Cultural Revolutions

Stand Like a Man

In June, Brigadier General Loretta Reynolds, USMC, became the first woman to take command of the Corps’s legendary recruit depot, Parris Island.  “Lori” is a feminist’s dream.  In March 2010, she became the first Woman Marine to hold command in a combat zone, when she served in Afghanistan as commander of Headquarters Group, First Marine Expeditionary Force, a post she held until March 2011.  She is one of only three female generals in the Corps, and in 1982, when she entered the Naval Academy, the first graduating class of female midshipmen was only two years old.

When the ladies of that first graduating class were in their Second Class (junior) year, Navy Cross winner James Webb penned an instantly infamous article for Washingtonian entitled “Women Can’t Fight.”  For some time after its publication, not a few mids waved the article in the faces of their female counterparts, Reynolds perhaps among them, asking the questions Webb asked: “Why are you here?  Why do you want to be here?”

The article is undeniably coarse.  In graphic detail, Webb describes the filthy life of jungle combat and the depravity of behavior into which his Marines descended.  With equal candor he declares one effect of the sexual integration of the Academy: “[I]t is no secret that sex is commonplace in Bancroft Hall.  The Hall, which houses 4,000 males and 300 females,...

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