Report Says Marines Should Ditch ‘Gender-Specific’ Terms for Drills

A new academic report has recommended that the Marine Corps does away with its “gender-specific salutations” for drill instructions. 

The report was commissioned in 2020 by the Corps from the University of Pittsburgh and was completed in 2022. The 783-page report notes that other military branches have made efforts and strides to “de-emphasize gender” by using other names. 

“The Army, Navy, and Coast Guard effectively de-emphasize gender in an integrated environment,” the report says. 

“Instead of saying ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir,’ recruits in these Services refer to their drill instructors using their ranks or roles followed by their last names. Gendered identifiers prime recruits to think about or visually search for a drill instructor’s gender first, before their rank or role.”

The Marine Corps leadership is considering the new report and its proposals. 

The report comes as part of an ongoing effort by the Marines to integrate boot camp. 

Up until 2019, all female recruits to the Marines were trained separately in a single battalion in South Carolina at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Paris Island. 

Women now train at both Marine Corps boot camps, the other being the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, but training materials have been slow to catch up to that reality.

The report focuses on how the Maines Corps uplifts male Marines by using masculine language and allegedly ignoring female Marines. It found the PowerPoint slides from the San Diego recruiting depot used only male pronouns to describe leadership traits. 

The study also found that female Marine drill instructors were treated sometimes as being less important than their male counterparts. 

Gender experts say that this is classic, old-school misogyny.

Some in the Marines have voiced concerns with updates and adaptations, including the Chief of Staff for Marine Crops Training and Education Command, Col. Howard Hall. 

During a meeting with the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services earlier this month, Hall said that it is not a “quick fix.” 

“What are we inculcating in our young recruits that will or will not be reinforced when they graduate and enter the fleet Marine force?” he said. “So again, we want to avoid any quick-fix solutions that introduce perturbations down the line.”

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