I can only doff my metaphorical cap in respect to Sergeant-Major Justin LeHew, USMC, for speaking up about the recent implicitly insulting and blatantly politically-correct comments made by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. The Marine Times reports:
An influential Marine leader who received the nation's second-highest valor award and helped run the Corps' monthslong study on women in combat slammed Navy Secretary Ray Mabus this weekend for questioning the validity of the experiment.
In a publicly visible post on his personal Facebook page, Sgt. Maj. Justin LeHew said Mabus was "way off base" to suggest that female Marines of a higher caliber should have been selected for the service's integrated task force experiment and that officials went into the test anticipating the women would not be successful.
Mabus' comments run "counter to the interests of national security and [are] unfair to the women who participated in this study," wrote LeHew, who played a key role in the service's nine-month experiment as the top enlisted leader with Marine Corps Training and Education Command.
"No one went in to this with the mentality that we did not want this to succeed," he added. "No Marine, regardless of gender, would do that."
LeHew later removed or hid the post from his Facebook page. He did not respond to Marine Corps Times requests' for comment sent via email and Facebook.
"Sgt. Maj. LeHew’s social media posts reflect his personal views and not those of Training and Education Command or the Marine Corps," said 1st Lt. Matthew Rojo, a spokesman for the command. "He is not available for further comment at this time."
Both Marine Corps Headquarters and Ray Mabus, through a spokesman, declined to comment.
LeHew, nicknamed "The Hero of Nasiriyah," received the prestigious Navy Cross in 2004 for risking his life under heavy enemy fire to evacuate four soldiers and recover nine dead and wounded Marines following a 2003 ambush in Iraq. He was responding to comments Mabus made during a Friday interview with NPR.
. . .
Mabus said his mind was made up even before the results of the experiment were released, LeHew noted. But the data shows that the best women in the task force performed at or below the levels of the lowest 5 percent of male volunteers in the experiment, according to LeHew.
There's more at the link. Sergeant-Major LeHew's full statement has been archived here.
I can't help but recall comments made by then-Captain Katie Petronio USMC in 2012. She stated bluntly: "As a combat-experienced Marine officer, and a female, I am here to tell you that we are not all created equal, and attempting to place females in the infantry will not improve the Marine Corps as the Nation’s force-in-readiness or improve our national security."
I also addressed this topic just last month, in an article titled 'Women in ground combat: the blunt and bitter truth'. I can only applaud Sergeant-Major LeHew's honesty and defense of the standards of his Corps. I fear his career will probably suffer for it: but I suspect his standing among his fellow Marines has seldom been as high as it must be today. He's taken the bull by the horns (or, if you're speaking of the political correctness of the current Secretary of the Navy, the bull****!) and bluntly stated the truth. That truth needs to be heard, because if it's ignored, Marines will die unnecessarily in combat through being placed in impossible situations. My only question is, why have the senior officers of the Marine Corps not shown the courage and dedication of Sergeant-Major LeHew in making the truth clear? They seem to be 'missing in action' . . . covering their asses, perhaps?
When push comes to shove, one can't force military reality to conform to political, social and emotional wish lists. That hasn't worked in the past, it won't work today, and it will never, repeat, never work in the future. Our enemies will be more than willing to demonstrate that, if necessary.
Sergeant-Major LeHew, I suppose it's unlikely that we'll ever meet: but if we do, the beer and the steak will be on me. From one combat veteran to another, I salute you, Sir.