Women to attend Marines' infantry school
The U.S. Marine Corps logo is seen at the Marines' base in Quantico, Virginia.
April 19th, 2012
10:34 AM ET

Women to attend Marines' infantry school

[Updated at 1:04 p.m. ET] The U.S. Marine Corps plans to allow a yet-undetermined number of female volunteers to enroll in the school that trains its infantry combat officers, the Marine Corps Times has reported.

The plan to open the Infantry Officers Course to women is part of the service's effort to determine which additional jobs may be open to women in the future, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Marines' assistant commandant, told the Marine Corps Times.

"We are in the process right now of soliciting volunteers," Dunford told the Times for a story published Wednesday.

Enlisted women also eventually will have a chance to take infantry training, Dunford told the Times, which reported that it wasn't yet clear what path the women who complete the training would follow.

The decision to open the school to female volunteers is part of a research plan implemented after Congress directed the Marines to review their policies on assigning women to ground combat elements, Capt. Kevin Schultz, a Marines spokesman, told CNN on Thursday.

“The Marine Corps has initiated a measured, deliberate and responsible research effort in order to provide the commandant with meaningful data so that he can make a fact-based recommendation to the senior leadership of (the Defense Department) and Congress,” Schultz said.

Under a 1994 U.S. military policy, women are restricted from formally serving in small ground units directly involved in combat. The reality of the last 10 years of war, however, has been that many women serve in support positions - such as military police or medics - that place them in harm's way. They are not formally assigned to combat units, but rather informally "attached," which means they do not get the crucial credit for combat duty that is needed for promotions to higher grades.

Over the last several years, advocates as well as some senior U.S. military commanders have increasingly called for more ground combat jobs to be open to women, Starr reported.

Earlier this year, CNN's Barbara Starr reported that the Pentagon was planning to open up nearly 14,000 jobs to military women - jobs that would place them closer to the front lines of combat.

Some of the newly opened jobs were to include specialties such as tank or artillery mechanic, missile launcher crew members and field surgeons in forward deployed brigade combat teams. However, women still would not be permitted in frontline jobs directly involved in combat such as infantry units or counterterrorism sniper teams.

The Marine Corps Times also reported that the Marines are developing "gender-neutral" physical fitness tests for combat tasks. Such requirements would not differ for men and women, and would suggest that women who wanted to perform such tasks must prove that they could do so at the level of their male counterparts, the Times reported.

Wanted: Women in top military roles

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Filed under: Marines • Military
soundoff (317 Responses)
  1. Andy

    If they can perform to the level of the men, let them in. They should train WITH the men and also be able to handle hand-to-hand combat against a man.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Mr. Silva

    Some women will succeed. Some women will fail – just like some men fail SOI. This "social experiment" will succeed just like desegregating the military did and allowing gays to serve openly seems to be. Sure some Marines will resist but I think the overwhelming number of 03s will judge them based on how well they do their jobs. Believe me, there are plenty of women who can easily handle being a Grunt.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. better than you

    Wow you guys are such pigs. I think what is really upsetting you is that you know some WOMEN are better than MEN at certain things. In my state the best TRAP shooter at the time, SHEwas 17, beating out all the men. I think a specail hand picked team of women should be created. Just think of a woman taking out a man in a country that believes women are lower than dirt.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Agreeman

    Please lower the Marine Corps Standards. I think it is awesome that we can forward the opportunity to let women fight. Also can we lower the age limit? My 10 year old nephew wants to join now. Can we please stop disciminating based on age and let him fight for what is right. 10 years old is a good fighting age according to a large number of malatias in third world countries. My cousin is blind, he wish that he could serve. He knows how to put together and take a part a rifle real well, again, stop the discriminating. Please lower the standards.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Guest

      My sarcasm meeter jumped on that one. LOL. Personally, I don't give a damn if they want to serve in positions historically occupied by men – as long as they can carry their end of the log. Otherwise, you endanger everyone else by lowering standards. I saw the same thing in police and fire academies.

      April 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobby mckee

      are you serious,the standards need to be tightened up like in the 60s been there done that!

      April 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • dixie

      I think your mother, who is a woman, would not be very proud of your statement.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Agreeman

    Of course they can, because they will have male Marines that will have to do it, but because she was present, she will take credit. OORAH Female Engagement Team (FET).

