Women will be first to graduate from Marine Corps infantry training course
Women Marines going through infantry training. Thursday, three women will be the first to graduate from the grueling course.
November 19th, 2013
12:44 PM ET

Women will be first to graduate from Marine Corps infantry training course

WASHINGTON (CNN) - This year, for the first time in the history of the Marine Corps, the graduation class at its infantry training course will include women.

Fifteen women voluntarily began the training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on September 24. On Thursday, three of them will graduate from the course, a milestone for women seeking equality in the Armed Forces, according to Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine Corps spokeswoman.

A fourth woman finished the course, but was injured and couldn't pass the required combat fitness test. She will be allowed to graduate once she heals and passes that test.

The women went through the same physically grueling exercises as the male Marines, including carry 90 pounds of combat gear on a 12.5-mile march, Krebs said.

They also had to perform three pull ups, just as the men did. For ordinary Marine Corps physical fitness tests, women can choose either the pull up or something called a "flew arm hang."

Pentagon says women in all combat units in 2016

This is part of Marine Corps research regarding the capability of women to serve in infantry units. Since last year, 10 women officers have entered Marine infantry officer training at Marine Base Quantico, Virginia. So far none of the officers have completed that course.

However, the women who passed the enlisted course will not join infantry units. They instead will be sent to non-combat jobs throughout the Corps.

Their 59 days of arduous work will instead become part of the Marine Corps ongoing research into the possibility of having women serve in combat.

Opinion: Women on the front lines? Of course

soundoff (537 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Mortar Maggot - With all due respect for your experience and for your service, your upbeat, affirming commentary about women in combat seems more like "Rah! Yay! Women!" reflecting loyalty to those you've known in the military than rational thought. As I've observed, in addition to women, teenagers, guys in their 50's (and beyond), the physically handicapped have all served admirably in combat in our nation's history. I too have experience with including women in supposedly male roles: law enforcement, firefighting and prison systems. I too have great admiration for the few that make it through the requirements and who participate as dedicated professionals. But the question that consistently poises itself is this: "How many women can we have in the mix before the group's effectiveness is compromised?" Sort of like, "How many fish from a particular river can you eat before you get sick from the contamination?" Unless it doesn't matter, then we really should acknowledge the liability resulting from any. The three areas I mentioned have compensated for the PC mandate by increasing their overall numbers, leaving them still with the manpower necessary.

    But management still need to keep a worrisome, silent eye on the mix at any one time; not only is group effectiveness at risk, it puts the male staff at a dangerous disadvantage. We had an all-female (plus one male) squad rush to break up a fight between inmates once, with disastrous results. (Curiously, in that situation it was the female officers who insisted angrily afterwards that for safety, more men be in the mix in the future.)

    There are innumerable such incidents in law enforcement, fire fighting and other areas nation-wide where a well-trained, professional female respondent simply didn't not have the physical and psychological attributes required for the situation. (Another metaphor: even though firearms are a last resort for police, you want to have at-hand something bigger than a .22 pistol, despite its excellent performance back on the firing range.).

    I can appreciate your loyalty and goodwill towards your former sisters-in-arms; I too have the highest respect for my own female colleagues. But emotionalism aside, we cannot place PC career-opportunity ahead of the safety of individuals, the team, or the nation. And your own distinguished and admirable combat experience does not trump others' reasoning about that.

    November 25, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Reply
    • jbartelson

      As a feminist, I agree. Women can do the behind the scenes work for the military, but for y self, 4' 11", I cannot, or do I want to try to lift a 200 pound man. Doesn't make me inferior, I can make babies, men cannot, and that's alright. Men and women being equal doesn't mean they do exactly the same things.

      January 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Reply
      • Steve

        That's a good point. I would go further to observe that a man and woman the same size (e.g. both 5'10 and 150 lbs), the same age, and the same level of fitness, the man would typically be considerably stronger, - both upper and lower body. Then add-in the likely difference in size too, and that strength differential is greater. Add-in further the subtle but undeniable difference of hormones and the difference in bone-density, heart and lung capacity, tendon strength, aggression, etc.....

        Women are not just small men, and we cannot make them into men through training and exercise. Different from any other exclusion of a category of people in history (blacks, Irish, etc.), the gender difference is innate, not contrived, - we're not just making it up.

        January 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  2. Gordon

    I think women should have an equal right to be dismembered and die.

    November 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • jbartelson

      You sound dumb and bitter.

      January 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  3. Hu-Raa

    A woman in combat is like a donkey doing calculus!

    November 21, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  4. Steve

    To Hadenuffye's point: seriously, - this is a commentary on the evidently modest physical standards to pass the course. National safety is the goal, not job opportunities. If a woman can pass it, it's simply too low.

    November 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • Mortar Maggot

      If you restrict Infantry jobs to Olympian physical standards, you won't have a military. Quite simply fitness in society is generally distributed on a bell curve. The male bell curve ends farther out then the female one. However the two bell curves are not mutually exclusive, that is, they do overlap. They overlap quite a bit in fact. The fitness standards are set with two criteria in mind, accomplishing the tasks that any warfighter might have to do and having enough people to actually fight a war.

      If we were talking about delta force or something where physical fitness is generally on par with olympians then you might have a case. Everyone seems to be under the impression that the regular line infantry guys are superhuman or something. We aren't, we're just in better shape than non infantry types for the most part, and we study tactics day in and day out while others do their jobs.

