A first in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps, a female officer have graduated from the Infantry Officer Course. The officer, who prefers not to be named, completed the demanding course over 13-week period in Quantico, Virginia. The U.S. Marines have opened all military occupational specialties to women in 2016, and thus, they are now taking opportunities to advance themselves.
“I am proud of this officer and those in her class who have earned the infantry officer MOS,” said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller in a press release at the Marines.mil website.
The course is one the Corps’ toughest, with 10% dropping out on the first day. Candidate offices are trained in leadership, infantry skills, and develop character to lead platoons. The class that she was in started in July 2017 with 131 candidates with 88 completing the course by the end of September2017.
“Marines expect and rightfully deserve competent and capable leaders, and these IOC graduates met every training requirement as they prepare for the next challenge of leading infantry Marines; ultimately, in combat,” said Neller further.
While the female marine mentioned in the report is the first to complete it, she was not the first one to make an attempt at being an infantry officer. There were more than 30 women who applied between 2012 and 2015 when the Marine Corps were experimenting with opening up the Infantry Officer Course prior to the officially opening up all specialties to women in 2016. The Obama administration ordered the Pentagon to open up all roles to women in 2015. The USMC requested that some roles remain closed to women but were overruled by then Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
With the completion of the course, the female officer can now lead an Marine infantry platoon to battle. Her follow-on assignment is to 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California.