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

Post by: ,
Filed under: Marines • Military
soundoff (317 Responses)
  1. Joel

    I agree completely. The majority of female soldiers can't do the job physically. The ones that can should have a chance.

    April 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ISDAMan

    We're as good as dead!!!!!!!

    April 22, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. switchback490

    What a joke. I was a corporal in the marine infantry from 1986-1990 with combat in Panama (6th marines). We did things that 99% of women in their peak shape could not do......and now you want to put them in charge of these men? Just stop it already with the 'females can do everything a man can' crap. They can't, it's a law of nature. Either the military has gone really soft or people have lost their touch on reality. A unit is only as strong as their weakest link.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. govspy

    Big shock that most military types are misogynist. Every single Marine I've met has been that way, and most military men I've met feel that way. If a woman can pass the test, it doesn't make you less of a man. Now grow a pair, and do what you're good at; which is shutting up and following orders.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Jarhead

      You obviously have not spent time in a uniform much less a foxhole getting shot at. Shutting up and taking orders from politically motivated "yes men" is what has gotten our military in the chaotic shape it is in now. The stern but positive leadership of old would not have taught military men and women to do stupid things and post them on You Tube so their buddies would think they were cool. They would have taught them to carry out the professional business of combat and do what it takes to subdue an enemy and go home. Now you want to put "girls" in command of combat units....seriously??? Chesty Puller and Dan Daly are rolling over in their graves. If you don't know who either of them are you should keep your uneducated opinion between your ears and be quiet.

      April 24, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. DevilMarine

    Oh good grief! Glad I left the Marines in '98.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. GMF

    The future of the most powerful military in the world , oh my.... this is bad , that bad .

    April 22, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. keystnst

    The last paragraph of the article states that the women will have to prove themselves phsically to the level of their male counter parts. So what is the problem? Also there is combat training for specialized areas such as tank and artillery mech. missle crews. Most of the armes forces are support roles and are just as dangerous as combat infantry, who, withoutthe proper support would be ineffective. The Isralies, and Russsians have had women in theircombat forcesfor decades with no loss of effectivness.

    April 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Thoughtful

    What happens when women are on a 25' small boat and have to use the head in a combat zone but cant because you are twelve miles offshore and there is no head on a boat that small? Many people don't think of those situations. Would you want your wife, daughter or sister to have to try and relieve themselves off the side of a small boat in front of a bunch of guys or hold it and get a bladder infection which then reduces the fighting capability of the unit?

    April 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Medic 13

      I understand your comment but as someone who serves in a combat situation its not an issue. If you are part of the team and you rely on each other to live you do what you have to do! Your family and no one on the tem cares, you are considered a professional and modesty has no place on the battle field! Its the life we chose, the life we lead and the friends we keep forever.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. Me

    Great, next thing you know they'll want to vote.

    April 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • gibert

      I for one think women should never have been allowed to vote. They are too emotional and when deciding how to run a country, only cold, hard logic should be the basis of making a decision, not how one feels. And unfortunately, that's how women operate by nature. Now if you'll excuse me, i'll go hide under the bed from the PC police.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Great!

    That's just what we need, woman in all facets of the military. Then we can recruit new wing of the military, Army Navy Airforce Marines, and now lawyers to prosecute soldiers for touching the woman. Call it the PC wing of the military. All at the expense of the tax payers of course. I think we should extend, basic training to include how not to offend lady's- that's an important soldier skill that will help us- prevail in wars. Did you know that?

    April 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GungHo

    This is a great win for lesbians everywhere. And it only took 200 years. Either way, glad to see some progress somewhere.

    April 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ?

    Yep once again another B.S decision that comes from people who have no clue the logistical problem from this! Woman need to shower regularly to avoid problems in a certain area. Well sometimes we dont get to take a shower for a while. Or how about when its that time of the month and they are bloated or a little bit more fatigued from their menstrual-cycle. What about living conditions? How do we keep it to where they have some privacy? Also, what about if they get pregnant? You know a guy getting a girl pregnant does not stop him from deploying. THINK ABOUT IT!!

    April 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bill Hicks

    Anyone dumb enough to want to be in the military should be allowed in.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles From long island

      any one not willing to defend and contribute to the united states shouldn't be aloud to benefit from it. But that's what's great about this country even the worthless have refuge

      April 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Guest

    Cool, can we just get rid of the female Physcal Fitness Test and make it all one standard?

    April 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Amoreena

    This article, as well as most comments, are a bunch of nonsense. There are already many women Marines serving in combat areas and yes, the large majority of them can, and do, perform their jobs just as well as the male Marines. Some of them out perform their male counterparts. These ladies may not be infantry, but neither are all of the male Marines, and they endure the same hardships and dangers that the males encounter when they are deployed. My Marine daughter served in southern Afghanistan, carried the same pack on her back as the males, went days without showering, and yeah, had to relieve herself on the roadside when on convoys, just like the males. It's really not a big deal to any of them, as long as each Marine is pulling their weight. All that, to say this: since female Marines are already doing these things, they should have the chance to gain the recognition that the males receive.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • sobersubmrnr

      Your daughter, along with the other combat support personnel in her unit, did not experience the same living conditions or physical obstacles faced by infantrymen. Not even close. There is nothing as brutal or physically draining as infantry combat. Many men can't hack it.

      April 24, 2012 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12