      November 24, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  5. Joseph McCarthy

    judging by all these idiotic comments here praising and glorifying these broads, it appears that we are truly living in a sick society and therefor proving Ronald Reagan wrong back in 1981 when he boasted that "we're not living in a sick society". War is a terrible thing which deserves no glory whatsoever but unfortunately, most Americans evidently don't believe it since they're not in one!

    November 21, 2013 at 9:44 am | Reply
  6. D Martin

    The "flew arm hang" is a misquote. The alternative to pull ups allowed for female Marines is the "flexed arm hang." This tests upper body strength by requiring the Marine to hang from the pull up bar with arms flexed in the up position. When then Marines arms reach the point of exhaustion and the arms are no longer flexed, the time stops.

    November 21, 2013 at 6:06 am | Reply
  7. FemaleSeaBee

    I'm so proud of those three women. I wish I could congratulate them in person.

    November 20, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Another ignoramus here glorifying these broads who are in it for the thrill of the kill! On the other hand, women in both Israel and Russia do this because they have to, not because they want to and certainly take no glory in it!

      November 21, 2013 at 9:47 am | Reply
  8. Sara

    Full-arm hang. Not flew.

    November 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Reply
    • Sara

      *Flex

      November 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  9. Flag silk makes the best @ss-wipe

    If women in this country aspire to be amoral psychopaths like the men, then let them.

    November 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
    • Jack Hollis

      I couldn't agree more. It appears that this society of ours is growing sicker as time goes on. Like George said below, the Russians are a peace loving people whereas we Americans appear to be the exact opposite!

      November 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  10. George patton

    It appears that the main difference between American and Russian women is the fact that the Russian women had to fight during WW2 whereas the American women are trying to prove some kind of point. In short, Russian women were compelled to fight whereas American women make a conscientious choice to do so!!!

    November 20, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply
  11. andywatt

    A lot of negative responses, all based on personal agendas and gender roles. Women will either fail or prevail. All I can say is time will tell.

    November 20, 2013 at 3:18 am | Reply
    • Mustang

      A what cost?

      November 20, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Reply
      • lesliee

        No cost. If they're capable, they're capable and they serve. If they're not capable they don't. What is so hard to understand about that?

        November 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  12. lj

    Thank god i ets'd before they came in and was in the infantry. Say what you want but that's my own opinion and i'm out now so do whatever you please.

    November 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • mary

      chicks in combat are a JOKE: MANHOOD101. C O M

      November 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Reply
      • Terri

        Women have been in combat situations since the civil war. They may not have openly fought, but they were in combat and forced to fight in certain situations. Maybe you need to check your facts !!!

        November 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
      • Steve

        So have teenagers and 50 and 60 year-olds. ..... but that doesn't make it a good idea.

        November 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Wayne

      I am not sure this is a good thing. I know it is what the progressives want. But, just the logistics of it all is a LOT of work. Forget what it does for morale .....

      I am not sure.

      I know they promised US empowering women was a good thing, because some men abuse their wives. But, abuse has gone up more than 8 times .... So, if they promise women in combat is good, is it really a good thing?

      Their past promises have been bad for US.

      What do you think?

      Wayne

      November 20, 2013 at 1:10 am | Reply
      • Mortar Maggot

        I think your laying a smoke screen wayne. The Logistical issues have been solved for ten years now. They even have special devices so women can pee into a bottle like the guys. We were able to do this fine in 2003, and in the intervening years we've only gotten better at supplying such needs. Heck they even have a female version of body armor now.

        November 20, 2013 at 11:53 am |
      • Wayne

        Logistics are always a problem. If not dealt with, logistical mistakes cost lives.

        As for integration on the battlefield?

        I a, still not sure I believe in the progressive promises .... so far, all they have brought us are failures ....

        I hope this does not cost US a lot of casualties like the other promises have.

        Wayne
        luvsiesous.com

        November 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
      • lesliee

        Wayne, I think you're talking irrelevancies and false statistics. Furthermore, that you know you are.

        As for morale–One corporal to another corporal: "I heard they're letting women in combat units now..." "I know! Isn't that great?!!"

        November 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
      • Wayne

        I use TRUTH. If you want to base you future on the progressive promises, do not include me. Their failure rate is extreme ....

        And no, my brothers in arms are 'not happy' about the changes.

        November 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • Olisa Douglas

        i recommend your opinion

        November 21, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  13. Chris

    "Flew Arm Hangs" really? Does anyone even proofread these articles any more? It's Flex Arm Hangs. Maybe I'll start reading FoxNews, at least they edit their articles.

    November 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  14. Nameless Hero

    When I went through Infantry Training Battalion, we did a 26 mile march... I also recall us doing two 12 mile marches the same day with a combat simulation in between them. The 12 mile marches were completed in 2.5 hours not the 5.5 hours these troops took... we ran them... not bragging but it was hell... that sounds like boot camp not Infantry Training Battalion. hmm... We also did the 12 mile marches at week 2 not week 8 … these “standards” have been lowered.

    November 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Reply
    • Cool

      Was it uphill in the snow both ways? Mine was.

      November 20, 2013 at 3:13 am | Reply
    • Lady gaga

      Please point out when was the last time you marched 26 in the battle space?

      November 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Reply
      • Tom Hanks

        IIt is not the distance that is important, it is the mental toughness, will, and determination that is built to make it through the march or ruck that is important.

