Six women — a record high — graduated from the grueling Marine Infantry Officer Course in fiscal year 2022, the Marine Corps has confirmed.

A total of 12 women have now completed the course out of 39 female Marines who have attempted it, according to data provided to Marine Corps Times by Capt. Phil Parker, a Training Command spokesman, in November.

The notoriously rigorous 13-week training based in Quantico, Virginia, prepares officers to lead in infantry and ground intelligence units. Officers who work in reconnaissance, sniper and light armored reconnaissance units also take the course to gain infantry knowledge.

The Marine Corps opened ground combat jobs to women in 2016, but Marines in those billets have remained overwhelmingly male, with only a few hundred women in combat arms as of the end of 2019, according to data from the Center for a New American Security.

In early 2020, in his first year as commandant, Gen. David Berger stated that one of his goals was to have more women attending the challenging Infantry Officer Course.

The first three women who attempted the course in 2014 on an experimental basis were dropped after being unable to keep up with the hikes, Marine Corps Times previously reported, which involve carrying heavy equipment over long distances.

In September 2017, then-1st Lt. Marina A. Hierl became the first woman to graduate from the Infantry Officer Course, Marine Corps Times previously reported. She went on to lead an infantry platoon.

A second woman graduated from the Infantry Officer Course in June 2018.

No women completed the course in fiscal years 2019 or 2020, according to the Training Command data.

In fiscal year 2021, four out of seven women who attempted the Infantry Officer Course completed it. The completion rate for women in fiscal year 2022 was six out of eight.

Of fiscal year 2022′s six female Infantry Office Course graduates, there are four in the 0302, or infantry officer, military occupational specialty, according to Manpower and Reserve Affairs spokeswoman Yvonne Carlock.

Three of those Marines are now infantry officers in the 1st Marine Division, which is based at Camp Pendleton, California. The fourth is a platoon commander assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The other two recent female graduates have the 0203 military occupational specialty, or ground intelligence officer, according to Carlock.

One is an intelligence tactics instructor at the 1st Marine Division. The other is assigned to the 4th Marine Division, a Reserve division; information about her billet wasn’t immediately available.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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