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First Female Marines Graduate Infantry Training

Pfcs. Katie Gorz, Julia Carroll, Christina Fuentes Montenegro have become the first entry-level enlisted women to complete infantry training as part of the Marine Corps' research effort toward integrating women into previously closed ground-combat assignments. A graduation ceremony Nov. 21, 2013 for the 224 students of Delta Company at the School of Infantry East, Camp Geiger, N.C., marked the occasion. The women will not be taking on combat-arms roles and instead will continue to their assigned military occupational specialty school. Their success allows the Corps to move forward since the Secretary of Defense's decision to rescind the 1994 direct-combat exclusion rule for women in January 2013. The Marine Corps gathered data on the women’s performance as they executed existing infantry tasks and training events.  (U. S. Marine Corps photos by Sgt. Tyler L. Main/Released)

Pfcs. Katie Gorz, Julia Carroll, Christina Fuentes Montenegro have become the first entry-level enlisted women to complete infantry training as part of the Marine Corps’ research effort toward integrating women into previously closed ground-combat assignments. A graduation ceremony Nov. 21, 2013 for the 224 students of Delta Company at the School of Infantry East, Camp Geiger, N.C., marked the occasion. (U. S. Marine Corps photos by Sgt. Tyler L. Main and CWO2 Paul S. Mancuso/Released)

CAMP GEIGER, N.C. — During a crisp autumn dawn among the North Carolina pines, 200 panting, sweaty infantry students forged ahead on their route. Daybreak signaled the end of a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) march out of darkness as it had for countless men before. On that morning, however, four women stood sharing the accomplishment.

Delta Co. is the first infantry training company to fully integrate female Marines into an entire training cycle. This and future comanies will evaluate the performance of the female Marines to help determine the possibility of allowing women into combat related job fields. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler L. Main/Released)

Delta Co. is the first infantry training company to fully integrate female Marines into an entire training cycle. This and future comanies will evaluate the performance of  female Marines to help determine how to integrate entry-level women into combat units. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler Main/Released)

Now three of those Marines – Pfcs. Julia Carroll, Christina Fuentes Montenegro and Katie Gorz – have become the first entry-level enlisted women to complete infantry training as part of the Marine Corps’ research effort toward integrating women into previously closed ground-combat assignments.

A graduation ceremony Nov. 21 for the 224 students of Delta Company at the School of Infantry East, Camp Geiger, N.C., marked the occasion. The women will not be taking on combat-arms roles and instead will continue to their assigned military occupational specialty school.

They will receive credit for completing infantry training in addition to satisfying the common combat-skills training required of every rifleman.

Their success allows the Corps to move forward since the Secretary of Defense’s decision to rescind the 1994 direct-combat exclusion rule for women in January 2013. The Marine Corps gathered data on the women’s performance as they executed existing infantry tasks and training events.

Marines patrol through the forest of Camp Geiger, N.C. during patrol week of Infantry Training Battalion on Oct. 31, 2013. Patrol week is a five-day training event that teaches infantry students basic offensive, defensive and patrolling techniques. Delta Company is the first infantry training company to fully integrate female Marines into an entire training cycle. This and future companies will evaluate the performance of the female Marines as part of ongoing research into opening combat-related job fields to women. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler L. Main/Released)

Marines patrol through the forest of Camp Geiger, N.C. during patrol week of Infantry Training Battalion on Oct. 31, 2013. Patrol week is a five-day training event that teaches infantry students basic offensive, defensive and patrolling techniques.

The Fiscal 2011 National Defense Authorization Act required the services to provide a review of laws, policies and regulations restricting the service of women in the Armed Forces. The Marine Corps along with the other services and Special Operations Command developed a deliberate plan to fully integrate women into newly opened positions no later than January 1, 2016.

The Corps’ plan outlines the commandant’s intent to adopt a deliberate, measured and responsible approach to ensure the highest levels of combat readiness are maintained and commensurate with the Corps’ role as the nation’s crisis response force while providing every Marine the opportunity to realize his or her potential, and posture them for success.

Marine Corps officials said any force-wide changes to be made will occur only after the Corps has conducted its research, determined the way ahead and set the conditions to implement recommendations.

Carroll, Fuentes Montenegro and Gorz are remainders of a group of 15 recruit-training graduates who volunteered and qualified for student assignments to the school’s Infantry Training Battalion beginning Sept. 24.

Delta Co. is the first infantry training company to fully integrate female Marines into an entire training cycle. This and future comanies will evaluate the performance of the female Marines to help determine the possibility of allowing women into combat related job fields.

Delta Co. is the first infantry training company to fully integrate female Marines into an entire training cycle. This and future comanies will evaluate the performance of female Marines to help determine how to integrate entry-level women into combat units.

The 20-km hike Oct. 28 was a milestone in the training. Some women dropped from the course and some, having completed combat training required for all entry-level Marines, began their paths to combat-supporting occupations. Seven women remained before the hike, and three were among a group of 29 Marines who fell out while hiking.

The hike kicked off patrol week, or what instructors consider the most challenging and important week of training in which students apply their newfound knowledge.

