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Marines Keep 'Rifleman' While Rolling Out Gender-Neutral Job Titles

Marine riflemen and mortarmen will keep their job titles even as 19 others change in keeping with a mandate from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to make them more friendly to female troops.

The list of titles, obtained by Military.com and first reported by Marine Corps Times, has not been publicly released. An official told Military.com an administrative message detailing the changes and what this means for Marines is likely to be published on Friday.

A memo reviewed by Military.com showed that decisions regarding job titles were finalized in a June 9 meeting between Marine officials and Mabus' staff.

Of 33 jobs, or military occupational specialties, reviewed by the Marine Corps, 14 will keep their names.

These include titles in which "man" does not describe the Marine's role, such as unmanned aerial vehicle operator, and marksmanship instructor, both of which were brought up for review. They also include jobs in which "man" is part of the title, rather than a separate word, as in mortarman and construction wireman.

Nostalgia and tradition may also play a role. An official told Marine Corps Times that the title of rifleman was "steeped in Marine Corps history and ethos" and thus will remain in use.

The Corps has long used the mantra "every Marine a rifleman" to emphasis that all troops receive key combat skills training.

Many ground combat job titles are changing, however.

"Infantry assaultman" will become "Infantry Assault Marine." The same transformation will happen with "fire support man" "reconnaissance man" "basic infantryman" and other similar titles.

In only three cases will the word "man" be changed to something other than Marine. "Antitank missileman" will turn into "antitank missile gunner," and "field artillery operations man" will change to "field artillery operations chief," becoming more descriptive as they ditch the gender-specific language.

Arguably the most radical change will be made to the "M1A1 tank crewman" MOS. That job will be renamed simply "armor Marine."

The review of job titles began in January, when Mabus ordered the Marine Corps and the Navy to develop plans on how to make job titles gender-neutral.

The mandate came as all military services began the process of opening previously closed ground combat jobs to women. Earlier this month, a 19-year-old became the first female recruit to enlist with an infantry contract, signalling the start of a new normal for the Marine Corps.

The Navy announced earlier this month that it was expanding its review of ratings, going beyond gender-specific language to examine ways to make titles more clearly understood by the non-military public and to allow for greater detailing flexibility, training and credentialing opportunities.

The service is expected to release the results of its review later this fall.

What's Changing

These 19 job titles will be changed to reflect the fact that men and women can serve in the jobs they describe:

  • 0300 Basic Infantryman will become Basic Infantry Marine
  • 0312 Riverine Assault Craft Crewman will become Riverine Assault Craft Marine
  • 0313 Light Armored Vehicle Crewman will become Light Armored Vehicle Marine
  • 0321 Reconnaissance Man will become Reconnaissance Marine (includes three other reconnaissance MOSs)
  • 0351 Infantry Assaultman will become Infantry Assault Marine
  • 0352 Antitank Missileman will become Antitank Missile Gunner
  • 0800 Basic Field Artilleryman will become Basic Field Artillery Marine
  • 0844 Field Artillery Fire Control Man will become Field Artillery Fire Control Marine
  • 0847 Field Artillery Sensor Support Man will become Field Artillery Sensor Support Marine
  • 0848 Field Artillery Operations Man will become Field Artillery Operations Chief
  • 0861 Fire Support Man will become Fire Support Marine
  • 1300 Basic Engineer, Construction, Facilities and Equipment Man will become Basic Engineer, Construction, Facilities and Equipment Marine
  • 1800 Basic Tank and Assault Amphibious Vehicle Crewman will become Basic Tank and Assault Amphibious Vehicle Marine
  • 1812 M1A1 Tank Crewman will become Armor Marine
  • 1833 Assault Amphibious Vehicle Crewman will become Assault Amphibious Vehicle Marine
  • 1834 Amphibious Combat Vehicle Crewman will become Amphibious Combat Vehicle Marine

What's Staying:

  • 0102 Manpower Officer
  • 0171 Manpower Information Systems Analyst
  • 0311 Rifleman
  • 0341 Mortarman
  • 0613 Construction Wireman
  • 0931 Marksmanship Instructor
  • 0933 Marksmanship Coach
  • 6314 Avionics Maintenance Technician, Unmanned Aircraft
  • 7301 Basic Unmanned Aircraft Systems Officer
  • 7314 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operator
  • 7315 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Officer
  • 7316 External Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator
  • 7374 Vertical Take-off Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Specialist
  • 7377 Weapons Tactical Instructor-Unmanned Aircraft Systems

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

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