Controversy Sparks at Firing of Marine Female Recruit Battalion CO

Lt. Col. Kate Germano, ousted commander of Marine female recruit training on Parris Island. DoD photo
Lt. Col. Kate Germano, ousted commander of Marine female recruit training on Parris Island. DoD photo

The Marine officer who made female recruits better shots at boot camp has been relieved of her command, igniting controversy.

Military Times reports that Lt. Col. Kate Germano served only a year as the head of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion on Parris Island, S.C., before her dismissal.

She got bounced June 30 after a command investigation accused her of "toxic leadership" by berating and showing contempt for subordinates in public. The 300-page report found her to be "hostile, unprofessional and abusive " and told recruits that sexual assault was preventable, and that those who drank put themselves in a position to be assaulted.

She also told recruits male Marines would never take orders from them and would see them as inferior if they couldn't meet men's physical standards.

But, according to the Times, her supporters say she was a blunt reformer only trying to make the unit better by holding women to tougher standards.

"What she did when she came is she changed the mentality of the Marines in the battalion and the recruits to not expect a historically lower performance than the male recruits at the battalion," a female Marine officer stationed at the recruit depot told the paper.

Parris Island officials admitted rifle range qualification scores improved dramatically among female recruits under Germano's tenure.

In May, Germano accused her boss of undermining her efforts to push female recruits to perform as well as their male counterparts.

The Times said Germano had filed a complaint alleging a hostile work environment and gender discrimination. That prompted an investigation by Marine Corps Training and Education Command, which found no evidence to support the allegations.

Following her dismissal, Germano sent a letter to her battalion, saying the unit excelled in the face of strong opposition.

"Despite considerable active and passive resistance throughout all echelons of the Recruit Depot and the Marine Corps, we each worked incredibly hard to improve the performance of our recruits to make them stronger, faster, smarter and better shots -- all to better the institution," she wrote.

Germano is now petitioning Congress for redress, saying she was treated unjustly by Parris Island superiors, the Times said.

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