Home Career and Education Marine Infantry Officer Course drops last female in experiment

Marine Infantry Officer Course drops last female in experiment

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U.S. Marines assigned to the female engagement team (FET) attached to Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment conduct a security patrol in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Jan. 3, 2011. The FET aids the infantry Marines by engaging Afghan women and children in support of the International Security Assistance Force. (DoD photo by Cpl. Marionne T. Mangrum, U.S. Marine Corps /Released)

At the end of the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course’s two-and-a-half year gender integration experiment, not a single female recruit graduated.

According to the Marine Corps Times, when the final iteration of IOC began on April 2, only two female participants were in attendance. One of the women was a volunteer and the other was a member of the ground intelligence track, which was newly integrated.

Spokeswoman for the Headquarters Marine Corps Maureen Krebs said both women were dropped that same day along with nine out of 90 men. The two women were cut during the initial Combat Endurance Test.

In September 2012, IOC began accepting female officers once they finished their training in an effort to establish more opening ground combat jobs for women. However, lieutenants who completed the 86-day course would not be recipients of an infantry military occupational specialty or career advancement. They only thing they would have received from the training was the merely being part of a historical Marine Corps achievement.

Fewer volunteers began to take advantage of the opportunity and by July 2014 only 20 female officers attempted the course. Of the 20, only one completed the Combat Endurance Test, but none made it to the end.

In October 2014, female company-grade officers became eligible for the course. In order to become more prepared for IOC, a first-class score on the male version of the service’s Physical Fitness Test became mandatory for volunteers.

Although there was no substantial increase of volunteers, three out of seven female recruits made it through Combat Endurance Test, raising the total of women to pass to four. At the end of the testing period, only 27 female volunteers attempted the course and two others attempted as part of the required ground intelligence officer training. Of the 29 female officers, none made it to the end of the course.

Even though IOC will no longer be accepting volunteers, female applicants for the ground intelligence officer positions will still attend the course in the future. The data gathered from the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force will be used to determine if remaining ground combat units to female troops should be opened or not.

Earlier this year, 40 females passed the less arduous enlisted infantry rifleman training at the School of Infantry in Camp Lejeune and are in the midst of further testing as a Ground Combat Element Experimental Task Force.

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