Female Marine Will Become First Female Infantry Officer This Week

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On Thursday, Marine Corps officials announced their intention to assign a woman to an infantry officer position, a historic first for the military branch. The woman, a lieutenant, is expected to graduate from the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course, making her eligible for the assignment. She, along with her male colleagues, completed the three-week exercise on Wednesday.

As reported by the Washington Post, the Marine Corps released a statement confirming the female lieutenant completed the combat training, which is the final graded component of the 13-week Infantry Officer Course. Typically, the associated training is considered some of the toughest in the military and has an average washout rate of 25 percent.

Though three dozen women have attempted the course before, the lieutenant will be the first female officer to complete the Infantry Officer Course. It is anticipated that she will lead a platoon consisting of around 40 infantry Marines.

Her class will mark their graduation on Monday with a “warrior breakfast” at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia. All officials speaking about the event did so on condition of anonymity since the graduation has yet to occur and additional tasks, such as equipment returns and administrative tasks, are still required before anything is official.

The historic event comes nearly two years after Pentagon officials lifted the last remaining restrictions regarding women serving in the military. The Marine Corp first allowed women to participate in the Infantry Officer Course in 2012, though it was on an experimental basis.

In total, 32 women attempted the course during the research period, which ended in spring 2015, though none of them finished. Once the Pentagon opened up all jobs to women in December 2015, another four attempts were made by women, including the lieutenant. One woman did participate twice, though did not complete the course.

The lieutenant will join a segment of the military that has been traditionally seen as resistant to serving alongside women, though Marine officials state those sentiments have grown more favorable over recent years.

Officials familiar with the lieutenant, whose identity has not been revealed, believes it is unlikely she will participate in any media interviews after graduating. Instead, she may prefer to be a “quiet professional” and go forward with doing her job.