The US Marine Corps has approved requests by two women to move into combat occupational specialties, with both going into the infantry.
According to the Marine Corps Times, the Marines have yet to release the women’s names or what unit they will be joining, though Pentagon Marine spokesman Philip Kulczewski says that one has been approved to be a rifleman and the other a machine gunner.
“The Corps applauds the time and efforts of those Marines who volunteered,” Kulczewski said on Monday.
Despite the new volunteers, the female Marines are currently bound by the new gender integration plan, which requires female officers or staff NCOs be assigned to a unit 90 days before any lower-ranking females can join. Since no female has currently been able to pass the Marine Infantry Officer Course, female Marine and Navy officers in Marine infantry battalions will continue to serve in support roles.
Since Defense Secretary Ash Carter approved the USMC’s plan for gender integration, 233 women have applied for infantry and other combat jobs, despite little interest from the majority of females in the service to switch over from their support MOSs.
“When I announced my decision back in December to open all career fields to qualified women, I emphasized that the implementation of this change must be handled the right way, because the combat effectiveness of the world’s finest fighting force is paramount,” Carter said in a statement on March 10.
“Having reviewed this exceptionally thorough work, I am pleased all of the services developed plans that will effectively carry out this change and make us even better in the future.”
The Marine Corps will begin the opening phases of integration this month, sending training teams to combat units.
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