default, to make policies for the armed forces or the Selective Service System.

5. Risks of Relying Upon Best-Case Scenarios

The administration seems to believe that known risks of gender-integration in the combat arms are justified because nothing will go seriously wrong. An assumption that nothing bad will happen is not the basis for sound policy.

Advocates of women in ground combat units are effectively betting combat effectiveness and national security on an unlikely assumption. This is the unquestioning belief that only best-case scenarios will ensue when dubious, difficult-to-reverse policy changes are made.
The Marine Corps and other combat arms communities are expected to embrace several rosy scenarios in making women-in-land-combat policies “work.” One of these, frequently repeated in media reports, suggests that in the future there will be no “front line” combat operations.

This is a short-sighted scenario that seems to forget that the liberation of Baghdad occurred in March 2003, only 11 years ago. Fierce fighting in Afghanistan during the past decade is still

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going on. The United States is a world power and our troops must be prepared to fight on the ground. The strength and endurance requirements of war, therefore, remain undiminished.

Methods of warfare and technology, as well as physical training techniques, have changed. It is also true that loads and weights carried on the backs of individual combat arms soldiers have not become lighter since Roman legions conquered Gaul. A recent Army Technical Bulletin reported,

“[A]verage loads that soldiers carried into battle during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003 exceeded recommended maximums in all load configuration categories (Table 3-1). Although PT has been shown to improve load carriage performance, it is unclear whether enhanced physical fitness confers protection against the assumed increase in musculoskeletal injury risk from excessive combat load carriage.” 81

The same Army Technical Bulletin analyzed intrinsic risk factors for injury during Basic Combat Training (BCT). The strongest evidence, supported by five or more studies, indicated that “female gender,” together with low aerobic fitness,” and “low muscular endurance,” were factors contributing to the highest risks of injury in BCT. (p. 18)

The inability to perform pull-ups or to lift heavy weights over the head do not disqualify women from most MOSs that are already open. Reasonable accommodations make it possible to recruit and retain women who are valuable members of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF).

Requirements are different, however, in the combat arms. In that environment, a person’s inability to carry heavy loads over long distances, to climb over high obstacles, and to dig fighting holes before attacking the enemy − could compromise missions and cost lives. 82

It is possible that future combat arms units could fight and win battles with a significant percentage of personnel who are less strong, less deployable, less versatile, and more likely to experience debilitating injuries and other health conditions that require evacuation from the war zone. It seems impossible, however, that this could occur without needless increases in casualties. If the best-case scenarios prove wrong, consequences in time of war could be catastrophic.


The January 2016 deadline for gender integration, announced by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in 2013, effectively sidesteps Congress. If the Marines choose to ask for “exceptions” to policy, perhaps for the infantry and/or other ground combat MOSs, the administration could ignore that request in January 2016.

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Congress could intervene with legislation to codify sound policy, but members will be reluctant to do so if they are misled by constant claims that all standards in the combat arms will be “gender-neutral” and as high as they are now. These expectations cannot be met simultaneously.

The process of “salami-slicing” the list of open MOSs down to 20 and potentially less already has gone too far. The Marines should reconsider the situation. Recommendations for consistent, reality-based policies, supported by research findings that are most relevant, could change the direction and political dynamics of future events.

Congress should assert its power and responsibility for oversight, mandating that recent policy changes be suspended pending comprehensive, balanced hearings, and objective reviews of all relevant information. Members of Congress should use their legislative power to codify sound policy for women (and men) in the military, and to stipulate that changes should not be made without an affirmative vote of Congress.

Historically, the Supreme Court has deferred to the judgment of military leaders in matters of dispute affecting the armed forces. A reality-based legal position incorporating sound principles would be far more likely to withstand legal challenge than convoluted statistical language and “correlations” with basic physical tests.

The legislative calendar prior to January 2016 is closing in, even though comprehensive hearings on women in land combat have not been held since 1979 in the House, 35 years ago, and 1991 in the Senate, 23 years ago. Women in America’s military deserve more respect and diligent oversight than this.

This is an Interim Report and more information is expected in coming months. At this time, however, nothing in the research done so far indicates that there is or can be a workable plan to train and deploy women in units that engage in deliberate offensive against the enemy.

Instead of talking about minimum standards as an acceptable goal in the infantry and other GCE units, military leaders should present to Congress abundant research data that reconfirms the need for continued sound priorities and high, uncompromised standards in all military communities, especially the combat arms.


1 Col. Brian J. McGuire, MS ATC CSCS, Colonel, USMCR, USMC Training & Education Command, “Correlation of Performance on USMC Physical Fitness Test and Combat Fitness Test Events to Physically Demanding Military Occupational Specialty Tasks,” National Strength and Conditioning Association TSAC Conference, April 15-17, 2014, San Diego, CA, p. 15.

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2 Marine PFT/CFT Standards, confirmed to be still in effect. The Physical Fitness Test (PFT), which is done by all personnel at least once a year, involves pull-ups or flexed-arm hangs (women only), abdominal crunches, and a 3 mile run. The Combat Fitness Test (CFT) has three requirements, an 880 yard run, repetitive 30 lb. ammo can lifts in 2 minutes, and maneuvers under fire involving a 300-yd. shuttle run, crawls, sprints, brief fireman’s carry, simulated grenade throw, and an ammo can carry.

3 The 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces approved of gender- normed standards in basic, pre-commissioning, and entry-level training, in order to accommodate physiological differences and to promote wellness. The commission’s recommendations were contingent on women’s continued exemption from heavy MOSs and the combat arms. (Recommendation C, “Fitness/Wellness Standards,” p. 5)

4 Page 12, for example, lists 32 Closed MOS School Programs of Instruction, 11 of which are designated “MOSs with no associated physical tasks.” Page 18 uses color bars to illustrate the “Correlation of PFT and CFT Events to Closed MOS Tasks,” described in convoluted technical terms: “Spearman’s non-parametric version of the Pearson correlation, which does not require the assumption of normality and can partially correct for range restriction.”

5 Passing 12 out of 14 events, for example, would result in a .86 score correlated to all PFT and CFT events. The 14-point scoring system could be faulted for assigning the same value, one “point,” to each of 14 tasks without regard for levels of difficulty.

6 McGuire presentation, footnote #1, p. 16. Proxy test scores on other events show that women performed at varying levels compared to men: 135 lb. Deadlift, (100/97.1%); 120mm Round (99.8/81.5%); 155 mm Round (99.8/71.5%); and obstacle course wall with box assists (98.8/78.6%). In the PFT, average scores were Crunches (98.89/93.5) and 3-Mile Run minutes (21:21/24:30. In the CFT, Movement to Contact (MTC) minutes (2:52/3:31), Ammunition Can Lifts (AL) (96.62/56.76), and Maneuver Under Fire (MANUF) minutes, (2:24/3:19).

7 Col. John Nettles, USMC, “Women in the Service Restrictions Review (WISRR)” DACOWITS Brief, 22 Sep 2011, p. 7.

8 Jason Jameson and Karen Kelly, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA, “Analysis in Support of the Women in Service Restriction Review Study,” 2014.

9 Report to Congress on the Review of Laws, Policies and Regulations Restricting the service of Female Members in the U.S. Armed Forces, February 2012.

10 According to the Department of Defense, “Women constitute approximately 14.5 percent of the 1.4 million Active Component military personnel and comprise 7.25 percent of general/flag officers sand 10.86 percent of the senior enlisted force. These figures are strong given that retention of women is significantly less than that of men beyond 20 years of service, where the majority of these promotions to the senior grades occur. The Department reviewed all available information from the Military Services and did not find any indication of females having less than equitable opportunities to complete and excel under current assignment policy.” In its recent study on Minority and Gender Differences in Officer Career Progression, the RAND Corporation found no statistical differences in the career progression of female officers in open occupations with closed positions as compared to women in fully open occupations; both groups of women shared the same likelihood of reaching pay grade O-6 (Colonel or Captain). The Department reviewed all available information from the Military Services and did not find any indication of females having less than equitable opportunities to compete and excel under current assignment policy. (DoD Report to Congress, February 2012, Ibid., pp. 3-4.

11 USMC: June 2013 Report to Congress, p. 2, footnotes #3 – #6.

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12 For example: “Both Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and Spearman’s [Greek letter p] correlations were computed; placing maximum scores on several of the tests led to restricted range and non- normal distributions. Spearman’s [Greek letter p] is the nonparametric measure of association that does not require normality and partially corrects for range restriction.”

13 Media spin contributed to policy change in November 2010, when a highly misleading story leaked to the Washington Post claimed that 70% of military personnel were not opposed to repeal of the 1993 law regarding gays in the military. A Department of Defense Inspector General investigation revealed irregularities leading up to that headline, which eclipsed all evidence to the contrary that had been compiled by a Defense Department Comprehensive Working Group in 2010. See CMR: DoD Investigation Exposes Improper Activities to Repeal Gays- in-Military Law, June 27, 2011.

14 The three charts in the NHRC Analysis’ Appendix A, pp. 31-33, are reproduced in this paper’s Exhibit A.

16 Paul O. Davis, PhD, Marine Corps Gazette, “Looking for a Few Good Women: Physical Demands of Combat,” July 2014.

17 The NHRC analysis further reports: “With all weights there is a large disparity between male and female failure rates. What this suggests is that women have less upper-body strength than men. Indeed, 91.32% of women failed to lift 115 lb. whereas 20% of men failed at that weight. At the lesser weight of 65 lb., we had our test population clean and press that weight six times in 1 minute or less. While only 26.6% of women could not life 70 lbs., when attempting to perform the lesser weight of 65 lb. for 6 repetitions, 31.32% of them failed that task.” (pp. 34-39)

18 In testimony presented to the Presidential Commission on October 7, 1992, Dr. William Gregor stressed the physical requirements of armor operations: “A survey of the components of a tank reveals that almost all the component parts, special tools, and assemblies are very heavy. . .However, the equipment is heavier and the tasks more difficult when a tank is disabled or mired. . .Often when a tank throws a track or hits a mine, the crew has only its socket set, sledgehammer, crowbar, and brute strength with which to remove the damaged track blocks and install spare track. . .[i]t is unlikely the wounded crewman can assist in his own evacuation. He must be pulled out. In an emergency, therefore, the tanker’s survival depends on the strength of his comrades.”

19 RADM Hugh Scott, USN (Ret.), letter titled “Physical and Physiological Issues Associated with the Assignment of Women to Direct Ground Combat Units,” June 22, 2012.

  1. 20  AP/Fox News, Marines Delay Female Fitness Test After [More Than] Half Fail Pull-Up Test, Jan. 2, 2014.
  2. 21  General James Amos, USMC, Marine Corps Gazette, July 2014, “Marine Corps Force Integration,” pp. 10-15.
  3. 22  Brian Mitchell, Women in the Military: Flirting with Disaster, Regnery Publishing, 1998, p. 109.
  4. 23  Presidential Commission, CF 22, p. C138. Under the direction of Army Chief of Staff General Edward C. “Shy”

Meyer, a set of tests were established to determine individual capabilities at the Military Entrance Processing

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15 William J. Gregor, PhD, Professor of Social Sciences at the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, KS. Why Can’t Anything Be Done? Measuring Physical Readiness of Women for Military Occupations Excerpt: “The data clearly reveals a very large gap between the physical strength, aerobic capacity and size of Army men and women. Training men and women correctly improves the performance of both groups but it also widens the gap in performance.”

Station, or MEPS. The DACOWITS praised the plan initially, but later criticized it when they perceived a negative impact on women’s careers. MEPSCAT did not survive the criticism.

24 In his article, General Amos quotes a document prepared by two officials associated with the Center for Naval Analysis, which analyzes a paper by William J. Kraemer and several others. The Kraemer study cited by CNA indicates that in virtually every event, described and analyzed in detail, performances of the “MEN” group were “significantly greater” and/or faster than the women. CMR requested a copy of the CNA article cited, but CNA declined the request. According to Dr. Paul Davis, the design of the 2001 Kraemer research project was seriously flawed. In the study, a group of men were asked to perform a set of tests only once. Unlike women in the study, the men were not given six months of specialized training. Fifteen pages of “scientific” analysis came to an obvious conclusion: If a woman does resistance training for 3 or 6 months she will be stronger in her performance of physically demanding tasks. A man given the same special training would become even stronger.

25 US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command: Natick Study, Nov. 1997, and CMR: The Amazon Myth – Natick Study Stretches Science.

26 Department of Defense briefing on Implementing Women Into Previously Closed Positions, June 18, 2013.

27 The Final Report of the 1999 Congressional Commission on Military Training and Gender-Integrated Training noted similar stereotypical divisions of labor in gender-integrated basic training programs in all services but the Marine Corps, which has separate-gender training (Volume I, p. 246, footnote 334)

  1. 28  USMC: June 2013 Report to Congress, p. 2, footnotes #3 – #6.
  2. 29  Col. Mayer (TECOM HQMC), presentation to the DACOWITS, “Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test Brief to

DACOWITS,” March 14, 2014.

  1. 30  Marine PFT/CFT Standards, confirmed to be in effect in email from Capt. Maureen Krebs, USMC, July 24, 2014.
  2. 31  On the MANUF, a woman would receive 97 points, a man performing at the same level, 76. Respective points

earned on the MTC and AL would be 95/76 and 100/79. The accumulated total for women with gender-norming (97+95+100), would be 292 (1st class). The total for men performing at the same levels (76+76+79) would be 231 (2nd class). It is not clear what the 285 total score on the table represents. Nor is it clear whether “gender diversity dividends” awarded to women only are being used in formerly all-male communities recently opened to women.

32 From Representation to Inclusion, Diversity Leadership for the 21st-Century Military, Final Report, March 15, 2011. Instead of being blind to racial and gender differences, the MLDC report recommends race and gender consciousness. It repeatedly pushes for “diversity metrics,” which are supposed to enforce race- and gender- conscious “inclusion” that goes beyond EO, and “needs to become the norm.” (p. 18)

  1. 33  Department of Defense Briefing Transcript, February 9, 2012.
  2. 34  The USMC Assignment of Women to Ground Combat Units Research Plan “Fact Sheet,” prepared in September

2012, mentioned the MLDC in the 2nd paragraph of the Public Affairs Fact Sheet “Background” section.

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35 Kingsley Browne, Professor of Law, “The Report of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission: An Inadequate Basis for Lifting the Exclusion of Women from Direct Ground Combat,” Wayne State University, April 2012.

36 The allegation has been made that men who did not succeed on the IOC were allowed to “recycle” for a second try, but women were not given the same opportunity. However, in the July 9, 2014, administrative message cited in footnote #38 below, Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead, Jr., stated, “Previous IOC volunteers are not eligible to volunteer a second time for this research due to the following: Data has already been captured from these officers’ previous participation; they were offered an opportunity to recycle and declined; and additional time spent out of their primary MOS for the purpose of this research may have a detrimental impact on their MOS credibility and eligibility for promotion.”

37 General James Amos, Marine Corps Gazette, footnote #21.

38 Ellen Haring, “Can Women Be Infantry Marines?” War on the Rocks, May 29, 2014. Ms. Haring’s article was effectively countered by Marine 2nd Lt. J. Emma Stokien in her article, “The Mission Goes First: Female Marines and the Infantry,” War on the Rocks, June 3, 2014.

39 MARADMIN 335/14, “Operating Force and Supporting Establishment Female Officer Volunteers for Infantry Officer Course Research,” July 9, 2014.

40 Hope Hodge Seck, Marine Corps Times, “Marines Open Infantry Training to Hundreds More Female Officers,” July 10, 2014. Also see Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, “Marine Corps Dilemma With Women Prompts Change at Infantry School,” July 10, 2014. The Post reported that the new requirement would involve “Completion of the male version of the service’s annual Physical Fitness Test and the Combat Fitness Test with first-class scores. The PFT requirement is the likely sticking point for many female Marines: To score a first-class PFT, men must do at least five pull-ups, assuming they rack up maximum points by running three miles in 18 minutes or less and complete 100 sit-ups.”

41 Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test Brief to DACOWITS, Col. Mayer (TECOM, HQMC), March 2014.

42 MCO 6100.13 CH1, footnote #30, supra. To earn a “first class” rating in the CFT, all Marines must earn 270-300 points, but women get a “gender diversity dividend” in how their performances are scored. For example; a man who does the “movement to contact” (MTC) event in 2:45 min earns 100 points. He gets 100 points for lifting 91- 100 ammo cans (AL), and 70 more for doing the “maneuver under fire” course (MANUF) in 3:31 to 3:33 minutes. Simple math: 100+100+70 = 270, the minimum “first class” score. If gender-normed scores are used, a woman would get 100 points for the MTC test in 3:23 minutes, but a man gets only 83 points for the same performance. In the ammo lift (AL), she can score 100 for doing 60 (a man gets 79) and 70 more points by doing the MANUF in 5:16 to 5:20 minutes. This performance would fall well below the failing grade for men (60 points for MANUF in 3:58). With the gender diversity dividend, these scores (100+100+70) would add up to the “first class” minimum: 270 points, for a woman. A man performing at the same levels would get only 83+79+0 = 162 points, a failing grade. (See pp. 2-5, 2-6, 2-7, 3-8, 3-9, 3-10, 3-14, 3-17, 3-18, and 3-20.)

  1. 43  David F. Burrelli, Congressional Research Service, Women in Combat: Issues for Congress, April 5, 2012, p. 10.
  2. 44  Center for Military Readiness: Women-in-Combat Survey of Marines Fails to Show Support for Women in Direct

Ground Combat Units.

  1. 45  ALMAR 012/12, titled Assignment of Women to Ground Combat Units, April 12, 2012.
  2. 46  U.S. Marine Corps, “Assignment of Women to Ground Combat Units Research Plan,” prepared by Maj. Shawn

Haney, M & RA PAO, p. 7.

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47 These tests are less difficult than the original list of six tasks that were presented in a briefing to the DACOWITS on September 22, 2011. Sometime between then and April 2012, three of the most difficult tasks were omitted, and the remaining three were made less difficult. Changes such as this have been and will be made without public notice. See CMR Special Report: Defense Department “Diversity” Push for Women in Land Combat,” January 2013, pp. 15-17.

48 CMR Special Report, Ibid. The three common task tests omitted all together involved strenuous movement techniques and defending a position with an 83 lb. assault load, and constructing a heavy machine gun fighting position under a time standard and wearing standard body armor (43 lb).

49 Marine Corps Force Integration Plan, Campaign Plan Summary, Marine Corps Force Integration Office, Brig. General George W. Smith, Jr., Director.

  1. 50  CMR: Grim Total of Military Women Killed in War.
  2. 51  Presidential Commission, CF 1.5 through 1.9, pp. C-33 through C-34.
  3. 52  Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff, FOIA Requester Service Center, Personnel & Personnel

Readiness. See drop-down list of notices under “Service of Female Members in the Armed Forces.”

53 The December 6, 2013, Notification sent to House and Senate Armed Committee leaders describes missions of units in which some MOSs were being opened. The unit missions, though not the MOSs (adjutant, admin chief, communications officer, etc.), use phrases similar to the definition of direct ground combat. The Tank Battalion Mission, for example, “Close[s] with and destroy[s] the enemy using armor-protected firepower, shock effect, and maneuver, and to provide precision direct fires against enemy armor, fighting vehicles, troops, and hardened positions.” Since personnel under fire in DGC battalions often become interchangeable, arbitrary gender limits at the battalion level and below would be difficult to validate or defend. Designations that are consistent and based on principle would be more consistent and legally defensible.

54 NHRC Analysis, Appendix B, p. 35. Excerpt: “The 155 mm lift and carry consisted of picking up a replica 155 mm artillery round weighing 95 lb. and carrying it a distance of 50 m in under 2 minutes. Marines were not required to place the round on their shoulder and were allowed to cradle the round. While 28.42% of women failed to complete this task, it is extremely likely that if required to “shoulder” the round and/or carry multiple rounds, that failure rate would increase.”

55 An infantry officer explained in an email to CMR what the armored tank repair MOS entails: “Some of the wrenches used in this job are the length of a man’s arm and they are made of cast iron or steel. One of the bigger challenges for tank (and self-propelled artillery) mechanics is the process of “breaking track.” This requires a “tanker bar” which is a 5 or 6 foot crow bar designed to be used as a wedge between tracks. This process is demanding and requires consistent, applied strength under ideal conditions (i.e., in a stateside motor pool, which is the only time I’ve done it on a Bradley) and it can be hell if done in the mud and rain. Just as every infantryman has his favorite uphill road march in the freezing rain story, every tanker has a story about breaking track in a foot of mud. Those wrenches would be used by one man. They are so long because it provides leverage.”

  1. 56  George Orwell, “In Front of Your Nose,” London Tribune, March 22, 1946.
  2. 57  Paul S. Rundquist, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, “Sense of ” Resolutions and Provisions,

Order Code 98-825 GOV, updated March 7, 2001. Excerpt: “Even if a “sense of [Congress]” provision is incorporated into a bill that becomes law, such provisions merely express the opinion of Congress or the relevant chamber. They have no formal effect on public policy.”

