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Women to graduate from Marine Corps infantry training course

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U.S. Marine Corps drill instructors with the 4th Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, stand at parade rest during the 69th anniversary of women in the Marine Corps aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., Feb. 13, 2012. The drill instructors were the tour guides for the events during celebration. The event was in acknowledgment of 69 years of continuous service by women in the Marine Corps.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — This year, for the first time in the history of the Marine Corps, the graduation class at its infantry training course will include women.

Fifteen women voluntarily began the training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on September 24. On Thursday, three of them will graduate from the course, a milestone for women seeking equality in the Armed Forces, according to Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine Corps spokeswoman.

A fourth woman finished the course, but was injured and couldn’t pass the required combat fitness test. She will be allowed to graduate once she heals and passes that test.

The women went through the same physically grueling exercises as the male Marines, including carry 90 pounds of combat gear on a 12.5-mile march, Krebs said.

They also had to perform three pull ups, just as the men did. For ordinary Marine Corps physical fitness tests, women can choose either the pull up or something called a “flew arm hang.”

This is part of Marine Corps research regarding the capability of women to serve in infantry units. Since last year, 10 women officers have entered Marine infantry officer training at Marine Base Quantico, Virginia. So far none of the officers have completed that course.

However, the women who passed the enlisted course will not join infantry units. They instead will be sent to non-combat jobs throughout the Corps.

Their 59 days of arduous work will instead become part of the Marine Corps ongoing research into the possibility of having women serve in combat.


  • mikehryn

    Though many hail the inclusion of women to frontline combat, a friend of mine and current Army Ranger told me that from personal experience, women in frontline activities are an extreme liability. Only time will tell I guess.

  • FmrSsgt

    I hold the same standard to women as to men- are they physically able to do the job without having to lower the standards (same exact physical ability testing for both)? There are some men who can’t pass these tests and wouldn’t be allowed in.
    That goes with soldiering, firefighting, or any job that requires a level of physical fitness and/or strength.

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