        November 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • No name

      My husband said in soi he had to hump 26 miles with 90 lbs on his back.

      November 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  15. chuck wagon

    A woman should be allowed to join the military yet she should have so many opportunities to do other things to affirm her importance, value, and worth she would choose to do differently and still be 100% the woman she was created to be.

    November 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Reply
    • lesliee

      So...if she wanted to be in the infantry and was capable of it, she should be allowed, right? Based on what you just said, right?

      November 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  16. From a grunt

    Okay people, let me lay it out for you: Physiologically, women are not just as strong as men. Understand this, statistics exist because they are a study of the way things are (reality). There are women who are very strong and very capable. I have served with several in Afghanistan, during frontline combat operations, who represented themselves well. However, the physical strain of infantry combat is not represented by being able to lift a specified amount of weight, or pass an obstacle course. The toll on the human body from heavy combat loads, continuous operations, lack of sleep, malnutrition, dehydration, heat injury, uncertainty, fear, adrenaline surges, and chaos is degenerative to both men and women. Time and time again, it has been proven that women's bodies do not withstand as much of this pressure as a man's. Women break down, both physically and mentally, faster than men on a general basis. This has many consequences to the infantry unit, not the least of which is the degradation of combat power when you need it the most. The only way to fully integrate women into the infantry (from a policy standpoint) is to lower the infantry standards. If they don't do this, the women will have less opportunity for advancement in their career because they will be medically retired before they achieve leadership rank or retirement. Marine promotion systems are performance based and the women will find it difficult to pace their male counterparts. If they do lower the infantry standards, the infantry will become weaker and less capable, and the men will still outpace them. This is completely counterproductive and absolutely unacceptable. (Side note: Not a single female has passed IOC yet, and only one has passed the first day. Her body took a further week to physically break down. The enlisted females will now boast a 26% success rate. Good for them, keep charging Marines.) For those of you who regurgitate that they aren't being assigned to grunt units, what do you think this experiment was for?

    November 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      Experiments are done so things can be studied scientifically rather than simply going off of anecdotal evidence like the kind you suggest. The standards should not be lowered. That is counter-productive. If there is a small margin of females who can and want to achieve the same standard than let them. If they cant keep up then tough.

      November 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Reply
      • From a grunt

        It should be said that this movement originated from a group in Washington, not from an outcry within the military community. This experiment has political motivations that are unrealistic, unnecessary, and will end badly for the women who undertake it. If it were only a matter of a laboratory experiment, I'd say more power to them. The infantry is not a laboratory, it is life and death. Literally.

        November 19, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Mortar Maggot

      So you'll point us to the studies of course then right? I mean you said it was proven time and time again that female bodies break down faster under combat conditions, so show us the evidence. My experience was that women performed with the same parameters as men. The fit ones did okay, some others got fit out there and improved, and others were never fit and just fell apart, barely able to do the mission. So there, a different anecdotal experience from yours.

      November 20, 2013 at 11:56 am | Reply
      • Jason

        It has been proven time and again. Airborne in the Army used to mean a lot more than it does now. The standards to get through Airborne school were a lot higher. Than someone said we have to let women in Airborne units in non-combat jobs. Well the rules for being in an Airborne unit are you have to be able to jump. So they started sending women to jump school. They failed at a much higher rate than men. The standards were lowered for political correctness. Now just about anyone can get through. I see it about to happen with this. The PC crowd recruited 10 of the best Jr officers they could find and 15 of the jr enlisted they could find. They did it with a pass rate opposite of there male counter-parts. Infantry being the biggest MOS in the Marine Corps the men going through and passing arent always the cream of the crop. Congrads though ladies you can do three pull ups. In a line unit scores like that will have you doing remedial PT.

        November 21, 2013 at 2:24 am |
      • From a grunt

        Try some light reading:

        Google topics like "why women are more prone to sports injury," "characteristics in the physiology of female athletes," "History of female Olympic athletes." (I particularly like that one. It shows empirical evidence that women’s performance increases have paralleled men’s since 1983, and their respective athletic ability will never intersect,) and "Gender and endurance performance."

        Pay attention to the greater consumption of body fat in women during physical exercise lasting several hours. It works great for female long distance runners who get to go home after, take a shower, and take a few days off. Now apply the same factor to four months of continuous operations physically exerting themselves for 16-24 hours a day, no shower, no bed, no days off, under extreme stress. Extrapolate for yourself the logical conclusion. There are no tents, no cafeterias, no amenities in the infantry, and no breaks like there are in combat engineers, the air wing, or any other unit females are already a part of. The infantry goes into hostile territory with all their gear on their back, assaults an entire city from one side to the other fighting for every step, and holds the ground when it’s over. All of the studies have been based on women athletes. What any athlete does is incomparable with what the infantry does. Enjoy.

        November 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • Mortar Maggot

        Yeah. You don't have to tell me about combat conditions, I got that shirt in 2003 under conditions most of the current crop couldn't imagine. Here's a shocker for you, they had women, mostly MP's that were right with us the whole time, even when we outran our supply lines and had to make do with reduced rations.

        Go read google doesn't equate to finding academic studies. Academic studies on the matter actually prove women are better endurance athletes and that there is only a ten percent gap in the bell curves. That gap is at the Olympian level, and most line infantrymen are not in that kind of shape.