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  1. 58  Presidential Commission, CF 1.32, p. C-40.
  2. 59  Presidential Commission, CF 1.104A, 1.105, 1.106, 1.125, 1.129, pp. C-61 through C-67, and Canadian Trip

Report, 28-31 July and International Trip Report, 16-26 Sept., pp. C-21 through C-31.

60 News Release announcing the Department of Defense Charter of Human Rights Goals, signed by all military service secretaries and chiefs of staff, April 28, 2014.

61 Jim Michaels, USA Today, “Experimental Force Will Test Marine Women in Combat Arms,” Mar. 12, 2014, and Martin Matishek, Marine Corps Times Battle Rattle Blog, “One Simple Graphic Shows the Backbone of the Marine Corps’ New Infantrywoman Experiment,” March 17, 2014.

  1. 62  Maj. Jose E. Almazan, Marine Corps Gazette, “Dissention Through Red Teaming,” August 2014, pp. 35-37.
  2. 63  CMR: Rubber Stamp RAND Report, October 1, 2007, and CMR Analyzes 1997 RAND Study, Mar. 1, 2006.
  3. 64  Email from Deputy Director, Marine Corps Force Integration Office, Sept. 30, 2014. DOTMLPF is a military

acronym meaning Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership & Education, Personnel and Facilities.

65 Buzz Mcclain, University News, GMU, “Women in Combat Plaintiff to Present Keynote at Gender and Conflict Center Reception,” April 9, 2014, and David Zacchino, Los Angeles Times, “Female Soldiers Fight Pentagon in Court for Combat Positions,” October 11, 2012.

66 Washington Post, Health & Science, “National Gender Performance in Sports – Fit But Unequal,” Feb. 24, 2013.

67 Capt. Katie Petronio, USMC, Marine Corps Gazette: Get Over It — We are Not All Created Equal, March 2013. Capt. Petronio described long-term debilitating injuries she suffered while deployed, including infertility problems that she was able to overcome only with extensive medical intervention.

68 In 2002, the British Ministry of Defence issued a report providing the rationale for the decision to retain women’s exemption from direct ground combat: United Kingdom, May 2002: Women in the Armed Forces Excerpt: “The study concluded that only 0.1 percent of female applicants and 1 percent of trained female soldiers “would reach the required standards to meet the demands of these roles. . . “The military viewpoint was that under the conditions of a high intensity close-quarter battle, group cohesion becomes of much greater significance to team performance and, in such an environment, the consequences of failure can have far-reaching and grave consequences. To admit women would, therefore, involve a risk with no gains in terms of combat effectiveness to offset it.” (emphasis added) CMR: Jan. 14, 2002: British Study Finds Female Soldiers “Too Weak” for Land Combat Eight years later, the United Kingdom reviewed the issue again, and came to the same conclusion: UK Ministry of Defence Report on the Review of the Exclusion of Women From Ground Close-Combat Roles – 2010 Excerpt: “[Women’s] capability in almost all areas is not in doubt…But these situations are not those typical of the small tactical teams in the combat arms which are required deliberately to close with and kill the enemy.”

69 Ian M. M. Gemmell, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, “Injuries Among Female Army Recruits: A Conflict of Legislation,” 2002 January. Excerpt: “[A] ‘gender fair’ policy was . . . changed to a ‘gender free’ policy, whereby identical physical fitness tests were used for selection of male and female recruits and the training programme made no allowances for gender differences…. The cross-gender (F/M) odds ratio for discharges because of overuse injury rose from 4.0…under the gender-fair system to 7.5… under the gender-free system. Despite reducing the number of women selected, the gender-free policy led to higher losses from overuse injuries.”

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70 Presidential Commission Report, “Characteristics of Cohesion − Cohesion is the relationship that develops in a unit or group where (1) members share common values and experiences; (2) individuals in the group conform to group norms and behavior in order to ensure group survival and goals; (3) members lose their personal identify in favor of a group identity; (4) members focus on group activities and goals; (5) unit members become totally dependent on each other for the completion of their mission or survival; and (6) group members must meet all standards of performance and behavior in order not to threaten group survival.” CF 2.5.1, p. C-81. (emphasis added)

71 Kingsley Browne, Professor of Law, Wayne State University, Co-Ed Combat; New Evidence that Women Shouldn’t Fight the Nation’s Wars, Sentinel, 2007.

72 U.S. Department of Defense, Transcript, Jan. 24, 2013, and Andrew Tilghman, Navy Times, “Female Combat Vets Report More Assaults,” Oct. 14, 2013.

  1. 73  USMC WISRR DACOWITS Brief, September 2011, supra note #7, p. 8.
  2. 74  Col. Smitherman, USMC Recruiting Command, “Female Enlisted Marine Accessions Brief to DACOWITS,” March

2014, p. 7. The DoD FOIA website has not posted current JAMRS information on the results of surveys to determine how direct ground combat eligibility would affect recruiting.

  1. 75  Presidential Commission Testimony of Col. Dennis Kowal, USA, April 6, 1992.
  2. 76  Thom Shanker, New York Times, “Marines Share Frank Views With Hagel on Women in Combat,” July 19, 2013.
  3. 77  Capt. Lauren F. Serrano, USMC, Marine Corps Gazette, “Why Women Don’t Belong in the U. S. Infantry,”

September, 2014.

78 Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, USA (Ret.), Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women into Combat, Regnery, 2013, p. 194.

79 National Coalition for Men v. U.S. Selective Service System, 13-cv-02391-DSF-MAN, available at:

  1. 80  DoD Notice to Congress, April 11, 2013, supra note #50.
  2. 81  Headquarters, Department of the Army, TB MED 592 Technical Bulletin, “Prevention and Control of

Musculoskeletal Injuries Associated with Physical Training,” May 2011, pp. 13-14.

82 Paul O. Davis, PhD, Marine Corps Gazette, supra note #16. “Like the Marine Corps, the lack of physical ability in the firefighting profession can have disastrous consequences. In a tragic fatal firefighting training exercise, a female recruit was unable to self-rescue by pulling herself up and over a window ledge.”

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Partial List of Studies and Reports Relevant to USMC Research on Women in Direct Ground Combat

1. LTC Philip J. Belmont Jr., MC USA; CPT Gens P. Goodman, MC USA; CPT Brian Waterman, MC USA; LTC Kent DeZee, Me USA; COL Rob Burks, QM USAF; MAJ Brett D. Owens, MC USA, Military Medicine, “Disease and Non-Battle Injuries Sustained by a U.S. Army Brigade Combat Team During Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Vol. 175, July 2010.

Abstract Excerpt: This is an analysis of disease non battle injuries (DNBI) sustained by a large combat-deployed maneuver unit in a U.S. Army Brigade Combat Team (BCT) during a counterinsurgency campaign of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “The DNBI casualty rate for the BCT was 257.0/1,000 soldier combat-years. Females, compared with males, had a significantly increased incidence rate ratio for becoming a DNBI casualty . . . Of 47 female soldiers receiving MEDEVAC 35 (74%) were for pregnancy-related issues. Musculoskeletal injuries (50.4%) and psychiatric disorders . . .were the most common body systems involved with DNBI casualties . . . Conclusions: Musculoskeletal injuries and psychiatric disorders accounted for 74% of the total DNBI casualties, and 430/0 of the DNBI casualties requiring subsequent MEDEVAC.”

2. British Ministry of Defence (MOD), United Kingdom, “Women in the Armed Forces,” May 2002. This report provided the rationale for the decision to retain women’s exemption from direct ground combat. Also see CMR, Jan. 14, 2002: “British Study Finds Female Soldiers ‘Too Weak’ for Land Combat.”

Excerpts: “The study concluded that only 0.1 percent of female applicants and 1 percent of trained female soldiers “would reach the required standards to meet the demands of these roles . . .The military viewpoint was that under the conditions of a high intensity close- quarter battle, group cohesion becomes of much greater significance to team performance and, in such an environment, the consequences of failure can have far-reaching and grave consequences. To admit women would, therefore, involve a risk with no gains in terms of combat effectiveness to offset it….[T]the Secretary of State for Defence concluded that the case for lifting the current restrictions on women serving in combat roles has not been made for any of the units in question. Taking the risk that the inclusion of women in close combat teams could adversely affect those units in the extraordinary circumstances of high intensity close combat cannot be justified.”

3. British Ministry of Defence, (MOD), United Kingdom, Report on the Review of the Exclusion of Women From Ground Close-Combat Roles, November, 2010. Eight years later, the MOD reviewed the issue again, and came to the same conclusion:

Excerpt: “[Women’s] capability in almost all areas is not in doubt…But these situations are not those typical of the small tactical teams in the combat arms which are required deliberately to close with and kill the enemy.”

4. Kingsley Browne, Professor of Law, “The Report of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission: An Inadequate Basis for Lifting the Exclusion of Women from Direct Ground Combat,” Wayne State University, April 2012

Excerpt: “The recommendation of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission to lift the exclusion of women from ground combat is deeply irresponsible and cannot be taken seriously. The Commission’s lodestar was diversity, not military effectiveness, and it failed to take into consideration a wealth of information bearing on its recommendation.”

5. Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness, Statement for the Record, House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, July 24, 2013. (Includes Appendix discussing policies of other nations with regard to women in combat.)

6. Ian M. M. Gemmell, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, “Injuries Among Female Army Recruits: A Conflict of Legislation,” 2002 January.

Excerpt: “[A] ‘gender fair’ policy was . . . changed to a ‘gender free’ policy, whereby identical physical fitness tests were used for selection of male and female recruits and the training programme made no allowances for gender differences…. The cross-gender (F/M) odds ratio for discharges because of overuse injury rose from 4.0…under the gender-fair system to 7.5… under the gender-free system. Despite reducing the number of women selected, the gender-free policy led to higher losses from overuse injuries.”

7. William J. Gregor, PhD, Professor of Social Sciences, School of Advanced Military Studies

Additional Comment by Dr. Gregor: “There is no study that indicates that training can overcome the large physical differences between men and women. Additionally, training women to perform heavy work jobs increases dramatically the skeletal-muscular injury rate among women which is already far greater than men. Attempting to train women with men will require either training men less well or accepting a high attrition rate among the very few women who will meet the nominal qualifications for heavy work jobs. In units, it can be expected that commanders will shift tasks from women to men to avoid attrition from non- battle injury. It is a matter of speculation whether such task shifting is tolerable in actual

Fort Leavenworth, KS, Why Can’t Anything Be Done? Measuring Physical Readiness of Women for Military Occupations, Paper on physiology presented at the 2011 International Biennial Conference of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society:

Excerpt: “The data clearly reveals a very large gap between the physical strength, aerobic capacity and size of Army men and women. Training men and women correctly improves the performance of both groups but it also widens the gap in performance.”

combat. Given the non-battle injury rate of Army women in Operation Iraqi Freedom, increasing the presence of women below the brigade level may result in even greater losses.”

8. Venerina Johnson, Julia Coyle , Rodney Pope and Robin M Orr, “Load Carriage and the Female Soldier,” Review Article Issue, Volume 19, No. 3, Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health, A peer reviewed journal, Australasian Military Medicine Association. July 2011, (p. 29)

Excerpt: ”Physiological factors such as fat mass, strength, and aerobic endurance, as well as biomechanical factors, like stride length and forward lean, have the propensity to increase both the energy cost of completing a load carriage task, and the potential for injury. The female athlete triad, which can be induced or worsened by intense physical activity (like load carriage), poor nutritional intake, and stressors within the combat environments, likewise raises injury potential concerns. Furthermore, iron deficiency, PFM dysfunction or fatigue, and military equipment issues can reduce performance, increase fatigue and increase the risk of injury in female soldiers.”

9. Report of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces,

November 15, 1992, Section II, Alternative Views: The Case Against Women in Combat, pp. 43- 48, and Selected Findings of the Presidential Commission, compiled by CMR. Some of the commission’s findings have been overtaken by events; e.g., repeal of the Defense Department Risk Rule and Collocation Rule in 1993 and 2012, respectively. Most are very relevant, however, especially findings and testimony regarding women in direct ground combat.

Excerpt: “Civilian society forbids employment discrimination. But the military, in building fighting units, must be able to fight and win in battle. There is good reason for this. In a combat unit serving on land, at sea, or in the air, the inability of any member of the group to perform at levels demanded by the battlefield can present a direct risk to the lives of others and to the accomplishment of the infantry mission. This is one of several reasons why the Armed Forces differ in many important respects from civilian employers, including police forces that preserve order close to home. It is a separate society governed by a set of rules and regulations because its principal purpose is to fight and win wars. While civilian workers operate on a “9 to 5″ schedule, units in combat operate 24-hours-a-day, seven- days-a-week. For the deployed fighting man, there is no home and family waiting at the end of the day. The home is where the soldier stands to face the enemy. Good order and discipline are crucial for morale, survival, and victory in battle.” (p. 44)

10. Rear Adm. Hugh P. Scott, MC, USN (Ret.), Letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, June 22, 2012.

Excerpt: “While men and women have an equal number of muscles and muscle fibers, the strength difference relates exclusively to muscle size that is determined by testosterone levels. Because women have less testosterone than men, they have smaller muscle fibers that result in the development of small-size muscles; in effect, women have less muscle to

activate. That also is the reason why women develop less muscle when training with weights and exercising.”

11. Col. Barbara A. Springer, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, and Major Amy E. Ross, MD, Borden Institute Monograph Series, “Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women,” 2011.

Excerpt: “Military women tend to suffer a higher incidence of injuries than military men. Several studies have identified female gender as a risk factor for injury in Army basic

training programs in the United States and around the world. For example, one study shows the cumulative injury incidence in Basic Combat Training (BCT) was 52% for women versus 26% for men. . . Other studies showed a similar incidence for training injuries in BCT populations: approximately 50% for women and 25% for men.” (p. 3)

12. Daniel W. Trone, MA, Military Medicine magazine,: “Negative First-Term Outcomes Associated with Lower Extremity Injury During Recruit Training Among Female Marine Corps Graduates,” Jan 2007, 172, p. 83.

The Trone study, a four-year study of Marine Corps training graduates at Parris Island, focused on the career impacts of elevated injury rates among female trainees, reinforced questions about the short- and long-term consequences of training women and men with identical standards. In addition to the cost of early separations, negative outcomes included failure to complete first-term of service, failure to achieve rank of corporal, and failure to re-enlist.

13. US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), “Effects of a Specifically Designed Physical Conditioning Program on the Load Carriage and Lifting Performance of Female Soldiers,” November 1997, and “The Amazon Myth − Natick Study Stretches Science.”

This USARIEM Report, often referred to as the Natick Study, has been cited in some misleading reports as evidence that special training can overcome physical differences between men and women in close combat. On closer examination, the study did not meet expectations of its sponsor, then-Representative Patricia Schroeder, D-CO.

14. Laurel Wentz, Pei-Yang, Liu, Military Medicine, “Females Have a Greater Incidence of Stress Fractures Than Males in Both Military and Athletic Populations: A Systemic Review,” Apr. 1, 2011.

Abstract Excerpt: “The purpose of this study was to review incidence and identify factors explaining causes and differences in the incidence among genders. . . Of several thousand studies . . .11 focusing on military populations and 10 on athletes are discussed. Results: In both populations, females had higher incidence of stress fractures, with incidence of ~3% and ~9.2% for males and females, respectively, in military populations and ~6.”

How Gender-Normed (Extra) Points on the Combat Fitness Test (CFT) Help Women Achieve Higher Ratings Denied to Men Performing at the Same Levels

Example #1: Female trainee achieves perfect score (300 points) with the help of “gender diversity dividend” points. Male trainee achieves 2nd Class rating. Example #2: Female trainee achieves 2nd Class rating with the help of “gender diversity dividend points. Male trainee performing at the same level falls short

of 3rd Class rating.

As directed in July 2014, female officers applying for a USMC Force Integration Plan research try-out on the Infantry Officer Course (IOC) must achieve a 1st Class rating using male-designated PFT and CFT scoring charts. It is not clear whether similar requirements will apply to other formerly all- male MOSs opened to female officers since April2013. Enlisted women attending previously all-male entry -level training courses will be required to achieve 3rd Class ratings using male- designated charts (ages 17-26). Gender-normed PFT and CFT scoring systems, which are still in effect, will be used for other Marines.

Marine PFT/CFT Standards: The Physical Fitness Test (PFT), which is done by all personnel at least once a year, involves pull-ups or flexed-arm hangs (women only), abdominal crunches, and a 3 mile run. The Combat Fitness Test (CFT) has three requirements, an 880 yard run, repetitive 30 lb. ammo canliftsin2minutes,andmaneuversunderfireinvolvinga300-yd.shuttlerun, crawls,sprints,brieffireman’scarry,simulatedgrenadethrow,and an ammo can carry.

EXHIBIT D Statements from Women Marines

The following excerpted statements reflect the opinions of fifteen female Marines (NCOs, enlisted, and one officer, identified with pseudonyms) who were interviewed for an academic dissertation by Beth-ann Vealey for the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work. Ms. Vealey’s March, 2014, dissertation, titled United States Women Marines’ Experiences and Perspectives About Coping With Service Life: A Phenomenological Study is even more compelling because it does not address or debate the question of whether women should serve in direct ground combat. The women’s statements are a clear reminder that civilian activists and female officers with career ambitions do not speak for the majority of women in the military. They also contradict claims that ordering women into the combat arms is a pro-women policy. (Topic titles are from the dissertation, but page citations are omitted throughout.)

1. Harder work to be a woman Marine — The superstar

Victoria explained, “because you are a woman, you have to work harder just to be a Marine and you will never be at the same level as the men! They are always watching and we will always be below it!” (p. 2, line 79-81). “We are women trying to be them, we gotta do everything they do plus everything else! So it’s difficult” (p. 70)

Maggie believed it is “harder to try to meet the new standards…. [T]hey are trying to make them more equal to the men” and wondered if “maybe they are trying to get rid of us.” (p. 71)

2. Conflict being women while being Marines

Arlene struggled with the physical demands to be a woman and a Marine: “[H]ow do I get my body to adjust and how come we have to be able to do what males do? Male Marines haven’t had to adapt to a lot of changes like us, we are constantly having changes to adjust.” Expressing concerns about her future if she cannot meet the new standards: “[I]t seems like the Marine Corps is trying to push the women out.” (p. 72)

Jessica felt similarly to Arlene, and stated, “I do feel like the Marine Corps is trying to weed us out…. “[W]e are just not recognized for being women and it’s just hard to explain!” (p. 72)

3. Stereotyping women Marines — The object

More than half of the women participants described how they perceived or experienced negative stereotyping and labeling for being both a woman and a Marine. Jamie shared her perspective about why women Marines are stereotyped: “[B]eing a female in the Marine Corps is hard because if you can’t do what the men can do or want you to do, then you’re viewed differently and in a negative way” (p. 73)

Sophie explained how she was stereotyped upon arrival to her first command assignment:

“[W]hen I first checked in, you had three labels, you were either a bitch, a lesbian, or a whore, and you know as soon as you check in they will stereotype you…It was tough” (p. 73.)

