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. 2/8

    There's some women out there that are a hell of a lot tougher than quite a few men. If they can aim straight, pull a trigger with discipline, and thrust a knife, then let them in.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin

      the problem in the past is that men feel the need to protect woman in combat so more deaths have occured. This was a concern and has shown to be true...

      April 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MobiusEight

    You wanted equality? There it is. Have fun, enjoy!

    April 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • ammodawg

      Yeah, now lets see if the standards are lowered to assist in this terrible social experiment. It isn't just about shooting and ruck marching. Keep them out of combat arms.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    No way in hell, they'll allow it. It's just fluff to say "see where abiding"... I went through MCT and SOI training at Pendleton. No women I've come across in my life has the mental side of it down to function the same in combat as a man. Not predjudice, it's just men are wired different than women. No women I've met can fire team assualt a bunkered area, handle witnessing your buddy get wasted or injured and be capable of pulling and carrying a 250lb + full gear loaded man back to safety.
    Let's not forget the way soldiers act within ones group or platoon.. This isn't GI Jane here... Women start getting wasted on the frontlines will open up a whole other area of political bs back home. It's just expected of men, always has, always will to go fight and sometimes die on the battlefield. Gulf Co. 2/9 OOOHRAH

    April 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Led1950

      If women get wasted, so be it. It's time women start paying their dues.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam mills QMCS Ret.

      let 'em fight! You never know how people will perform, men or women.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. KennyC

    what i dont want to see is the news on cnn about a squad of marines getting killed and all they have to talk about is the one female who died.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The Sgt

    Congress needs to MIND their own business, The Marines have been kicking butt for 237 years, Congressed changed the way DI's talk to their recruits NOW, women do NOT belong in a combat role. Semper fi

    April 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin

      agree 100%

      April 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Tell us again how bad the Marines kicked butt in that little thing called Vietnam.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. marinesupporter

    Maybe this is the answer. Put women in combat and there will be less wars. At least there will be less atrocities.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RtUp

    As the Corps goes, so goes the Country. Bye, Bye.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cricket

    It's. In. The. Experimental. Stage. Just like the male Marines who wash out, if they can't cut it, they're gone. Yawn.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NotAnEqual

    I'm female and I think I'm pretty dam tough – but there is no reason a women should ever be in a direct combat position. I don't care how many exceptions you may claim there are to that rule, the FACT is men and women are NOT created equal. We are built different, we think diffently, we prioritize differently. For both their safety and the men's safety, they shouldn't be allowed to even be attached to direct combat units. One almost got my husband and about 50 other Marines killed because she couldn't keep it together. Keep them behind the wire! Like The Sgt said – with the quality of our soldiers being watered down so no one gets a bruise or hurt ego, the soldiers are unprepared enough for real combat – let's not make it worse by putting coddled, weak women in the mix. Show me a woman who can dead-lift and carry my husband to safety after his MRAP hits an IED and I might think differently, but until then, tend the wounded and sit at the computer. And yes, I do believe in women's rights, just not being stupid.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin

      very well said... agreed 100%, thank you.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      What do you say about women in military who get same pay and benefits as men, but don't go into combat ?

      April 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Ma'am
      My hat's off, respect to you and good kevlar luck to your hubby. Very well said.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Led1950

      Why don't you tell this to your feminist friends. Their the one's pushing for women in combat. Then again your most likely the, I believe in women's equality just not any responsibilty type! It never ceases to amaze me that when it comes time to pay the "equality check" these blowhard feminist are the first to cry foul.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      You get it. Thank you and thanks to your husband.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Terry

    Oh great, they are trained for full combat, but aren't allowed into full combat. Another great govenmental tax waste.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    Will the Marines be creating a "gender-neutral" haircut, to go along with the "gender-neutral" physical fitness tests?

    April 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Very good question..

      April 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cricket

      Why? Are you a hairdresser or something?

      April 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Smedley

    It seems the Corps is doing well so far with its first female Commandant...

    April 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Iris

    Oh Lord, sounds like someone is more jealous that their husbands have to work with females. How many times have I seen this? Countless.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Smedley

    People always wonder why the Corps now has 35 more Generals than it did when they took back the Pacific Resource Basin. Now you know.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NotAnEqual

    Everyone gets the same pay and benefits based on their rank. If they are in combat, they get hazard pay (well, only if they are being shot at that day they do, thanks Obama!) If she's there, she's getting the same thing her male peers are getting. And you know what, all Marines should be trained for combat – it's their JOB. Please don't complain about our tax dollars being wasted on training our soldiers who keep the fight out of our backyard. Just because someone is a cook, it doesn't mean he/she shouldn't know how to pick up a gun a shoot a terrorist before he self detonates.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • hammerjacker

      What are you talking about? You get hazard pay in a combat zone no matter what the conditions. I was an infantryman on daily combat patrols out of a small outpost getting the same hazard pay as a female medic who was permanently stationed on KAF and never left.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
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