“Patrol week is crucial because it teaches the Marines how to efficiently take care of their bodies when in the field,” said Staff Sgt. Billy Shinault, company gunnery sergeant for Delta Company.

Among performing other vital combat skills, the students demonstrated hand-and-arm signals, set ambushes and defensive positions, and simulated crossing danger areas — all designed to build confidence and show they can execute the fundamentals required of an infantryman.

“(The students) push themselves to the limit, and that’s all we ask for here,” Sgt. David Rogers, a Delta Company platoon leader. “They’re so new. They want to taste the blood. They give everything they’ve got.”

Beyond patrol week was a week firing the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, a final exam and a stress shoot designed to show the realism of battle.

Three of the final four remaining women held positions of leadership or authority: one squad leader, one fire team leader and one clerk.

“We (combat instructors) see leaders and put them in those positions,” said Rogers, an infantryman with more than 10 years of service, including multiple combat deployments. “You don’t just get that overnight; you have to be a leader.”

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  • baldprisonguard

    Want to kill? Really? I do not think for a moment anyone wants to kill per se. My daughter is attending ITB and not for a freeking promotion. She is a proud American who wants to serve her country to the best of her ability.
    Do you think for a second, I want her to die? HELL NO. I support her and her decision to become a Marine AND go to ITB.

  • spk_JD

    I suppose for the same hundreds of reasons men want to, which are varied in multitude and reason, but ultimately the same. Why would it be any different?

  • spk_JD

    Yes she can. It’s called a “sheewee”. $19 on Amazon. If you’re out on a patrol and you gotta p***, no one really gives a f*** what equipment you’re working with.

    Lots of training ex’s don’t have separate showers, just a quick 30-45 minute window for females. Of all that’s asked of you 03xx & all that you’re capable of, why would the logistics be such a big deal?

  • Danial Oldenburg

    Guest, there must have been a little miscommunication and/or you didn’t read the rest of my post. I was just pointing out the irony that if you only congratulated men, or specifically only congratulated men on a task the women were already doing…you’d be called a sexist. I 100% agree with what you’re saying.

  • Guest

    I don’t know why any of you care, women although not on the same playing field as a man in terms of physical standards should be able to do whatever MOS they desire to do. If a Female “Marine” can pass ITB and join a rifle squad then so be it. Everyone earns the title and just because people out there think it is wrong to let women do an infantry job doesn’t change the fact that the change is coming and all of the 03XX’s need to get the fuck over it and deal with the facts. Women can handle Combat, I have a few female friends who have seen combat and handled the stress better than men, not to mention the ones I know who have taken multiple bullet wounds and continued to fight. So to all of you who think your biast opinions matter shut up, suck it up and deal with the reality, change is upon us and know that it will go into effect. Marines back in the day didn’t want females in the Crops, but look what happened they are here. So deal with the future that is upon us, instead of complaining embrace it and help those future grunts to do what they need to in garrison and combat.

  • Guest

    Read this article and then tell me how a female Marine is suppuse to uphold a male Marine to an MOS specific standard when she cannot even hld herself to the same Physical Fitness Test standard??? NOT EQUAL, NOT THE SAME, AND certainly NOT FAIR to MALE CUTTING SCORES OR PROMOTIONS!

    Yo, “Because I’m Batman & Danial Oldenburg”! Read this article and answer your own comments! We are not singling out females and making them “FEEL” different than males. HELLO! They are different then males! Jeez what planet did you come from, obviously the “LEFT” field. And “Because I”m Batman”, if women are on the same plying field as men then tell me why, according to this article and current standards, women are not required to run the same physical fitness tests as men????? HMMMM! you sir are an idiot and should get past the politics of this to come into reality. If women want “EQUAL” opportunity then adhere to an equal standard! That means we as the Marine Corps do not lower our highest standard to meet politicians social demands, but instead demand all Marines male and female meet the highest physical fitness test standard which is the “MALE” cutting scores for the PFT/CFT! If women cannot meet that stanard then they NEVER will be equal due to two different standards. That Sir is called a crutch!

  • landshrk

    in combat it is KILL KILL KILL and so I ask the women WHY do you want to KILL
    and don’t say it is to get promoted because that is BS the average Marine does 4 and out few stay to 20. So someone explain to me WHY do so many women want to see other women go get KILLED and do KILLING

  • Danial Oldenburg

    I’d like to talk with you to gain more information. Is there anyway you could contact me?

  • blockthiscnn

    That’s just school, a very controlled environment. If there were males there who weren’t pushing hard, they shouldn’t have made it.

  • blockthiscnn

    you sir are unfamiliar with biology…and nice strawman. I never said this had anything to do with rape, so you’re putting words in my mouth.

  • blockthiscnn

    Maybe they have the most at stake…you know, making it through combat and all that…

  • drichards

    I think the new UFC female fighters should step into the ring with their male counterparts at weight and see what transpires. This will only happen one time.

  • drichards

    The training remains the same, the physical standards of a year ago are not being adhered to or have been replaced. Certain events that used to be go/nogo are now at the cadre’s discretion (the males that do not meet event standards get nogo’s – the females get go’s.). The program is furthering its political goal of “equalization for cross gender training standards.” Don’t be fooled.

