Female Marine Becomes First Woman to Complete Grueling Officer Training

Female Marine Becomes First Woman to Complete Grueling Officer Training

The few, the proud will soon have a female infantry officer - a historic first in the almost 250-year history of the Marine Corps, according to a report.

Since the Pentagon opened the officer course to all women in 2015, four additional female Marines, including Monday's graduate-to-be, have attempted it. She is expected to graduate on September 25. The branch's Training and Education Command confirmed the news after The Washington Post first reported on her completion of a three-week field exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California. About 25% of males do not complete the course and end up in other positions in the Marine Corps. At least one of those four women attempted the course twice, but did not complete it.

At the time, 75 percent of active-duty infantrymen opposed gender integration and 90 percent stated that they believed romantic relationships in the same unit would cause trouble.

The course requires participants to carry heavy loads of up to 152 pounds over long distances.

About 10% of applicants drop out of the course after the first day, according to the Washington Post.

Marine Corps officials say those sentiments have waned since then, but it's unclear how much - especially in light of the photo-sharing scandal that emerged this year. Women make up only about 7% of the Marine Corps' ranks, the smallest percentage of any service.

Challenges, though, remain for women seeking ground combat jobs in the Marines.

Enlisted women began joining infantry units this January.

"There's no doubt we're leading cultural change", Brig. In an op-ed for the Marine Corps Times, Army Col. Ellen Haring (Ret.) wrote in October 2016 that IOC's standards are unrealistic. After the graduation in Quantico, Virginia on Monday, everyone will be identified, including the name of the only woman who completed the training. "She did something that is really hard, and it's hard physically and it's hard mentally".

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