Only 27 women across the Corps don the 03-infantry occupational specialty.
That breaks down to 26 enlisted women and one officer bearing the grunt title as of Aug. 28, according to data provided by Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
Only two women have successfully navigated the Corps’ 13-week grueling Infantry Officer Course, and only one of them is actively serving as an infantry platoon commander.
In total, 113 enlisted women and 29 officers are serving in job fields that were previously restricted, according to Manpower and Reserve Affairs. But those numbers have seen a steady increase since 2015.
The numbers are low, especially compared to the Army, where nearly 800 women are serving in combat jobs that were previously closed, to include 18 women who have graduated from the Army’s Ranger School, Army Times reported.
But the low numbers of female Marines in previously closed jobs was expected, Gen. Robert B. Neller, told reporters at a media roundtable event Wednesday.
“I didn’t think there would be a lot and the numbers we’ve gotten so far are small,” Neller said.
When the Pentagon broke down the barriers for women to join combat fields the process was twofold: Women could join previously closed jobs or join previously closed units, Neller explained.
For previously closed units, the numbers for the Corps are a bit better. About 382 are serving in formerly restricted units which is an increase by nearly 50 percent, according to Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
But Neller says the Corps isn’t out actively trying to push women into the combat arms fields ― it’s all about whether you’re qualified and can do the job.
“We don’t go out there to recruit anybody into combat arms,” Neller told reporters. “You have to be qualified.”
And the progress so far, Neller said he hasn’t really received any complaints or issues with females integrating into the combat arms.
It all really just boils down to being a Marine, Neller explained.
“You’re a Marine, do your job,” Neller said.
While the Army boasts larger numbers of women in combat jobs, it is far larger than the Corps’ 185,000 Marines.
And the Army has a larger population of women than the Corps’ paltry 8-9 percent.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.