A female Marine climbs over an obstacle on the Endurance Course during Marine Combat Training on Feb. 20. Fifteen female Marines, just graduated from boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., have started for the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Geiger, N.C., this week. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
- Filed Under
QUANTICO, VA. — Fifteen female Marines began enlisted infantry training this week as part of the Marine Corps’ ongoing research into which additional jobs it should open to female personnel, officials said.
The women will attend the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Geiger, N.C., on an experimental basis, focusing on the 0311 infantry rifleman program of instruction after the first few weeks of training, said Leon Pappa, a retired lieutenant colonel with Training and Education Command who oversees the research. They will not receive the 0311 military occupational specialty if they graduate, but Marine officials will note it in their record for tracking purposes.
“We’re not changing the standards on how we track performance,” Pappa told reporters in a meeting here Wednesday. “We’re doing it the same way we do it for the males.”
The research at ITB is the newest part of the Corps’ assessment of which jobs should be open to women. It came after then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta overturned the longstanding policy excluding women from serving in direct combat assignments last year.
The research is similar to work that began here last year at the Infantry Officer Course. Female volunteers have been allowed to try the grueling course, but none has passed. The next version of IOC begins next week, and the Corps expects four female volunteers to participate, Pappa said.
The women who will attend enlisted infantry training at Camp Geiger come straight from boot camp graduation at Parris Island, S.C., Pappa said. Some 114 women graduated there earlier this month. Of those, 42 met physical requirements to go to ITB, he said. Nineteen volunteered, but the number had dropped to 15 as of this week. The women are allowed to drop out at any point and move on to their planned military career.