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An open letter to our service, our fellow Marines, and our sisters in arms: To our service It was as Marines that we first understood honor. That we tested our courage and made our ‘own commitment of service to this country as one of the few and the proud, twas as Marines we learned the sacrifices required to lead from the front, To win our nation’s battles. To be most ready when our nation was least ready It was as Marines that we began to understand how shared suffering and misery could create bonds stronger than centuries of prejudice and unite those who serve as one blood But just as the Marine Corps holds its leaders accountable, so it must hold itself accountable When itis in the wrong, We have allowed to thrive and in some instances, even encouraged a culture where women are devalued, demeaned, and their contributions diminished. Ina culture that prizes masculinity, it is easy to mistake barbarism for strength, Brutality for power. Savagery for ferocity, Yet we respectfully disagree with the notion that to fight and win our country's battles, we must preserve an institution where men are permitted or even expected to behave like animals, and women trespass at their peril Particularly if this institution is the United States Marine Comps. We serve as our nation’s vanguard, not only in war, but in peace. And we must keep our honor clean, not just on the shores of Tripoli or in the mountains of Afghanistan, we must do so here at home. Where it's toughest, it matters most, so we must lead, From the front. To our fellow Marines: Know this is not really about Marines United. Yes, that was the catalyst. This is about the fact that many of you knew, and it took a former Marine to say “enough.” This is about the time you said, “We don't need any more females in this section’, as if there were a quota. I's about the time you made the joke about the female Marine and her face, her hair, her voice, her private life, or her sexual orientation. This is about pretending you don't hear women when they speak. And about looking only at men when you speak. Or treating sexual assault training as a burden. But above all, this is about leadership, If you cannot understand how and why your leadership matters, read the posts from Marines United and substitute “African-American” for woman. Fifty years ago, the jokes, the innuendo, and the discrimination were all about race. Our leaders decided our Corps would no longer embrace bigotry. We would no longer make meaningless distinctions between those who served. We would treat as equals those willing to make the sacrifice. We would be Marines. When we ignore division or even worse, tacitly encourage division, we are undermining our ability to “train our Marines as a team’, “to win our nation’s battles”, and betraying our core values of honor, courage and commitment. Today, we challenge the idea that our legendary camaraderie and esprit de corps can never truly be conferred upon your sisters-in-arms, and say this: it will if you say that it will. To our sisters-in-arms: Know we planned to leave a legacy where you are judged by your actions, not your gender. While many of our personal actions and successes have moved the ball forward, our inaction has allowed too many things to remain the same. Know from this point forward, we will take personal responsibility for ensuring our Marine Corps leads from the front in integrating and respecting all Marines. We will not allow fear of being professionally ostracized or retaliated against keep us from acting or speaking truth to power, or reaching out to mentor you and protect you. We will speak on your behalf. We will ensure your voice Is heard. We will resist the idea that women are a threat, or that success as a female Marine can come only at the expense of family and self. We have no illusions. Changing a culture is even harder than changing policy. But as leaders, we have a responsibility to set the example, and we will We will support the commandant's vision of a Marine Corps aligned with its core values, We will support the efforts of the Commandant's Task Force. Most importantly, we will hold ourselves, our fellow Marines, and our institution accountable for meeting the standard America expects ofits Marine Corps. Stand with us. Semper Fi. Col Katherine Estes Col Julia Hunt Col Michele Manning Col Kate McDonald Col Julia Meade Col Stephanie Smith Col Cynthia Valentin Col Anne Weinberg LtCol Stephanie Beck LtCol Ann Bernard LtCol Casey Berryman LtCol Sherel Bestanovitz LtCol Cindie Blair LtCol Mary Kate Flatiey LtCol Kate Germano LtCol Tiffany Harris, LtCol Jeannette Haynie LtCol Francine M. Ippolito-Bennett LtCol Bevin Keen LtCol Melissa Kelley LtCol Meridith Marshall LtCol Nicole Mauery LtCol Amy McGrath LtCol Georgia Parment LtCol Austine Rawllins LtCol Lisa Souders Maj Carrie M. Atkinson Maj Mary Andertonis Maj Michelle Augustine Maj Nicole Villareal Bastian Maj Amy Bemard Maj Mary Blair Maj Juliet Calvin Maj Stacey Colon Maj Mackalynn Davidson Maj Dianna DiToro Maj Naomi Dorren Maj Adrienne Evertson Maj Morina Foster Maj Lisa Fritz Maj Janine Gamer Maj Jessica Gaul Maj Rebecca Harvey Maj Emmatine Hill Maj Jacklyn Holiday Major Katie Hollier Maj Kyleanne Hunter Maj Grace Janosek Maj Kathleen Jensen Maj Michele Kane Maj Sarah Lenz Maj Jennifer S. Parker Maj Tiffany Pettis Maj Shanelle Porter Maj Kelly Repair Maj Erin Rogerson Maj Dawn Rosenblad Maj Rebecca Spahr Maj Temi Songonuga Maj Melinda Sumner Maj Khalilah Thomas Maj Charlene Thoreen Maj Natalie M Trogus Maj Jessica van Dop DeJesus Maj Melissa Ventrone Capt Tiffany Basham Capt Kaley Chan Capt Valonne Ehrhardt Capt Justine Elena Capt Janessa Goldbeck Capt Esther Gomez Capt Foua Gonzales Capt Sara Kirstein Capt Melissa Lee Capt Michelle Lewis Capt Lynelle Lund Capt Penny MacCormack Capt Queta Marquez Capt Crystal Neihoff Capt Angelique Owezynsky Capt Kathryn Raphael Capt Elizabeth Reynolds Capt Lauren Serrano Capt Kate Hendricks Thomas. AstLt McKenzie Ehrhardt 2ndLt Kathryn Evering 2ndLt Stephanie Pavio (CWOS Marjorie Trader CWO5 Rosetta Robinson-Dixon CWO4 Ann Lassiter MGySgt Kathryn Denham MGySgt Arabelle M. Flores GySgt Melinda D. Mufioz