    April 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • switchback490

      Just like any other hard labor job, the guys will do their work AND a share of the females'. Why do guys do this....they wouldn't do it for other men.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Jarhead

      How typical....take credit for something you couldn't do if you had to...

      April 24, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. merri

    Jose, have a baby and then tell me women can't carry another human being! You can't do it...our place is wherever we want it to be!

    April 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • arjay

      its not about being female in general, its about the physical abilities of the female body. females are not built for extreme weight and fatigue from carrying gear, or doing many other things that combat does, yes they can be tough, but they will do more harm than good if they serve in combat. thats IF they make it through the training at all.

      April 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • forreal89

      big difference I have seen tons of women trying to carry weight on their back and it is a big failure

      April 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Marine4Life

    I don't see it being a problem. I'm sure our enemies will copy our example and populate their infantry forces with women in equal amounts while gender-norming their standards so that future battlefields will be both fair and politically correct. I mean what else is fundamental to war if not about fighting fair?

    April 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. FFFF

    Women have no business in combat....

    April 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • GMF

      agree !!! and yet, they do get the credit for it . Even tho the men engage in combat. ( but The men and women ......

      April 22, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. FIRE FOX

    This is my purse. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
    My purse is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
    My purse, without me, is useless. Without my purse, I am useless.
    NOW WHERE DID I PUT MY RIFLE .

    April 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jarhead

    When a woman can carry a 120lb pack for 25 miles then be expected to fight, they can be called Infantry.

    April 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • switchback490

      Exactly. When I was in the marine infantry 86-90, I don't know of a woman who could do that 25 mile hump. I lost 10 lbs off a 155 lb frame that last one and that was after we came back from mountain warfare training for two months climbing mountains everyday and in the shape of our lives. What a joke.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      I know a number of male Infantry Marines who can't do that either...we can't constantly use they can't do such and such as a reason to keep them out of the infantry when there are countless examples of males who can't do it either...same standard across the board that is the MOST anyone can ask for in this case...if we want to keep them out raise the standards to make it harder...

      April 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. mc

    The Marines will make a fact based decision.....whereby the general's pre-ordained answer will be "Yes – women can serve in the infantry.....now can I get my forth star??

    April 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. michael

    I disagree Whole Heartedly with concept of men and women fighting together, best when they fight each other and then make up or is it out. Not realy am all for it if they are going to have an All US citizen military why not otherwise no . No more hiring every damn foreigner that wants to join our regular forces. In fact their shuld only be one grunt outfit and that is Naval, Seals, Dolphins, no walruses but sea lions and lionesses may be fine and the only american men and women would be the trainers commanders and line officers, of the NMarines Code of course. As for the grunts andc grunteses they should all be foreign born. We can get em cheap. and i being as how most prisoners are no longer citizens fully then they can be mandated to join or do double time in the pens or wherever they keep animals today. They get wo0unded we just send em home with medic kits and a pension of a couple hyundred every three months and yes become citizens if they are not wounded or gonna get any kind of pensions. We could have women Mercs who invade first, now what could be more shocking to some macho Black, Brown, Yellow, or Redman than to see a squad of womewn charging onto the beach heads or sandy tents grass shacks and mud huts armed to the teeth and growling like an elephant with a bad cough.

    April 21, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. vegasdomar

    The problem it that the standards will be lowered. How do we know? Because in all the branches women are in the standards have been lowered. Women want military and combat so much then give them their own units and quit screwing with the troops whose lives depend on each other. Been there done that. They just end up behind the 8 ball in combat situations and guy take unnecessary chances to protect them and take chances with distractions.
    FMF CORPSMAN 2nd. Marines 63-66 Semper Fi

    April 21, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Miguel White

    I would agree with your rationale, and points overall. I have also seen the standards lowered in any area that was causing trouble for a gender (or other group) to make the military more diverse. I have no problem with a woman who can do everything their male counterparts can do serving in an MOS. I have a huge problem with lowering the bar – this will only lower our militaries overall capability and readiness – endangering our country long term.

    April 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Joel

    When I first joined the Army I didn't think that women should be in combat arms jobs. Then I met some really great warriors who happened to be female. Some of them regularly out performed male counterparts. This ban is silly and should go away just like don't ask don't tell.

    April 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • switchback490

      Joel, you apparently have no idea what the marine infantry is (was) like. Outside of special forces, it is unlike any other MOS in the military. It's 4th phase boot camp at Parris Island....only a lot tougher physically and somewhat mentally.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
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