        I did my reading from actual studies, the ones behind paywalls, courtesy of actually going to college.

        November 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
      • From a grunt

        Once again, for the cheap seats. It's not about physical conditioning. My huge powerlifting Marines broke just as easily as my slim runner Marines. It's about longevity and how long their bodies will last. If you put women in the infantry and not attached to it, full time infantry training, full time infantry lifestyle, full time infantry combat, their bodies will wear down faster. Serious overall degradation of combat power, serious health implications for the women involved. Stay with me, and try not to get distracted by your own perceived wit. FYI, I did OIF I too. Sucked, didn't it? I appreciate your service.

        November 25, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • xue

      Yes, most of women physiologically not stronger than most males, but NOT ALL. Also, there are women, who compete against men in sports and WIN. I have been the only female member on boxing team and kickboxing team, at national level. In my first practice I knocked out a team member. Women, who can pass fitness test for combat should serve if they want to.

      November 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Reply
      • From a grunt

        I'm assuming that you have a driver's license. Did the written and driving test prepare you for the entire spectrum of experiences you encounter while driving?

        November 23, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  17. chuck wagon

    IMO, it appears society is losing sight of womans importance in building up and helping create a good community and society foundation. Yes, they should have the right should they desire to join the military, however, they should be in a position where they know and understand it's available, yet see the importance and responsibility of their uniqueness to take up a different cause and not feel denied by any means.

    November 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Reply
    • lesliee

      Like cooking, maybe?

      November 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • barela

      Like barefoot and pregnant pushing the vacuum?

      November 21, 2013 at 11:53 am | Reply
  18. jcvet33

    Good. Send them to the front. The can caught a bullet like a man.

    November 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Not in favor of women serving in combat because it's simple 1 man can marry with 4 wives and reproduce. 1 women and 4 men cannot do the same. Women serving in the military (anything life threatening) is a huge error in logic. Just another strike to a Godless nation that lacks common sense.

      November 19, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply
      • nunya

        your brain is flawed, buddy.. you should stick to eating butter!

        November 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
      • Andrew

        And considering our population is in the hundreds of millions that would not really be in a high enough margin to impact anything. Your argument is illogical. What can be expected though, you simply trail off into men having concubines and how people dont pray to whatever silly bronze age deity you fawn over enough.

        November 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • Sam

        What in Sam heck does a woman's reproductive abilities or America's religiosity have to do with the subject at hand?

        November 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
      • Ed

        "Just another strike to a Godless nation that lacks common sense."

        Huh. The Crusades bring anything to mind?

        November 20, 2013 at 12:12 am |
      • jim d.

        Well played... you are my hero...

        November 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • reply

      Is that a 80% failure rate or a proud 20% pass rate. Also, in the same class what percent of males passed?

      November 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Reply
    • Mortar Maggot

      Iraq and Afghanistan have had this nasty habit of targeting non grunt types. So the women driving long haul trucks were actually in more danger of catching that bullet than I ever was. The bad guys just didn't want to fight us when they could fight non grunt types. I've said this time and again, if you don't want women getting injured in modern warfare then you need to lobby for them not to even be sent overseas. Of course that won't work so you'll keep using outdated arguments.

      November 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  19. That guy

    Why you guys so surprised?? Marine boot camp or any from the other branches for that matter aren't that damn hard. Only 3 pull-ups, 60 crunches, and a 28 minute 3 mile run is all that's needed for the marines. Anyone in mediocre shape can pass that, and you'd be amazed how many out of shape and fat marines there are.

    November 19, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Reply
    • dirksterdude

      FOUND THIS ON WIKIPEDIA – "...Marines generally hold that their recruit training is the most physically and mentally difficult amongst the Uniformed Services, citing that it is longer than the other branches, requires a more demanding Physical Fitness Test (PFT), and has the strictest height and weight standards. Furthermore, only the Marines require 500 meter marksmanship qualification, while the Army requires 300 meter qualiication and the others significantly less..."

      November 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Reply
      • That guy

        Apparently not that difficult since they made it. Wikipedia is not a reliable source man.

        November 20, 2013 at 5:25 am |
    • Brian

      Not sure that you've been through Marine basic training. FYI, there's a little more to it than running 3 miles, a couple pull-ups and some crunches. What do we do with the other 12 weeks, 6 days and 23 hours...

      While those are the minimum passing numbers for individual events, you'd have to max out the other two events to pass, and even then, you would not get a first class score. Getting a low PFT score in the infantry (or any other MOS) will generally result in you getting put on 'Remedial PT', meaning your lunch is spent with a 'mentor' who thrashes the s*** out of you until they get tired.

      November 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Reply
      • Semper Fi

        Thanks for that response, brings back fond memories. Take care.

        November 19, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • devildog

      The real test will be when any female can be randomly assigned to infantry, not just the motivated females who volunteer. That's how it works for the guys....

      November 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Reply
      • lulu

        Women shouldn't be allowed to serve in combat! or in combat units! women will never be the same as men, its nature! men are stronger, taller in average than women, men don't have to deal with menstruation! like women do! Men don't have to worry of being raped as much as a woman would if she is taken prisoner!, because that's what is going to happen, the first torture or physical or mental treat that a woman will suffer at the hand on a male enemy is RAPE!!

