A female Marine officer fired from her recruiting position after “complaints of a toxic leadership environment,” is stirring up controversy. Lt. Col. Kate Germano relieved of her duties on June 30 for her “hostile, unprofessional, and abusive” treatment of her all-female recruit battalion, News Military reports.
The Marine officer argues that she was just trying to make the unit better by holding women to tougher standards, Marine Corps Times reports in an in-depth article about the case.
Germano was the commanding of an all-female recruit battalion in Parris Island, South Carolina, at the 4th Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot.
Brig. Gen. Terry Williams, Parris Island’s commanding general, was the one who fired Germano. Officers who served with the female Marine who was fired say she attempted to reform recruit training “regardless of gender, and that a vocal minority in the battalion undercut her achievements. Germano’s tactics, for example, dramatically improved range qualification rates for female recruits.”
The issue of having equal standards for male and female recruits at the Marines at the Corps’ East Coast recruit depot is being highlighted in this case. Germano is petitioning lawmakers for “redress” and believes she was treated unjustly on her base leadership.
Williams cites the female Marine officer fired for leading a “poor command climate and the loss of trust and confidence” in her ability to “serve in command,” according to a statement. It was concluded in the investigation that Germano displayed “toxic leadership” by pointing fingers publicly at under-performers, expressing contempt for subordinates, bullying Marines, and singling them out for not keeping up with recruit standards.
In one portion of the investigation, it was learned that Germano made comments during a sexual assault prevention briefing that was interpreted as blaming the victim in such a way that it made them “feel less comfortable reporting a sexual assault within the command.” She once said that “sexual assault is 100” preventable. She also noted that drinking puts women in a position to be sexually assaulted.
Germano apparently had a way of “reinforcing gender bias and stereotypes” to her female subordinates by constantly telling them that male Marines would “not take orders from them and would see them as inferior if they could not meet men’s physical standards,” according to the investigation.
Sixty-four members of the battalion took a survey provided by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, and half of those felt that the unit didn’t promote a climate based on respect and trust, while 20 percent didn’t view the unit as creating an environment where victims would feel comfortable reporting sexual assaults.
Germano wrote a letter to the 4th Recruit Training Battalion following her relief. The officer fired explains that the battalion excelled in its standards despite claims otherwise.
“Despite considerable active and passive resistance throughout all echelons of the Recruit Depot and the Marine Corps, we each worked incredibly hard to improve the performance of our recruits to make them stronger, faster, smarter, and better shots — all to better the institution. We achieved unprecedented and historic results in just a short period of time, and regardless of the controversy caused by our goal to improve the caliber of our graduates, I ask that you remain steadfast and committed to this objective.”
In the investigation of this female Marine officer who was fired, several witnesses also say she made things better at the battalion. They say she was a caring and supportive leader who prioritized troop welfare and the well-being of their families.
[Photo Credit: Defense Dept. via Marine Corps Times]