Service officials have confirmed that the United States Marine Corps has approved requests by two women to join infantry military occupational specialties. One will become a rifleman while the other will become a machine gunner, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Philip Kulczewski said, according to Marine Corps Times.
Kulczewski said the United States Marine Corps is not yet releasing the names of the two women or what unit they will be joining. Officials have confirmed that the Marine that applied to be an 0311 rifleman was a lance corporal. The other U.S. Marines’ ranking is unknown.
The gender integration plan requires two female officers or noncommissioned staff be a part of the unit 90 days before any women can join them, so these women will not be integrated until a woman passes the Infantry Officers Course.
As of today, no women have graduated from the Infantry Officers Course, so for now, women will have to serve in support roles in the infantry. The earliest date expected for these two women to enter their infantry military occupational specialties is December.
Out of the 30 women that have attempted to complete the Infantry Officer course, none have completed the grueling 86-day long course.
In March, Defense Secretary Ash Carter approved the plan for women to be integrated into infantry combat roles. A small group of 233 women were granted infantry military occupational specialties after graduating from the Infantry Training Battalion and other courses that were previously closed off to women.
Starting this month, the Marine Corps gender identification plan will begin. The plan will require that commandant be directly informed of all new developments as women begin to be integrated into all-male units.
According to Kulczewski, “the focus will be on the details of the implementation plan and how it affects all Marines’ best practices.”
Over the course of the next two months, training teams will be visiting bases to inform majors and lieutenant colonels of the changes that will occur. They will attend 2 day seminars and then be in charge of communicating that message to their units.
As of now, there is a lack of interest among women to join the infantry in combat roles. Officials are saying that there is a disinterest to join ground combat roles as well as having to deal with the demanding and rigorous physical standards to join infantry military occupational specialties.
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