Marine Corps

Lieutenant becomes first woman to lead Marine infantry platoon

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First Lt. Marina Hierl has reportedly made history by becoming the first woman in the Marine Corps to lead an infantry platoon.

The 24-year-old is one of four platoon commanders in Echo Company, a group of 175 Marines and Navy sailors who were recently sent to northern Australia, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Hierl is one of two women to the 13-week Marines Corps Infantry Officer Course, according to the Times.


“I wanted to do something important with my life,” she told the newspaper. “I wanted to be part of a group of people that would be willing to die for each other.”

She is now leading a platoon of roughly 35 men for six months of training exercises in the Pacific, the Times reported.

Capt. Neal Jones, commanding officer of Echo Company, reportedly asked for Hierl to be assigned to his unit.

“If you’re the first to do something, that implies you have so many positive traits,” Jones said. “And that’s not always the case when it comes to every lieutenant — including myself.”

Women have been eligible for combat roles in the military since 2013, when former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted a ban.

Now there are 184,473 active-duty Marines, of whom 15,885 are women — including 80 serving in previously restricted combat roles, the Times reported.

The newspaper noted that other Marines in Echo Company made what were described as sexist jokes when Hierl arrived, adding that the jokes have subsided as training continued.

“She’s one of us,” Lance Cpl. Kai Segura said of Hierl.

Tags Australia Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Echo Company Marine Corps Military
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