4. Harassment: women Marines’ perspectives − being hit on and violated

Other participants detailed accounts of harassment, in the form of direct and indirect
threats or fraternization, perpetrated by senior leadership. One participant (Marysol) described, “this one Sergeant Major made it his mission to run as fast and as hard to drop any female Marines.” Footnote: “Physical training for the unit often is comprised of running in formation. When those in front of the formation, such as the Sergeant Major, run very fast, those in the back have to run very, very fast to try to keep up. Many women, smaller and shorter, have a difficult time keeping up, especially if in the back of the formation.” (p. 77)

5. Women Marines are inferior to men in the Marines − The quota filler

Louisa reported that the male Marines question her, “‘why aren’t you as good as the rest of us?’ meaning male Marines” and, she added, “It’s like we’re not good enough to be here…. [T]hey yell at us like ‘oh, just another female Marine not being able to do what we do’ as Marines.” Maggie asked her fellow Marines to treat her the same as the men she worked with: “[But when] it is time to pick up Corporal…my fellow Marines will think that I got it through favoritism… [A] lot of times when females pick up the next rank…they will say…‘oh, you know how she picked it up…[T]hat’s what I don’t want…I want to be respected.” (pp. 79-80)

6. Women Marines are the variable for change — Because we are different?

JoJo “believes in equality for women, but . . . They keep trying to make me do things like them and look like them and I will never be able to do that. It feels isolating.” Jamie reported, “[W]ith the uniform changes and the pull-ups and stuff like that, they are trying to make men and women equal, and in Marine life we are never gonna be equal.” To JoJo, women will never achieve equality with men in the Marines because “We are not equal, we are a different species, men are different from women. To try and put us all on the same playing field, is not fair. Men have to do 20 pull-ups for 100 points and now women have to do 6 for 100 points. They see that as unfair..It will never be equal in their eyes.” (pp. 81-82)

7. Role uncertainty experienced by women Marines − But I am a woman!

“You have to lose your womanhood to meet the male standard . . . [T]hat is not okay with me.” (Hayden)…”To be a Marine I had to hide being a woman as much as possible” because as a woman, “when you take care of yourself…it is a sign of weakness.” (Autumn) “It seems like the Marine Corps is trying to push the women out…because of the whole females in the infantry thing.” (Arlene) (pp. 84-85)

“Listen, I am a woman and they are men and there is a difference…I don’t want to be gender neutral!” (Robin) Robin provided an example of how being a woman is not consistent with

uniform changes: “[T]hey are making the covers and the uniform look the same…absolutely stupid…trying to make this androgynous-looking uniform and I am sorry, I have womanly curves, I am a woman…and they are men.” (p. 85)

8. Against women in combat-designated billets − Who decided that?

Several other women expressed their views and concerns about the changes to military policy allowing women into combat-designated billets. Autumn was concerned about women being combat-designated. “Who decided that? I know me and other women I know are against it. But they are pushing forward and we don’t know why or who is behind it.” “Women in combat is a bad idea,” said Valencia. JoJo agreed: “I don’t think females belong in the infantry…” [S]aid Robin, “there are jobs we [women] can do well in the Marine Corps…. I don’t think we should be in infantry, period” . . . because “I am putting someone’s life on the line.” Suzie wondered “about the whole thing with putting women in the infantry… ‘[O]h, if you put women in the infantry they will be more respected.’… [N]o, they f—ing won’t be! Because you are trying to make them be men…[W]e will be respected if we could be treated like the women that we are!” (p. 86)

9. Manage multiple roles to be women Marines — Being not just a Marine

[Some women] made decisions to be a Marine first. “If you are gonna be a good Marine, you gotta focus more on meeting the standards, not having kids and getting married. It’s too hard to do both!” (Arlene). One woman participant, who was also a wife and a mother, managed her roles “by putting my career first…. [I] put my work before everything else, they [children] knew that [they] were second place and I think it bothered them, especially when they were teenagers.” (Robin) (p. 87-88)

Some of the women participants expressed the challenges of being pregnant while serving on active duty in the Marines. Autumn described her experience during her first pregnancy this way: “[I]t was bad, my Staff NCO at the time was like ‘we can’t use her for anything’ and always made a point of making me feel as though I was a burden.”

Valencia perceived that “when I was pregnant, I feel like that is one of the biggest things that marked me as a woman because, yeah, you wear a uniform but you are just like any other pregnant woman, just because you wear a uniform doesn’t make you any stronger…. [Y]ou are still in pain and they tell you ‘take it like you are a Marine and suck it up.’ So to me, I was like, I never want to get pregnant again in the Marines. I can’t and don’t want to deal with it. It was too hard.” Another participant tearfully reported that “I was scrutinized for being pregnant…told that I did it on purpose to get out of [being deployed to] Iraq…. [T]hen when I didn’t get selected [for promotion]…I hated being pregnant. I wanted an abortion. I felt like a failure as a Marine” (Marysol) (p. 89)


Note Charts and Graphs can be viewed at

Is this what A Women will face if captured?

Women in front line units

Meanwhile, the Observatory reported Wednesday that militants of the Islamic State group beheaded nine Kurdish fighters, including three women, captured in clashes near the Syria-Turkey border.

They were captured during the heavy fighting over the northern Syrian town of Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, the Observatory said. The chief Kurdish group fighting in Syria, known as the YPG, advocates gender equality, and women fight alongside men.

Kurdish forces have been locked in fierce clashes with Islamic State militants in and around Kobani since the extremist group launched an assault in mid-September. The fighting over Kobani has created one of the single largest exoduses in Syria’s civil war, with more than 160,000 people fleeing into Turkey, the U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said Tuesday.

Dozens of militants and Kurdish fighters were killed in clashes overnight, the Observatory said.

Images posted Wednesday on social media networks show women’s heads placed on a cement block, said to be in the northern Syrian city of Jarablous, which is held by militants.

Alonzo Hersford Cushing

Ahcushing copy


January 19, 1841
Fredonia, New York
U.S. Military Academy, June 1861
Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, II Corps, Army of the Potomac
Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg
Alonzo Hereford Cushing was born on Jan. 19, 1841, in Delafield, Wisconsin, and was raised in Fredonia, New York. Cushing was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1857. Upon graduation in June 1861, he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
Cushing participated in most of the campaigns and battles of the Army of the Potomac, to include Bull Run (Virginia), Antietam (Maryland), Fredericksburg (Virginia), Chancellorsville (Virginia), and Gettysburg (Pennsylvania). Cushing also trained volunteer troops in Washington, D.C., served as an ordnance officer on the staff of Gen. Edwin V. Sumner, and as a topographical engineer. During the Chancellorsville Campaign, Cushing was promoted to command Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, in the Army of the Potomac’s II Corps.
Cushing was killed in action on July 3, 1863, at the age of 22. Although he received a posthumous brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel for his service at the Battle of Gettysburg, on July 1, 1863, no award was awarded to Cushing for his efforts during that critical day of battle. He was buried with full honors at his alma mater, West Point, beneath a headstone inscribed, “Faithful unto death.”

Vietnam Myths

Myth: Common belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.
Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.

Myth: Common belief is that a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.
Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book “All That We Can Be,” said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam “and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia, a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war.”

Myth: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.
Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better.

Myth: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19.
Fact: Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.

Myth: The common belief is that the domino theory was proved false.
Fact: The domino theory was accurate. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam. The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in 1966 because of America’s commitment in Vietnam. Without that commitment, Communism would have swept all the way to the Malacca Straits that is south of Singapore and of great strategic importance to the free world. If you ask people who live in these countries that won the war in Vietnam, they have a different opinion from the American news media. The Vietnam War was the turning point for Communism.

Myth: The North Vietnamese Were a Poorly Equipped Guerrilla Force
Fact: You’ll see this one in any decent Vietnam movie: While the Americans are surrounded by an obscene amount of weaponry, equipment, and prominently positioned crates of Coca-Cola, their enemies appear to be running an entire war with nothing more than improvised booby traps and some snazzy bandannas. Some of them had AK-47s they kept stashed under their mud huts. The implication is clear: The communist forces were a poorly armed, untrained bunch of ragtag misfits who managed to win a war through sheer determination and familiarity with the local flora.

The North Vietnamese may have used guerrilla tactics to their advantage, but that doesn’t mean they were poorly trained or equipped. We’ve mentioned the North’s badass air force before, and the Soviets supplied Hanoi with tanks, anti-aircraft guns, and heavy artillery. In fact, the equipment the Soviets were sending them was so good that they had to stop shipping it through China because the Chinese kept swiping it. And despite supposedly being an independent group, the guerrillas in the South were fairly well-integrated into the regular North Vietnamese forces and could expect at least some training before seeing combat.
Perhaps most important were those AK-47s we mentioned. These guns are so ubiquitous as the “poor terrorist” weapon in action movies that it’s easy to forget that at the time they were absolutely state-of-the-art and superior to anything the Americans were carrying. Meanwhile, the bulk of South Vietnamese forces fighting alongside the Americans were stuck using ancient World War II-era M-1 rifles up until the 1970s. To make things worse, the M-1 had been designed for use by Americans, who tended to be much taller and bulkier than your average Vietnamese — meaning that they were too long and unwieldy for South Vietnamese soldiers to carry easily, let alone, you know, aim.
As for the Americans, they hurriedly switched guns mid-war, to the new M-16. It, unfortunately, was a bug-ridden mess at the time and had a tendency to jam under combat conditions (up to 80 percent of U.S. troops in Vietnam experienced a jam while firing, which can apparently be sort of awkward when you’ve just charged into an NLF tunnel complex screeching a war cry). There was actually a congressional investigation into the American M-16 to find out why it sucked so much.

Myth: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II.
Fact: The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,148 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.7 million who served. Although the percent that died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II. 75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled. MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half were American). The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one percent of all Americans wounded, who survived the first 24 hours, died. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure the 800 mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would secure the border).

Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972 (shown a million times on American television) was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang.
Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is currently living in the United States. Even the AP photographer, Nick Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese. The incident in the photo took place on the second day of a three day battle between the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) who were trying to force the NVA out of the village. Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. “We (Americans) had nothcling to do with controlling VNAF,” according to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported that two of Kim Phuc’s brothers were killed in this incident. They were Kim’s cousins not her brothers.

Myth: American soldiers killed innocent civilians including women and children during the Vietnam War.
Fact: Isolated atrocities committed by American Soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers. – Nixon Presidential Papers.

Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam.
Fact: The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973.
How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sides’ forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification. The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives. There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 than there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam. Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly to the American media and their undying support-by-misrepresentation of the anti-War movement in the United States.
As with much of the Vietnam War, the news media misreported and misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was reported as an overwhelming success for the Communist forces and a decided defeat for the U.S. forces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite initial victories by the Communists forces, the Tet Offensive resulted in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with Wellington, Grant, Lee and MacArthur as a great commander. Still, militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist forces on all fronts. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The Organization of the Viet Cong Units in the South never recovered. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front and that was the News front and the political arena. This was another example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the perceived truth. However, inaccurately reported, the News Media made the Tet Offensive famous.

Bob Mischak goes down – never thanked by our Alma Mater

Army Meets 7th Ranked Duke in the Polo Grounds – NYC




Col Blaik – (As Bob drew closer and closer) said over & over again “Wait”  —-  “Wait” —– “Wait”.

The entire Video is above.

In the locker room they started to give the Game Ball to Col Blaik – he said it goes over there pointing to Bob



Are the NY Giants going to say NOTHING?

As an assistant coach, Lombardi brought him to the Giants to commence what was to become the Green Bay Power Sweep.  Bob was a member of that Giant Team in what became know as “The Greatest Game ever played”.



Note :  Carl H. McNair, Jr.     Major General, US Army (RET)  Class of ’55   added this note.

Nor was Tommy Bell ever selected for the Army Sports Hall of Fame in spite of all our efforts on his behalf – Tommy played for four years and was one of our ’55 standouts during that tough period of recovery from the ’51 scandal.







Note from Bill McWilliams responding to the Notification from Bob’s Son

Dear Bob;

Thank you kindly for including us – Ronnie, my wife, and I – with your e-mail notification of your father’s passing.

We were deeply saddened to learn of his death, yet we will always have the most wonderful and joyful memories of having watched him, as a cadet, play for Army during the tumultuous 1951-53 seasons at West Point under the tutelage of Coaches Earl “Red” Blaik and Vince Lombardi.

Having grown up in a “football family,” where I was coached in high school three years by my father and at the same time, and like so many young boys of that era, growing up while admiring the great Army teams of the 1940s. Unfortunately, I entered West Point in 1951, just as it all came crashing down as a result of the cheating incident that rocked the Academy and the nation the summer of 1951 – when I was so looking forward to seeing an extension of Army’s gridiron prowess through my four years at the Academy.

What I witnessed instead was to be something else, an Army team and an entire institution weather a terrible storm that seemed to strike at the heart of what the Academy was all about. Led by the Black Knights of the season of 1953, of which your father was a singular, outstanding leader, particularly in a single season and decade turnaround game against 7th ranked Duke University in Giant Stadium – the old Polo Grounds – in New York City, on 17 October of that year, they and an aroused Corps of Cadets gave rebirth to the word inspiration. It was his play – which we witnessed and the entire Corps of Cadets never forgot – and we are sure you know all about – that became, 40 years later, the inspiration for the book, A Return to Glory: The Untold Story of Honor, Dishonor and Triumph at the United States Military Academy, 1950-1953. Never, at that time, in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would begin writing books, never mind tell that story.

But there it is, your father and his teammates drove an unforgettable, glowing memory into the heart of “The Long Gray Line,” and I had the distinct privilege of interviewing your father and the great majority of his teammates by phone and mail. He was an absolute gentleman, in every respect, and we will always cherish the words he sent to us after reading A Return to Glory.

“…In your ‘Acknowledgements’, your…observations and remarks concisely express…how many of us felt as we read and discovered the depth, width and the intricacies of a unique period in West Point’s history…Thank you for your interest, effort, and dedication to turning over those cards that were hiding important facts so necessary to more fully understand that period of time…You deserve an inordinate amount of compliments for your effort…”

Bob Mischak
Orinda, CA
September 23, 2000

The words of a true heart and a great leader, on and off the field.

You and your family will remain in our thoughts and prayers.

With all good wishes,
Bill and Ronnie McWilliams
NHF Books, Inc.
2229 Fiero Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89134-6042
Phone: 702-363-6968
Cell: 702-406-6973



On Jul 13, 2014, at 8:41 PM, Bob Mischak <> wrote:

Bob Mischak, Jr.

The Day We Lost Our President

Edited by J. R. Degenhardt USMA 1962
2 Reminiscences
7 The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
8 Asian Memories
20 European Memories
40 Homeland Memories
59 Last Letter Home
60 Editorial Postscript
61 Index

The Class of 1962 was unusually acquainted with President Kennedy for a number of reasons. Our first exposure came on a miserably cold day in January 1961 as we marched in Washington DC for his inauguration as the 35th President of the United States.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

PX 65-108-CC18280

Companies E, F, G, H of the 1st Regiment

We saw JFK again when he attended the Army-Navy game in December 1961 at the Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. As could be expected of a Navy veteran, the President presided over a Navy win after spending the first half on our side.

Finally, we had the honor to welcome JFK to West Point for our graduation ceremony on the 6th day of June, 1962.

He was made an honorary member of the class and presented with a 1962 Class Ring which, thanks to the determination of several classmates, today resides in a display case in the Jefferson Hall library.


JFK delivered a speech that day which was remarkable not only for its eloquence but because he spoke to our hearts and our sense of duty, as we looked forward to taking our place in the Long Gray Line.

“You and I leave here today to meet our separate responsibilities, to protect our Nation’s vital interests by peaceful means if possible, by resolute action if necessary. And we go forth confident of support and success because we know that we are working and fighting for each other and for all those men and women all over the globe who are determined to be free.”


On a tragic and momentous day in American history, approximately 18 months after our graduation, the life of the President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was brutally ended.
This document is intended to be a snapshot of the service of the members of the Class of 1962 at that iconic moment 50 years ago. It was a unique time when our entire class was on duty at the outposts of our national influence and many other challenging military assignments. Once upon a time we were all Lieutenants and leaders of men.

The Class of 1962 was engaged in a wide range of responsibilities across the three principal military theaters of Asia, Europe and the Homeland. Each area was characterised by a distinct mix of Cold War threats and domestic political tensions. Looking back at the short JFK Presidency, one is struck by the number of significant events which occurred and the magnitude of the stakes in each theater.

Our individual remembrances of the assassination have been placed within the appropriate theater of assignment in order to provide context and the opportunity to remember shared experiences. Those classmates present in Hawaii have been included in Asia rather than Homeland because their units essentially functioned as a part of US contingency planning for the Pacific area and they were looking westward.
The fallibility of anecdotal information is the bane of historians, as many of our memories are becoming faint and some are vivid beyond reason. However stories carry the thread of life unlike recitation of simple facts. The sum of these reminiscences testifies to the fulfilment of our Duty as charged above in the last sentences of JFK’s graduation speech more half a century ago.
We dedicate this collection of individual recollections to the memory of those members of our class who are no longer here to regale us and their loved ones with their own stories.

The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
1230 CST, Dallas – 22nd November 1963
The citizens of Dallas woke on the 22nd of November 1963 to a bright and promising day, charged with expectations of pageantry and hyperbole associated with the visit of President John F. Kennedy, accompanied by his wife and two of Texas’ favorite sons, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and Governor John Connolly.
At approximately 1230 CST, two shots fired from a bolt-action rifle by Lee Harvey Oswald fatally struck the President, impacting the hearts and minds of millions of Americans and yet many millions more around the globe.
While the world recoiled in shock, there was a strategic process launched within minutes with the intent to protect Americans and the fragile Cold-War peace from as yet unknown consequences of that tragedy. The men and women of our armed forces, in countless locations at home and abroad, prepared for war.

The Cold War in Asia was in a period of rapid transition as the strategic confrontation with China and communism moved from the relatively conventional, but still dangerous, stand-off on the Korean peninsula to an emerging unconventional threat in Indochina. Projection of the American peace in the Pacific required a vast network of military bases and trained manpower.
The US was confronted by the ‘domino’ theory. President Kennedy was reluctant to act but determined that SE Asia should not be lost. The number of US troops in Vietnam began its climb from 500 to 16,000 during his presidency. President Diem of South Vietnam was overthrown, with reported White House support, and unexpectedly executed three weeks prior to JFK’s assassination.
The sequence of Asian stories is SE Asia, Korea, Hawaii, Pacific Islands.

Trevor DuPuy: D-1
When the President was assassinated, I was on a special assignment in Laos that was highly classified at that time – no uniform or ID. I was paid very well and I understood my primary mission was being funded directly by the White House. After learning of JFK’s assassination, I made my way back to the capitol city of Vientiane for further instructions. No one was sure what to do with me so I crossed the Mekong River into Thailand and then flew to Saigon where I was assured my project would continue to be funded for the foreseeable future.
After returning to Laos a few days later, I was asked to transfer to a permanent position in Laos. When I inquired about how I would continue to be able to work in my current capacity and if I would continue under the same financial arrangement, I was assured it could be done and the details could be worked out later. I declined on the basis I was engaged to be married in February, upon which I was then told my fiancée could be flown to Laos at no cost to me and that we could be married there. Like much of my work in Laos, it was a very “seat of the pants” plan which didn’t engender a whole lot of confidence in me, so I thanked them for their generous offer but decided not to take it. I remained in Laos until completion of my TDY assignment in February 1964 and returned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. I was married the day after Valentine’s Day (February 15th) in Newton, Massachusetts. Later, after telling my wife of the options I was offered, she said her parents would have committed her before allowing her to go to Laos to get married.

Jim Gorman: C-1
I can’t forget that day. It was just goofy.

Although I had never met him, I always had a thing for John Kennedy. I was from Massachusetts and had received a Qualified Alternate appointment in 1958 from him in his capacity as a Senator. You may recall that, after he moved into the White House in 1960, a number of Kennedy impersonators became prominent in the entertainment world. People rarely asked, but I personally felt that I could do a rather passable imitation of his speaking style as well, especially after I had a beer or six.
In November 1963, I was the commander of a USMC infantry platoon attached to a 1st Marine Air Wing helicopter squadron stationed on the other side of the world at the airbase in what was then the relatively quiet and quaint city of Da Nang, still known then by some as Tourane. But on November 2, you may recall, there was a military coup, and the President of the Republic of Viet Nam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was executed. A group of us actually crowded around a radio and listened as someone on the rooftop of a Saigon hotel attempted to relate what was happening as the fighting in the streets below
progressed. Then came the announcement of President Diem’s death.
The powers that be had no idea how Da Nang would react and the base went on full alert for several days, but then things gradually returned to normal. In fact, I dimly recall that some of us even over-celebrated the Marine Corps birthday one week later on November 10. We continued on our daily routine until November 22 or, for those in that part of the world, November 23.
Viet Nam was some twelve or thirteen hours ahead of Dallas, so I was actually asleep when that bullet struck the President and changed our lives forever. So it was not until I got up and went to the head in the dark Viet Nam morning that someone – – I have no idea who – – simply told me, calmly: “The President’s dead.” To this day, I cannot forget my sleepy, cynical, unthinking, unknowing, callous response as I relieved myself: “Yeah, so’s Napoleon.”
Why, I asked myself later, did I answer in that fashion? Why did I refer to “Napoleon” of all people? I was never able to answer those questions. Not then, not now. Fifty years later, I still have no clue.
I also cannot forget that, later that day, after learning the available details of the assassination, I was going about my work. At one point, I was talking about the assassination with a Vietnamese national who was serving as an interpreter at the
base. In an ostensibly honest and straightforward pigeon-English question, he looked at me and asked: “Kennedy and Diem – – same-same, ne?
At the time, I recall, I huffed and protested mightily that, in effect, there were absolutely no similarities between the two events. Now, after fifty years, I sense that perhaps I really have no clue as to the answer to that question, either.

