Home News Marines deactivate historic Parris Island women’s battalion. ‘Moment to celebrate progress’

Marines deactivate historic Parris Island women’s battalion. ‘Moment to celebrate progress’

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PARRIS ISLAND, SC, UNITED STATES

08.15.2022

Photo by Sgt. Ryan Hageali 

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island            

Karl Puckett

The Island Packet (Hilton Head Island, S.C.)

May 3—Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is deactivating its 4th Recruit Training Battalion — the battalion where all of the country’s female Marine recruits trained for 74 years.

The Marines called the milestone decision a move toward standardized training for both men and women and the final chapter of integrated recruit training.

The Marine Corps is the last remaining branch of the military to integrate its bases, and a 2019 Congressional mandate prohibits gender segregation at its recruit bases after 2025.

Today, about 8 percent of Marine recruits are women and 92 percent are men.

Since 1949 and until recently, Parris Island served as the sole point of entry into the Marine Corps for all enlisted female Marines. Women have trained under units with multiple names with the 4th Recruit Training Battalion created in 1986.

But an all-female battalion is no longer necessary because men and women have been training in gender-integrated companies since 2022, the Marines said.

Gen. David H. Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps who made the decision, called decommissioning the 4th Battalion “a moment to celebrate progress.”

“I’m proud to see our male and female recruits benefit from having access to the quality of all our leaders — at Parris Island and San Diego — through an unchanging, tough, and realistic recruit training curriculum,” Berger said.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego began training women in 2021.

Some of the personnel serving in the 4th Recruit Training Battalion will move from Parris Island to San Diego, which is scheduled to train about half of the female Marine population by 2024.

“It won’t be long before there are female drill instructors who, as recruits, graduated alongside their male counterparts,” said Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, sergeant major of the Marine Corps. “They will train recruits and make Marines with that experience.”

On June 15, the Marines will bid farewell to 4th Battalion in a deactivation ceremony “that concludes her glorious tenure, closing the final chapter of integrating recruit training.”

“We are forever grateful to the drill Instructors, staff and legions of Marines who so proudly call 4th Battalion home,” the Marines said.

Major Philip Kulczewski, a Parris Island spokesman, said the 4th Recruit Training Battalion has sacred meaning to many people.

“You think about the impact that battalion had,” Kulczewski said. “For us as Marines, it’s a pretty big deal.”

Parris Island has methodically integrated all four recruit training battalions over the last three years with men and women now training together, Kulczewski said.

Integration, coupled with a reduction in the female recruit mission at Parris Island and more females being trained in San Diego, required an assessment of training efficiencies resulting in a reduction of training companies from 15 to 13, Kulczewski said.

On March 1, 1949, female Marines began training at Parris Island. The initial training duration for female enlisted Marines was 6 weeks.

In February 1975, a complex specifically for female Marines was completed at Parris Island.

In 1976, the first female Marines graduated from drill instructor school.

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(c)2023 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.)

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