As the first female enlisted infantry Marines take their places in operational units, another female officer is preparing to attempt what they say so far has been essentially the most challenging hurdle for women entering the infantry: the Corps’ famously grueling Infantry Officer Course.
One female second lieutenant is placed to start the course in approximately 3 months, a spokesman for Marine Corps Training and Education Command, Capt. Joshua Pena, told Military.com.
The officer, who attempts the course after having completed the service’s basic officer classes, may be the second woman to do this since Marine Corps opened all combat jobs to women, Pena said.
During an evaluation period that extended from September 2012 to June 2015, 27 female officers attempted the course to assist the Corps using its research on women serving in ground combat roles, but none surely could pass. During the same timeframe, two other female officers attemptedto pass the course to help qualify for the ground intelligence military occupational specialty, however they were also unsuccessful.
In that three-year stretch, 978 male officers attempted IOC and 692 graduated, Pena said.
The 30th and quite a few recent female officer to try the course tried twice to finish the course, in April and August 2016. On both tries, she was dropped for failing to complete two conditioning hikes. On both attempts, however, she could pass the original Combat Endurance Test, an obstacle which includes stymied most female officers who participated in IOC.
Speaking to reporters Jan. 11, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the main reason ladies have successfully passed the Army’s Ranger School but ought to date been struggling to make it through IOC could be that the two courses have different physical demands.
“One of the things that about IOC is always that it involves carrying so much stuff,” he was quoted saying. “And should you be inside the infantry inside the United States Marines, you’ll break up.”
Chairman from the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller are instances of that, Mabus said. Both infantry officers, they’ve had medical interventions to change or reinforce joints worn down from many years of high-impact operations.
Mabus reiterated he isn’t focused on the amount of women survive IOC, or just how long it requires to get the first female graduate.
“The thing is the fact that it’s open if you qualifies,” he explained. “It’s that there is a chance to live.”
He added that he believes the standards are realistic, despite how challenging the course appears.
“Now the standards they’ve set ought to be job-related. They need to be aligned with what a person has to perform inside the field. So I’m pretty certain that they are,” he was quoted saying.
To date, female enlisted Marines have had much greater success at making it to the fleet as infantrymen. The first three female Marines joined an infantry unit 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines this month. And the first band of female Marine recruits with infantry contracts is set to graduate boot camp before February.