Young men and women entering boot camp to “develop the thick skin all leathernecks need during that time ” should remain separate, according to one high-level Marine Corps official.
As the first-ever female grunts head to the infantry, Brig. Gen. James Bierman, the commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, is defending gender segregation at boot camp, the Marine Corps Times reports.
Speaking at a roundtable on recruiting yesterday, Bierman said: “Training men and women separately does not run counter to gender integration.”
Bierman says these are the first few critical months in a Marine’s life – where he or she is just beginning to develop a bond with their drill instructors and other recruits and it’s important they don’t become distracted by members of the opposite sex.
While the Corps is the only military service that still trains its male and female recruits separately- the Navy Secretary and Marine Corps Commandant have agreed to “look for ways to further integrate its entry-level training.”
“If the decision’s been made to integrate the Marine Corps, we support that with a happy heart,” Bierman said at the Sea-Air-Space conference outside Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. “But we don’t think it’s too much to ask that these young men and women … focus on learning the right lessons among their fellow men or women in an undistracted environment.”
Bierman says the Marine Corps is taking a “more aggressive approach” to recruiting women now, but it would be “absolutely the best thing for Marines” if men and women start off their military careers separately.
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