Is the Marine Corps wasting girl power?

Fired recruit commander says "fighting like a girl" should = tactical prowess

Eye on Veterans
June 21, 2018 - 1:22 pm

Courtesy DVIDS

"If you tell a women she’s not going to do well on a test," says retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kate Germano, "she doesn’t do well on a test."  And that, says Germano, is what she saw a lot of when she reported to Parris Island, South Carolina in 2014 to take command of the U. S. military's sole women-only boot camp battalion.

Institutional expectations, says Germano, were that women would underachieve men -- even in areas where physical strength was not an issue.  She worked to change that -- raising expectations.  

"By changing the language that we were using to teach these women," says Germano, "and by expecting them to succeed, we saw immediate results."  

Among those results: raising women recruit's marksmanship scores to record high levels.  One might think her accomplishments would have been welcomed, but in a Marine Corps that at the time was pushing back against a Defense Department order to allow women into infantry units, Germano was instead relieved of command and pushed into retirement.  

She has written about her experiences at Parris Island in the book Fight Like a Girl -- and talked about them with CBS Eye on Veterans:

    Contact us about this article or share your story at