Pat Hueman: I-1
In November 1963, I was serving in Korea, assigned to the 13th Engineer Battalion, in the 7th Infantry Division, stationed about 50 miles north of Seoul. I had arrived in Korea on Saint Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1963, and had served as a Platoon Leader in Company A of the 13th Engineers at Camp Kaiser for several months, then was assigned as the Adjutant (S1) on the battalion staff at Camp Casey, near Tongduchon. I assumed command of Company B in Camp Beavers about November 1, 1963, and was getting to know my soldiers and our mission.
The 7th Infantry Division’s mission was to serve, along with the 2nd Infantry Division, as a “tripwire,” should the North Korean Army invade South Korea again. In 1963, only 10 years had elapsed since the armistice was signed in 1953 that ended the fighting of the Korean War. The mission of the 13th Engineer Battalion in the division was to impede enemy movement in the event of hostilities, and to facilitate movement of friendly forces. Although the 13th Engineer Battalion had the wartime mission of employing ADMs (Atomic Demolition Munitions), the peacetime mission was much more prosaic — maintaining dozens of miles of MSR in the 7th Infantry Division area, and of course training to perform our wartime missions.
Other classmates serving with me in the 13th Engineer Battalion included Bill Diehl, Ted Stroup, Dick Wylie, Todd Stong, Dave Spangler, Bob DeVries, Tom Ostenberg and Rusty Broshous — about one quarter of the battalion’s 30-odd officers were classmates. The Class of 1962 was well represented in Korea.
On Friday, 22 November 1963, I woke to my alarm clock at 4:30 a.m. and, as usual, turned on the radio to listen to the AFN news. At first I was puzzled by the lack of the normal news segment, but clearly some major event had occurred and was being reported. Then I heard Walter Cronkite voice the terrible truth — that President Kennedy had been shot and was dead. His assassination shocked the entire world. When I entered the company area an hour later, all conversation centered on the assassination. Soldiers’ reactions were shock and disbelief. We all wondered who the assassin was, what were his motives, whether he was a member of a conspiracy, or if he acted alone. Normal work and training were cancelled for the day. Midday, I held a company formation to read a proclamation that had been passed down through battalion headquarters.
President Kennedy’s assassination particularly affected the Class of 1962, as our class had special connections to President Kennedy — we marched in his Inaugural Parade on 20 January 1961, and well remember the frigid temperature and the deep snow that had been only partially cleared from the streets we marched on. And, of course, President Kennedy addressed our graduating class on 6 June 1962. I was fortunate to be among the few to whom President Kennedy gave their diplomas. I will never forget the six words he addressed to me: “Congratulations and good luck, Mister Hueman.”
In late October 1962, while attending the Engineer Officers’ Basic Course at Fort Belvoir, my engineer classmates and I huddled around a TV set in the evening, and

listened intently as President Kennedy told the nation about the Soviet missiles in
Cuba, and wondered if we would then be called to serve in a major war. Fortunately for the nation (and for us), President Kennedy exhibited great courage and purpose and forced the Soviets to withdraw their missiles from Cuba. With those actions, President Kennedy made the world a safer place. However, later President Kennedy made an initial commitment to help the South Vietnamese to defend their nation against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese — a commitment that would later be greatly expanded by his successor, President Johnson, and would directly involve the US Army and the USMA Class of 1962 for a decade-long war — a war in which virtually all of the Class of 1962 would serve, and for some, result in the ultimate sacrifice.

Roger Brown: C-2
I was at a hillside I Corps artillery battalion camp in Korea when the alert (DEFCON 3) came. We quickly mustered, gathered our weapons and gear, and motor marched to our battery fighting positions just south of the DMZ with no knowledge as to the event that triggered the “call out”. As I recall, it was several hours later we learned the tragic news of the president’s assassination and the reason for our alert.

Dick Wylie: L-1
It was middle of the night in Korea and I was out checking guard posts when one of my guards said “sir did you hear that someone shot the president it just came across
AFKN” I rushed back to the CP to find out what was going on and all hell broke loose as Korea went on full alert status. Later it hit me that I hadn’t done a very good job checking my guards as what was he doing listening to a radio in the guard tower???
I was a brand new 2/LT company commander of Delta Co 13th Engineer Bn 7th Inf
Div. Delta Co was a bridge company augmented with a combat engineer Plt and an Engineer tank Plt. The bridge Co was the only Co in the 13th Engr Bn authorized armor mechanics to support the AVLB plt so they drew in all the combat engineer tanks in the Bn and formed a Plt of tanks. We were augmented with a combat engineer Plt and 1/3 of the TO&E of a Combat Engineer Co so we could provide general engineer support for 7th Div HQ in addition to our Bridge mission and the unique tank Plt.
I had my own compound which was located adjacent to Div HQ about a mile away while all the other 13th Engr Bn combat engineer Cos were scattered all over hells half acre in central Korea. Delta Co was an awesome unit-probably the biggest Engineer Co in the Army by body count and number of vehicles. I was thrilled to be the Commander- although it offered some real challenges as I was given command by default as the Cpt who had commanded the Co was relieved of duty as we had just flunked a CMI and I had been the Combat Engineer Plt Leader providing support to Div HQ. A 2/LT commanding a stand alone company with 4 other 2/LT’s–how cool can it
get!!! Experienced leadership–not exactly! At the time the 13th Engr Bn was awash

with “62” Engineer 2Lts on their initial assignment -Pat Hueman, Dave Spangler, Todd Stong, Rusty Broshous, Ted Stroup and me. We had one hell of a promotion party a month later when we all were promoted to 1LT!
As to my reaction to that horrible event–initial disbelief and I felt sick to my stomach. How could this happen? After all JFK was the first president I had been old enough to vote for-we marched in his inauguration parade and he was our Grad speaker. First and only president I have ever felt a personal connection to. Probably the most horrific event of my life. Way off in Korea I think everyone felt about the same but frankly we didn’t have time to grieve as if I remember we went on full alert and I had my hands full. Had just been given command-had fired the 1st Sgt was in the midst of a total reorganization and absolutely wasn’t prepared to go in full alert mode!

Bob DeVries: K-2
At the time of JFK’s death I was in Korea. As a lieutenant in my company I took the 6am morning report. I stood in front of the company and the 1st Sgt. reported—“sir, they got the commander in chief”. That is how I learned. A couple of days later the entire brigade held a solemn and moving ceremony.

Bob Krause: A-1
I was a Platoon leader in the 25th Inf Div, Hawaii. I had returned to my quarters late the night before the assassination as we had been on a 5 day FTX. I slept in the next morning and when I woke up, I eventually turned on the radio. Of course in Hawaii, Dallas was some 5 or 6 hours ahead of us. I immediately heard that the President was dead. And of course our class’s relationship with JFK flashed through my mind. I was stunned. How could this happen. I was heavy hearted for the rest of the day, and then we got on with our busy and demanding lives as young infantry officers.
I was a company commander in the Old Guard at the time JFK was transferred from his temporary grave site to his current one in ANC. My company was charged with securing the perimeter of the two grave sites (actually one large perimeter) while the transfer was made. This was at night, and the family wanted no news agencies involved. When hoisting the lead vault out of the temporary grave site, it cracked. Now, ANC had to come up with a replacement vault and re-seal the casket, which took most of the night.
At some point during the long wait for this to happen, Bobby Kennedy motioned me over, handed me a note card with a phone number on it and asked me to call Ethel and inform her that he (Bobby) was delayed and would not be home until the next morning. I dutifully turned the Company over to my XO and went to the ANC offices to place the call. I remember Ethel Kennedy being very polite and appreciative of my call, and asked me for a rundown of what was going on. I then reported back to Bobby “mission accomplished”.

As I recall, the actual transfer and closing of the permanent grave was not completed until after daylight – well off plan. Also, and unbelievably, the secret of the transfer had been mostly kept, and as I recall, we only had one or two incidents of persons trying to bust our perimeter. Of course, they were turned away (politely) by our good Old Guard Infantrymen.

Gene Baxter: A-1
I was a forward observer with A Battery 8th Artillery, 25th Infantry Division headquartered at Scholfield Barracks Hawaii. I was in CBR school that afternoon when we were notified. Most of us initially did not believe the news. Shock is probably the most descriptive term. I played the CD of his graduation speech to our class, and watched it with my 16 year old grandson. He now wants to join the Long Gray
Line. What a contrast to our current leadership.

Walt Menning: C-2
It was a bright, clear November morning as the convoy made its way through Kole Kole Pass. The pass was a large ‘notch’ in the Waianae Mountains that opened to a breath – taking view of the Pacific below. In another twenty minutes the convoy would reach the platoon’s training site at Makua Valley. The jungle growth in the valley would provide a good setting to conduct aerial observation exercises and to rappel through the canopy to the jungle floor below. Only two weeks of training remained before the platoon deployed to Vietnam. The training had been intense. Everyone in the platoon had gained confidence and readiness for the mission ahead.
As the lead truck pulled into the assembly area, radio silence was broken:
“Attention: Bravo Deuce; attention: Bravo Deuce. All training for today is suspended. I say again, all training for today is suspended. All personnel return to barracks now. Signal your unit status at Check point #2 and Check Point #1. DEFCON is now DEFCON 3.” As the last truck pulled into the assembly area, the platoon leader and non- coms gathered briefly to discuss the change in orders. While they were all puzzled, it was clear that something very significant had happened.
The return trip progressed quite rapidly. Reports were rendered by radio at each check- point. As the convoy entered the barracks area, the flag was at half-mast. The MP on duty reported, “ The President is dead!”
The platoon returned to Quad I of Schofield Barracks where it remained on alert with all units of the 25th Infantry Division for the next several days. On the next Monday when the fallen President was interred at Arlington National Cemetery, a full division review was held to honor the memory of President Kennedy. The next day training resumed for Operation Shotgun.

Rich Foss: I-2
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated I was stationed in Hawaii with the 27th Infantry Wolfhounds of the 25th Inf Div.. We were crowded around the radio in the day room to hear about the shooting. Television did not reach Scofield Barracks at that time. One of the lieutenants in our company was from Dallas and he said in his Texas drawl, “Ah dohn know, but ah dohn feel too see cure with LBJ in dah saddle”. He was later killed in South Vietnam.

Bill Ross: L-2
On November 22, 1963, I was serving as a launcher platoon leader in the Little John battery supporting the 25th Infantry Division. While normally based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, at that time we were on a field exercise at the Pohakaloa Training Center located on the Big Island of Hawaii. On that particular day we happened to be in from the field and at the cantonment area of Pohakaloa which consists of a dusty collection of Quonset huts at an altitude of over 5,000 feet.
I was in one of those huts working on supply matters with one of my section chiefs, SSG “Doc” Holliday, when a messenger brought the news of the death of the President to us. SSG Holliday was a 35-year-old African American of a dark hue. He was a man of few words, and on receiving the news, he merely shook his head and sat down. It was then that I noticed that his face had turned from black to grey. I think he knew better than I at the time what the nation had lost.
Later that day it was announced that there would be a memorial service that evening at the camp chapel. At an informal officers’ call proceeding that service, our battery commander who was from Texas saw fit to opine, “I think that Lyndon Johnson will be a better president anyway.” My reaction was strong and immediate, but I managed to suppress my career-ending impulse though I have never forgotten those thoughtless words. Since the post chapel was in another small Quonset hut and the voluntary turnout was great, the candlelight service was held outside.
The next day life went on, field training resumed, and only over the years have I learned to fully appreciate what might have been.

Bill Christopher: B-1
I was a 2nd Lt in the 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, stationed at Schofield Barracks, HA. I believe I was Battalion S-2. I was designated to go on TDY to South Korea to participate in some sort of Command Exercises of the 8th Army. The 25th Division was a strategic reserve, and each battalion had to be represented.

There were not any volunteers to go to Korea in late November, so I was sent. I went through Tachikawa (sp?) Air Base outside of Tokyo both ways. On the way back, I was sleeping in the BOQ at Tachikawa (an open barracks-type facility), when an incoming crew member shook me awake and said that the President had been killed, or words to that effect. I got up, got dressed, and took my gear down to the flight center for my flight, and to confirm what he had told me. I returned to Hawaii.

Fred Sheaffer: M-2
On the night of 21 November 1963, I had been in the field with my 3rd Platoon, A Co., 1/35th Infantry Regiment (Cacti), 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Div. on Oahu, Hawaii. Early in the morning of 22 November, we completed our night training exercise and were released for the day.
I drove back to the Waikiki apartment that I shared with Mack Howard (M-2), had breakfast, and was trying to decide whether to hit the rack or go to the Waikiki Beach at Fort DeRussey (my usual hangout) when I heard on the radio that President Kennedy has been assassinated. I was stunned. It was a very personal loss. I do not remember anything of that day after that. It was like being in a daze.
I felt the same way that I later felt in July-August 1965 when I was TDY in Vietnam and first heard that Ed Krukowski (M-2) and then my very close friend and roommate for two years in M-2, Bob Fuelhart, had been KIA.

Mike McDonnell: E-1
I was officer of the day in our quadrangle at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. I can’t recall now whether we had made the switch from pentomic organization to President Kennedy’s flexible response. (ROCID TO ROAD) But I was performing the assignment as a member of the 2/35 Cacti Blue. It would be a year before I was on my way to my first mission in Vietnam as a door gunner platoon leader, and two years until I deployed back to Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division.
As officer of the day, part of my duties required me to inspect the guard details for our battalion on post. As the reader of this will recall, that meant little, if any sleep and the quiet, dark traverse of the various post locations. “Halt, who is there!” I would hear as I approached each sentry. I would identify myself, check the soldier, and then give him a pat on the shoulder for doing a good but thankless job. I recall nothing out of the ordinary that night until the word came that the President had been shot.
The time difference between Texas and Hawaii in November is 4 hours. Kennedy was shot at 0830 hrs Hawaii time. Daylight savings time was not in effect in Texas, and Hawaii did not observe that convention. It was 0900 hrs in Hawaii when JFK was

pronounced dead. It was Friday morning, the final training day for the week, and the battalion was awake, fed, and ready to go to work.
I was just about ready to clear the battalion headquarters and resume my regular platoon leader’s duties when the tragic news came down. I recall receiving a call with orders for the unit to alert and I got the word out quickly, but it seemed like the news was everywhere at once.
The deuce-and-a-halfs and other battalion vehicles were brought to the quad and the units loaded on for a trip to Hickam field in the event of air deployment. The atmosphere was grim. No joking, no horsing around. As we waited I felt a sense of unreality spiked with an incredible rush of adrenaline. I had no idea what was to come, but I was ready to kick some serious ass. We waited as the man who would soon send so many of our numbers to their death was sworn into office. As I look back I see that we still have not learned our lesson.

Windsor Ward: H-1
I was the executive officer of a tank company in the 69th Armor, the tank battalion in the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. I was in the field with the company in the Pohokuloa training area on the Island of Hawaii.
My recollection is that the company commander, Captain Medley, came out from the base camp to tell me that the president had been assassinated. I was stunned that a president of the United States could be assassinated. My immediate thought was that assassination of a president only happened in the past. After informing the troops, the company commander and I discussed what it might mean. The company commander indicated that we had already been placed on alert for a possible attack. We discussed what we would do to prepare for an attack.
After the initial shock I do not remember anything. We had no TV and were not exposed to the media coverage after the assassination.

Roger Havercroft: A-2
I, and 5 other classmates: (alphabetically) Dan Buttolph, Dick Chegar, Wayne Downing, Erik Johnsson, Bill Pfeifer, and Don Snider) were on Okinawa, assigned to the newly activated 173d Airborne Brigade. It was Saturday, 23 November; I was wakened early by a phone call from the duty officer of the 1st Spl Forces Gp to notify my hootchmate, a captain, A Team Ldr, of the JFK assassination.
I regained my composure, and with some dread, knocked on the captain’s door (he was grumpy gus, and I figured he would make it my fault). He actually was fairly decent, called his HQ to confirm, and suggested we go to work (he showered first).

My battalion was a bit of a drive, most everyone was there when I arrived, and whatever was planned (Quonset Hut Inspection, maybe?) was scratched. All the talk was sad; those of us who had voted for Nixon felt even worse. Several troopers ask if we would deploy; where would we drop into, etc.
Later, that afternoon, I returned to BOQ, talked to my neighbors in the parking lot (mostly psy ops and intel types) and we decided to get a burger and beer in the
“ville.” After we ordered, the restaurant manager assembled his staff and talked to them at some length in Japanese, we watched quietly, and they bowed silently for several seconds. When the waitress returned, we ask what was said. She answered,”We were honoring your fallen President. That was very touching.
Two and 1/2 years later in Vietnam, I was having a beer with an Australion officer from the 1st Bn, Royal Australion Regiment (which was attached to the 173d), who related that he had been in the UK that day, and was watching the film, “PT 109” when the projection was interrupted and the assassination was announced. That was ironic. I thanked him for sharing that story.

Dan Buttolph: L-2
I was stationed on Okinawa with the 2nd Bn (Abn), 173rd Airborne Brigade when my clock radio went off at 0445 hrs for I was going out on an early morning parachute jump. Before I could get out of bed, an emergency announcement came on the Armed Forces Radio Network which was very unusual for the network. The announcer who sounded very distraught announced that President Kennedy had been shot and killed. That was all the information he had and it took the rest of the day to piece together the information on the assassination.
Since Okinawa is on the other side of the International Date Line, his assassination actually occurred at 0430 hrs on the 23rd Okinawan time. The 173rd Airborne Brigade conducted an all-brigade memorial parade about a week later which was one of the best parades I ever marched in—except at West Point of course. And the weather was certainly better than the freezing cold Inaugural Parade we marched in for his 1961 inauguration.

Dick Chegar: B-1
On November 22, 1963, I was in the field in Okinawa on a training exercise. At the time, I was serving as the Platoon Leader of the Davy Crockett Platoon in Headquarters Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade. The Davy Crockett was a man-transported or vehicle- transported nuclear weapons system deployed in Infantry Units. Years ago, one of the man-transported weapons was on display in the West Point museum.

We received news of the President’s assassination in the field. Because President Kennedy was our graduation speaker a mere year and a half earlier, it was shocking news. Our other contact with the President had been at his inauguration when we marched in the Inauguration Parade; though the only cadet interest as we passed in review was getting a glimpse of Mrs. Kennedy.
While none of our class had been deployed to Vietnam in the Fall of 1962, all of us remember clearly the Cuban Missile Crisis that took place in October. Word of the 82nd Airborne Division being airborne with members of the Class of 1961 aboard was most painful to us still in training at Fort Benning, itching to be part of an attacking force. That “itch” would be more than satisfied in the coming years!
My most memorable political lesson came from President Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson in his 1964 presidential campaign. One of his oft-repeated campaign slogans was “Why don’t we let those Asian boys fight those Asian wars?” Now a First Lieutenant in 1964, that sounded like a promise I could live with, so I voted for Mr. Johnson! Six months later, I was in combat. Lesson learned!
Rog Luis: K-1 (Philippine Army in Manila)
November 23 1963 (22 November for USA) started out as an ordinary day for me. I was getting ready to go to the office when on the radio the news bulletin that President John F Kennedy, the president of the United States was shot and killed was announced! The first words that I uttered were “Oh Shit!” It represented my frustrations and utter feeling of helplessness and the question “Why?” What is happening in the United States? Suddenly I was afraid-Vietnam at that time was only spoken in hushed tones among us. What will happen to my classmates? They will be in the frontline as I would be being, lowly lieutenants in the infantry acting as platoon leaders or Executive Officers at the company level? What if USSR or PROC takes advantage of the situation and attack?
I did not go to the office that morning and kept tuned-in instead to the radio as more details started filtering in. Dallas Texas, where is that and what was he doing there in the first place? Why would any one shot a young dynamic president challenging the Americans with his “Ask nots!” What did he do to be so hated in a very short period of time? He was our graduation speaker and we have marched on a very cold day during his inauguration, our eyes straining to get a look at his beautiful First Lady. He definitely did not have the flowing, flowery oratory of a General Douglas McArthur but he did make sense and had that boyish captivating and endearing smile of a man so full of promises. I felt as if I had lost a personal friend!
If the United States goes to war with anybody wouldn’t the Philippines then be also involved as it was in World War II? The Americans are our closest ally after all. At least I will be fighting side by side with my classmates but against whom? USSR? PROC? Both? Will the local communist party take advantage of the situation and intensify the

local armed conflict? There were so many questions in my mind that went round in circles. What was to come next?

