The first first female Marine to pass Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC) and earn the recon military occupational specialty graduated the 12-week course on Nov. 7.
Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth, who earned the 0321 recon military occupational specialty, still has a few more training schools to go through before joining her unit, but is expected to arrive at her unit late spring 2020, the Marine Corps Times reported. Her unit is at 1st Recon Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California, said spokeswoman for 1st Marine Division, Maj. Kendra Motz.
The BRC provides Marines “with the basic knowledge of reconnaissance doctrine, concepts, and techniques with emphasis on amphibious entry, extraction, beach reconnaissance, Combat Rubber Reconnaissance Craft (CRRC) operator skills and ground reconnaissance patrolling skills.”
According to Connecting Vets, a Marine Recon is an expert at small teams patrolling and acting as scouts for larger Marine formations on the battlefield, called the “green side” operations. The attrition rate for Marines going through BRC is about 50%.
Controversy surrounding letting women in the military on the battlefield, especially since the Army secretly lowered standards in 2015 for women joining the elite Army Rangers and again lowered standards this year for all.
Despite this, there have been a number of “firsts” regarding women in the military.
For the first time in U.S. Army history, two sisters, Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and her younger sister Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi, have attained general’s rank this year, American Military News reported.
“Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi represents the best America has to offer,” said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. “However, this comes as no surprise to those who have known them and loved them throughout this extraordinary journey. This is a proud moment for their families and for the Army.”
Additionally, Staff Sgt. Amanda F. Kelley became the first enlisted female to graduate from Army Ranger School in August 2018, while Air Force 1st Lt. Chelsey Hibsch became the first Air Force female Airman to earn an Army Ranger tab in early September.
The Minnesota National Guard recognized its first female two-star general in September this year, too.
“There’s no way I would have ever seen that this would be a possibility when I first started,” Johanna Clyborne said. “As you go up in rank it becomes more conscious that you may not look like everybody else in the room. You have to develop your own style, and that’s a bit of a challenge sometimes for women.”