Marines approve female rifleman, machine gunner for infantry

The Marine Corps on Monday approved requests from two women to enter the infantry as military occupational specialists, a new report says.

One woman received permission to become a rifleman, while the other is becoming a machine gunner, according to The Marine Corps Times.

ADVERTISEMENT
“The Corps applauds the time and effort of those Marines who volunteered,” said Capt. Phillip Kulczewski, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon.

Kulczewski said the Marines Corps is not yet releasing the names of the women nor what unit they will be joining.

The Marine Corps Times on Monday reported that the service’s gender integration plan requires that any female officers or noncommissioned staff be assigned to a unit 90 days before any women join it.

Female Marine or Navy officers assigned to infantry battalions will serve in support roles, it said, because no women have graduated from the service’s Infantry Officer Course.

The 30th female Marine to attempt the course left her class on April 21, it added, after failing to complete two hikes. She is eligible for another try in July.

The Marine Corps Times on Monday said that a training team would begin explaining the service’s gender integration strategy at its installations this month.

“This is not sensitivity training,” Kulczewski told The Marine Corps Times last month. "The focus will be on the details of the implementation plan and how it affects all Marines’ best practices.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced in March he had approved final plans for integrating women into all military positions nationwide.

“When I announced my decision back in December to open all career fields to qualified women, I emphasized that the implementation of this change must be handled the right way, because the combat effectiveness of the world’s finest fighting force is paramount,” he said in a statement on March 10.

“Having reviewed this exceptionally thorough work, I am pleased all of the services developed plans that will effectively carry out this change and make us event better in the future.”

The Marine Corps Times on Monday said that Carter’s decision allowed 233 women who have graduated Infantry Training Battalion or other previously closed military occupation specialty schools to apply for combat jobs.