The European military theater was relatively familiar to Americans because the Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union was still dictated by the geographical divisions imposed in WWII agreements. There was an understandable immediacy about the USSR of intercontinental ballistic missiles and European occupation.
The conventional ‘front’ was the East-West German border. All stories but two from classmates in Europe were located in West Germany, facing eastward. The border in West Germany dated from 1945 with subsequent enhancements, while the wall in Berlin was only closed on 13 August 1961. At the time of JFK’s assassination, the residents of Berlin, West Germany and the rest of Western Europe were still basking in the reassurance of Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech of 26 June 1963. More than a million NATO and Warsaw Pact troops weighed the possible outbreak of war.
The sequence of stories is Berlin, Border, Northern Sector, Grafenwoehr, Southern Sector, Turkey.
Jim Worthington: H-2 (Posthumous memories from Kitty Sibold Worthington) I can’t write the story because I wasn’t there and Jim is gone.
However, I do remember his saying that he was in Berlin at the time, I think at a bar at the base, when the announcement came in. He said the bar cleared out immediately and everyone went to their rooms to monitor tv or radio coverage.
On the day of the funeral, Jim was in charge of the battery salute, queuing up the firing of the cannons. Someone else had to count in case of misfires, of which there were one or more.
Charles Hertel: H-1
Like most members of our generation, my memories of certain aspects of the day of Kennedy’s assassination are crystal clear. I was then stationed in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, with the 3rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The Third Squadron was posted, along with an Engineer company, at a small caserne called McPheeters Barracks. The Third Squadron had the distinction not only of being positioned less than 15 miles from the interzonal border with East Germany but also of being the northernmost stationed combat unit of U.S. Army, Europe. I had been the Executive Officer of K Troop for less than two weeks on 22 November.
Duane Slater was the Executive Officer of the Howitzer Battery of the Third Squadron and, as classmates and friends, we were inseparable running mates, sometimes to our own

physical and professional detriment. November 22 was a Friday and, although we had duty the next day, it was only until noon, so we opted to go out to a German gasthaus that night and have dinner and a couple of beers. With beer at 40 pfennigs or 10 cents a glass and meals correspondingly cheap, a night out was something we could well afford even on our base salary of $222 per month. We got to the gasthaus a bit after eight p.m. after we got off duty, cleaned up, and changed into a coat and tie. In those days, U.S. troops were not allowed off the caserne without a coat and tie. Duane and I were accompanied by one of the Howitzer Battery Forward Observers, Gene Hogan.
The three of us were sitting at a table in the gasthaus, having ordered a meal, and were obviously drinking beer a bit too fast and having good time. None of us noticed that the gasthaus seemed quieter than normal. We were animated to the point of being loud (and probably obnoxious), when the gasthaus proprietor came to our table and said, in quite good English, words to the effect that “Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves acting like this after what has just happened?” We three looked at the man dumbly and asked what he was talking about. He explained that President Kennedy had just been assassinated in Dallas.
We were dumbfounded by the news and, since we could not understand the German news commentary on TV or radio, we left without eating and returned to the BOQ where we could get the news on AFN radio. As the time in Germany was seven hours ahead of Dallas time, the latest news kept coming in well into the next morning, and we stayed up quite late listening to the incoming reports and talking. As young men who felt we knew Kennedy, having marched in his inauguration parade and having heard him at our graduation, we were terribly affected by the situation.
Sometime in the early morning, the order came out that all activities were cancelled for Saturday and that the Squadron would assemble in Squadron mass on the parade field at 1000 hours in dress green uniforms for a memorial service. As dress greens were seldom worn, this announcement set off a frantic effort to make sure that all the troops (and officers) were properly uniformed. Fortunately, Saturday 23 November was a bitterly cold day in Bad Hersfeld, and the uniform order was soon amended to dress greens with overcoats, so that any missing or incorrect decorations or insignias would be covered up.
The memorial service went without a hitch. The mood was somber, and the attitude of most of the troops was one of stunned disbelief, but we did our duty and stood in a squadron formation in the bitter cold and honored our fallen Commander . In later years, I have often tried to fathom what we were mourning for that day and why we remember that time so vividly. Was it simply the loss of a young, inspiring President, or was it our own loss of innocence — or something more — the end of an era of certainty and the beginning of an era of doubt and mistrust. I don’t know.

Roy Degenhardt: C-2
I was a platoon leader in the 14th Armored Cavalry at Fulda in West Germany. Fulda is the principal town in an area called the Fulda Gap, an historic route for invading armies from the east and also the route Napoleon used in 1813 to escape westward after defeat at the Battle of Leipzig.
Our unit had two missions. First of all, we carried out constant patrolling of the East Germany border to show the flag. Secondly, should the Russians launch an attack, we were expected to try to delay their formations to allow the US main battle units of V Corps, garrisoned to our west, to deploy. Surely not good for your health. If the 8th Guards Army didn’t kill us, our own Atomic Demolitions would have finished the job.
It was early evening and I had just returned to my bachelor’s apartment to clean up after an uneventful 24-hour patrol of the Border. Time for a shower, a beer and some sack- time. I turned on my stereo and within a few minutes the Armed Forces Europe announcer interrupted with news that the wire services were reporting that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. A few minutes later, my telephone rang with our standard Alert message. I happened to have a blank recording tape on my stereo and so I hit ‘Record’ on my way out the door with my gear.
As a Border-Guard unit, we were subject to an Alert at random times every month to ensure that we could be relied upon. We would receive a call and/or hear the siren in town and would race to the Kaserne, grab our personal weapons, jump in our tank, track or jeep and head for our assigned war positions on the border. Each vehicle would leave the Kaserne as soon as it had most of its crew and make its way (race) individually to its war position. Stragglers would hitch a ride and follow. The locals learned to vacate the roads during an alert as we did not bother with traffic rules.
I reached the motor pool in time to climb into my command tank where my crew was impatiently waiting. Our Exec confirmed that the President was reported dead. It is still difficult today to believe this had happened and, in a few moments, the world had changed. I felt a deep sense of personal involvement, even as a lowly Lieutenant, as I vividly remembered President Kennedy’s inspiring speech at our Graduation and, of course, his Berlin speech in June was still ringing in our ears.
The platoon was soon dug-in near the border, with scout vehicles in a forward
screen. My team of professionals were unusually quiet as they surveyed their target points in the dark and settled in for the wait. We all know how to wait. Radio silence was maintained, but we knew for sure that the Russians knew we were there and knew our positions. Three tanks, a mounted infantry squad, a mounted mortar squad and four scout vehicles. 36 enlisted men (when full), 1 officer, 10 vehicles. We were certainly not an insurmountable obstacle but of course there were eight other similar, combined-arms platoons from our squadron strung across the Gap. Yes!

A couple of days later, we pulled back into the Kaserne and resumed normal
activities. The West German government showed great sensitivity by closing all bars and dance halls, as I recall, for a week! Can you imagine? The residents of Fulda reacted as if they had lost a family member and we all knew we had been witnesses to a seminal moment in history.
I recovered my tape reel which was a running record of the announcements, interspersed with requiem compositions. The tape was recently transferred to CD, which I hope will one day be a source of interest to my family. I am older now, less idealistic and perhaps a little embarrassed by recalling my emotions on that day. But it was a day to remember.

Chuck Dominy: K-2
This personal JFK remembrance comes from Northern Bavaria Germany approximately 30 kilometers east of Bad Kissingen, Germany. I had arrived in Germany in May, 1963 as a second lieutenant on my first assignment after Airborne and Ranger training. With a brand new bride in tow I was assigned as a platoon leader in B Company, 10th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division.
The Cold War remained a fact of life and our focus on the East German Border dominated our training and how we were stationed. B company was a separate company about a two hour drive North of the Battalion Headquarters in Kitzingen. In the fall of 1963 I was given the mission to plan a 1 week Company Field Training Exercise(FTX) within a 3-hour convoy radius of home station. I spent several days on recon to find a suitable spot that would minimize maneuver damage yet provide a place for Engineers to do their thing. The final selection was a heavily wooded area in a rugged hilly, quite remote sector about 15 kilometers from the East German Border. The dates selected for the FTX were 19-26 November, 1963.
The initial convoy and establishment of a company bivouac were uneventful and training began in earnest . Each platoon had their own GP Medium tent for the troops-the four officers had a smaller tent with a pot- bellied stove for comfort. The “mess hall” was a field kitchen with two German Nationals augmenting the Mess Sergeant for food prep and clean-up.
On the evening of 22 November about 1900 hours dinner was over and the officers were in the tent discussing the next day’s training plan. Suddenly-a German cook burst into our tent screaming-“Kennedy Mord!!!! Kennedy Mord!!!!” Our initial reaction was total shock-he had a small portable civilian radio in his hand and he kept pointing to it and screaming. President Kennedy was very popular in Germany and it really hit hard.
So many unanswered questions-do we go on full alert-is a military response in the making-do we terminate the FTX and return home-who was responsible??? Being so close to the East German Border in that day and time caused some very unsettling

thoughts. After about 24 hours of intense anxiety it appeared a Soviet march to the Rhine was not about to begin.

Tom Middaugh E-2
Having just returned from a month’s tour of duty along the Czechoslovakian border, I arrived at my Landshut Germany BOQ in time to scrub off the grime of rustic living in the field, suit up in formal blues and depart with my fellow officers of 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cav to attend what was a major German-American banquet hosted by our local civic leaders. We arrived and enjoyed cocktails with our gracious hosts who really seemed to appreciate our presence in town and our contributions to the community, perhaps motivated in part by President Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech several months earlier in June.
The social interchange lasted for about an hour before sitting down to dinner. It was interesting that the seating plan was truly integrated, almost no Americans sat side by side. After the salad course and just as the entrees arrived a senior officer in the squadron came up behind this lowly 2nd Lt and whispered in my ear that the President had been shot, not to say anything, but on the CO’s signal, we were to immediately rise and depart as our unit had just been ordered to alert status. Several minutes later, and on cue, we all silently arose and made our way toward the banquet hall door. The silence was deafening! I could feel the pall set in on what had been a cheerful, good-natured evening. All I could hear was our footsteps on the hardwood floor. It took a good ten or fifteen seconds before our boss reached a microphone and announced that President Kennedy had been shot, and that we had been ordered back to our kaserne as our forces had been placed on the highest alert status.
This was a Friday evening I will never forget. I don’t think we even knew yet whether or not Kennedy had died, being so far down the information chain. So it was back to combat gear waiting to hear if we were going to deploy, going to war, whatever. Alerts were serious business in those days. More than once we had been ordered to the field and remained in positions for days on end without knowing at platoon level what was going on, suggesting more than just another monthly alert or practice exercise.
However, my most prominent memory of the evening of 22 November 1963, was the awkwardness of the moment , the shocked looks on the faces of our German friends and allies and the unanswered hush and utter stillness that blanketed our departure. My mind had swirled with thoughts of we Americans affronting our German neighbors, and the embarrassment I was beginning to feel until my CO reached the microphone and said his piece. The significance of losing our president had yet to cross my mind.

Gus Fishburne: F-2
I was assigned to C Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th ACR and stationed in Straubing Germany. It was approximately 1730 hours, Germany time, on the date JFK was shot and I was having dinner in the Officers Club with several other lieutenants. Our German waiter, Adolph, came running into the dining shouting “your president has been shot !! ” We immediately ran to our BOQ and turned on the radio. The news, though sketchy, confirmed that JFK had died.
Almost immediately, the word came down to the BOQ that we were to go on Full Alert status. Our squadron assembled in the motor pool under full combat gear with the engines running on all vehicles. We remained in this status for approximately 12 hours until ordered to Stand Down. The reason the alert status was called was because of the possibility that Russia was behind the assassination and that this may have been the prelude to an invasion of West Germany.
As I remember, among my fellow officers and men the feeling was more of anger and revenge than sadness. Yes we were definitely sad but anger was the overriding emotion. It was the opposite with the locals that worked at our kaserne. They were truly saddened. I think they were identifying with JFK’s Berlin speech and really looked upon him as a true friend of Germany. They would get tears in their eyes when the subject was brought up.

Tom Walker: L-1
The things that come to my mind were the connections that the Class of ‘62 had with JFK. Our class marched in his inauguration parade in January of 1961. I clearly remember seeing Jackie Kennedy looking at the cadets as we passed in review. She had this look of wonder in her eyes. She seemed to be fascinated by the ranks of cadets smartly passing by in review. I also remember that we did an unusual thing as we passed the reviewing stand. We did an “Eyes left” as opposed to the normal “Eyes right.” I held that “Eyes left” as long as I could to keep that historical moment in my mind. I was only 15-20 feet away from both the president and first lady.
Then in June of 1962, Jack Kennedy was our graduation speaker. A lucky few actually had their diploma given to them by Pres. Kennedy. That did not include me.
Fast forward to November 1963. I was assigned as a 2nd Lieutenant to the Artillery Battery, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cav stationed in Amberg, Germany. Our mission was patrol duty along the Czech border—the famed “Iron Curtain.” We patrolled within the 5 Km zone that separated West Germany from communist Eastern Europe.
At 7:00 PM German time (2:00 PM Dallas time) my wife, Mary Jean, and I were returning from dinner in town. As we came up the hill to the “kaserne” where we were housed, someone came up to us shouting “The president has been shot, the president has

been shot!” We did not know at that time whether he was dead or alive. To say that we were stunned, would be an understatement. My reaction is still as clear to me today as it was that evening.
Fast forward again—Spring of 1981. I was driving my car from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale on a sales call. On the radio an announcement was made saying, “The president (Reagan) has been shot.” My immediate reaction was, “Oh no, not again!”

Marshall Johnson D-2
In 1963, George Kirschenbauer and I joined 2 Airborne Battle Groups in Mainz, Germany (George – 505th & me – 504th). We were joined there by Fred Hillyard, Ernie Webb and Pete Hameister (all went to the 505th). Not too long after we arrived in Germany, the 504th; and 505th were reorganized into the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 509th Airborne Infantry, 1st Airborne Brigade, 8th Infantry Division. Much later we were again reorganized into an Airborne/Mechanized Brigade (probably the only such organization in Army history). This entire process is another interesting story in itself.
As with most tactical Army units in Germany at the time, we were subject to random alerts every month. Most of the time, if we were not in the field, we just moved to our initial alert positions near our kaserne. We were required to be in these positions within 2 hours of the alert being called. On occasion we would actually move to an airfield, load on C-130’s and make a tactical airborne drop to test our ability to rapidly respond to any crises in our geographical area of responsibility (much later this resulted in near deployments to Lebanon and Cyprus to protect US civilians). During each alert, we were inspected to ensure that we had all of our weapons, equipment and ammunition to perform an actual mission.
At the time of the assassination, I was a rifle platoon leader in B Company, 1/509th Infantry. My unit was training in Baumholder when we were notified of the JFK assassination (don’t recall if our sister unit was also there or in our home kaserne). Our units immediately deployed to our pre-assigned Emergency Deployment Positions (EDP’s) near the Fulda Gap on the East German border where we remained for several days.
It was both a stimulating and rather anxious experience for new 2 LT’s as we had no idea what was ahead. Hard to imagine at the time how light infantry was expected to stop Soviet tank columns blowing through the Fulda Gap – perhaps the “Airborne Multiplier”? In any event, there was no doubt in our minds we could handle the mission.
The autobahns were jammed with all sorts of US military vehicle convoys moving from locations throughout Germany to their EDP’s – quite a mess. Not only were we constantly attempting to avoid running over local German vehicles, but we also had to be alert for and report sightings of Soviet Military Liaison vehicles. Needless to say, it was

a circus. The entire process was repeated several days later as all units repositioned back to their home kasernes.
Once back home, our first Happy Hour at the O Club was filled with “war” stories of our unit moves to and from our EDP’s. The majority of the stories recalled the road trips up and back and humorous encounters with the local population and Soviet Military Liaison vehicles.
Several days after our return to home station, the Bishop of Mainz arranged for a High Mass to be held in the 1000 year old Mainz Cathedral. The Cathedral was filled with both the local population and the US Military in Dress Blues, with many forced to remain outside as the Cathedral was filled to capacity. A very somber and yet beautiful scene greeted mourners entering the ancient Cathedral illuminated entirely by candles.
Footnote: Forty five years after I completed Infantry Basic, Airborne and Ranger schools and reported to my unit in Germany, my son, Marshall A ’07, repeated the process, reporting to the 2/503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy – actually the descendent of my original unit. I deployed to Vietnam after my initial assignment. My son beat my timeline by deploying to Afghanistan while assigned to the 173rd.

Craig Richardson: E-2
On the day President JFK was assassinated I was stationed in Friedberg, Germany with the 1st Bn, 32 Armor.
There were three duties junior officers pulled, one of which was Courtesy Patrol. Many of you recall this consisted of visiting all the bars and nightspots to settle down or remove drunk or unruly soldiers. That was my duty that evening so at about 2000 hours local time I was heading out the front gate of the kaserne in a 3/4 ton truck and enlisted driver. He had a radio on the front seat tuned to AFN and as we were driving along he asked me if I’d heard that the president had been shot. I had not and this startled me and was stunned at how casually he mentioned it.
Shortly, a news bulletin interrupted the program on the radio with this news and soon the program turned to only reports of the assassination. I cannot remember how I received the word, but my mission was to go everywhere and tell soldiers to get to their units immediately. The MPs were out doing the same thing.
My most vivid and haunting memory of that evening was the stark contrast of emotions demonstrated by many soldiers, who grumbled and were upset that their evening on pass was cut short, and the many German citizens out on the streets, some in tears, who came up to me and expressed their sorrow.

Ed Rowe: D-2
The West Point Class of 1962 had a special relationship with President Kennedy. He was our graduation speaker who charged our class with our duty as newly commissioned officers bound for assignments during the Cold War. We made him an honorary member of the class and presented him with a class ring, which now resides in the museum at the Academy. He was the first President for whom most of us voted. We also closely related to him as he was young and did things like we enjoyed doing, such as touch football, sailing, golfing, and going to the beach. He had a young family. In short, he seemed like one of us, not like other senior government officials, most often viewed by us as old, bureaucratic, and stuffy. Losing him was especially meaningful.
In 1963, the Nation was still free from large scale worldwide terrorism and random domestic shootings, which made no sense, by deranged individuals. An assassination of a President was most likely to be viewed as the action of a foreign power. Our Class was spread around the world and throughout the country on its first duty assignments. The threat was the Soviet Union which had demonstrated its aggressive tendencies since the end of World War II. The tension along the Iron Curtain and the Cuban Missile Crisis were concrete examples we witnessed. Thus, it was natural to believe that the Soviet Union could have been behind the assassination to create chaos as a prelude to military action against the United States and its allies.
I was a platoon leader in C Co, 3/68 Armor, Sullivan Barracks near Mannheim, Germany and single at the time. The Battalion wives were having some kind of function that evening at the Officers Club so my Company Commander was hosting his officers at his quarters. I stopped by Class VI on way to his quarters (to procure my contribution to the gathering) and first heard the news there over a radio; there was no American television in the area. Once at Company Commander’s house, we checked in with battalion headquarters and settled in to listen to radio. While there was no official alert or recall, the troops all returned from being on pass (it was Friday evening in Germany), and we all just waited for the next shoe to fall.
In those days, there was an alert at least once a month. The tanks were fully uploaded with all ammunition and topped off with diesel. We were required to clear the Kaserne within 2 hours after the alert was called. I recall the somberness of that night as we waited for the alert which never came. Everyone was in disbelief that this could have happened to our Commander-in-Chief and wondered just what was coming next. The assassination was widely covered on German television and all Germans I knew expressed their sympathy to me in next few days. Everyone was surprised when hearing that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin. Despite all the reports and commissions, to this day I do not fully understand his motive and reasoning. All were saddened and shocked by his untimely and unjustified early death. However, we were all relieved to hear that the Soviet Union was not behind this as a first step toward a military confrontation and possible war. Now in hindsight, it appears that the assassination might have been the start of a changing world.

James Peterson: K-2
When President Kennedy was assassinated I was on my first assignment in Baumholder, Germany, as an artillery officer and Second Lieutenant in Howitzer Battery, 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
The day he was shot I was the Squadron duty officer, starting my tour at 5:00 PM with my Duty Sergeant and a duty driver. Most of the Squadron senior staff including the CO were out on Baumholder range for a night training session for the Squadron tank crews. Shortly after assuming my duties I had to send a sick soldier to the dispensary, which was separate from the main post. To get there and back the duty driver had to drive through downtown Baumholder. On his way back he called me to say there was suddenly pandemonium in the streets, with the Germans running about yelling that President Kennedy had been shot.
Assuming it was a hoax, I told him to get off the radio and back to Squadron HQ
ASAP. However, moments later I got a phone call from Regimental headquarters telling me president Kennedy had indeed been shot. Very shortly thereafter a full alert was initiated throughout Seventh Army. At some point, word came that President Kennedy was dead.

Phil Burns: L-1
I was at the other end of the Class so I did not shake the President’s hand at Graduation.
After the Basic Infantry Officers Coarse, Ranger and Airborne, Molly and I arrived in Germany, reporting in to the 2/48th Armored Rifle Battalion, Combat Command B ( Chuckle, Chuckle Banana ). We lived on the economy for several months. When President Kennedy came to Germany in June 1963, D Company Commanded by Big Ben Swinson, was responsible for erecting the tents for the soldiers who were to represent the 3d Armored Division. I was a 2d Lieutenant in charge of the tent detail.
When I returned from the Kaserne the evening of the President’s visit to Berlin, I was greeted by our landlord over and over with “ish bin win Bearleener” (the way the President with his Boston accent had said it).
By the Fall the 2d /48th had been broken in two and we only had 3 Rifle Companies in what became the 2d Battalion 48th Infantry, (Armored Rifle Battalion had more class) I was XO of Company A sitting in the Company Commanders Office (Phil McDonald) when Sgt Mallory 4th Platoon Leader opened the door with out knocking and said “The President has been shot” I immediately said “That is not funny”.
Word went out and in Gelnhausen the troops and Germans alike were in shock. The Officers Club was closed. Many went to the Chapel to pray.



Walking back to my in the upper housing area I passed our soldiers on both sides of the road walking single file with their heads down back to the Kaserne.  There was no siren activating the unit for deployment to our defensive positions covering the Fulda Gap.

