Things You Hear on NPR: Unintentionally Humorous Coverage of Women in the Military
March 20, 2015
If NPR can’t make it sound good, no one can:
It’s a recent morning out in California’s Mojave Desert, and Marine Lance Cpls. Paula Pineda and Julia Carroll are struggling to pick up and maneuver Carl. He’s a 220-pound dummy, and a stand-in for a wounded Marine.
Carroll’s knees buckle for a moment, but as a dusty wind picks up, the two women pull Carl off their light armored vehicle. They carry him to safety, careful not to let his head drag on the rocky ground.
So that’s something!
“Your adrenaline’s rushing, you’re pumping, trying to save lives, make a difference,” she says. “This is bigger than us. It’s bigger than us. Right now we can’t see the big picture, but in a couple years we’ll see the difference on how females can work alongside with males in the, in an infantry unit.”
. . .
About a dozen or so — or about half — of the women in Alpha Company, the infantry unit at Twentynine Palms, already have dropped out, mostly because of injuries. . . .
Some of the female Marines are struggling — taking longer to pull the dummy Carl to safety, set up a tow line for the armored vehicle or change a tire weighing about 170 pounds.
. . .
The men use their arms to change a tire, but Pineda flops on her back in the dirt, using her stronger leg muscles to push the tire into place.
Women use every advantage that they can, says Cpl. Thomas Debatt, a veteran armor crew member.
“They just have a different technique,” he says. “There’s no task they can’t complete that any man can complete, it’s all — it’s all pretty much the same.”
But Donk, who helped the women change the tire, is more circumspect.
“I mean, they’re putting out their best effort,” he says.
I’m sure they are!
Stretcher carry, level
% Women Failing
Before Training: 63
After Training: 38
% Men Failing
Before Training: 0
After Training: 0