MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, California — In December 2015, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced his decision directing that all services open all occupational specialties to service members regardless of gender. With previously closed units and combat arms occupations opening up for female Marines, training is being presented at major Marine Corps installations to ensure the integration goes smoothly.

Commanders and senior enlisted leaders of I Marine Expeditionary Force attended integration education training at the Marine Memorial Chapel and the Unit Event Center June 7-8, 2016.

The goal of integration education training is to ensure commanders and staffs are sufficiently educated and prepared to receive Marines of either gender by October 31, 2016 (active) and January 31, 2017 (reserve).

The deadlines will provide leaders the time to train their Marines prior to the arrival of female Marines into previously closed ground combat arms occupations and units.

“This training gives us the opportunity to go back and plan our training for our units and to get the actual truth out to our Marines so this integration is done responsibly and smoothly,” said Maj. John Hunt, the executive officer of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

The subject matter experts from Headquarters Marine Corps reviewed policy changes and the USMC Gender Integration Implementation Plan, answered questions and corrected misinformation, and summarized changes to physical performance standards. They also discussed individual and institutional bias, and provided leaders the tools to address practical issues and leadership challenges.


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