A First: Marine Corps will assign female officer to infantry

Posted on JUN 25, 2019

A woman who just passed the Marine Corp's grueling Infantry Officer Course is set to become the first female infantry officer in the service.

For the first time, the Marine Corps plans to place a female officer in the infantry following her expected graduation from its tough training program, officials said Thursday.

The woman, a lieutenant whose name has not been disclosed, is the first female officer to complete the rigorous Infantry Officer Course, according to a report by The Washington Post. She completed the 13-week program's final graded requirement in a grueling combat exercise Wednesday.
The Infantry Officer Course, or IOC, is so tough to pass that about one-quarter of students fail to make the grade. The new female infantry officer is the first woman to complete the course out of some three dozen who have attempted it.

This historic first comes nearly two years after the last remaining restrictions on women in the military were lifted. The Marine Corps first opened the Infantry Officer Course to women on an experimental basis in 2012, but of the 32 women who tried to complete it before the research ended in 2015, none were successful. At the end of 2015, the Pentagon opened all jobs to women.

The first female infantry officer will be serving in a part of the military that has been hostile to the idea of gender integration. A 2012 survey found that three-quarters of active-duty Marines opposed it.

The Marine Corps is working to change the service's culture, according to its senior leaders.

"There's no doubt we're leading cultural change," said Brig. Gen. James Glynn in January. "It's not the first time that's happened in the Marine Corps. We've been known to take challenges on.