19 April 2012

USMC To Send Women to Infantry School

The Commandant of the Marine Corps has said that they are sending women to attend infantry school.

The Marine Corps school that produces infantry combat officers will enroll its first-ever female students this year, Marine Corps Times has learned.

As part of the service’s extensive research campaign to determine what additional jobs could be opened to women, an undetermined number of volunteers will attend the Infantry Officers Course in Quantico, Va., said Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Corps’ assistant commandant. There, Marine officers are groomed to serve in direct combat roles and lead troops into battle.

“We are in the process right now of soliciting volunteers,” Dunford said on Wednesday.

It’s a monumental — if controversial — move for the Marine Corps, which until now barred female Marines from the program and required instead that they attend other courses aimed at preparing them for assignments in support roles such as logistics, personnel administration and aircraft maintenance, among others.

Soon, enlisted women also will have an opportunity to attend infantry training, Dunford said. Marine officials are developing plans to assign female Marines to the Corps’ Infantry Training Battalions, which fall under the Schools of the Infantry.

Officials don’t yet know how many women — officer or enlisted — will be put into the academic pipeline for the Corps’ “03” infantry occupational code, Dunford said. All will be volunteers — and it remains to be seen how many will answer the call, he said.

It’s not immediately clear either what the next steps will be for those women who successfully complete the Corps’ infantry training programs. Marine officials at Quantico, who have led the service’s effort to explore lifting restrictions on women in combat, said these details are finalized, but declined to discuss them pending an official unveiling in the coming days.

The Marine Corps’ top general, Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, traveled Wednesday to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where among other business he was expected to meet with Marines and explain the service’s plans for expanding women’s career opportunities, Dunford said. Amos was joined by his senior enlisted adviser, Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett.

Wow. What do y'all think? Good idea? Bad idea? Dumb idea? Great idea?

By: Brant


Anonymous said...

Its about time! I have been stationed with a lot of female Marines who were more than capable to handle the rigors of Infantry training.

Brian said...

The idea can be made to work, but it will only work well if politics is kept out of the implementation - case in point, gender-neutral physcial fitness standards. Let's hope they can keep on with that.

(Meanwhile, freely admitting that the idea has a political genesis - the US isn't Israel, where everyone has to carry a rifle, and there's still plenty of usable male material wandering around out of uniform).

Matt Purvis said...

Bingo Brian! In order for anything like this to succeed, standards must be gender-neutral. A person can do the job or can't do the job. Period.