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For the first time in almost 100 years, San Diego Marine Corps boot camp will train coed recruits in 2021

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 For the first time in its 100-year history, women will attend recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego early next year, the Marine Corps said in a news release.

The recruit company, designated “Lima” Company, will serve as a “proof of concept” to demonstrate to the Marine Corps what will be required for future sustained integrated recruit training in San Diego, according to the Marines. The recruits will report to the depot Feb. 12.

“This is the first time we are able to give Marines who graduate from MCRD San Diego the same integrated experience that many of their peers at Parris Island have received already,” Brig. Gen. Ryan P. Heritage, the commanding general of the depot, said in a statement. “(This) will get us one step closer to understanding the facilities and personnel needed to make this a sustained reality.”

News of the Marine Corps’ plans was first reported Monday by military news site Military.com.

The Marines also announced that on Wednesday, a new class of 57 drill instructors will graduate the depot’s first integrated Drill Instructor Course. Three women are among the new drill instructors graduating, and they will be among the instructors involved in training the new integrated company in February, said Marine Capt. Martin Harris, a depot spokesman.

About 60 women will comprise one of the six platoons in the company. The women have already been told they’re San Diego-bound, Harris said.

Congress mandated last year that the Marines integrate its two boot camps, San Diego and Parris Island, South Carolina, within a decade. Women have been training separately on the East Coast while San Diego has been all-male since it began training recruits in 1923. The Marines graduated their first coed recruit company at Parris Island in 2019. Since then, eight more integrated companies have graduated, the Marines said.

As has been the case during most of the pandemic, all recruits will quarantine for at least two weeks upon arrival to San Diego before beginning training, the Marines said. Recruit training in San Diego has adjusted its training to accommodate increased social distancing and mask-wearing. The depot is also off-limits to people who do not work there.

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