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. Karla

    My son just got out of basic and told me about the special PT requirements for women. I say if women want equal rights fine give them a shot but make no special provisions for them. They want to do a mans job then do it like a man! If they can pass all the requirements that men have to pass then they would definitely deserve to be there.

    April 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. LCM

    Tell the Israeli's that women can't fight...

    April 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sgt USMC

      Israel, your women can't fight.

      April 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      @Sgt USMC:
      lol........

      April 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Ya got a point. If they can physically handle the job put em in coach.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. EtahEvol

    This is a BIG mistake that I thought the Corps would never make. This science project is going to fail miserably.

    April 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DCPam

      I think that some women will do well and some women will do poorly. Sadly, those who perform poorly will overshadow those who do well. If you look at all the female service members coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq missing limbs and getting purple hearts...I would say that women already serve in combat roles.

      April 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Why don't we just see what happens, HateLove?

      April 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • sandy daniels

      agreed too late now

      April 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave NY USA

      What's wrong, Short Dick? Afraid a woman will out do your puny ass?

      April 20, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Teufel

    CNN: Why will you not post my comment? Can you not take constructive feedback??

    April 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sandy daniels

      don't feel bad they did the same thing to me. The first amendmentis dead

      April 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      There are some words that will not make it through the computer's filters...like consti tution.

      April 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pyusmc66

    Was just a matter of time before the Corps fell victim to P.C. "Buffalo Bagels" and lowered the standards so that women can compete, for combat assignment. This will mark the end of the United States Marine Corps. Israeli Defense Forces are roughly akin to the National Guard...........not one of the premier assault forces on the planet. Not long before Seal Teams and Special Forces will suffer the same fate. It is a sad day for the Armed Forces.

    April 19, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • USMCRET

      Roger that Mac, but at least we can say we were part of the Corps when it wasn't that way.
      Maybe we need some of the Old Corps Leadership to step in and comment on times when political correctness and fuzzy feel-gooders were not part of the warrior. Sounds like that failed "Human Relations" training they tried on us a few decades ago.

      April 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • glennrobert

      The other half of the human race is not inferior just different . What the Corps should worry about is becoming part of the Army. That would be a real put down. In the mean time buy a copy of the book "man down" explaining why woman are superior to men. Written by a male lawyer who deals with the statistics not opinion. It seems our male ego gets in the way of our thinking!

      April 20, 2012 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. sandy daniels

    I served before the CORPs was ruined by DADT and women in MCT the next step will be replacing the bulldog (Chesty Puller) with a toy poodle with the french cut and little pink bows

    April 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. banasy©

    Matt Damon's political views are as irrelevant as Ted Nugent's.
    Vote according to your conscience, not theirs.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. vneal

    Why not make all female teams therefore "men wont have to be protected by the females. Ok for real wemen have Always been on the front lines, weather protecting there homes, nurses, or even fighter piolets! they just never get the credit for there jobs

    April 20, 2012 at 1:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • mike

      great spelling there champ

      April 20, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. glennrobert

    I don't think Matt Damon or Sarah Palin are running for anything.

    April 20, 2012 at 2:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. jake

    I'm all for it. Fully integrate the military. See how many women enlist when they have to risk their lives the way the male soldiers do.I have all the respect in the world for the women brave enough to want to go into the combat but I suspect if women had to live up to the same standards as men, many of them would not be enlisting. No intentional pregnancies to get out serving in war zones, no consideration for 'mommy time'. If you enlist- you fight. If women want to be equal- let them be equal. Watch the female recruitment numbers drop once they know they aren't going to be safe and sound 100 miles away from the fighting.

    Let's bring back the requirement that ALL soldiers graduating from the US Military Academy have to go Combat Arms!. The amount of tax dollars being wasted on female officers at the service academies is an outrage. 100K of tax payer dollars for an education and the 'soldier' can sit at desk pushing papers for 5 years then cash in her fancy education in the private sector all for the sake of diversity and political correctness is an abuse of tax dollars.. Go serve in combat for 5 years.

    April 20, 2012 at 5:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      jake, clearly you didn't graduate from a US service academy. I recommend you stick to subjects that you know.

      April 20, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. taurran

    As a former infantry Marine, I can say this will put a divide right through the ranks where there is no room for any. Also, women aren't cut out for the kind of work the average 03 does while deployed in combat. Sorry if I'm not being PC, but it's true.

    April 20, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      I was about as POG as you can get, but boot camp and MCT gave me a little taste of what you grunts do every day, and I think it's safe to say most women won't be able to keep up. Those that can will have to deal with the fact that they are around a bunch of 19 year old males in VERY close quarters. I don't think I'd want to share a fighting hole for two nights with a female.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. Furious Styles

    They're drumming up for MORE wars for profit and need the extra troops. The flood gates are open. The Army is next!

    April 20, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Retired Gunny

    There is no doubt in my mind that some women out there can do a just as good a job or even better than some of their male couterparts, but that is not the point. Women should not have to endure the rigors, the sights, the brutality, and the violence of combat.

    Maybe, just maybe "because we've always done it this way", is the right way to look at this issue. As a man I will always feel the need to provide and protect women...it is a mans instinct is to provide that protection and that instinct can take away objectivity when a mission has to be accomplished.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Claire

    I wonder at what point it is that boys are taught to hate, degrade, and disrespect women to the degree represented by several of the respondents here. I can only hope these caustic remarks are representative of a select few. No one is arguing that combative roles in the Marine Corps is going to be ideal for every woman, in the same way that it is not ideal for all men. But to apply sweeping statements about purses and pregnancy and nail-polish based on stereotypes you see on TV or in a select few to 50% of the population is disgraceful. And quite frankly, you should be ashamed.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • GungHo

      Thank you for stating that. If a woman wants to do the job, she should be able to do it. No one is saying that women will perform better or worse than their male counterparts except for the hateful remarks on here.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. daveinla

    As a former Marine Corps infantry combat vet I find this disgraceful.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
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