Now hear this: Women are joining the infantry — and hell has not frozen over.
The Marine Corps has approved requests by two women to move into infantry military occupational specialties. One woman has been approved to become a rifleman and another to become a machine gunner, said Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Philip Kulczewski, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon.
"The Corps applauds the time and efforts of those Marines who volunteered," Kulczewski said on Monday.
The Marine Corps is not yet releasing the women’s names or what unit they will be joining, he said. The service’s gender integration plan requires that the two female Marine or Navy officers or staff noncommissioned be assigned to the unit for 90 prior to any women joining them. before the two female Marines can join.
Since no women have graduated from the service’s Infantry Officer Course, female Marine or Navy officers assigned to infantry battalions will serve in support roles. The 30th female Marine to attempt IOC left her class on April 21 after she was being unable to complete two hikes. She has the opportunity to attempt the course again in July.
In March, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter approved the Marine Corps' plan to integrate women into all MOSs, allowing 233 female Marines who have graduated Infantry Training Battalion or other MOS schools previously closed to women to apply for lateral moves into combat jobs.
Starting this month, a training team will visit Marine Corps installations to explain the service's gender integration plan.
"This is not sensitivity training," Kulczewski told Marine Corps Times in April. "The focus will be on the details of the implementation plan and how it affects all Marines' best practices."
So far, not many prospective female Marines poolees have shown interest in training to join the infantry after boot camp. Marine officials have attributed that to at boot camp, due perhaps to a lack of interest among women to serve in ground combat jobs or to the rigorous physical standards associated with joining infantry MOSs, a Marine Corps official said.