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. textee

    Predictably, this thread is filled with utterly feminized, military-hating leftists who don't know a thing about warfare, the United States military or the infantry.

    The idea that women will be in infantry units is so obscene that only Obama and his mind-numbed cultists would be stupid enough to offer it.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • palintwit

      Shouldn't you be outside stringing barbed wire around your double-wide?

      April 19, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • LA

      So Textee. How come other countries do it with no problem? Why are you unable to?

      April 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Darrell

      Yeah because Obama is all over this. Don't you see him being quoted all over the article. Oh...wait...

      April 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      If women are able to meet the same physical and psychological standards as men, what's your issue with it? I'd assume our military members are professional enough to be able to handle mixed-gender units. Besides, given the current threats we're fighting (radicalized Islam, which subjagates the hell out of women), don't you think this is an excellent way to show how we're different?

      April 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • thinking ahead

      I read this and want to agree that women can serve in front line roles, however, I think about the combat training and the mindset imposed on our troops is partially based on the notion they are protecting their homeland, protecting the United States and the citizens of our great country (which, impliedly means women, children, etc.). I realize this is somewhat of an antiquated idea but nevertheless one which is utilized. This leads me to wonder whether a male soldier will possibly disregard his safety and that of his team to intervene on behalf of a female soldier should he believe she is in peril. Would the effort he undertakes be equal to the same situation involving a male soldier? How many male soldiers which are wounded or taken hostage in combat immediately draw the attention of our special forces teams (i.e., Jessica Lynch) who risk it all to extract those who are in trouble? If we can keep gender bias out of the responses of combat personnel and the training prepares female soldiers for these roles, I say great...but if we cannot and the idea of having a woman soldier taken hostage on your watch awakens protective instincts in lieu of sound combat training...well, I think that is the rub.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cricket

      Predictably, someone brings Obama and partisanship into it.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    They should not lower the standards of the training or the tests. If women are unable to meet the current standards than they should not be in combat positions. There also are many men who are unable to meet the standards. To lessen the quality and/or intensity of the traing would be detrimental to our fighting forces. Combat is not a walk in the park. If you are not conditioned properly for the rigors of war, you endanger not only yourself but your brothers in arms as well. So, all that being said, if a women is able to meet the current standard, then by all means allow her in. Anything below that bar is dangerous.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Right

    Its politically correct so it will happen. The movies now routinely show women kicking butt against men twice their size so obviously this ability is real and our forces will be enhanced by having such deadly woman on the marine front lines.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Agreeman

      Are you telling me G.I. Jane was alll a lie?!?! Well hopefully after women conquer infantry in the Marine Corps, we can "push" them through the Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Marsoc, and whatever else they are not operating in. We should lower the standards across the board. I am sure warfare can adjust so the that the U.S still has the greatest fighting forces in the world.

      April 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • wobbles

      Somewhere in China. CHICOM generals are cheering....

      April 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Drake

    Nature is not "gender-neutral".

    Wonder if the services are having second thoughts about "civilian control."

    April 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. MrDifficult

    This is just pandering to the feminazis at a time when infantry is becoming irrelevant. If warfare was still Vietnam-esque, we wouldn't hear a peep about it.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • wobbles

      There's a alot of dead folks out there who didn't find our infantry "irrelevant". You can find them kicking it with their 72 virgins.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MrDifficult

    Maintaining or elevating standards conflicts with women's equality.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RaeGreen

    As a woman, I think it is great that there are plenty of jobs in the national economy that women do equally well as men. I think of myself as "one tough cookie" but I know we women have limits. We are not all G.I. Janes capable of performing the grueling training the Marine infantry goes through let alone capable of being in the front lines. It is not discrimination, it is nature.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Agreeman

      Your such a realist RaeGreen

      April 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      You are an intelligent woman. Thank you.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. CNNTom

    Sure, why not? Women should also be eligible for conscription. That's equality. Isn't that what women want? Equality isn't just choosing the items that benefit you.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Oshis

    Paul- Women DO NOT do the exact same job as men in the infantry field and with the laws in place they are NOT keeping women down, they are protecting them

    Textee- They are looking for volunteers. I say give it a shot. If it fails, it was a small group anyway. By fails I mean don't make a platoon of women and send them in to a massacre. Place them sporatically within other infantry units and see if it works

    BTW- I served 8 years in the Marine Coprs.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dee

      This Devil Dog (whom happens to also be a female) says, If I was able to teach Marines basic infantry tactics thru MCT for 3 years then served in Iraq checking females for weapons in heavy traffic areas and also "attached" to infantry units to reach out to the local females, I say give them a fair shot. If it works great if not you've got nothing to loose.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hoya Saxa

    This is a terrible idea. Believe it or not, gender is not some crazy social construct, and men at their physical peak are simply more practically strong than women. Putting women into situations where they may need that strength and will not have it is going to cost lives, all for the sake of "political correctness."

    April 19, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jennifer

    There is no such thing as gender equality when it comes to the physical–women are not as physically strong as men, and men can't have babies. We are designed for different things, and no amount of social engineering is going to change that. Young women will always be the most valuable element of society because without them there's no future, and healthy men want to protect them, not hurt them or put them in harm's way. Most societies all throughout history have known better than to throw their young women in the path of enemy combatants, because the kinds of things marauding soldiers do to women usually don't meet the Geneva convention and not even a stern talking-to about gender equality can get them to behave. But in the name of political correctness, let's perform a grand social experiment to tell us something we already knew at the expense of national safety! Welcome to the Brave New World.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Edmund

    Take a look at the Athletic World. Does men and women compete in the same events?

    When we have gender neutrality in sport, we should reconsider the position on infantry

    April 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dan

    Given what passes for a physically fit male soldier now, I guess it won't make a whole lot of difference.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. John

    It's not a matter of physical limitations which the the article presents. Women endanger the mission because men are more willing to compromise the mission in order to protect them. It is a psychological problem for men and the population of the United States, neither which is ready to see mothers come home en mass in body bags. Also, take a look at the Army's field manual for all the logistics that surround supporting a women in the field compared to a man, not even mentioning when she is on her menstrual cycle.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. iphoneguy1

    I know of women who can kick my butt and of every single men who has posted to this board....

    April 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • wobbles

      Sorry you are weak. Maybe get off the keyboard and go find some time to man up a bit.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
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