Second Lieutenant Marine Sage Santangelo, became the 15th woman to attempt — and fail — the grueling United States Marine Corps (USMC) Infantry Officer Course and she is blaming the military group for it.
Santangelo, a 5-foot, 3-inch officer, wanted to become a better leader and applied for the grueling course, knowing full well the past experience for females was not a good one.
While growing up, this female Marine was more of a tomboy and liked to play in the boys’ hockey team and in general was able to keep up with the guys, but when she attempted to take on the extreme training course, she told On The Radar that the USMC didn’t give her a fair shot.
“It was an awesome opportunity for me to be able to try the course, and an opportunity for me to learn what the ground combat element does and how I can support them in the future, and how to become a better leader in the Marines overall.”
The US Marine Corp lifted a ban on females in combat last year and since then, many have tried, unsuccessfully, to pass the Officers Training Course.
Santangelo says that women were separated from men during training and were not allowed to perform at the same level as their male counterparts, which in the end — she believes — made her fail.
The course is a requirement for any Marine who wants to become an Infantry Officer, but the fact that no female has succeeded is a problem for the Corps, as they try to implement lifting the ban by 2016.
“I got to a point throughout the test that my body just couldn’t perform anymore and I wasn’t able to complete the task that I needed to be able to complete; and you know, I couldn’t continue past that point. So, myself and 26 other men all failed at this point. So, it was a tough realization. I really wanted to believe I had a shot of making it through.”
Santangelo felt so strongly about her reasons for failing that she wrote a compelling op-ed in the Washington Post in which she asks that the USMC change the way they prepare candidates attempting to take this course and prepare them better to face the final test.
The Marine officer insists she is not asking the Corps to make it easier for women:
“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.”
Out of 15 female Marines signing up for the Officer Training Course, only one has made it through the first day.
Do you think this female Marine has a point or women shouldn’t be in leadership combat positions?
[Image via Shutterstock]