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Female Marines flunk infantry officer training

Women in military
Photo Credit TheNation.com

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Acting with the approval of President Obama, U.S. military leaders formally lifted the ban on women serving in combat positions back in January.

The decision prompted much debate about the physical requirements of serving in front-line positions, with concerns about lower standards being part of that discussion.

Two women have volunteered to go through the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course since the policy change and the Marine Corps Times reported Tuesday that both have “washed out.”

Two more women have washed out of Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course, putting a quick end to the latest iteration of an experiment into which roles female Marines might be able to fill in combat.

The women failed the introductory Combat Endurance Test, a punishing test of physical strength and endurance, officials at Marine Corps headquarters said Tuesday. The latest class began March 28 at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., with 110 lieutenants participating. Ninety-six men passed the initial endurance test. Twelve men and two women — the only female Marines taking part — failed.

As implied, two other women have previously enrolled in the Infantry Officers Course back in September, with similar results.

The demanding 13-week course is considered among the toughest in the U.S. military, and is being used by the Pentagon to help determine which additional jobs in combat units can be opened to women, the Times notes.

Senior Marine officials acknowledge that concerns from rank-and-file Corps personnel remain about the punishing lifestyles required in infantry, reconnaissance and special operations, which includes living in close quarters, and whether these jobs will be open to women.

Marine officials declined to release any details about the two latest female volunteers and women are still being solicited to join future classes of the Infantry Officers Course.

Tom Tillison


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