at boot camp to train for ground-combat jobs are forced into non-combat roles after failing the gender-neutral physical test required for those jobs, according to Marine Corps data.
The Marine Corps Times obtained data from the Corps’ Training and Education Command which showed that, from October through May, 13 of 51 women who entered boot camp met the “MOS Classification Standard” — the physical fitness test for “combat arms classifications.”
Those classifications include military occupational specialties (MOS) in combat support, fire direction and control, engineering and infantry — which have only been open to women since January 2016.
The low pass rates have caused some — including retired Lt. Col. Kate Germano, a former Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island training battalion commander who was relieved of command — to question how women are being recruited and prepared for such roles prior to arriving at the depot, according to the Marine Corps Times.
Others, such as Lt. Col. John Caldwell of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, say poolees — prospective Marine recruits — are adequately recruited, informed and prepared.
Currently, all female Marine recruits train on Parris Island.
The Corps is reportedly considering allowing women to train at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, according to the Associated Press. The reason, according to the AP, which cited Corps officials: “to quash recurring problems with sexism and other bad behavior among Marines.”
So far in 2017, female recruits account for less than 1 percent of trainees who arrive at the depot with combat-arms job contracts, according to the Marine Corps Times.
For fiscal year 2016, six of 24 women met the physical requirements for combat arms classifications.
During the same period, more than 4,700 male recruits arrived at boot camp with similar ground-combat contracts — 96 percent met the standards.
In January, four Marines — including Pfc. Maria Daume — became the first women to finish boot camp with an infantry contract in hand when they graduated on Parris Island. In March, Daume finished the basic mortarman course at Camp Geiger, N.C., according to the Corps.
After finishing boot camp with ground-combat contracts, women face another round of tests — called MOS Specific Physical Standards — at their next training sites, according to the Marine Corps Times. Female Marines pass those tests at a rate of 90 percent.
All recruits must pass an initial strength test before beginning boot camp.
Wade Livingston: 843-706-8153, @WadeGLivingston
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