First female nears halfway mark in Infantry Officer Course

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    Integrated Task Force infantry Marines kick off MCOTEA assessment
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders/Released

    A female Marine is nearing the halfway mark in the arduous Infantry Officer Course, having completed five of the thirteen weeks required for graduation.

    The Marine Corps is not releasing the name of the officer who began training in early July, said Maj. Amy Punzel, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Training and Education Command to Military.com.

    The 30th female Marine was dropped from IOC in August, 2016 — one more attempt was made early this spring, but the officer didn’t make it through. The course was rolled out to female Marine volunteers in late 2014.

    The Marine Corps showed great resistance to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s push to open all occupations to women, but was ultimately overruled by the Carter and -by extension- then Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

    Despite resistance, Mabus assured Marines that women would be required to meet the same standards if they wanted to be in the more-demanding combat roles.

    “Standards will not be lowered for any group to get through,” Mabus told Marines and sailors at Camp Pendleton last April. “Standards may be changed as circumstances in the world change, but they’ll be changed for everybody.”

    Mabus also recalled visiting IOC and being asked what would happen no woman was able to pass to pass the course in the next five years.

    “My response was: No woman made it through IOC,” he said. “Standards aren’t going to change.”

    Meanwhile, female enlisted Marines are able to pass the standards for enlisted infantry positions and are being assigned positions to operational infantry units.

    The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Glenn Walters told Military.com that 278 women are now serving in jobs which female Marines had been barred from earlier, with another 40 female recruits with enlisted contracts on the way.

    “Do we have hordes [of female Marines entering combat jobs]? No,” Walters said. “But we have a pretty good nexus that are attempting to make these choices in life. And I’m very proud of them.”

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