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Corps Receives First Infantry Request from Female Marine

Marine Sgts. Emma A. Bringas, left, and Amaya Marin Garnica take cover while maneuvering to conduct an enemy counterattack during an exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., in March 2015. Alicia R. Leaders/Marine Corps
Marine Sgts. Emma A. Bringas, left, and Amaya Marin Garnica take cover while maneuvering to conduct an enemy counterattack during an exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., in March 2015. Alicia R. Leaders/Marine Corps

The Marine Corps has received its first request from an enlisted female Marine to join the infantry ranks, an official confirmed today.

Marine Capt. Philip Kulczewski said the Corps had received a lateral move request from a female Marine to join a unit ground combat Marine occupational specialty.

"These requests take time, and to help put things in perspective, lateral-move processes involve counseling, reviewing physical readiness, completing resident Professional Military Education, individual performance, competiveness in MOS and ultimately needs of the Marine Corps," he said, using the acronym for military occupational specialty.

"This process ensures the Marine Corps will adhere to its standards and will continue its emphasis on combat readiness," he added.

A source with knowledge of the request said the Marine was a lance corporal. The Marine had requested a job in an 03XX MOS, the source said, indicating one of a number of previously closed jobs in the infantry field.

Only 233 female Marines have completed basic enlisted infantry training at the Corps' infantry training battalion at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. These Marines completed the course during a test period before combat jobs were formally opened to women. They all received an additional infantry MOS on top of their primary job specialty in January, and were offered the opportunity to make a lateral move to an infantry unit if they wished.

That month, the Marine Corps highlighted the story of Cpl. Remedios Cruz, a 24-year-old supply clerk who had participated as a volunteer in the Corps' women-in-combat study last year and said she hoped to be one of the first women to join an infantry unit.

But until now, neither Cruz nor any of the other eligible Marines have made a formal lateral move request.

With all combat jobs now open to women, any woman enlisting or waiting in the Corps' delayed entry program can request an infantry contract.

Marine officials have said that female recruits who want to enter a "loadbearing" ground combat specialty, such as rifleman, mortarman, or machine gunner, will not ship to boot camp until October 1 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, a female Marine lieutenant is now participating in the 13-week Infantry Officers Course at Quantico, Virginia, officials said, in hopes of becoming the first female infantry officer.

Earlier this month, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Congress that 44 women have so far volunteered to be Army officers. The Army has also enlisted its first female infantry recruit: Tammy Grace Barnett, a 25-year-old police officer.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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