        November 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Sgt Glenn Taylor

      Really...graduated boot camp in 1982...pullups and situps arent the only things involved...you younger than 42...try it..I KNOW YOU COULDNT MAKE IT!!

      November 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Reply
      • Semper Fi

        Is that a call to action good sir!? lol

        Ehh, he wouldn't listen anyway.

        November 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • vance

      3 pullups with full combat gear. not your simple pull up there. my whole take on the female in combat is this. if I get injured and she is my fighting hole teammate. will she be able to carry me to safety along with my combat load and her combat load?

      November 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Reply
      • Mike

        The 3 pullups are not in combat gear. 3 out of 15 Marines graduating is not an acceptable number...and frankly a big waste of time and money. Infantry school is BASIC...it's a fairly rigorous course that was made to be passed. 3 out of 15 is disgracful...even 10 out of 15 would be bad.

        When they first came out with the news of sending females through infantry training, I remember going through it myself...and having to carry 2 females packs for them since I was their squad leader and they were incapable of pulling their own weight.

        November 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • salty

      You obviously just read some bs on the internet about the minimum standards of a PFT. Sure thats all you are required, but youll never get promoted, or even last on a regular pt run with your fire team leader. those standards are just the bottom line, and even then are not good enough to make it anywhere.

      November 19, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Reply
    • lesliee

      You'd be amazed how many out of shape and fat Marines there AREN'T. You lie, man. Or you're just stupid.

      November 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  20. gallen

    "They also had to perform three pull ups, just as the men did. For ordinary Marine Corps physical fitness tests," WOW. Anyone who has ever been in the military knows that there is a minimum score to pass the PT test and that obtaining it is a joke. 3 pull-ups is the minimum, so yes, technically it is the same thing the men need to do. BUT, passing is far different than keeping up with the guy who scores 100. I would be curious to know how their overall score/performance stacked up. Good luck gaining the respect of your comrades if you're the guy who scores the minimum. If the woman's performance is on par with the guys' average, I will gladly eat my own words . . . but somehow I doubt it.

    November 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Reply
    • Katie

      Hey, it doesn't say they ONLY did 3 pull ups, just that they had to.

      November 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Reply
      • David

        If one of them did more than 10, I'd be mildly impressed. Even then, 3/15 pass? that's 1 out of every five. Not including the ones that quit early after they found out they wouldn't earn the MOS.

        November 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • l234321

      I believe that in order to receive a perfect score, men have to do 20 pull ups. To receive a perfect score, women have to do 8.

      November 20, 2013 at 11:34 am | Reply
      • lesliee

        8 is not an infrantry score.

        November 20, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  21. dirksterdude

    What I find interesting in a lot of stories about the military is what is not told, but still officially condoned about women in combat. Otherwise, the mission itself couldn't be accomplished. My friend who served in Iraq had fellow sailors who flew combat sorties over Iraq and Kuwait when it was liberated in the 1990s. Some of the women flew Harriers and others flew F-14's. He also said female doctors and medics participated in combat landings directly under fire with troops to retake Felaika Island when Kuwait was liberated. He has actual pictures and videos he brought home from the war. An old roommate who was a Marine in Vietnam had a female friend who was technically a nurse with the Marines serving in Vietnam. So it doesn't surprise me that women can and do officially pass the physicals and basic training to be a United States Marine.

    November 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  22. Colin

    Something called the 'flew arm hang'? It's the 'flexed arm hang'. Do just a bit of research to figure out what you don't know before posting the article!

    November 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Reply
  23. elocklar

    What makes a good combat troop is much more about the training than their gender. Yes, there is a minimum physical condition individuals must be in to endure the hardships of combat and still remain at maximum effectiveness, but as a military member I know many women with the physical and mental toughness to endure combat. Look at the numbers of (male) soldiers in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and even Word War II who ran away the first time they saw the enemy coming at them. Why doesn't that happen today? Because of the training our troops go through before being placed in a combat situation. We try very hard to replicate the stressful conditions of combat in our training to instill confidence in each individual and in the team. Anyone who successfully completes combat training deserves to be placed in the infantry, male or female. Right now we have thousands of women serving in combat zones, outside the wire, and work with male infantry units day-to-day without being officially assigned to them. There is no front line anymore, and women are already fighting and dying. When you're in a fire fight, it's not any safer if you are the one being attacked rather than being the attacker.

    November 19, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
    • David

      Don't tell me you are referring the FETs...

      November 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply
      • Mortar Maggot

        A lot of units heard about the FETs and just decided to make their own ad hoc ones. The real FETs had to go through a stateside training program and even then were officially not supposed to take part in combat. However going out in a small team in Afghanistan and coming back alive means everyone fights. The mere survival of the real FETs proves women can fight.

        November 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  24. HJC

    Congratulations to them for making it this far.
    There is still a lot of proving to go. Maybe that will convince me this is a good idea. We shall see.
    Good luck the rest of the way.

    November 19, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Reply
  25. Steve

    The few women who eventually emerged through the program were physically the best of the best of the best. That is,
    the small number of female marines in general are likely above average among women nationally; then the very few rom that group who volunteered to undertake the program were exceptional; then the even fewer who survived the screening to participate were yet more exceptional; then these four completed the program.

    What does it tell us.....? Somewhere in this nation a few athletic, fit, motivated teenage boys could similarly complete the course. Also, somewhere within our population there are a few guys 50+ who could do it as well. But this does not make including women, children and the elderly in our combat units a good idea.

