An officer who pushed for female integration into the Marine Corps is calling foul after being fired last month. Former Lt. Col. Kate Germano admits to being a tough commander at the all-female boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina, but tells the New York Times she was no more demanding than her male counterparts. She did, however, hold recruits to a high standard during her 12 months on the job, and gained enemies along the way. "This whole thing started when her Marines—her female Marines—were telling us they were being mistreated," Parris Island Chief of Staff Col. Jeffrey Fultz says. "She was telling them their male counterparts will never respect them if they don’t get good physical scores. You just don’t do that."
Under Germano's leadership, female physical training became more demanding and more women excelled at the rifle range. "They knew they were as good as every other recruit, and my hope was the Marines saw it, too," says Germano. But she also bumped heads with her superior, Col. Daniel Haas, in what the Times has called the most male-dominated US military service. In a probe leading to Germano's dismissal, Haas said that "making an argument is OK and encouraged, being argumentative is not." Despite departing from the Marine Corps under a cloud, the now-retired Germano left a legacy that some call positive. "She made a fundamental impact on the mind-set of Marines and the leadership," a female officer says. "That’s the most important change we can have." (Read more Marines stories.)