USMC 4-star: Women to attend infantry school - Update
It was reported on OMV HERE. Now see the follow up below.
The Marine Corps’ effort to evaluate whether
more combat jobs should open to women marked another milestone last
week when the second of two female volunteers washed out of infantry
second lieutenant, she was dropped from the program Friday after
failing to complete required training due to unspecified medical
reasons, a Marine official told Marine Corps Times. It’s unclear whether
she was injured or if she became ill.
other volunteer, also a second lieutenant, dropped out Sept. 28 after
she was unable to complete the program’s introductory combat endurance
test. Nearly 30 men also washed out on the first day.
as the Infantry Officers Course, the demanding 13-week program is based
at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. The current class, which began with
109 students, is the first to have included women. On average, about 25
percent of the men who enroll in IOC fail to complete it and voluntarily
Corps sought female volunteers for the course as part of a broader
research effort to assess how female Marines might perform in
assignments whose primary mission is direct ground combat — jobs they
are prohibited from filling now. Just the two women stepped forward.
Marine officials have declined to identify them, citing a desire to
protect their privacy.
completing IOC’s combat endurance test in September, the woman dropped
from the program Friday issued the following statement via Marine Corps
public affairs personnel: “I want to try to open up a door, maybe, for
women after me. I don’t know how far it will open, but I’m hoping to
make a difference for women down the road.”
Quantico, those overseeing the IOC experiment have said that it will
involve up to 100 female officers and take at least a year to complete.
The Marine official, speaking on condition of anonymity, reaffirmed the
Corps’ intent to recruit female volunteers for subsequent iterations of
“This was just the first shot,” the official said.
The next IOC will begin this winter. So far,
no new volunteers have emerged, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a spokeswoman
for Manpower and Reserve Affairs in Quantico, the command leading the
Marine Corps’ research. Nevertheless, she said, the experiences of these
first two volunteers will prove valuable as senior leaders contemplate
potential next moves.
part of the Corps’ ongoing review, officials have opened nearly 400
jobs in select ground combat units — billets in artillery and tank
battalions, among others — to female officers and staff noncommissioned
officers. Previously, only men were allowed to fill those jobs.
Additionally, Marine officials are exploring whether the service should
develop “gender-neutral” physical standards.
together, all of these efforts are expected to inform a recommendation
from the Marine Corps to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on what
additional changes — if any — should be made. That’s due to the Pentagon
in early November.
information gathered as part of our quantitative research efforts, to
include IOC, will be provided to our senior leaders as part of our
recommendation and report,” Haney said. “For IOC specifically, such
information includes recruiting of volunteers, volunteer data and
performance of those who reported to IOC for training.”
USA Today’s Jim Michaels contributed to this report.