    November 19, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • lesliee

      No one's talking about including children and the elderly in warfare. But they have done it. Look at the Russians and Germans in WWII. OTOH, your comment shows that you equate grown women with children and the elderly. Glad I don't know you personally.

      November 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Reply
      • Steve

        Leslie, - physically, children and the elderly are in fact comparable to women. That that's offensive to you is irrelevant. All three have been included in combat in history, which points up the foolishness of this experiment. (A teenage boy would be offended at being compared to a grown woman, as would a 55 year old man.)

        November 20, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  26. Imjesayin

    Women would do well in combat: What else can bleed for 1 week and not die?

    November 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  27. HM2

    Peforming the minimum standards on a PFT may be fine in garrison, but may be lethal to fellow Marines' health.

    November 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Reply
    • Katie

      So are the drugs and alcohol and hazing Marines like to engage in. I'd rather have a level headed woman fighting than a testosterone driven guy high on something.

      November 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Reply
      • Nate Palma

        Women aren't exactly levelheaded, and they're not do or die team players when it gets ugly. In danger, normal men fight and if need be die for their buddies. Women expect to be protected. Men accept that people want to hurt them, and their best move is to hurt the other guy first. That's testosterone, where aggression and courage come from. You don't have any. Your "levelheaded" woman is liable to go into hysterics, run, or decide it's safest to surrender. Men are ashamed of cowardice. Women are proud of it.

        Women expect to be protected. Women will do what it takes to keep themselves safe. Women believe that men, all men, were put on this earth to sacrifice themselves to keep women safe. I would not care to be alongside a woman in combat because she I could not rely on her as I could on a man. She would consider me expendable. You don't mind, because you consider me expendable too, but I beg to differ.

        Women are not men. I'm glad of that; they have their own strengths. But none of those strengths are worth anything in the infantry.

        November 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
      • John

        Katie, your generalizations about male Marines are pathetic and offensive. If you only knew the stringent hazing and drug policies we have in place and how relatively rare it is that Marines violate those orders you would be ashamed of your ignorant assumptions. Why don't you get to know a real Marine instead of watching "Full Metal Jacket".

        This organization isn't comprised of roid-raging meatheads obsessed with killing like the media likes to portray... it's comprised of men and women who, for very low wages, chose to risk their lives and undergo the hardships of training and combat only to serve their country and defend people like you.

        November 19, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
      • atty23

        Um, Nate, you want to stick to that assertion that women don't have testosterone? Clearly, you didn't do so well in high school biology.

        November 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
      • Semper Fi

        We appreciate the response John but, Full Metal Jacket was a good movie lol

        November 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
      • Ed

        "women are equally as capable of violence as men"
        - Erin Pizzey

        So what better way for women to prove her wrong, than send death threats and boycotts to her.

        November 20, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  28. Douglas CA

    The Israeli Army had a long history of assigning female troops to combat duties, but found out that when the male troops witnessed their female counterpart got killed, being blown apart or mutilated, it had devastating psychological effects to male troops. The male troops felt helpless and a strong sense of failure when they saw themselves being unable to protect whom they are supported to protect, and it destroyed their morale.

    November 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • NorCalMojo

      The failures with the Lebanon and Gaza incursions demonstrates how the timid tactics reduced effectiveness.

      November 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply
    • Samual

      So you are claiming that the weakness of male soldiers is the reason women should not be in combat?

      November 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
      • Larry H.

        Love it! That's what they showed in "GI Jane," too, and even the evil drill sergeant wasn't immune to this problem (breaking procedure to "save" the woman.)

        November 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
      • Douglas CA

        The ultimate goal is to optimize the combat effectiveness of a fight organization. If there is what you call a "weakness" in the male psyche, then the goal is to prevent that weakness from being exposed. I spend 8 years in the Marine Corp and I know how it is like in the battle field. We are in the business of killing. Our first priority is survival, not equal opportunity career advancement. We cannot afford to let anything to exploit our weakness or hinder our ability to perform our duties. Jeopardizing the lives of all for the fair treatment of a few simply is not fair for everyone.

        November 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  29. JC

    Wait a minute... 3 pull-ups? Tell me that's a mistake, or badly-worded please. Otherwise, the next question is whether or not they know what snack food to bring to an all-night LAN party. Still, I guess if we've fought the last three conflicts by dancing around the definition of "mercenaries" in the Geneva Convention,we might as well open up war to everyone, right?

    November 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      I don't know, but I would assume the 3 pull-ups were while packing the 90 pounds of combat gear.

      November 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Reply
      • Steel On Target

        No, no extra weight except their PT uniforms.

        November 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Brian

      Yeah, you read that correctly. But the author isn't well versed on the PFT requirements. While the minimum is 3 pull-ups to pass, 3 will only get you 15 points out of a possible 100 (max is 100). The other events are a 3-mile run (18 minutes to max it, 28 minutes or more and you fail) and crunches (40 in 2 minutes, minimum; 100 to max it.. To pass, you can't get the minimum points (or even close) on all three events.

      November 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  30. Joe Seattle

    Make no mistake, our enemies are looking forward to women's combat debuy in 2016. When it comes down to it, male POW's just aren't nearly as much fun.

    November 19, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  31. Marines are wooses

    Aw now not only are the leathernecks a force for good but they will be selling Girl Scout cookies.

