A month after the Pentagon ordered the military to open all combat roles to women, the Marine Corps has been ordered to fully integrate women into its basic training courses and make its job titles more gender-neutral.
It’s not really clear yet whether all job titles will change, but according to an anonymous Navy official who spoke with the Marine Corps Times, titles such as infantryman, rifleman or midshipman may remain in place.
It’s the titles where the word ‘man’ appears as a separate word that they want changed. For example, in titles such as “reconnaissance man”, “fire support man” and “field artillery sensor support man”, the official said it’s possible that “man” could just be dropped from the names.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus sent a memo to Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller on Jan. 1- requesting a “detailed plan” on how the service will fully integrate its boot camp and Officer Candidate School. While male and female Marine officer candidates have trained together for years, the Corps remains the only military branch to segregate its enlisted trainees.
According to the Jan. 1 memo, the plan is due Jan. 15, and will be implemented by April 1. Mabus characterized the request as an “effort to facilitate complete inclusion of women in combat roles.”
One Marine, who also spoke to the Marine Corps Times, said the order posed “logistical challenges.” Managing barracks with open floor plans and organizing personnel like drill instructors may be difficult, the unnamed source said.
The integration process is not going to be easy, officials have acknowledged that. Mabus wrote: “There will be challenges as we move forward with this policy change, but none are insurmountable and, and all of this is dependent upon the very best leadership on the part of the Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy.”
Commanding officers have been directed to report — among other concerns — “indications of decreased combat readiness or effectiveness, increased risk to Marines, including sexual assault and hazing, and signs of deteriorating morale or unit cohesion.”
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