The male-dominated Marine Corps announced on Monday that it will allow women to train in Quantico, Virginia at its infantry officer school.  Women will also be allowed to participate in ground combat battalions.  Marine Corps commandant General James F. Amos announced these new rules in an All Marine Message (ALMAR).

According to General Amos, 40 women will be assigned to 19 battalions over the next couple of months. This will allow the Marine Corps to study women’s performance in these units.  Women are still restricted from joining infantry battalions.  As the data is examined, roles for women in the Marine Corps may expand. General Amos wrote in the ALMAR, “I will consider the results and impact of the exception to the ground assignment policy, the quantitative research, and the total force survey as we make future recommendations regarding the potential assignment of women to ground combat element units.”

This summer, women will be allowed to attend the three month long infantry course, but will not graduate as infantry officers.  Instead, they will fill jobs currently open to women. Women are still prohibited from serving combat roles, but more than 140 women have been killed while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Women make up 7 percent of the Marine Corps.

New York Times 4/25/12; Time 4/25/12; Stars and Stripes 4/24/12; Marine Corp ALMAR 4/23/12; Jezebel 4/20/12

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