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. NotAnEqual

    I'm so glad you completely understood what I saying :

    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.

    If you are a female MEDIC (Navy Corpsman) you should be on base at the hospital treating the wounded, not trolling through the desert on convoys.

    I think women should be allowed in the military, but I don't think they should be in direct combat. That's all I'm saying.
    Go ahead and disagree – it's America and you're allowed to that. I'm suprised you feel you have to debase and judge me in order to justify this difference of opinion, but that's really a personal problem.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cricket

      Except we are not talking about the Navy, are we?

      April 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • WRG001

      Served with females on convoy security. They shot back just like I did. Drove the trucks and HMMWVs (unarmored then) through IED blasts. Great thing about the M16 is that it does not care who is pulling the trigger, so long as he or she know how to aim. I recognize the general "concerns" of females in direct combat roles, but should a female meet the same standards, then I have no problem. Covered 32 miles over two days downrange on foot with 60lbs of gear each...had one female with us. She was by far not the weakest member..physically or emotionally.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trigger

      Medics do work in the hospital and triage, however a large number of medics and corpsmen are attached to combat units- that is what they are trained and used for. They are not meant to only be back at the hospital.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trigger

      @cricket- The Marine Corps does not have a medical division- the Navy corpsmen serve with Marine units as medics. The Marines are a department of the Navy. So yes, we are talking about the Navy.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. blake

    A very foolish PC decision.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Exactly. Even for the very few women who could do 0311 lifestyle, that still doesn't take in to account the fact that they are around a bunch of mostly straight 19 year old males.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Aaron

    Now that should do well for moral.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lolol

    well of course people should be conditioned now to see women in the infantry with all the Katy Perry propaganda vids

    April 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Big Bird

    Women want to be treated the same as men. Put them on the front line. Give them what they want.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NotAnEqual

    tend the wounded – MEDIC. computer – communications/administrative work/supply. barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen – outdated joke used lightly, not literally. Good Day ma'am.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • You Betcha

      You betcha we're not equal...we're better. Good Day, Ma'am.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Iris

    "has been that many women serve in support positions – such as military police or MEDICS – that place them in harm's way."

    YES! BUT, this article is about the Marine Corps. We are talking about the Marine Corps. Or did you, by chance forget that when you were trying to show the world wide web that you have big balls?

    "If you are a female MEDIC (Navy Corpsman) you should be on base at the hospital treating the wounded, not trolling through the desert on convoys."

    You don't need to educate me on the Navy, I did my 5 years in the Navy. See, i can make my own conclusion and theories off of personal experience. Not because my husband came home and told me something.

    Support your husband, that's great. But, don't try to ridicule someone who may or may not even get to fullfill their dream just because your husband told you something.

    Going back and attacking your first statement, you said men and women are built differently, and THINK differently. Your point is moot, because as humans, WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. Or did you not learn that in Kindey-Garden?

    April 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Street soldier

    So your all smarter then the other? Will i worked for a private contractor for some time and some of these women are tougher then the men so unless SOME of you here have worked beside or fought beside such women then you all really need to shut up ,,,,ive been there and done that so we really need to pay attention to wjat is happening to our armed forces,,,,, and quit banging away at our freedoms especially the freedom to serve in military capacities,,,whats wrong men are you afraid of something,,, then maybe you should of not went into the armed forces because its not going to stop so get used to the idea that you may now ha ve a female by your side to fight one day,,,,and stop letting your emotions speak for themselves good by for now

    April 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tex71

    Why shouldn't women serve in combat positions? Some of the men who hate the idea are just hanging on to an obsolete female ideal of the damsel in distress; most, though, are simply too insecure about their own masculinity. These latter are probably couch potatoes too, who couldn't keep up with a female soldier on the obstacle course, let alone fight her without getting his fat macho butt kicked.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. SBrown

    This is officers school that women will be attending, not boot camp for enlistees. .

    April 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Female Marine Capt

      Just stop, IOC is the MOS school for Infantry Officers. All Marine Officers (male or famale) go to OCS or Naval Acdemy and then to TBS. After 6 months of Rifle Platoon Commander skills at TBS you go to your MOS school.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marine4Life

      SBrown. ALL Enlisted Marines go through recruit training and the training is identical at both Parris Island and San Diego. This article is speaking about post training and is specifically speaking about post training for officers who have attended Officer Candidate School, which is the "boot camp" for all officers and ALL officers regardless of gender complete the same training. The specific school they are going to be attending is Infantry Officers Course (IOC), a follow-cn course to the basic school (TBS) a six month school that again....ALL officers attend, regardless of gender and the training is identical. IOC is specifically designed for Infantry Officers. Officers that will eventually be assigned to an infantry battalion where they will lead young men into combat.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • HZach

      Officers school IS boot camp but for officer candidates. It is just as tough as boot camp they are just looking for something different. In boot camp they break down the enlistee so they can get them to follow orders. In OCS they break them down to find out who can lead. Same rigorous training.

      April 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Aaron

    There is nothing quite like the dismemberment and disfigured female solder on the Battle field. This is really going to go well with the troops. Good job Armed Forces on top never ending silly wars now we can see blown to pieces woman on CNN.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hell Atlantic

    again, women are not the same as us superior men, with our strength and our balls of steel and courage like super heroes, but the strength of the women who would be allowed to become a marine infantryman is not the same as the strength of the women who work in wal-mart. as long as the tests are the same for men and women and a woman has to pass the same stuff as a man – again there's no difference between a strong woman and a weak man.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sy2502

    I get the impression the guys are so scared that women will be as good as them that they'd rather go out of their way to not even give them the chance to try. Honor and character... lol!

    April 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dusty2701

    There's no one meaner than a woman marine every 28 days!

    April 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rick

    Works for Israel. They have fended off the all-male arab armies since 1947 just fine.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      They have a different mission than the Marine Corps.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
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