Marines’ first women in the infantry to join Camp Lejeune battalion
WASHINGTON – Three female Marines, the first women approved to transfer into the infantry, will report Thursday to their new unit at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, according to Marine Corps officials.
Each woman previously served in other jobs in the Marines and requested to transfer into the infantry after graduating the School of Infantry as part of a 2015 research initiative the Corps conducted to study the impact of gender integration, Capt. Philip Kulczewski, a service spokesman, said Wednesday. All three are enlisted Marines.
They will report to 1st Battalion, 8th Marines and each will serve in a different infantry specialty -- one rifleman, one machine gunner and one mortar Marine, said 1st Lt. John McCombs, a spokesman for the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune. The Marines did not identify the women by name or rank.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter paved the way for women to serve in traditionally all-male, front-line combat units in December 2015 when he ordered all military jobs and units open to qualified women. Only the Marines recommended against opening all specialties to women, citing gender-integration research that found mixed-gender units did not function as well as all-male teams and women were more likely than men to be injured in front-line combat jobs.
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