Monday morning, before the sun came up over Camp Geiger, N.C., seven female Marines set out on a 12 mile hike, each packing some 80 pounds of gear as they rucked through the first phase of infantry training. Four of the seven completed the trek.
The female Marines are “volunteers” in a U.S.M.C. study group, because those who complete the training will not actually be in infantry units. That is a career specialty that still remains off limits to women.
The Corps, however, will evaluate this study along with several others, to determine how best to "open up ground combat jobs” to women.
The female Marines are among the first allowed into the course that is designed to train not only physical endurance, but weaponry and small unit tactics.
Of those who did not complete the hike, two will be allowed to try again and one has selected another specialty within the Corps.
Col. Jeffrey Conner, commander of the School of Infantry-East is quoted as saying there is a “high probability” that there will be female Marines at the Delta Company’s graduation.
Twenty-six of 246 male Marines who participated in the hike on Monday were not able to finish.
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