One of the first female infantry Marines is set to be discharged after admitting to having a romantic relationship with a subordinate who eventually became her husband, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Cpl. Remedios Cruz, 26, one of three women who joined 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in January 2017, married the lower-ranking Marine shortly before the battalion deployed to Japan in August 2017, but senior commanders then became aware of the relationship and opened an investigation.
“The biggest mistakes I’ve made in the infantry were from my personal relationships,” Cruz told the Times. “I really want to move on.”
Cruz was accused of fraternization, adultery and accessory to larceny, charges that would have led to a court-martial, but in July she pleaded guilty to fraternization as part of a deal to avoid going to trial. She was reduced in rank from sergeant to corporal and is now awaiting a discharge from the ranks.
In 2013, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that all combat roles in the military were open to women.
The Marine Corps challenged the order but was overruled and in 2015 finally allowed women into its infantry ranks.
There are roughly 184,000 active-duty Marines, about 15,800 of whom are women. Of that, about 80 women serve in combat roles.
Cruz, of Fleischmanns, N.Y., joined the Marines as a supply clerk in 2013. She completed infantry training in 2014 and in 2016 requested to transfer to an infantry unit.