Hey, lady, what do you think this is: the United States Marine Corps?
A Marine officer who led the service’s only all-female recruit battalion was fired amid complaints of a toxic leadership environment — but her supporters say she was only trying to make the unit better by holding women to tougher standards.
Lt. Col. Kate Germano, the former commanding officer of 4th Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, was found to be “hostile, unprofessional and abusive,” according to a command investigation obtained by Marine Corps Times. She was relieved for cause on June 30 by Brig. Gen. Terry Williams, Parris Island’s commanding general.
Did you know that the Marines had a Ladies Sewing Circle “recruit battalion”? I didn’t either.
But officers who served with her say she was a blunt reformer who spearheaded efforts to improve recruit training regardless of gender, and that a vocal minority in the battalion undercut her achievements. Germano’s tactics, for example, dramatically improved range qualification rates for female recruits.
The ensuing controversy, some say, provides a glimpse into an ongoing struggle to establish equal standards for male and female Marines at the Corps’ East Coast recruit depot. Now Germano is petitioning lawmakers for redress, saying she was treated unjustly by base leadership. Germano declined to provide additional details about those efforts, due to concerns about protected communications to Congress.
Williams cited a poor command climate and the loss of trust and confidence in Germano’s ability to serve in command, according to a statement that was provided to Marine Corps Times. The command investigation, completed June 25 and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, states that Germano displayed “toxic leadership” by publicly berating and showing contempt for subordinates, bullying Marines and singling them out for under-performance.
On one occasion, the investigation found, she made comments during a sexual assault prevention brief that female Marines interpreted as victim-blaming, leading some to testify that it would make them feel less comfortable reporting a sexual assault within the command.
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