Female Marines in San Diego are making history. The group of 40 Marines arrived at Camp Pendleton this week and are the first women to train alongside male Marines on the West Coast. Previously, the females went to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, but the new Marine Corps policy will send all female boot camp graduates recruited from states west of the Mississippi River to Camp Pendleton.
The Marine Combat Training exercises will take place over the next 30 days in order to prepare them to be deployed anywhere in the world if and when they are needed. The Marines will learn shooting skills, how to use a grenade launcher, tactical communications and dozens of other military maneuvers. "Neither the course nor the training calendar will be altered at all because of this," said Training Command spokesman Captain Joshua J. Pena.
About 1,700 female Marines are expected to go through combat training each year at Camp Pendleton. Despite the integrated combat training regimen, men and women will continue to go through separate boot camps. As things stand, all female Marines are sent to the Parris Island boot camp in South Carolina.
While the women who arrived Tuesday are the first to go through combat training at MCT-West, they're not the fist female Marines to train at the base. When the Pentagon opened infantry ranks to women in 2016, several of them went through the School of Infantry's Infantry Training Battalion, which is a 59-day program that's separate and more grueling than basic combat training. It's designed for Marines chosen to serve in rifle squads and other infantry groups.
Photo Credit: City News Source, Lance Cpl. Dylan Chagnon