Women Marine officers not volunteering for combat training

Washington Times:
Female Marine officers are unlikely to join the infantry anytime soon, in part because of a lack of volunteers for the Marine Corps‘ Infantry Officer Course, which was opened to women in September.

Only two of about 80 eligible female Marines have volunteered for the course — a grueling, three-month advanced regimen conducted at Quantico, Va., that was opened to women to research their performance.

Of the two female volunteers, one washed out on the first day, along with 26 of the107 men, and the other dropped out two weeks later for medical reasons, a Marine Corps spokesman said.

The research effort was launched after the Pentagon opened to women more than 14,000 jobs that could place them closer to front lines and combat.

The Marine Corps wants to test at least 90 more women in the course before making any decision about women serving in infantry roles, the spokesman said.

Getting 90 more female volunteers may be difficult. About 125 female officers each year enter the Basic School, a prerequisite and candidate pool for the Infantry Officer Course, the spokesman said.

Since September, women in every new class of the Basic School have been given the opportunity to volunteer for the Infantry Officer Course, and they will continue to be offered the chance, he said.

A Marine Corps spokeswoman said no women have volunteered for the next Infantry Officer Course, which begins in January.

The Marines have yet to implement the research option for female enlisted Marines who volunteer to train at the Infantry Training Battalion, the all-male advanced regimen at the Corps' School of Infantry at Camp Geiger, N.C., a spokeswoman said.
...

Since May, the Marine Corps also has been testing women’s endurance and strength.

Tests include lifting a 72-pound machine gun above their heads while wearing a 71-pound rucksack, marching 12 miles in less than five hours carrying a 71-pound rucksack and evacuating a mock casualty weighing about 200 pounds.
...
There is much more.

If the program remains available there will probably be Women Marines who will complete the course and become eligible for combat assignments.   It is a challenging course and makes sure those who complete it will be up to the rigors of infantry combat operations.  The 12 mile hike in five hours has been around for a long time.  The weight of the gear carried is more now than it was during my time as a Marine officer.  I think humping a 72 pound machine gun even without the 71 pounds of battle rattle would be a challenge for 95 percent of the population regardless of gender.  It would require substantial fitness training and weight lifting before entering the program.

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