Later that night a large group of Germans carrying candles quietly, almost religiously, passed by the Kaserne. By the next morning it was nearly impossible to walk inside the chapel – as the Germans had filled it with flowers.
We were told to report to our units in Class A, Dress Green, low quarters and overcoats the next morning. The entire Brigade was to stand formation at 11:00 hours. The uniform was unusual as all formal formations included steel helmets, woolen OG pants and shirts, boots, and pistol belts and weapons. If it was cold, field jackets with liners would be included.
The Kaserne was small and the only open space large enough to hold the entire Brigade at one time was the tank park. That night and early morning, all the tracked vehicles were moved to the maintenance area where they were parked bumper to bumper. The tank park itself was nothing but dirt and rock, not exactly something to walk on let alone march on in low quarter shoes. The engineers used a road grader to smooth the surface and a steam roller to flatten things out.
At 10:45, the entire Brigade, consisting of two battalions of infantry, one tank battalion, one artillery battalion, an MP platoon, a medical platoon, a signal platoon and an ordinance company marched onto the tank park, some 3500 men. We stood there in greens and unarmed. Immediately behind us was the Kaserne fence which ran along Frankfurter Strasse, (Renamed Colin Powell Strasse many years later.) Outside the fence, hundreds of German nationals stood in tears carrying flowers and pictures of the late President. They were all very well dressed and very respectful.
As in any large formation, the Brigade Adjutant commanded that unit commanders bring the units to attention and to present arms. The adjutant then informed the Brigade Commander that the Brigade was formed. Col. Gilbert Woodward returned the salute, ordered the units to Order Arms and Parade Rest. He stepped forward and said “It is my duty as your commanding officer to inform you that our Commander-in-Chief has been assassinated. Our new Commander-in-Chief is Lyndon Baines Johnson.” That is all he said. He ordered all units to stand down and return to their quarters. No band, no pass in review. We marched back up the hill.
At five PM, the colors were lowered at retreat, a ceremony faithfully performed every single day, seven days a week at every military installation in the world. A twenty one gun salute honoring the late president was to occur at that days retreat. There was a battery of howitzers (4) lined up in front of the flag pole. The call to colors sounded which was immediately followed by the artillery blasts, all four guns, firing in perfect

unison. A 21 gun salute. Mike Ashapa our 2/48 S-4, told me he was in his office just down the hill – everything shook and he was afraid the windows might shatter.
62′ had been given General MacArthur’s expectations in May and our President’s in June. We understood what was expected of us.

John Regan: D-1
President Kennedy stopped off in Hanau, Germany before he went to Berlin to give his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. My battalion along with hundreds of other American,
British, French and German troops were sent to Hanau for the ceremony. We bivouacked the night before and were up at 3am the next day. We were on the parade ground at 7am for a 10 am arrival. President Kennedy arrived and the band played at least 4 National Anthems. After a short speech, JFK trooped the line, stopping to shake hands with every Bn CO. Our bn symbol was the bayonet. All our guidons had a chrome plated bayonet on the end. As JFK approached our bn one of the Secret Service called out, “Watch those bayonets.” Needless to say, as soon as we returned to our kaserne, every unit in the bn had a streamer made up and added to our guidons that read, “Watch those bayonets.”
My parents’ 25th wedding anniversary was Nov 24, 1963. A friend of the family arranged for me to fly back and be the “surprise”. I arrived in New York early on the 22d and checked into the Astor Hotel (naturally). I turned on the radio to listen to one of the good old rock n roll stations we used to listen to as cadets. I called the family friend to let him know that I had arrived and while I was talking to him on the phone, President Kennedy was shot. I swear the rest of that day was a blur. Fortunately, I had an uncle who lived in the city and I spent some time with him. I went by train up to Boston and my folks met me at South Station. The wedding anniversary party was delayed 10 days, and it was more somber than we would have wanted.
Also, I went to late Mass that Sunday. I walked in the house after Mass, and my father said, “You’re not going to believe what just happened. Somebody just shot Oswald.”
Very vivid memories of a Great American Tragedy.

Terry McCarthy: E-2
My first duty station after Fort Sill and Fort Benning was in Kitzingen, West Germany. I was assigned to the 2/82 Artillery Battalion, which was a Corporal Missile Battalion. As you may remember, the Corporal was the US’s first tactical nuclear missile system loosely copied from the German V2 (thank you Dr Von Braun). It was a liquid fuel guided missile, fueled with fuming red nitric acid and liquid oxygen. The Corporal was transported and accompanied by a set of highly complex equipment that was all classified

Top Secret, and was rarely functional. Because of the security restrictions and lack of mechanical reliability, field training was minimal.
So as a bachelor 2d Lieutenant, I didn’t have much to do on weekends and in the evenings. I had taught myself to play the guitar during Firstie Year. In search of someone to point me to where I could purchase a cheap electric guitar, I was lead to Horst and Herbert, two German brothers, who with a third German, Peter, played in a band. Popular music in Germany then (and now) was American or English music, so a local band needed to know American music. I helped Horst and Herbert with some songs that I knew and in gratitude, they asked me to have dinner with them in the gasthaus where they were playing, if I would sing with them. We became friends and eventually they asked me to join the band.
My invitation to join the band was not because of my outstanding musicianship, but rather because, being an American, I could presumably get the band into American clubs which paid about twice as much as what German clubs paid. Since I had lots of time on my hands for practicing and playing on the weekends, with permission from my Battery Commander, I joined “Les Chevaliers”. The band had all the guitars and amplifiers, etc. The only thing I had to buy was a microphone. We wore gray suits, white shirts with maroon ties…..and actually looked like gentlemen.
The Kitzingen Officers Club: In the Kitzingen area were stationed many units, including 3d Division units, 7th Army support units, and aviation units. It was a busy club. Lots of infantry, armor and artillery battalions. And they all had battalion parties at the Officers Club.
I soon learned that the Kitzingen Officer’s Club was auditioning for a band to play at battalion parties. Les Chevaliers auditioned, was hired, and signed a six month contract to play on Friday and Saturday nights, from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, for about $100 per month each (those were big bucks then). We played the music of the day: Kingston Trio, Brothers Four, Peter Paul and Mary (I was Mary), plus Everly Brothers, early Beatles, Ray Charles, and some jazz music.
There was a little bandstand in the corner of the Club, elevated about three or four feet from the floor where our piano, drums, microphones, guitars, speakers, and even a vibraphone, were crammed together. The bandstand was our territory, no visitors allowed. It was Friday night and we were scheduled for play for an infantry battalion party. We were on the bandstand getting ready to start our 7:00 dinner music, when out of nowhere the Battalion Commander strode up to bandstand, jumped up beside me, grasped my microphone, and asked “Is this thing on?” “Yessir”, I responded, being irritated that he was encroaching on my territory.
After quieting the noisy crowd, his words were (to my best memory), “ I have the very sad duty to announce that President Kennedy was shot today in Dallas, Texas, and died at 1:00 pm Central Time. This party is cancelled”. I can clearly remember my own shock together with the silence in the Club, which must have lasted for several minutes. No one

moved. Then a woman began quietly sobbing, and then a second woman began to cry. Finally someone stood up and started for the exit, and in deathly quiet, the entire room slowly emptied….leaving Horst, Herbert, Peter and me on the bandstand.
I could tell that Horst and Herbert were affected the same way that I was. When Peter, our drummer, turned to me and asked “Does this mean we don’t get paid tonight?” Horst and Herbert both said something sharply to him in German, which I did not understand, and Peter left the three of us on the bandstand to put away the instruments.
When Horst, Herbert and I left the Club, we went to my place to listen to AFN, our only communication link to the US, where we learned of some of the details. Horst and Herbert apologized for Peter’s insensitive question, and I told them about how our Class felt so close to JFK because of his graduation address to our Class. Since JFK’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech earlier in the year, most German’s felt the same way as Americans did, attracted to his youth, intelligence and his courage for standing up to the Russians at the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Like most people of our age, November 22d remains vividly clear to me. My personal shock and grief, the Colonel’s words into my microphone; the deathly silence that ensued, the sobbing of the women, and (unfortunately) Peter’s untimely words, will forever be with me.
The Corporal Missile system was declared obsolete in 1964; I was transferred to the 3d Battalion, 21st Artillery, an Honest John missile system which was a much more practical system. It was a solid propellant rocket (no more fuming red nitric acid), fired from a modified five ton truck. I then began a more normal training regimen, going to Grafenwohr to fire them (with concrete warheads), and participated in many field problems and maneuvers. With that my music career came to an end. Les Chevaliers faded into history, Horst because a very successful architect, Herbert an attorney. I think Peter became a doctor. My friendship with Horst has survived the years; we see each other every other year or so, either in Nurnberg or in Seattle. I spent four days with him in March of this year.
We often talk of our memories of that terrible night in November, 1963. And we did get paid.

Tom Faley: K-2
I was an Infantry Platoon Leader, 3rd Infantry Division, 1/15th “CAN DO ” drinking with my buddies in the Officers Club near Wurtzburg, Germany. The Officer of the Day strode into the bar wearing his hat “covered.” He was therefore packing a loaded .45- caliber Colt automatic (wearing a hat in an officers club, unless armed, is such an etiquette breach that the offender must buy the bar a round).

He pointed at the bartender: “Close the bar.” He turned to us: “Red Alert.” This lieutenant was our drinking buddy, so we thought it was a joke and started laughing. He looked us dead on: “I’m not kidding…
At the motor pool, my four APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) already had “Live ammo on board, SIR!” and we roared into the forest to begin our advance to pre-selected defensive positions near the East German border.
We sweated ‘till dawn awaiting the probable Russian attack; doubtful we could hold, even if we used our (then TOP SECRET) battlefield nuclear weapons…yeah, we were ready…you were safe.

Don DeSapri: C-2
Like so many other classmates, in the Fall of 1963 we were experiencing the wonderful challenges of our first assignments. Mine was as a tank platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor, 24th Infantry Division. That November, like so many other months, our unit was once again at the 7th Army Training Center in Grafenwohr Germany, engaged in tank gunnery training. That November 22 day began early with a tank convoy out to range 30, or 42, or perhaps some other number. I believe we were firing for qualification on table 6 or 7, leading to eventual qualification on Table 8, the annual required qualification for all tank crews.
At the end of each day on the range, most officers retired to the boisterous bar at the Graf officers club. Some of our battalion lieutenants were lined up at the bar next to some 7th Cavalry guys. As usual they wanted to serenade us with unending stanzas of “Garry Owen.” And, as was the custom of tankers, we responded with our rendition of “Herman Nelson.” You remember, that was the heater used inside of tents. That always drew a heated response.
The music blaring from the juke box, or whatever other source of music was either the Four Seasons singing “Walk Like a Man,” or maybe it was the Chiffons with “He’s So Fine.” Probably also heard that early evening was the Angels with “My Boyfriends Back,” or, most likely, the Surfaris belting out “Wipe Out.”
Whatever the song, suddenly the music stopped. And then someone on the public address system announced the news that the President had been shot and had been taken to a hospital in Dallas. He concluded by saying that the club would close in 15 minutes.
We emptied the club and silently walked back to our crude barracks. The next day as we were preparing to return to the range, we heard news of President Kennedy’s death. Our Company Commander offered some remarks to all the men, and then we got back to the business of qualifying our tank crews, with a deeper purpose to our efforts.

Don Chafetz: C-2
My memory of the events has faded with time. I do remember we were at Grafenwohr, Germany for training. I was a member of the 24th Infantry Division stationed in Munich, Germany. It was in the evening and we were eating dinner with some friends in the officers club when we hear the announcement. It became very quite and seemed unreal.
I do not remember any special activities, assemblies or orders coming through. Again my memory is fading but I believe we remained at Grafenwohr and probably continued training.

Dave Phillips: B-1
The tragedy occurred while the 1st Battalion, 35th Field Artillery was at the Grafenwohr training center. We were a 105 mm howitzer battalion, equipped with the self-propelled M52 tracked weapons, holdovers from, I believe, WWI. I further think it might have been that we received the new M109 self-propelled 155 mm guns upon our return from Graf. Not sure.
We held a formation, observed a moment of silence, and went on with our business. I do recall that the German people held JFK in extremely high regard and took the loss much more than the men and women I associated with. Odd.
Many years later, I incorporated into my riveting talk, “Things I Did Not Learn In School,” two examples of the strength of the US Constitution and the transfer of power in the greatest country in the world. One example was the resignation of Richard Nixon: one and only one military person was present when the presidency was transferred to Gerald Ford, the US Marine standing at the foot of the stairway into the helicopter.
The other example was when the doctor at Parkland Memorial Hospital announced that President Kennedy had died. The Army warrant officer carrying the nuclear “football” who had been sitting just outside the doors to the operating room, as near to the President as he could get, simply got up and walked over to sit beside Lyndon Johnson.

Brian McEnany: H-2
Grafenwohr, Germany – November 1963. Eating dinner at the O-Club in the early evening hours – suddenly, the loudspeaker activates and “General —- report to your HQ, immediately!’ followed by Colonel —, report to your headquarters immediately!” There were a number of these announcements and then it cut to a radio broadcast that told us that JFK had been assassinated.

We returned to our barracks, packed our go-to-war duffle bags and waited for the call to head for our alert positions – Graf was just 10K from the Czechoslovakian border. I even wrote out a will – left my only possessions, a Grundig stereo and records to my girlfriend – later my wife. Meanwhile, we waited and waited in the barracks, but no call came – finally turned in to await another day – uncertain of what actions would be required of us in the morning!
JJ Kelly: E-2
Well, since Brian McEnany and I were together at the Graf O’Club, I’ll corroborate his story. Just finished a rib-eye steak. German band playing. They just packed up, shed lots of tears and left.

Morris Brown: C-2
My first unit assignment after graduation and follow-on training was B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery (Honest John). The battalion was located in Pinder Barracks in the village of Zirndorf, on the outskirts of Nurnberg-Furth, (West) Germany. The Iron Curtain stood only a few hours’ drive to the east.
On the 22d of November, 1963 I was the battalion staff duty officer. After eating supper in the battalion consolidated mess per standing instructions, I returned to battery headquarters to work on some papers. My trusty Zenith Trans-Oceanic radio was tuned to the Armed Forces Network (AFN) and provided background music as I worked.
After about an hour there was a knock on the office door. One of the men stuck his head in and excitedly informed me that, although he didn’t understand much German, he thought the local radio station had just announced that President Kennedy had been shot. Since nothing yet had been said on AFN I doubted this, and told him not to do anything out of the ordinary until this announcement had been verified through channels. After about twenty minutes or so, AFN did broadcast the news that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.
My initial thought was that this might be the precursor to a surprise assault by Warsaw Pact forces. Telephoning the division staff duty officer, I anxiously informed him of the AFN broadcast. He already was aware of it, but said that no direction yet had been received from VII Corps. After some discussion, he advised me just to pass the word thoughout the battalion, and discretely to round up those individuals on pass in the village.
After briefing my battalion commander by telephone, I proceeded to the main gate guard shack, informed the Sergeant of the Guard of events, asked him to send a couple of men into the village to recall all US personnel there, and that all questions should be deflected gently without comment. I then proceeded to the small Officers’ Club annex, where

several individuals were engaged in a card game, and informed them that the President had been shot. One of them replied, “That’s a poor joke!” I angrily replied that it was not a joke and that it was being announced on the air. The card game ended abruptly as the participants headed for the nearest radio.
For the next several hours there was a steady stream of people in and out of the orderly room, asking for the latest news about the shooting, and near-constant discussion about it. I think the entire battalion spent the night anxiously waiting for the klaxons on the barracks walls to loudly signal an Alert, Loadout, and Displacement to tactical field positions in preparation for the start of WWIII. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
The battalion commander called a formation the next morning and officially announced that President Kennedy had died. Everyone’s mood for the rest of the week was somber. A number of individuals later remarked that, when they went off-installation, many of the villagers approached them with sincere expressions of sympathy and encouragement.
Regardless of nationality, it seemed to me that all were united in common grief at the assassination of a beloved President.

Phil Galanti: K-2
I was in Germany, as ADM PLatoon Leader of the 3rd Engineer Battalion, 24 the Infantry Division (Mech). There were a bunch of us sitting in the Officers’ Club having a beer. It was about 2000 when the club manager made the announcement over the PA system. We looked at each other, put down our beer glasses and went home to await the call. We knew we were about to go to war. The story followed that Seventh Army had scheduled a Readiness Test that night, but had the good sense to cancel it, or who knows what might have happened.
I could not forget that he had given me my diploma on June 6, 1962. That fact made it very personal.
I had been ADM (Atomic Demolition Munitions) Platoon Leader for about a month, and it was the first time I had been faced with the possibility that I might have to actually fire those things off. It was a very sobering series of thoughts.
John King: C-2

At the time, I was a platoon leader in the 237th Engineer Combat Battalion in Heilbronn, Germany, but on TDY to a German Engineer unit in Koblenz where I was demonstrating a new machine that automatically placed anti-tank mines in the ground. On November 22nd, we were bivouacked in the woods somewhere outside of town where the demonstration was taking place and were out of touch, so nobody heard anything about the President’s assassination until we returned the next morning to the German kaserne

where the unit was stationed. We had no sooner arrived when I was informed by the first German officer who saw me what had happened the previous day. I was tremendously shocked and exploded with an expletive, which was sympathetically understood. I also remember receiving the condolences of the entire Pioneer (Engineer) Battalion at the barracks, something that made me appreciate the widespread upset caused by the assassination of our President.
Of course I was proud that President Kennedy had addressed our class’s graduation and he was special to me for that. That specialness was somewhat undermined a bit later just after my arrival in Germany when my platoon was sent to a military base where the President was arriving for a visit, and our role (among other things) was to paint the dirt green around the landing place for his helicopter so it would look like grass. But in retrospect, that is more a reflection on some up-tight local commanders than on the President. The fact remains that his assassination marked a major and world-shaking event that shook our confidence and remained forever imbedded in our memories, all the more so for the special association our class had with him.

John Kirby: I-1
I was stationed as a platoon leader in A Co, 67th Armor, at Monteith Barracks in Furth, Germany. As I recall, the reason we were there was to slow/stop a Russian attack designed to put all of Western Europe under Communist control. I felt that we were playing a deadly earnest role in the protection of Western Europe and our way of life. It was not a game but rather an assigned mission – to be executed with just cause and maximum speed.
We were constantly ready, kept ammunition for all weapons on the tanks at all times and had monthly alerts (normally in the middle of the night). We had a “chain” system for notifications, and when I got a call from my company commander – I would immediately call my tank commanders who then notified their crew members. We all at once went first to the arms room to draw weapons and the Orderly Room for radio frequency cards and then to our motor pool. Each of us kept a bag of alert gear (including clothes, hygiene kit [and cigarettes for those who smoked], as well as hot sauce to make C-rations edible!) on our tanks at all times.
As soon as I could, I turned on my tank radio and checked in to the company net. When the net was complete, we were notified to either stand down or move to our alert positions. Since movement included use of some German roads, before we could move, the German Police had to be present to stop civilian traffic. If we moved to these positions, we would normally stay there through at least one C-ration meal. Thank God we had heaters in our tanks so we could heat the C-rations. Occasionally either our Alert Positions or out Mission would change. When either of those occurred, during the winter when the ground was frozen, we would have practice maneuvers to either find our new alert positions or rehearse our new mission.

My wife and I were living in an Army apt bldg on Fronmueller Strasse in Nurnberg, Germany. It was supper-time and we were listening to AFN radio. The programming was interrupted by an announcement that JFK had been shot. I immediately called my friend, Walt Ligon (class of 1961) and told him what we had just heard. His response was: “Jay – Quit kidding — that’s not funny”. I told him that I was not kidding and suggested that he turn on the radio. I can’t remember whether he did or not!

Marlin Schmidt: C-2
It was night on an Armored Infantry Battalion (1/41 Inf) FTX in a cold dark forest in
Germany. I was asleep in my pup tent as a platoon leader, when a runner woke me to report to the Company CP. When I arrived with the other platoon leaders, the CO announced that President Kennedy had been shot. He ordered that all our men be told, while resuming our security for the night.
As I told my men the news, I cried as did a few others. I felt embarrassed by that as something a leader should not do. I no longer feel that way. At dawn his death was confirmed. We would prepare to road march back to our Kaserne in New Ulm; the FTX was over.
As we were awaiting the order to move out, black armbands & antenna pendants were somehow procured & distributed. When we thundered through the German villages, hundreds of people lined the road, crying in mourning. No one knew if the Russians were crossing the border & war was imminent. Memories of WWII were rekindled in their minds.

Dennis Bennett: M-1
It was a typical evening as a diverse group of military and embassy personnel celebrated Happy Hour at the Officer’s Club in Ankara Turkey on 22 November 1963, when the news of JFK was announced by the Duty Officer as he rushed into the room. Happy was quickly replaced with Somber.
As the Commander of the Detachment at the International Airport, I was responsible for any evacuation contingency plan for all military and embassy personnel, so I quickly dispersed to my pre-assigned station and duties.
But what struck me more than anything was not the efficiency of all the US personnel. No, it was the quick and sad reaction of the Turkish people. Air Force One had recently been to Ankara and the Turkish people held President Kennedy in high regard. And over the next few weeks their outpouring of sympathy and grief were a real testimony to the reach of his charisma.

