he United States Marine Corps is one of the toughest branches of the American military. Their bootcamp is notorious for being so brutal, recruits break more bones there than in any of the other branches of the military.
Basically, if you're a Marine, you're a badass.
On Monday, a female Marine became the first woman to complete the rigorous Infantry Officer Course (IOC). Getting there wasn't easy. Here are all the hurdles she had to overcome to become a trailblazer.
First, she had to actually qualify for a combat position.
Until 2016, women weren’t allowed in to serve in combat positions. The reasons cited were numerous – women were bad for morale, fragile, and generally unable to bear the rigors of the front lines. The Marines, particularly, were insistent women shouldn’t serve. This from the same organization that’s had numerous revenge porn scandals. Go figure…
Then the Pentagon changed the rules.
In December 2015, Ash Carter, Secretary of Defense at the time, announced that women could serve in all positions in the military. This opened up combat positions to women after years of research and debate.
The Marines weren't pleased.
In an effort to preempt the move, the Marines had released a study stating that all-male combat units were more effective than mixed gender ones. Further, they asked for exceptions from the rule, but Defense Secretary Carter responded with an immortal clapback, “There will be no exceptions.”
President Obama championed the change.
In a historic statement, Obama said:
“Today, the Defense Department is taking another historic step forward by opening up the remaining 10 percent of military positions, including combat roles, to women… Women who can meet the high standards required will have new opportunities to serve… Together, we’re going to make sure our military remains the finest fighting force in the history of the world, worthy of all our patriots who serve — men and women.”
The first female Marines graduated in 2016.
April 2016 was a historic month. Two women graduated from infantry training and joined the Marines’ combat battalion — one as a rifleman, and the other as a machine gunner. (Both women requested those jobs). Still, there were no female officers.