The first female infantry Marines will be joining their unit tomorrow at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Three female Marines will be going to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines as a rifleman, machine gunner, and mortar Marine, according to II Marine Expeditionary Force spokesman 1LT John McCombs.
The battalion is already set up with a team of female leaders to support the new grunts, including a logistics officer, motor transport officer and wire chief.
Marine Corps spokesman Captain Philip Kulczewski said that the three women were part of the service’s gender integration research when they graduated from the School of Infantry.
“The Corps applauds the time and efforts of those Marines who volunteered,” Kulczewski said. “As we continue to move forward, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that the men and women who earn the title ‘Marine’ will be ready, and will provide America with an elite crisis-response force that is ready to fight and win.”
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter overwhelmingly pushed on the integration of women into previously male-only specialties, approving the US Marine Corps’ plan to do so in March. Prior to this, he had refused the USMC’s request to keep women out of combat jobs after a Marine study showed co-ed units did not perform as well as all-male units.
However, one must question whether this integration plan will be so vigorously-pursued by the Trump Administration as it has been by the Obama Administration. Verily, Trump’s potential Secretary of Defense -Retired Marine General James Mattis- went on record in saying that “shortsighted social programs” could possibly hinder US Military effectiveness.
Marine Corps Commandant Robert Neller told Marine Corps Times that no one has talked to him as of yet in regards to reversing the decision to integrate.
“I’ve heard people speculate on it,” Neller said on December 7. “I don’t do speculation. Until the 20th of January, we’ve been told what to do and we’re in the process of doing it.”
When one reporter mentioned “women in combat,” Neller reminded them that women have been a part -even if very small- of warfare since the beginning of time, citing the 2006 loss of Major Megan McClung, a USMC spokeswoman killed by an IED in Iraq.
“I’m coming up on the 10th anniversary when Megan McClung was killed in Ramadi … And I sent her to Ramadi,” Neller said. “So, I don’t mean to take umbrage, but when people start talking about women in combat, I don’t need a class on women in combat.”