Home News Women in Marine Corps boot camp, the war rages on

Women in Marine Corps boot camp, the war rages on

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Sgt. Ashley Mohr, a drill instructor with Platoon 4039, Oscar Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, ensures her recruits have their valuables Sept. 17, 2014, on Parris Island, S.C. Drill instructors ensure all recruits and their equipment are accounted for at the end of the day. Mohr is a 27-year-old native of Salamanca, N.Y. Oscar Company is scheduled to graduate Nov. 7, 2014. Parris Island has been the site of Marine Corps recruit training since Nov. 1, 1915. Today, approximately 20,000 recruits come to Parris Island annually for the chance to become United States Marines by enduring 13 weeks of rigorous, transformative training. Parris Island is home to entry-level enlisted training for 50 percent of males and 100 percent of females in the Marine Corps. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Vaniah Temple)
Parris Island is home to entry-level enlisted training for 50 percent of males and 100 percent of females in the Marine Corps. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Vaniah Temple)

Marine Commandant Gen. Neller went to his higher ups after being ordered by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to integrate women into the previously gender-segregated boot camp.

Neller requested a personal meeting with Defense Secretary Ash Carter when the order came through, according to a Marine Corps Times report.

Mabus sent a surprise memo on January 1 to Neller asking him to submit his plans for integrating women Marines into “the previously segregated” boot camp. It was the same day that Neller planned on submitting his report with how the Marine Corps would open all previous male-only jobs to women. Now he was being asked to produce an additional plan by January 15.

The meeting last week between Mabus and Neller resolved with ‘separate training for women being the norm and making some compromises to include women on some training activities’.

Neller, like many of his male-Marine counterparts is not fully aligned with Mabus who insists that he will stop at nothing to ensure the evolution of the Marines to welcome women and shift to “gender neutral norms” in all aspects.

One area discussed in the report is the change in language and how it will be used moving forward, if Mabus’ plan is fully executed. The word “man” according to the report could be changed to “person”, where compound words like “serviceman” and may remain the same.

There is a lot of resistance to these changes and few agree that women should be in combat. However, women are being permitted to apply, train, and operate in all areas of the Marines now, including special operations.

Some female service members believe that military service is stacked against them. An anonymous O-5 helicopter pilot said, “If I want to start a family, I’m never going to make rank, I’m never going to be treated the same”, according to Marine Times.

Men and women side by side in the Marines has its advantages and disadvantages, like all things. There is clearly a difference of opinion on the two sides, and so, as it goes with our Marines, this war too, rages on.

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