For the first time in Marine Corps history, female Marines on Tuesday, March 6 checked into the Marine Combat Training Battalion within the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, military officials said.
The 40 female Marines, arriving from Parris Island, South Carolina, will be fully integrated with the male Marines at the platoon and squad level as part of Golf Company, said Capt. Joshua Pena.
The addition of the female Marines will not change the battalion’s training or its training timeline, he said.
Once the rotation is at full capacity, there will be approximately 1,700 women trained at the Combat Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton.
“It’s never been done in the history of the Marine Corps,” Pena said. “In the past, the Marine Corps has trained women in combat training on the East Coast because that’s where the facilities are.”
Women have undergone combat training on the East Coast for decades. Plans began about a year ago to add combat training at Camp Pendleton, Pena said. In order to prepare for the female Marines, medical services, bathrooms and housing had to be modified at existing buildings.
In January 2016, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that all gender-based restrictions on military service were lifted, clearing the way for women to serve next to men in infantry roles.
Since then, more women have moved into combat roles.
“The integration of female Marines at Marine Combat Training Battalion West is part of the Marine Corps efforts to enhance training in the entry-level training pipeline and to facilitate an environment that reflects the operating forces.”
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