History was made on Monday as the first female Marine Infantry Officer graduated from what many consider to be among the most grueling of training courses conventional war fighters can undergo.

The Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course, a 13-week crash course in leadership, infantry skills, and character, has seen 36 women attempt it since 2015, but Monday marks the first time a female Marine was able to successfully complete the training.

“I am proud of this officer and those in her class‎ who have earned the infantry officer MOS,” said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller of the lieutenant that has requested to keep her name private.  “Marines expect and rightfully deserve competent and capable leaders, and these IOC graduates met every training requirement as they prepare for the next challenge of leading infantry Marines; ultimately, in combat,” he added.

In this video, you can see the ground-breaking lieutenant, along with other members of her 88 Marine graduating class, completing the final stages of the course in the mountains of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, where the terrain approximates that which war fighters may encounter in battlefields like Iraq.

Her accomplishment is a significant stride for the branch that many have decried as the slowest to open up combat positions to females, with some male Marines voicing concerns about how gender integration may affect a unit’s combat readiness.  Gender issues within the culture of the Marine Corps have been at the forefront of General Neller’s policies since the branch was publicly embarrassed by a group of former Marines sharing nude photos of females in a Facebook group called “Marines United” earlier this year.


Image courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps

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