Classmates assigned within the continental United States were confronted with the most diverse challenges of all theaters. From the world of ICBM’s and B-52’s to rapid reaction deployment in hot spots in the Americas, to maintenance of domestic peace in the escalation of racial issues, to preparing units and training soldiers available for strategic deployment anywhere in the world; 62 was there.
Our missile development was accelerated to support McNamara’s Mutual Assured Destruction principle. The Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 was probably the closest to nuclear war that we had ever experienced. Airborne units were rehearsing contingency drops into Latin locations. Medgar Evers of the NAACP was assassinated in June 1963, followed by Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in August. And we should not forget the US-based combat divisions ensuring their readiness for strategic re- deployment to Europe.
The sequence of stories is Fort Campbell, Fort Bragg, Air Force, Fort Carson, Air Defense, Northwest US, Schools and other US Posts.

Barry Thomas: A-2
The day started like so many others. Company formation at 0600 and then a PT run before breakfast. This week the 1st Battlegroup, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne division was taking over the responsibility for providing the Immediate Ready Force (IRF) for the Division. We all reported to the parachute rigging line right after breakfast to rig out our jeeps, mules, and other equipment. Stu Sherard and Neil Hyde were in A Company, Ty Cobb in B, John Godwin in C, Norm Grahn in D, and I, Barry Thomas, in E Company. I can’t remember which Company was designated for the two hour ready force but I know it was not E Company.
The rigging was going well and around noon we shut the line down and took a break for lunch. I went home and the troops went back to the Company area for chow. We were to get back to finish up at 1400. Pat and I were eating lunch when we saw the news on the TV. I was stunned, Pat was crying. I wolfed down what was left of my sandwich and headed back to the rigging line. Everyone was shocked and angry. The talk was all about who was behind this. Most people believed it was the Cubans. We expected to get the word to be ready to load out and go somewhere, maybe to Florida where some of the Division had been sent during the Bay of Pigs event.
The afternoon dragged on. We were done with the rigging by about 1600 and all went back to the Company area. I don’t recall at what time we were released but it was late in the evening. The troops were all told to stay on base for the night. Officers were to

remain by the phone in case we got the call to action. The atmosphere was very tense for the first few days but no alerts materialized. And that’s the way it was—Above the Rest!

Ty Cobb: E-1
I was assigned to Co B, 1/327 Infantry at Ft Campbell, KY. Got to Campbell in Mar ’63 after Frostbite 6 Ranger School with a bunch of Can Doers (Godwin, Hyde and Sherard in same battalion). I was company XO and weapons platoon leader.
On the DAY, I was attending a one week NBC class for officers and NCOs. Had been home for lunch when first saw on TV that there was a shooting in Dallas. Then as I was returning to class we learned that the President had been shot. At class, we learned that he was dead. Little instruction occurred the rest of the afternoon, as we all just stared into space.
Back at home Bev and I were glued to TV for hours.
That weekend Bev, my new daughter (Christy) and I went to Missouri to visit my grandmother. While there, we noticed on the TV that there was a shooting in Dallas. At first, we thought is was only a “re-run” of the Kennedy shooting. Soon we realized that Jack Ruby had killed Oswald. We thought “what is happening to our country?”

Ray Pendleton: E-2
I remember November 22, 1963 quite clearly.
It was a chilly day at Fort Campbell, KY, but the temperature was not as brutal as a few weeks earlier when we froze in the bleachers of Soldiers Field while watching Army and the Air Force Academy battle it out on the gridiron. Except for cold blasts off of Lake Michigan, that was a good trip, thanks to the generosity of the USAFA Supe who sent a plane to take most of our West Point grads at Fort Campbell to Chicago for the event. On the bus ride in from the airfield, we were reminded that President and Mrs. Kennedy had
visited Chicago only days before.
I was a member of E Company, 506th Airborne Infantry Battle Group of the 101st Airborne Division at the time. I had completed jump master training, and was tasked to help supervise and rig vehicles and equipment for a coming “heavy drop” exercise, which we were doing at the time. While lashing the quarter ton, three-quarter ton, and 105 mm light artillery loads to their cargo ‘chutes, pallets and cardboard honeycomb cushioning, we were talking about that Army-Air Force game … then one of the young troopers (who had been tuned into some great Blue Grass on his portable radio) rang out with, “Hey, sir, listen to this, they just shot the president!” Everyone went silent.

As best as possible we tried to hear the initial, sketchy and unconfirmed details coming from that small radio in an open area with wind gusting. Knowing more complete
and reliable information would be available shortly thereafter, we hurried up to complete the rigging, then left to join others for more comprehensive news reports. In the wake of that shocking announcement, the remainder of the day seemed to turn eerie and somber. In light of the President’s actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis a year earlier, we began to speculate about going to war with Cuba or Russia.

John Ulmer: I-2
I was flat on my back in the Ft. Campbell hospital where I had been since 9/11 having sustained a broken back and internal injuries on my 13th parachute jump (now that’s a good set of numbers!). I was in an open ward and the TV was on. For the next week I watched the entire set of events unfold. I watched Lee Harvey Oswald get shot live. My life had already changed substantially, but it was going to change even more.
John Winkler: L-1
Where were we (June & John Winkler) the afternoon of 22 November? We were driving back to Fort Campbell after a weeklong leave at my home in Caney Kansas. This was the first time I had been home since just after graduation. I had a wonderful time quail hunting with Dad and his beautiful English setters. It was great seeing my Mom, brother and twin sisters. We had to get back that Friday because of the start of Thanksgiving week and, as one of the most junior officers in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, we were on lots of duty rosters for that upcoming week. The more senior officers/NCOs would be on leave that week.
We were on US 60 going across southern Missouri near Poplar Bluff when the announcement came over the radio. Not much was said between us as the same report was repeated over and over again.
June was devastated by the assassination. She had bought into “Camelot” big time. Me not so much. While I was impressed greatly by JFK’s inauguration and graduation speeches, and his focus on Special Operations, that soured when I got to Campbell in March and saw the recon photos of the 506th drop zones in Cuba. The leadership of the Regiment felt that an inexperienced national politician had come within 12 hours of committing the unit to drop zones full of wire, obstacles and machinegun positions.
Many believe JFK was one of our greatest Presidents. I can’t rank him anywhere near the top.

Pat Canary: K-2
I was a platoon leader in C Co, 325 Battle Group (before we converted to Bn’s and Brigades) 82 Abn Div and the company was the immediate alert unit for the division with my platoon as the lead unit on a 10 minute alert standby in the company area—-ie. sitting on the trucks or on the steps to the barracks waiting for nothing to happen—-but we were ready to go to someplace in the Caribbean or wherever south.
We were alerted in late morning and loaded and departed the company area at Fort
Bragg for Pope AFB assuming we were on a “Drill”/”Test”exercise because we were not given any info as to why we were moving. On the way to the Pope one of my troops had a little portable radio and heard an announcement that the President had been shot in Dallas Texas. Upon arrival at Pope we assembled behind a C-130 with props turning and tailgate down waiting to load. Parachutes and gear were prepositioned so we started gathering up our equipment when a jeep from the G-3 arrived and a Major and senior NCO showed me an ESSO map of Dallas Texas and the airfield where we would land — Love field—–it was going to be a civil disturbance mission —–the other 4 platoons of the company were about 20 min behind and more C-130’s were moving into position —– -we had no need for parachutes, mosquito nets etc. so we stripped our troops of all the excess and began to load the first aircraft—–All went from we are ready to HOLD —- we were listening to the news reports on portable radios ——
We did not deploy but stayed at the airfield until the next morning thankful that there was no civil disturbance——-Yes it was a memorable event that I reflect on every November and when JFK is mentioned in a conversation.

Steve Warner: D-2
I was at Ft Bragg: D Co, 187th Inf, 82d ABN DIV. I was inspecting my platoon’s weapons in the company arms room, when news of the JFK assassination reached us. After work, I went home and cried.

Larry Waters: F-2
I was in the field in a commo trailer with the 504th ABN brigade, 82nd ABN. A ticker tape type message came thru while I was standing there that said “President Kennedy was shot” . A short time after it indicated he was dead. Not much we could do in the boonies. We always seemed to be on alert during the civil rights movement in Selma and other spots.

Greg Wilcox: E-2
I was a platoon leader of a recon platoon in 1/17 Cavalry, 82d Airborne Division attending Heavy Drop school that day when the word came. It was a shock like I’ve never experienced. Kennedy was our President. We marched in his inauguration parade. He spoke at our graduation and handed out the first 50 diplomas (I was not one of the 50). But it was not just us West Point grads who felt the pain. My entire platoon was more motivated than any time I had ever witnessed. It was a mixture of pain, shock, denial, grief, and a desire for vengeance.
Thirty minutes after hearing about Kennedy’s assassination, I was back at the barracks with my platoon, and we were ordered immediately to Pope AFB where we sat on our parachutes awaiting further orders. The rumor was that we were going into Cuba. I think we were there on the ramp about 12 hours before we were recalled to the barracks, but on a leash for further orders.
As I recall, we had no maps, no specific DZs, no intel. My memory is now foggy about all this, but none of us were clear of any plans other than we wanted revenge and we were going to unload on anyone who got in our way. A lot of our classmates were in the 82d at that time, and I’m sure we all wanted to jump into Cuba and take out the entire Cuban Army. Perhaps it was best that wiser heads prevailed.

Will Cannon: A-1
On November 22, 1963, we were at the height of the Cold War. Having gone Air Force after graduation, I was stationed on a Strategic Air Command Base as an Intelligence Officer.
SAC’s mission was, first, to survive an enemy attack on the Homeland, and this was accomplished by having intercontinental ballistic missiles buried underground in bomb- resistant silos and by having a fleet of bombers and an airborne command post already in the air at all times, 24/7.
Secondly, SAC’s mission was to respond with devastating force to any attack on the Homeland within 30 minutes, which was the predicted window of time between the detection of incoming planes or missiles at the Defense Early Warning Line (DEW Line) in Canada and nuclear impact in the United States.
This was the “Mutually Assured Destruction” situation that preserved the peace for decades of the Cold War between the United States on the one hand and Russia and China on the other hand.
Each bomber crew and each missile crew carried the nuclear Go Codes on their person. Activation of the Go Codes required an order from the President of the United States confirmed by the two senior officers on the crew before responding.

In those days there was no exception for perfection in the Strategic Air Command. The SAC Inspector General and his staff would swoop down on a SAC base, and anyone — ANYONE — who didn’t make 100 on their test was fired on the spot. If more than one person made less than 100 on their tests, the Colonel who commanded the Wing could expect to be told to get off the base and report to the Pentagon for reassignment.
On November 22, 1963, I was the Officer of the Day at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas. I was about 20 miles outside of Wichita on my way in a staff car to one of the 18 ICBM silos that ringed Wichita. I heard about President Kennedy’s having been shot on the radio. I immediately thought: This is it! The President is disabled or dead, so he won’t be able to initiate the Go Codes, and there will no doubt be so much confusion that no one else will be able to do it either. If this is a Russian plot, and planes or missiles were coming over the North Pole toward the DEW Line at that exact moment, there would be no way for SAC to respond in time.
I wheeled around and headed back to the base, top speed. I expected to see that the DEFCON level had skipped a couple of steps on its way to the top. I expected to see hyper-activity on the flight line. I expected to see people running, tires squealing, etc. But what did I find? Everyone was gathered around black and white televisions, dumfoundedly watching the drama unfold in Dallas.
As it turned out, there was apparently no Cold War threat that day. But, there could have been. Of course, it was easy for me to judge from the level of a Second Lieutenant, but I’ve never, before or since, been more disappointed in the Pentagon than I was that day.

Len Butler: K-2
In November of 1963 I was a young pilot in the 305th Air Refueling Squadron at McGuire AFB, New Jersey. I was new to Strategic Air Command (SAC) and was preparing to be certified on the Strategic Integrated Operations Plan (SIOP) for my unit. As such, I was in the special plans office studying the SIOP for my certification which was coming up in a couple days. The Chief of Special Plans had the radio on listening to a NYC easy listening station. The music was interrupted by the announcement that the President had been shot. Inasmuch as there was no speculation as to who was responsible, my study of the SIOP gave me a chill as I thought of the possible ramifications.
About ten years later during one of our moves, I found a copy of the White House Press Release of our graduation address by JFK. To this day I have no idea how I came to have it. I distributed a copy to as many classmates as I could.
Whether or not I agreed with President Kennedy politically, I was honored to march in his inaugural parade and have him speak at our graduation. Several years ago, I tracked down Ted Sorenson, JFK’s speechwriter. I wrote him to tell him how timeless I thought our graduation speech was. He didn’t respond and has since passed away.

Ray LoPresto: I-2
I tried but did not make the cut. I was in the middle of the middle third and so when they handed out other service commissions I did not get one. Since the Air Force would allow you to get a masters right away the powers that be were afraid that they would lose all of the star men to the Air Force, so they split the quota in thirds and counted back from the top of each third.
Ever since our cow summer at Eglin AFB when they had us lined up on the side of the runway and brought in the fighter series starting with the T-37 at very low altitude and ended with an F-104 going vertical, lighting the burner and very rapidly going out of sight headed for a contrail I knew what I wanted to do in the military. When I got to Ft Bliss for Nike missle training in El Paso I found the right Major who listened to my sad story, figured it was not some epiphany from a wild night in Jaurez and helped me write a request for transfer. I must have learned something after almost flunking out of plebe English writing themes. When I finished Nike missile school, jump school, got married and reported to my Nike battery in the L.A. area, I received a transfer in July 1963 to the U.S. Air Force and a pilot training class date of Sept,’63 at Moody AFB Valdosta, GA in the 3552nd Pilot training squadron.
I remember when I became aware of the JFK assassination very vividly. 22 November 1963 we had just finished briefing for my next training flight in the T-37 and were walking to the parachute room to don our chutes before going to our aircraft when it was announced over the loud speaker system. There was not a lot of time to contemplate the event for we were on a rather tight schedule to get airborne. I was still trying to keep up with fast moving events in the cockpit. When we got back to the flight room for the debriefing there certainly was a lot of speculation and discussion.
I graduated from pilot training in Sep. ’64 and joined the 3660th pilot training squadron at Laredo AFB Laredo TX in Dec.’64 after instructor pilot training at Waco AFB Waco TX.

Roger McNamara: D-2
I was assigned to the USAF Navigator Training Squadron in Waco, Texas at James Connelly Air Force Base. I was driving on a two lane road near the flight line; going back to my barracks from a flight training mission that I completed that morning. The radio was on; the music was interrupted by the broadcaster announcing that JFK had been assassinated.
Pulling off of that road, I stopped and put my head down on the steering wheel. I could not believe what I had just heard, yet the radio continued to broadcast news of the tragedy that had happened in Dallas. Dallas is about forty-five minutes North of Waco. I sat in my car with my eyes closed. I was in a state of disbelief and great sorrow. I felt totally

deflated. I just could not believe it. After a bit, I drove back to the barracks and spent time in the tv room with the other squadron fliers. Everyone was very quiet but we were glued to the television newscast.
All flags on James Connelly Air Force Base went to half- mast immediately. All flight operations were cancelled except for the alert aircraft which were on the runway.
I spent the evening in my room quietly trying to grasp what was happening. I was simply stunned.

Jerry Janicke: K-2
I was assigned to 570th SMS, part of the 390th SMW in Tucson, AZ, which had 18 Titan II silos strategically placed. I had just gotten off alert at a Titan II silo and I was on my way home (about 11:30 Tucson time) in my car when I heard of the shooting and since I needed some sleep—I was up 22 hours straight as part of our 24 hour duty at the missile site—I went to bed.
When I got up, about 3 pm, I learned that the president had died. I went on alert that Sunday and saw on TV Ruby shoot Oswald. I didn’t know how to feel. I can assure you we paid attention to the message traffic from SAC HQ that Sunday while we were on alert. I thought we would go to a higher alert status, but as I recall we didn’t.
I was not certain that this was a plot planned by many but I thought others were involved

Mike Schredl: A-1
After finishing school at Keesler AFB, Mississippi in 1963, and being assigned to the 6594th Aerospace Test Wing in Sunnyvale California as a Satellite Control Integrations Officer, Judy and I lived with her parents while I went back to work as a sausage maker, having a month of leave.
I reported for duty as ordered and Judy and I then started looking for a place of our own. We would drive on days that I was not on duty down to Silicon Valley and look at apartments and duplexes. On one of these trips, on 22 November, Judy and I were driving south from San Francisco to San Jose, listening to the radio, when the program was interrupted telling us that President Kennedy was shot. My reaction was that shot meant maybe a minor wound. The announcer kept talking for a bit, and then updated that the President was shot in the head and the Governor was also wounded. After excessive incidental talk we were advised that the President was being rushed to the hospital. This was the first inkling that made me think this might be bad. Again after much analysis, the news was reported that the President was reportedly dead. Judy was impacted by the word dead and I think I was more focused on reportedly, therefore thinking probably not true.
On this particular trip, we were going down to San Jose to take possession of a duplex in

a complex on the border between San Jose and Santa Clara which we had just
rented. When we arrived at the manager’s office, she was crying with tears streaming down her face. She then told us that it was confirmed that the President was dead. It still didn’t really hit me for a day or two of just how terrible this tragedy was. Of course those classmates who knew me, especially in A-1, should not be surprised. I always was a little slow on the draw. As General Franks would have said, I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
A few days later we launched a reconnaissance satellite and I was fully involved with long hours for the next week and although we didn’t really have time to think of current events, our workplace was really subdued. After about a week and a half, when we had recovered the payload, done the preliminary analysis, and forwarded our report to the Secretary of Defense, we then started discussing the assassination. I remember that many of the old timers, both military and civilian, were especially shocked and saddened by the assassination. I think more so than us new shavetails, as they were very fond of the President, but also concerned about Johnson. These old timers included Dave Sykes ’53 and Bob Conlan USNA ’54, who was the son of my father-in -laws’ boss Dr. Louis Conlan, President of the City College of San Francisco.
A short time later, Dick Randazzo and Jan Molvar were also assigned to the
6594th. Ultimately all three of us became Shift Leaders – 62 can do. We did, as we flew 26 satellites together before I left active duty. Although much of our work is still classified, after almost 50 years, I think it is now a well known fact that we were photographing Russia, Vietnam and other areas. Our resolution was remarkable and some of our best pictures missed the target coordinates. We had a three dimensional error of a Russian farmer doing poo poo in his field, and of several air force officers giving us the bird as we flew over a tracking station. Needless to say we also obtained some very good, important, and timely sensitive material which I still feel after all these years more comfortable not mentioning.
Judy and I really didn’t discuss the assassination too much; her hands were full with our four-month-old son and starting a household. I think both of us just tried to put it in the back of our minds, wishfully thinking that it really didn’t happen.

Don Babb: C-2
On 11/22/1963 I was at Fort Carson, CO, home of the 5th Infantry Division (Mech)
and assigned to C Btry, 5th Bn, 4th FA. The Bn had returned to post from the firing range where we spent 4 days running various scenarios with hip shoots, fixed firing positions, etc. I was supervising the Fire Direction Center (FDC) conducting training and cross training to improve proficiency and increase speed and accuracy to carry out fire missions.
The morning of Nov. 22nd I was with the FDC section in the motor pool conducting more training. We were contacted to return to the Btry area of barracks. We were redirected to

the Bn Hq area where the Bn CO was standing on one of the raised PT platforms. Once all personnel were assembled he told us the news from Dallas.
The entire post had been placed on alert status. We returned to our Btry area and remained there for 2 more days until the order came to stand down. We had access to a couple of radios for news updates. The TV in the Btry dayroom was out of order so I did not see any TV news until 3 days later. I recall feeling sort of numb and in disbelief.
Alan Biddison: L-2
I was a platoon leader in E Company, 7th Engineer Bn, 5th Inf Div Mechanized. The unit was based at Ft. Carson which is close to Colorado Springs.
My wife and I lived in post housing a few miles from the company area. I was listening to the radio while driving home to have lunch. The program was interrupted with an announcement that President Kennedy had been shot. I turned on a radio as soon as I got home and told my wife the president had been shot. We focused our attention on the radio until we heard the President was dead. It was unbelievable.
Either that afternoon or the next morning the battalion had a dress rehearsal for a
parade. We marched from the battalion area to the parade ground to keep tanks and other mechanized vehicles off of the post roads. The formal parade of the division was in the afternoon. The officer’s club was located next to the parade ground. The battalion commander, as soon as the parade was over, turned the battalion over to the
battalion’s sergeant major and announced an officer’s call at the officer’s club. All officers left their units on the parade ground and walked to the club.

Art Lovgren: H-1
On 22 November 1963 2LT Art Lovgren found himself as artillery forward observer in Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion 19th Field Artillery, in the 5th Mech Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. I had reported for duty in January 1963. Our division was one of
those so-called STRAC divisions that had been alerted the previous October to convoy to Florida to take part in the planned invasion of Cuba to dump Fidel Castro.
As the “senior” 2LT of three in the battery I was assigned as Supply Officer as an extra duty. (The junior guy was traditionally assigned as Mess Officer—-not very desirable duty to say the least because of all the inspections and opportunities to fail!) Much nicer back in the Supply Room where a 2LT could set up office! FO’s didn’t have
offices! Since we depended on the draft to fill the ranks, my armorer was a PFC without a whole lot of education or technical/administrative skills. Physically he limped and was paralyzed on half his face. But he had his heart in the right place and was motivated to do well.

