The Marines of India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, the first partially gender-integrated company in the Corps’ history, earned the title Marine on March 16 aboard the recruit depot Parris Island, South Carolina, according to Marine Corps officials.
Wrapping up the 54-hour physical demanding event of recruit training known as the crucible and completing a culminating 9-mile hike, the Marines were handed Eagle, Globe and Anchors — marking the transformation from recruit to Marine.
The Marines are now set to attend graduation on March 29, and after they will be spirited off to various follow-on combat training and job schools.
The company is the first quasi-gender integrated company in the Corps’ history. The unit kicked off boot camp on Jan. 5 to a fanfare of media attention as the company included one female platoon and five male platoons.
Traditionally, male and female units are separated on Parris Island, with 4th Recruit Training Battalion consisting as the sole female recruit unit aboard the recruit depot.
The Corps previously has said the recent integration effort at Parris Island was merely done for efficiency, and that it decided to “incorporate the 50 female recruits into the historically all-male battalion because the recruiting classes are typically much smaller in the winter months,” according to a Marine Corps statement.
Nonetheless, the Corps says it will still assess the partially integrated effort.
The integration effort at Parris Island was only a partial integration. Female Marines merely lived in a separate squad bay but had their own female drill instructors.
The Corps is the only branch to not have a co-ed boot camp ― an issue the Corps has received much criticism for from female veteran advocacy groups that believe gender segregation molds disrespectful sentiments among male colleagues toward female Marines.
But the Marine Corps has routinely argued the importance of platoon-level training at the recruit depots, where drill instructors live with their recruits in squad bays.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.