First female Marine recruit signs infantry contract
Two sergeants take cover while maneuvering to conduct an enemy counter-attack during a pilot test at Range 107, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, March 2, 2015. | Photo by Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders
The first woman to enlist in the Marine Corps with an infantry contract is headed to boot camp later this year.
A 19-year-old female applicant had contracted into the Marines' delayed entry program, selecting to enlist in the infantry, Jim Edwards, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told Military.com.
The contract means that she will enter the 0300 community, with her specific military occupational specialty to be determined according to the needs of the Marine Corps at School of Infantry training in Camp Geiger, North Carolina, he said.
The poolee is set to ship to recruit training between October and December of this year, Edwards said. At this point, she has not been publicly identified and she has opted not to conduct any interviews, he said.
There will be numerous physical hurdles to cross before she gets to an infantry unit in the fleet.
In order to qualify for the infantry contract, the recruit had to pass an enhanced initial strength test including a mile-and-a-half run, three pullups, an ammunition can lift and crunches, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Philip Kulczewski told Military.com.
She will have to pass this enhanced IST again after she reaches boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. Non-infantry recruits, on the other hand, take a strength test with no ammunition can lift requirement and the option for women to conduct a flexed-arm hang, instead of pullups.
About 45 days into boot camp, the recruit and all other recruits slated for infantry jobs will need to pass a physical fitness test that includes a six-pullup requirement, Kulczewski said.
If a recruit fails to pass any of these tests, they risk being reclassified into a non-infantry job.
And that is proving to be a stringent requirement.
According to data obtained by Military.com and first reported by the Associated Press, seven female recruits have attempted to pass the enhanced strength and physical fitness tests since January. One has passed, and six have been reclassified to different jobs.
Among male recruits, 1,457 have taken the tests and 46 have been reclassified.
Kulczewski said the female recruits who were counted in this data were attempting to enter one of 11 ground combat jobs that the Marine Corps opened to women in 2014, ahead of the mandate at the start of this year to allow women into every combat specialty. These previously opened jobs include low-altitude air defense gunner, field artillery radar operator, and repairer/technician for a variety of combat vehicles, among others.
Before getting assigned a specific MOS, men and women entering the infantry field also must pass a range of job-specific physical skills tests administered once they reach the School of Infantry.
Applicants for all infantry jobs must demonstrate the ability to conduct a casualty evacuation of a combat-loaded teammate, scale a wall, and conduct an MK-19 machine gun lift. Other job-specific skills include breaching a door with a battering ram, conducting a 20-kilometer ruck run, lifting a tank towbar, and more.