Thus, I was back in the arms room of that World War II vintage building, with a stove, fired…..yes, by draftees! I was helping my PFC inventory and properly document our weapons when we began to hear stirring and excited voices around the battery area…..something about the President being shot, down the highway in Dallas. We immediately sought out and found a radio in the XO’s office where we started picking up the ongoing details of that terrible day. Later that evening when I returned to my rented apartment in Colorado Springs I turned on the TV just as Jack Ruby was shooting Lee Harvey Oswald on live news!
As I now reflect on that horrible day and all the sadness that followed for weeks afterward, I think we can marvel at the fact that the transition to Lyndon Johnson went
down smoothly and without significant national disruption, thanks to our great constitution and political heritage! God bless America!!

John DeVore: F-2
After Fort Benning, Georgia (IOOC, Airborne, Ranger, Jumpmaster, 4.2″ Mortar & Davy Crockett School and Special Assignment as United Care Givers’ Fund Project Officer), the first duty station was Fort Carson, Colorado, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), 3rd Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry. In April 1963 the initial assignment was Rifle Platoon Leader, 2nd Platoon, C Company. On November 22, 1963 the new assignment became Reconnaissance Platoon Leader.
On or about the hour of JFK’s assassination, Recon Platoon Sergeant E-5 Michael J. Hughes and I were walking from the C Company Orderly Room around the Day Room of Headquarters Company to the Recon Platoon barracks for a first meeting with the assembled members of the Reconnaissance Platoon. As Sergeant Hughes and I neared the barracks, The Headquarters Company Clerk came bursting out of the Day Room to share that JFK had just been shot and was not expected to live. Sergeant Hughes and I stopped in our tracks, looked at one another, and were speechless.
The character of the introductory meeting with the Recon Platoon members was distracted and reflective. Aside from meeting each other, we just wanted to chat and
to reflect. The only decision we made was to request permission to wear red berets during field exercises. This permission was granted and the red berets made us feel special.

Rusty Wilkerson: E-2
My platoon was the aggressor in the Squad ATTs for the 1stBn, 11th Infantry. Because I (and more importantly, my platoon Sgt) were the most experienced, our Co Cdr knew we would ace it. I distinctly remember sitting on a hill at Fort Carson when we got a radio call to cease operations and move to a rendezvous point. No reason was given even though we asked.

Once we got back in the cantonment area we learned that JFK had been shot. Shortly afterwards we were directed to change into Class A’s for a Division (5th Mech) formation on the parade field. Before and after we stayed glued to the TV. A couple of days later and several others spend most of the day at our Battalion S-3’s quarters watching the entire funeral.

Will Miller: C-2
I’ve hesitated to contribute since I have a lousy memory and am astounded at the clear remembrances of my classmates. The best I recall, I was just returning to Ft Carson, CO from leave [my oldest child had just been born in Tulsa, OK] and eating lunch alone at the O Club [an unusual place for me to eat to begin with since I was a married O-1] when the announcement was made over the PA system.
I suspect I went back to my unit 4/12 Cav where I was XO of the Hq troop–which is where I spent most of my waking hours. If I went further than that I would be making it up…not even sure about that last sentence since I had several assignments within the squadron and the dates of those assignments are lost in my memory bank.
Sadly, Kennedy didn’t mean that much to me one way or the other at the time. Yes, he spoke at our graduation [but even that didn’t mean that much to me since I was happy to have just gotten through those 4 years] and he was our Commander in Chief, [but there were a helluva lot of layers between him and me].
Now if LTC Chapin [my squadron CO] had gotten assassinated… I suspect that would have been another story. That said, I’m sure I was as stunned as everyone else that someone would assassinate the President of the United States. But, frankly, I’ve always had enough on my plate to be too concerned about things I could do little about–but that’s just me.

Dan Clark: F-2
When President Kennedy was assassinated, I was serving as Executive Officer, C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 51st Artillery in San Rafael, California. Our Nike Hercules Missile Battalion was under the command of the 40th Brigade with Headquarters in San Francisco. Bill Byrd was also in C Battery. Ernie Zenker and one or two other classmates were assigned to the 40th Brigade.
Everyone was in shock and disbelief at the news. As I recall, there were several conspiracy theories. Cuba was suspected. So many units were moved to Florida that there was some concern that Florida would sink into the ocean. Some of us felt that we would be reassigned to Air Defense units in Florida. Because of the concerns and perceived air threat, all of our units were moved to the highest readiness status. I do not recall how long this lasted but it was more than just a few days. As many of us gathered

at various meetings and exercises, those of us in the ’62 Can Do Class realized we had lost a great leader, one whom we felt had a special connection to our class.

Dale Smith: I-2
I was on a Nike site in Calif, a mile up. I recall almost total silence from everyone in the Company and Fire Control area. Total disbelief was the first display of expression, followed by “Oh, My God” or something similar. The third phase was a dumb faced look on the face: shock. I still remember the “empty” feeling.

Larry Needs: K-1
As I was coming down from “the hill” in the IFC area of D Btry, 3/1 ADA (a NIKE Hercules air defense battery) outside of Pittsburgh after Tac Eval training, and, as I entered the HQ building, my platoon Warrant, CW3 CW Porter, yelled, “Lt, you better come in here, Kennedy’s been shot.” My BC, XO, and 1SG and CW3 Porter gathered around the TV.
Since our mission was to defend the skies around Pittsburgh from a massive Soviet bomber attack and since no one had a clue as to why the President was shot, nor who did it, our alert status was raised from 2-hour standby to 30-minute alert to meet whatever the potential threat might be.
Although, politically, I was not on the same page as the President on a number of issues, I had great respect for him and all of us were shocked that anyone in our time would be of a mind to shoot the President of the United States, no matter who he was nor the nature of his politics.
Gus Zenker: E-2

I, like Larry Needs, was in my Hercules battery area (San Francisco Defense). My first thought: Oh my gosh, Johnson is President! I was not a particularly big fan of JFK (or any Democrats)- still am not. I was one of the “lucky” ones to shake his hand at graduation, and the only thing I remember about that occasion was how blue his eyes were and that he was shorter than I. (I guess I, like many, thought of him as a giant.)

Sammy Steele: C-2
In November of 1963, I was with the 2d Battalion 43d Artillery (Nike Hercules) at Turner AFB, near Albany Georgia. I was assigned to B Battery, near Sasser, GA while Ron Henderson and Jim Tumpane were with A Battery, near Sylvester, GA. I don’t recall precisely where I was at my battery on 22 November, but I was on site, as was the norm.

One other lieutenant and I were working 33 hours on, and 15 hours off. At the time, that was normal working hours for a young lieutenant in Air Defense.
As the launcher platoon leader, I was most likely in the launcher building, when one of our crewmen came in and said that Kennedy had been shot. I thought he must have been talking about PFC Kennedy, one of our launcher crewmen. It took a few seconds for me to grasp the significance of what had happened that day. I only vaguely recall watching the news about the assassination on my small black and white television set over the next few days.
Then, there was the funeral procession itself with the horse, no rider, the caissons and most memorable, little John John’s salute.
The 2/43 was a two battery Nike battalion, with 12 missiles in each battery. The battalion had the mission of protecting Turner AFB, an element of the Strategic Air Command. Due to the battalion’s geographic location in southern Georgia, they were on highest alert during the time of the Cuban crisis. Today, there are no CONUS strategic Air Defense missile sites, and Turner AFB was closed during the late 60’s.

Will Worthington: C-2
On the morning of November 22, 1963, I was in the 559th Engineer Company headquarters at Ft Wainwright, Alaska, when someone said we should turn on the radio and we heard that President Kennedy had been shot. I think there were two small offices for four platoon leaders and we didn’t normally spend much time there, but it was early morning in Alaska, and for whatever reason we were all in the headquarters that morning, along with the CO, First Sergeant and other NCO’s. Our classmates Dick Irwin and Art Webb were in the same company and I suspect they were present.
A short time later, we heard the news that the President was dead. There was a feeling of incredulity among all of us there in the orderly room, wondering who might have done this and why, and could it be part of a larger plot? For the most part, the mood was very somber and we just listened quietly as the stunning news came in over the radio . . . there was no live television in Alaska at the time. As I recall, there was talk of establishing a higher DEFCON, and we may have been told to stand by for orders, but I do not recall that we actually did change our readiness status.
I’ve always been proud that the President was our graduation speaker, though my recollections of Kennedy’s speech to us on June 6, 1962, are limited as I suspect our main concern was that it not be too long so we could get on with our day, but I do recall that part of the message was that we would be called on to fight our nations wars and defend our freedom. I remember thinking at the time that the possibility of war was pretty remote as nothing was on the horizon that I thought might result in war, and that his warning didn’t get much traction with me. It was a bit ironic that on June 6, 1967,

exactly five years later, I stepped off the plane in Pleiku, Vietnam, to begin my first tour there.
Russ DeVries: I-1
I was stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska. We were out on a cold weather exercise for a few days. The announcement came over our military radio net. We all thought that it was part of the exercise. Ten minutes later we were informed that it was real and that the maneuver was ending. We were ordered back to Fort Wainwright to prepare for what could have been a national emergency. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

John Wagner: L-1
We all remember where we were when we heard that JFK had been killed. Here is how I remember the occasion.
At the time, I was stationed at Ft. Lewis. I was Battery Commander of Battery B, 6th of the 32nd Field Artillery, Self Propelled 8″ howitzers. On 22 November I was on leave in Louisiana and by the time I returned to my unit JFK had been buried and the immediate shock of the event had passed. At that time the officers and NCO’s tried to focus the troops on the tasks at hand as we prepared for field training at Yakima Training Area in early January.
Peggy was expecting our first son, Bart, in early November and for several reasons, we decided that it would be best for her to travel back to our home town in Louisiana to deliver Bart. Just before she delivered, I took leave and came home to be with Peggy during the birth. Bart was born on November 14 after a difficult birth. Peggy and Bart stayed in the hospital for a week while she recovered. They came home to her Mother’s home on November 20.
On November 22, we were in the bedroom playing with Bart and Peggy’s Mother was across the hall in the kitchen preparing lunch. The TV in the kitchen was tuned to Kennedy’s visit to Fort Worth and Dallas. All of the sudden, Peggy’s Mother, Lulu, screamed, “they’ve shot the President, they’ve shot the President”. We rushed into the kitchen and watched the news coverage the rest of the day and for the next few days until JFK was buried. We were shocked and saddened by the attack.
I was very familiar with the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I spent many family Christmases in Fort Worth with my Father’s extended family. While growing up, I spent many summer vacations there with two Aunts. Many other relatives lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I felt that I knew the kinds of people who lived in the area and was shocked that Kennedy would be killed there.

As a final note, our son, John H (Bart) Wagner III graduated USMA in the Class of 1986 and is now a practicing psychiatrist in Shreveport, LA…in the same hospital where he was born. He also practices in the local VA Hospital.

Joe Petrolino: K-1
I was in the Transportation Office at Ft Hood arranging travel back to my duty station at Ft Lewis. A group of us had been sent to Ft Hood to participate in Operation Big Lift and were now back from Germany and due to return to our home station.
A couple of day later we took the train to Dallas to connect to another to take us to Tacoma. We stopped off in Denver and watched all the TV news.

Bob Phillips: K-1
On that fateful day I was on base at the Army Language School (Monterey, California) clearing post and getting ready to sit for my final written examination in completion of the Language Course in Vietnamese. Bob Tarbet and I had both come from Armor assignments from Ft. Hood and took the three month course together. We were due to have a few days leave and report to VN in early December.
I turned on the radio in my car while driving to the location of the examination when I heard a halting, unsure voice inform me that the President has been shot with a few other speculations thrown in. My reaction was at once to think that “I thought all that kind of stuff was prohibited on the radio after the Orson Welles big scare of the Mars invaders,” and immediately changed stations. Again, I heard a similar halting announcement of the President being shot. A third station had the same thing.
I was stunned, confused, and in a mild state of shock. All I could do is seek more information from yet more stations. After a while, I had to deal with where I was going in my car and what I needed to do next. I arrived at the test site and was informed that the exam had been cancelled but graduation would proceed the day after tomorrow as scheduled.
Of course there was a flood of thoughts about the entire situation of JFK, his unprecedented support for Army Forces in Counter-Insurgency situations, his emphasis on equipment improvement, and his support in general. In a speech he quoted Kipling,
For God and the soldier we adore, In time of danger, not before! The danger passed, and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted.
He visited soldiers in the Big Red One. He was determined to enhance our military ability to respond to small wars and not depend only on Nuclear Weapons. Yet, he had recently

announced a cut in the strength of US Forces in VN by 1,000. Clearly he was looking for a détente with the Russians at the time. Personally, I was wondering if Tarbet and I would be sent home within a few weeks after arriving in VN. Yet, I had read everything I could find about insurgency situations including WWII campaigns and battles involving guerillas and insurgents. And, of course I read, as did we all, Bernard Fall’s Street Without Joy, and the other three books he had out at that time. It was very exciting to be going to VN to try out our combat skills and our language training.
The enthusiasm of all of us at the Language School was very high even after JFK was killed. We felt we were continuing his work.

Walt Bryde: C-2
In my case, I was on a firing point in north Ft Knox, Kentucky. Had taken half the firing battery (C of 3d Bn , 3d FA) to the field that AM to fire in support of an Armor School problem. The Bn CSM arrived in a jeep and passed us the news from Dallas. Shortly afterwards, range control closed us all down. We march ordered, returned to the post, washed up and put the guns to bed. Then spent the next several days glued to our little black and white portable TV! Terrible business.

David McLaughlin: K-2
I was in the officer’s club at the Ranger Mountain camp in Dahlonega Ga. on temporary duty from the 82nd Abn to act as a Blackjack agent for the class of ’63 going through ranger training. I left the club to get word to the Commandant and on the way ran into a local and told him the President had been shot. His reaction shocked me as he replied, “Good I hope he is dead”.

Rick Kelly: F-2
On the day of the assassination, I was assigned on temporary duty from the 101st Abn Div as an instructor at the Mountain Ranger Camp in Dahlonega Ga. On that particular day I had made a trip to Gainesville, GA for the purpose of buying a used television for my hooch at the camp. I was in a pawn shop in Gainesville and asked the owner to plug in the TV to demo it for me.
Well I guess you know the rest, the station he tuned to had the headline of the shooting in Dallas. Needless to say, we were mesmerized for the next hour or two at which time I declined to purchase the set and headed back to camp.
The next day we held a small memorial service for the President and then went back to work. Not much to write about as we had class schedules to keep up with.

Steve Sperman: F-1
I had just been appointed both the S-2 and the S-3 of the 3/77th Armor at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. The S-3 had been reassigned due to the draw down, the S-3 also was the S-2. My S-2 SFC came running in to my office with a TWX which said JFK had been shot dead and we were to go on Alert, we were a STRAC unit.
Off I went to the CO LTC Wheeler, to hand him the TWX, he had just heard the news on the radio JFK been shot but they had not announced his death. Other than riot duty we could not figure out what to do but we canceled leaves and passes and waited for further instructions which never came. We later had a battalion formation where the news was read.

Dick Steinke: E-2
I was the battalion adjutant of a tank battalion at Fort Irwin California. The mail clerk had been listening to the radio and came in and told us that President Kennedy had been shot. A few days later we had an assembly of the entire battalion for the Colonel to read the official death notice.
We were all shocked at the news. It was unbelievable. As I look back this was a key event in the history of our country and things changed from this point on. The changes were not always for the good.

George (Tank) Telenko: I-1
Remembering what I was doing the day President Kennedy was shot in Dallas is easy for me. I was stationed at Ft Hood, Texas a short four hour drive south of Dallas when President Kennedy was shot. I was a young Tank Platoon leader in the 1st Battalion 67th Armor of the 2nd Armored Division. We had been on standby alert for deployment to Florida for over six months in preparation for the possible invasion of Cuba during the Cuba missile crisis. That alert status had been canceled and we were just getting familiar with living at home with our families and going through a normal scheduled day. We at that time were also preparing for the visit of President Kennedy the following day Saturday Nov 23rd.
I can remember plain as day getting the call from my wife Dana when I was in the troop barracks preparing for the visit by President Kennedy. She said “Honey the President had been shot”! It was hard for me to grasp the seriousness in her voice I kept asking her questions about the shooting. Where did it happen, when did it happen and ultimately what was the condition of the President? The only thing she knew was what she was seeing on TV which was the President had been rushed to the hospital and nobody knew his condition. I immediately ran to our day room and turned on the TV to see what was

going on. The room I was in filled up quickly and we all sat with our hearts in our hands wondering why this had happened and who had done it. About 30 minutes after we starting watching the situation in Dallas our company received an alert to go to full combat alert status similar to what we had been in for the Cuban deployment and to start drawing weapons. We all assumed that the shooting of President Kennedy was a prelude to a full scale military invasion of the USA. While preparing for the alert we received word that the president Kennedy had died in Dallas and that the Vice President had been sworn in as the new President.
We remained in alert status the rest of that day and by evening were released back to our quarters. When I got home my wife was in tears and glued to the TV set reliving all the events surrounding the shooting of President Kennedy. It was extremely hard for us to accept his death after seeing him at graduation a little over a year before. It felt like I had lost a classmate. Since he was given a class ring and made a member of our class at graduation, accordingly he was unofficially the first member of our class to be killed performing his duty for the United States. “Can Do” Mr. President, may you rest in peace!
20 January 1961
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
6 June 1962
“But you have one satisfaction, however difficult those days may be: when you are asked by a President of the United States or by any other American what you are doing for your country, no man’s answer will be clearer than your own.”


Editorial Postscript
I would like to thank our class scribe, Dave Phillips, as well as Walt Menning, Fred Bothwell and Brian McEnany for their encouragement to undertake this project as well as their invaluable practical suggestions and publishing support to a novice editor. I doff my hat to our classmates who were willing to share their personal experiences and thoughts and I hope their stories will now also form a part of their family histories. Most of all, I thank my wife, Louise, surely bored with listening to recitation of my own story, for suggesting that it would be much more interesting to hear what my classmates were doing on that fateful day.
Naturally all errors and omissions in this document are my responsibility. I have tried to limit my intervention in the individual stories to matters of obvious typos. I have particularly avoided ‘political cleansing’ except in a very few cases where a comment may have strayed significantly from the purpose of the collection. So there are plenty of strong opinions expressed in the stories and which, of course, I and all other persons associated with the creation and distribution of this document do not endorse.
This document will be available to members and friends of the Class of 1962 as well as to open websites affiliated, officially or unofficially, with the US Military Academy, the Class of 1962 or the Kennedy Library. It is also anticipated that a bound version will be available for order on Amazon in the near future with copyright registered in the name of United States Military Academy Class of 1962. Questions or comments may be directed to until 31 December 2014.

Roy Degenhardt London, England March 2014

48 Babb Don
13 Baxter Gene
39 Bennett Dennis
49 Biddison Alan
36 Brown Morris
11 Brown Roger
56 Bryde Walt
29 Burns Phil
45 Butler Len
17 Buttolph Dan
43 Canary Pat
44 Cannon Will
35 Chafetz Don
17 Chegar Dick
14 Christopher Bill
51 Clark Dan
41 Cobb Ty
22 Degenhardt Roy
34 DeSapri Don
50 DeVore John
12 DeVries Bob
54 DeVries Russ
23 Dominy Chuck
8 DuPuy Trevor
33 Faley Tom
25 Fishburne Gus
14 Foss Rich
37 Galanti Phil
8 Gorman Jim
16 Havercroft Roger
20 Hertel Charles
10 Hueman Pat
47 Janicke Jerry
26 Johnson Marshall
36 Kelly JJ
56 Kelly Rick
37 King John
38 Kirby John
12 Krause Bob
46 LoPresto Ray
49 Lovgren Art
18 Luis Rog
31 McCarthy Terry
15 McDonnell Mike
35 McEnany Brian
56 McLaughlin David
46 McNamara Roger 1
3 Menning Walt
24 Middaugh Tom
51 Miller Will
52 Needs Larry
41 Pendleton Ray
29 Peterson James
55 Petrolino Joe
55 Phillips Bob
35 Phillips Dave
31 Regan John
27 Richardson Craig
14 Ross Bill
28 Rowe Ed
39 Schmidt Marlin
47 Schredl Mike
15 Sheaffer Fred
52 Smith Dale
57 Sperman Steve
52 Steele Sammy
57 Steinke Dick
57 Telenko George
40 Thomas Barry
42 Ulmer John
54 Wagner John
25 Walker Tom
16 Ward Windsor
43 Warner Steve
43 Waters Larry
44 Wilcox Greg
50 Wilkerson Rusty
42 Winkler John
20 Worthington Jim
53 Worthington Will
11 Wylie Dick
52 Zenker Gus