    November 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  32. MD

    Good on the women! Anything men can do, we can do better.

    November 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Reply
    • JC

      Can you bake a pie?

      November 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • MD

      You can say that after one of these chicks survives a 12 month deployment in the sticks doing patrols and getting shot at. Far different situation when compared to the training program. Get real.

      November 19, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Reply
      • MB

        We wont be able to find out because in the very end of the article it said:
        "However, the women who passed the enlisted course will not join infantry units. They instead will be sent to non-combat jobs throughout the Corps.
        Their 59 days of arduous work will instead become part of the Marine Corps ongoing research into the possibility of having women serve in combat."

        November 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
      • reason

        or he could be referencing the play Annie Get Your Gun.

        November 19, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  33. Brian

    What the article didn't expound on was that, of the 10 females who attempted the Infantry Officer Course, 9 didn't make it past noon on the first day. The 10th was removed after several days for injuries sustained on day 1 (likely stress fractures).

    While we already have had females in combat – some of whom have performed gallantly – the infantry should be left alone and not experimented with.

    November 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      The few women who eventually emerged through the program were physically the best of the best of the best. That is,
      the small number of female marines in general are likely above average among women nationally; then the very few rom that group who volunteered to undertake the program were exceptional; then the even fewer who survived the screening to participate were yet more exceptional; then these four completed the program.

      What does it tell us.....? Somewhere in this nation a few athletic, fit, motivated teenage boys could similarly complete the course. Also, somewhere within our population there are a few guys 50+ who could do it as well. But this does not make including women, children and the elderly in your combat units a good idea.

      November 19, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  34. davecu

    ALRIGHT, Ladies, here's your chance. Make us proud!

    November 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  35. WERTWERT32452345

    A chance to kill, what a thrill! This article is truly nauseating to say the least but a lot of idiots here will eat it up!!! Glorifying these broads for what they imprisoned, Charles Manson, Richard Speck, Jeffrey Dahmer and a host of others for is for the birds!!!!!!!!!!! It appears that this society of ours is growing ever sicker!

    November 19, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Thank you, WERTWERT32452345. You just about said it all.

      November 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  36. NorCalMojo

    The issue isn't whether they're capable, the issue is whether it's a viable military strategy. The purpose of the military is to win or prevent wars efficiently and effectively. It's not there so people can accomplish life goals and build self esteem.

    November 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • vr13

      Totally agree with you. Unfortunately, for many people military is just another arena for political battles.

      November 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
    • Monterini

      Well...I used the Army for 25 years to build my self esteem and accomplish my life goals LOL

      November 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Reply
      • keih

        yeah good for you welfare queen.

        November 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • lesliee

      If they're capable, they help to complete the viable military strategy. Do you really not know this?

      November 20, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  37. Michael

    i was marine infantry and could care less if a woman wants to be infantry, as long as they can carry there own then thats fine by me. but basing if off of this course is a joke and means nothing. anybody will tell you, once you hit the fleet the physical and mental aspect of infantry is alot harder and tougher. congrats on them for passing as this is no easy task. it will be alot hard for them since they will be the first and the entire marine corps will be looking at them so good luck to them, i hope they make it. no need to put a fellow marine down

    November 19, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Reply
    • keih

      yeah until their lack of ability ends with you being "put down"

      November 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Reply
      • Mortar Maggot

        So the number of infantry grunts in here telling you if someone can pull their weight they're welcome to come out with them someone how translates to women can't pull their weight in your head?

        Let me tell you straight, women have performed admirably in combat, in deprivation situations (like out running supply lines in 2003) and are already welcome on infantry patrols to conduct their non infantry business if they can shoot, move, and communicate when required.

        We know this reality, someone forgot to tell society that their women were already in the situations society doubts they can handle.

        November 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  38. Infantry

    Good, its about time women started pulling their weight on the battlefield. They hvae been talking too much trash about glass ceilings, so it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is.

    Next, they can start registering for selective service and be called to duty from 18-45 like men have to do.

    November 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Reply
    • jim d.

      selective service is 18-25...

      November 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply
      • Mortar Maggot

        your supposed to register between 18-25. After that some federal benefits aren't available as a penalty if you haven't registered. Any serious need for a draft has always been 18-40 which is generally considered military age.

        November 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  39. Ax

    And on the 70th anniversary of Tarawa. 11/20/43

    November 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  40. Um

    I think in a world where we all have fought to be "equal" for so long that at this point, things should be fair and even across the board. Just about everyone in my family was or is in the military and to be honest I don't know how I feel about women in combat roles. I do know that after marching for equality and this and that, how can you ask someone to lower the bar of expectations. If women can pass the tests across the board then good on them but to lower it... don't agree with that. Equal is equal PERIOD. No doible standards when it comes to the definition of equality.

    November 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Reply
    • Dougals

      Indeed. I also think they should do the full 3 miles instead of 1.5, and if they can't do all 20 pullups, they should become a POG anyway (seriously, how many male Marines do less than 20 pullups and pass ICS?). In the infantry, upper body strength is essential.

      November 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
      • Mortar Maggot

        Actually I'd say it was core body strength which is seriously under tested in the military. This is how a mortarman with stick arms can still pick up and carry his 100 pound ruck for 15 miles.

        November 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  41. T W

    "Marine Corps ongoing research into the possibility of having women serve in combat" ...... Like 1940's all over again!!

