Marine brings her story of military gender bias to York

Lt. Col. Kate Germano will speak on Veterans Day as a guest of York County Veterans Affairs.

Story by: Anthony Machcinski
Lt. Col. Kate Germano, left, wants to show that the military is more than just the G.I. Joe stereotype — and that everyone, regardless of race or gender, be held to the same standard. (Photo courtesy of Lance Cpl. Allison Lotz / Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)

Lt. Col. Kate Germano might not look the part of a stereotypical Marine.

She has light eyes, soft features and a personality that complements her bright smile. But when it comes to being a commanding officer, the third-generation military veteran sure fit the bill of what’s portrayed in the movies.

Her aggressiveness isn’t because she’s cruel by nature; it’s because she, like many Marines, holds herself and others to a high standard.

But in 2015, the Marine Corps relieved her of command at Parris Island for what the military called an abusive style of leadership.

‘Perceived differently’

She claims her leadership wasn’t abusive. Rather, it was the result of her holding men and women to the same, high standards.

“When we are direct or aggressive, those are qualities you expect from men,” Lt. Col. Germano says. “When women do that, you’re looked down upon. I was perceived differently as a woman who had those traits.”

Lt. Col. Germano has contested the decision for years, even after she retired from the Marines in 2016. Her main fight throughout the ordeal has been showing that the military is more than just the G.I. Joe stereotype — and that everyone, regardless of race or gender, be held to the same standard.

“There’s always a fear that integrating individuals who are different will cause non-cohesion and, therefore, casualties in combat,” she says. “The reality is, they’re giving their blood, sweat and tears every day. This is about making sure that our military is as tough, fast and strong as they need to be.”

Lt. Col. Kate Germano will speak at York County’s annual Veterans Day Celebration and Breakfast as a guest of York County Veterans Affairs and hopes to use her talk to show that the day is more than just a federal holiday. (Photo courtesy of Lance Cpl. Allison Lotz / Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)

Visiting York

Lt. Col. Germano will speak at York County’s annual Veterans Day Celebration and Breakfast as a guest of York County Veterans Affairs.

The 20-year Marine veteran calls Veterans Day a day of reflection, and she hopes to use her talk to show that the day is more than just a federal holiday.

“There’s so few people who serve now that there’s this big gap between what they perceive about military individuals and what they look like,” she says. “While women may not fit the stereotype, we’re serving every day, shoulder-to-shoulder with our male counterparts.”

If you go…

What: York County Veterans Day Celebration and Breakfast

Where: Memorial Hall West, York Expo Center, 334 Carlisle Ave. York

Time: Breakfast begins 9 a.m. on Nov. 11

Cost: Free for veterans. Others asked to make a donation to the York County Veterans in Need Fund.

More information: Call the York County Department of Veterans Affairs at (717) 771-9218 or email yorkvet@yorkcountypa.gov

Sponsored by York County Department of Veterans Affairs

Visit: York County VA website
yorkvet@yorkcountypa.gov
717-771-9218
28 E. Market St. York, PA 17401

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