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. Sal

    Women shouldn't even be in the military, firemen, or policemen period! 

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

    "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. " :)

    April 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Wow, nice condescending comment....

      April 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MTVet

      I served active-duty Army. Your comment gave me quite a laugh. Awesome!

      April 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DevilDogs

    Let them go for it, but make no concessions in training. A woman killed on the battlefield is no greater loss than a man.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      What female soldier feels their death is worse then a male soldier?

      April 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BYRD

    I can not imagine a woman in the jungle like Viet Nam with leeches, unreal heat and humidity with diarrhea and maybe her "time of the month" and have to keep moving because the enemy was moving in on them and no chance of being extracted by helo. It is hard enough for a conditioned man to do that, I do not know of a woman that could do it. Good luck ladies

    April 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Romin2003

      Could you imagine a man, 7 months-pregnant, feet swollen, excruciating back pain, can't barely walk-has to waddle, hormones wrecking havoc, coming home after a 10-hour shift working on her feet to cook, clean the house and take care of her two other school-age children, meanwhile her husband probably expects her to look her best, and maybe-oh God let it happen!- maybe he can expect a little nookie once she is done doing laundry and puts the kids to bed ? I do not either. That man would have a nervous breakdown and go to his job the next day, shoot everyone and then come home and set it on fire.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Wow....

      April 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • GunnySGT JIM

      Good point.

      April 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. David Ellis

    They used to say women couldn't work at all, couldn't vote, couldn't drive (some still do). Then they said they couldn't lead, couldn't possibly be pilots, firefighters, corporate leaders. Women have proved them wrong time and time again and at least deserve the opportunity to try.
    For this reason, and because of the changing face of war where front lines are murky, indistinct things where even humanitarian or medical convoys are routinely targeted, I support the training.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Flugerio15

    Why not? Though I think Men are better suited for Infantry I don't have a problem with Women joining in. I see some really tough Women all the time at the Lesbian night clubs.

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

    David Ellis, best post I have seen so far.

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

    One of my drill sergeants at Fort Leonard Wood was female. All I remember is that woman could run. Of course the Marine Corp is whole different beast. I've seen some female Krav Maga instructors too.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rep

    Whatever. Get ready for all the inevitable "battlefield romances" (and all that that entails) to ensue.... Will make for an interesting reality show for embedded reporters.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mrdude

    The only battle women should be fighting, is the war in my kitchen making me sammiches!

    April 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NotAnEqual

    Thanks for your service, Isis. But this is my opinion; I don't think women should be in direct combat. Tear my words apart and mock me and disagree as much as you want but that's how I feel about it – regardless of you disagreeing. I obviously have no chance of persuading you to agree with me, or even getting you to understand why I feel this way – so why continue. You're being combative and demoralizing and that's an arguement, not a debate. You tell me I'm wrong, but the only thing you have said is that some woman might want to fulfill her dream (which would be what, exactly? Being shot at?) and I shouldn't stop her. I CAN'T stop her. Not even if I tried. I just put my two cents out there and you sunk your teeth in. Now, go ahead and write another angry, holier-than-thou rant sprinkled with a few insults and feel good about yourself.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Getyourfactsright

      Hate to break it to you bro...women are in direct combat. Though they do not fill infantry, mortar man, or artillery billets – the supporting elements to all of those forward operating units cross through Insurgent Safe Havens often neglected by a security force. Women deliver fuel, food, maintenance material, supplies, and even mail. These women often get attacked by IEDs, get in ambushes, and have to fight their ways out of the kill zone just like their infantry counterparts do in Sangin, Marjah, and the rest of Helmand. Every Marine is a Rifleman...

      April 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mrdude

    The only war women should be fighting is getting the jar of pickles open amd making me a sammich!

    April 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Flugerio15

    If Women want to be totally equal then we should get rid of all Women Sports and have them compete for the same position that men do.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Iris

    I thought it was a good day for me? As in, you were leaving because you didn't want to engage? Guess not. But, I am the one being angry and combative? Interesting. You are absolutely correct. You have zero chance at persuading me to agree with you. And yes, that is your opinion. However misguided and childish it sounded, it's yours and I'm glad you own it.

    It's the internet. If insults hurt you, logg off. That simple. Obviously they effect you in some type of way, you continue responding to me. I don't know you, will probably never know you. But, if there is one thing I cannot stand, is a military spouse who wears either her husband's rank or job on their sleeve.

    You sound intelligent. Go out into the world and see things for yourself and then form your own opinions. I promise you it will carry more merit.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The Obama Christian Church Worldside

    Ted Nugent says that he and DC101 station in Rockville, Maryland from the 1801 Rockville Pike building disc jockeys will work togerher with the news stations to get the public to worship and praise president Obama and go to our Obama Christian Church in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. in which Ted Nugent says Obama is a good christian man and Obama will be God on October 21st of this year. Ted Nugent says that he wants to be our guest speaker of the Obama praise and worship. Call DC101 at 1-866-91DC101 for details. Talk to Mike Jones, Claire Burgoos or Jennifer Cook for details. You can stop in the station in person and fill out a form indicating that you intend to go to the Obama Christian Rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. this coming May. Reverend Frank Caverty of the Obama Christian Church will be heading off on the event and we will be having a good time with the Obama worship and praise along with God above. Ted Nugent will be our guest speaker on the good Obama Christian Campaign.

    April 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
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