  • DMJ

    So….whose fault will it be if NJPs skyrocket? Last I checked it’s a person’s sole responsibility to keep their hands to themselves. Just because a women is present, doesn’t mean you have to be a dick. If NJPs increase, it won’t be because of a female Marine, it will be because of the male Marine who can’t control himself. And I for one, would not want to serve with someone who doesn’t have the ability to control themselves. Your statement is like saying a women deserves to be raped because she wore a short skirt. You, sir, are a douche.

  • DMJ

    You can’t put all of them in a box. That’s like saying all grunts are douche bags, when in fact, all of them are not. The pure fact that these women VOLUNTEERED to be held to the same standards as men and train along side of them says a lot about their character. ITB is ITB. You can’t hold a Marine’s assignment location against them. This isn’t a big dick contest. I hope that one day you grow a pair and support ALL Marines, despite their gender.

  • Danial Oldenburg

    Why is everyone so sexist? Singling out females, making them feel different than males? Congratulations, equally, to all who passed ITB, not just the females.

    Ok, now that I got that out of my system. 149 (I can’t remember exact, but close) females passed boot camp, out of those, only 49 females met male standards . Of thouse 49, only 19 showed up to ITB. 15 checked in to ITB and 3 graduated. I know this is only one sample, but 2% of the females that went to boot camp 1) could pass male standards and 2)wanted to go to ITB.

    The big story here is that “we” earn “the title” under two different sets of standards. Females earn the title by running slower and hanging from a bar. Let’s look at creating equal standards first, and then go from there.

  • because I’m Batman

    You have women wresling and bodybuilding today, they’re on the same playing field as men physicaly, and some more ripped than men, women are definitly able of infantry, special forces and other combat MOSes. If only few women are able to obtain those MOSes then they’re “the few, the proud, the women marines”.

  • because I’m Batman

    You have women wresling and bodybuilding today, they’re on the same playing field as men physicaly, and some more ripped than men, women are definitly able of infantry, special forces and other combat MOSes. If only few women are able to obtain those MOSes then they’re “the few, the proud, the women marines”.

  • JDsHandsomeSon

    “Ladies?”

  • austin

    all of you objecting to this should be there. i was a marine in thaat company. those three females were in my platoon, and one was my squad leader. the females pushed just as hard. they did just as well as, if not better than, the males. i completely support females in infantry. i would be proud to serve either with, or under, any of the females who graduated.

  • TyS

    Why? jealous?

  • J B

    For all the bragging about being able to deal with anything, male combat
    arms personnel whine like little girls when it comes to working with
    women. And of all of them, the marines whine the loudest. That’s not
    something to be proud of.

  • Billy Lewis

    Ooo-Raaah… wish I’d had them with me at Chu-Lai… Sgt. LEWIS… 64-68, RVN

  • mks

    an early blog/article said that about 15-20 volunteered to start the training. only 25% of the females that were tested from MCRD PI were physically able to start this cycle of training, hence why only 15-20 started the training and only 3 graduated. even though they won’t have the 03xx MOS

  • Justin McDonald

    15 entered 3 PASSED. Failure of success is not a matter of FAIRNESS. It is a matter of ABILITY to succeed within the set standards.

  • http://marines.dodlive.mil Marine Corps Production

    Female Marines will continue to go through ITB over the next year or so.

  • http://marines.dodlive.mil Marine Corps Production

    No, that is not correct. The training has remained the same.

  • Daniel Díaz Santiago

    HELL NO!!!!

  • Steve

    Too late! They’re already Marines!

  • Teresa An Gary Napier

    I have heard that this training has changed a great deal in the past year. Is that correct?

  • tdkreg

    I’m sorry as a former Marine grunt (0331) I object to women in the combat roll. It is a very strenuous, physically draining job that very few women are cut out for. I applaud anyone for becoming “the few, the proud”, but we must draw the line on combat.

  • mks

    but won’t have the 03xx MOS… what a prime example of politic and beaucratic dog and pony show. good job for the 20% of females who graduated…hmmm what does this tell the Corps about properly placing the right person regardless of gender into a combat arms field…

  • Daryl DeSimone

    Well done Marines!

  • OGBroskie

    It would be relevant if they did Pendleton’s ITB. There’s hills and such there. Geiger in the Autumn is the easiest time of year at the easiest ITB. The fact that only 3 out of 15 made it is a big indicator that they wouldn’t be able to handle the hills of Pendleton. This is wrong on many levels.

  • blockthiscnn

    NJP’s will skyrocket, morale will go down. There are other paths females can take to get promoted. Combat arms should not be a social experiment.

  • The Fuckin Kramer

    I agree, how dare they only let three women through! There should have been more!

  • Vicki Leah Markley

    Congratulations on an extremely hard job well-done! Good luck in your future endeavors!

  • Mike Bitter

    Well done, Ladies! Thank you for your service!

  • jkat16

    NO!

  • Annie Pietrus Jacobsen

    Way to go Ladies!!