    November 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  42. msadr

    Well, now. I'll bet that shut a few mouths. Just not sure the 59 days of hard work were worth the shutting of a few mouths.

    November 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  43. Jon

    As long as they don't water down the physical requirements for females the way they have for initial enlistment, I don't care one way or the other if they serve in combat or not. If a female can earn her place, she deserves it. I just wish they'd up the normal PT requirements so that females had the same standards as their male counterparts. It's hard to view them as equal when we have to lower the bar to allow them in.

    November 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Reply
    • M.I. Snow

      Jon – do you have a reading comprehension isse? The article states that:

      "The women went through the same physically grueling exercises as the male Marines, including carry 90 pounds of combat gear on a 12.5-mile march, Krebs said."

      November 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Reply
      • Douglas

        Snow: "The women went through the same physically grueling exercises as the male Marines, including carry 90 pounds of combat gear on a 12.5-mile march, Krebs said." is NOT what the male Marines go through. When I was in infantry school, it was 90 pounds of combat gear on a 21 mile march, and the it is minimum 20 pull-ups for the men.

        November 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
      • keih

        Can they also keep a man form ripping their weapon form them in a H2H situation?

        November 19, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
      • Jon

        Apparently you have a reading comprehension problem of your own. I clearly stated that it appears these females earned their spot by passing THIS COURSE under the same requirements. I then went on to comment that they need to increase the GENERAL PT requirements. Currently, the standards for passing boot camp standards and all PT test thereafter are COMPLETELY slanted in favor of females. It's great that they didn't water down the standards here, but until they level ALL requirements, females will never be accepted as equals.

        November 19, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
  44. Portland tony

    Completion of the Marine Corp Infantry training school does not automatically manufacture a successful war fighter. Special skills and above all dedication to duty which may be unpleasant at best are also required. Simply completing Infantry training means the individual is motivated and is in relatively good physical condition. If the technology involved in modern warfare continues to advance there will be less need for the hand-to-hand or face-to-face combat types (Special Ops exempted) and more need for relatively intelligent physically fit individuals with good hand-eye coordination to handle all the sophisticated equipment now used in warfare. The Nation building era is now history.

    November 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Reply
    • From a grunt

      You're definitely not a veteran. Okay people, let me lay it out for you: Physiologically, women are not just as strong as men. Understand this, statistics exist because they are a study of the way things are (reality). There are women who are very strong and very capable. I have served with several in Afghanistan, during frontline combat operations, who represented themselves well. However, the physical strain of infantry combat is not represented by being able to lift a specified amount of weight, or pass an obstacle course. The toll on the human body from heavy combat loads, continuous operations, lack of sleep, malnutrition, dehydration, heat injury, uncertainty, fear, adrenaline surges, and chaos is degenerative to both men and women. Time and time again, it has been proven that women's bodies do not withstand as much of this pressure as a man's. Women break down, both physically and mentally, faster than men on a general basis. This has many consequences to the infantry unit, not the least of which is the degradation of combat power when you need it the most. The only way to fully integrate women into the infantry (from a policy standpoint) is to lower the infantry standards. If they don't do this, the women will have less opportunity for advancement in their career because they will be medically retired before they achieve leadership rank or retirement. Marine promotion systems are performance based and the women will find it difficult to pace their male counterparts. If they do lower the infantry standards, the infantry will become weaker and less capable, and the men will still outpace them. This is completely counterproductive and absolutely unacceptable. (Side note: Not a single female has passed IOC yet, and only one has passed the first day. Her body took a further week to physically break down. The enlisted females will now boast a 26% success rate. Good for them, keep charging Marines.) For those of you who regurgitate that they aren't being assigned to grunt units, what do you think this experiment was for?

      November 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Reply
      • Portland tony

        I agree with your comment 100%. My point is that with the anticipated stand down of our troop count because of sequestration and the winding down our Afghan front, there will be less need for hard boots on the ground and a greater need for personnel who operate computer aided standoff surveillance and munition platforms. An area where the skills needed are not gender specific and makes this entire combat infantry school "experiment" moot.

        November 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  45. Thomas Messina

    I know It is not PC but I believe you should be denied authority on women in combat if you have not been in combat before. How to explain it – it is fine with me if politicians tell the military what to do, from Geo. Washington's day. But combat is different. Things happen there that some men are not equipped to handle.

    So I guess if women want to be in combat, they should be prepared to do things and have things done to them that I am not they would or should experience. War/combat is not civilized, to many really do not know what it takes.

    November 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • FrmrMrine

      Not sure what you're on abut there, Tom. But the bottom line is that no one knows what combat is truly like before they've experienced it. So, man or woman, no one really knows whether they are willing to experience it or have 'things done to them' that they don't like. Personally, I never had a problem with the concept. All the stuff people worry about when they worry about women and men together in combat doesn't mean much when you're in a muddy hole in the dark, unbathed for weeks, and shivering from cold and fear. Everyone smells, everyone is tired, everyone is afraid. As for the psychological aspect, that's a mind thing, not a gender thing.

      November 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply
      • Nichole

        FrmrMarine,

        I agree with you 100%. You couldn't have said this any better!

        November 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  46. Hadenuffyet

    Apparently the qualifications for cannon fodder aren't all that strenuous.

    November 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Reply
    • lesliee

      So? Volunteer.

      November 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Reply
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