We’re not usually fans of “selfie” photos, but with that said, we LOVE this one!
Nearly 100 years after Opha Mae Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the Marine Corps, the first four women in history have completed the 59-day Marine infantry training course.
This photo, taken on November 9th, was shot by Delta Company’s Private First Class Harlee “Rambo” Bradford (center) and posted to her Instagram account. Three of the four women in the photo will be graduating on November 21, 2013 at the Marine Corps School of Infantry in Camp Geiger. Unfortunately, Private Bradford suffered a stress fracture in her leg that has prevented her from taking her final physical fitness and combat fitness tests. She’ll be allowed to finish with the next class.
The women were the first of a group of 15 to volunteer for the Marine Corps pilot program to integrate women into combat jobs. Requirements and standards of the evaluation course were not lowered for the women; they were gender equal, including physical strength as well as the ability to keep up with the men on the battlefield.
The Marines are the most male-dominated of the armed services, with only 7% female, half the overall rate for the U.S. military. So, what’s next? According to Military News, the women will not be assigned to infantry units and will not receive an infantry occupational specialty. Instead, their graduation will be noted in their records as part of the years-long Marine Corps study.
“Any force-wide changes to be made will occur only after we have conducted our research, determined the way ahead and set the conditions to implement our recommendations,” said Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman. Before making a final decision, they said that they want to see many more female Marines try to pass the courses and evaluate the results.
It sounds like the Marine’s are standing in their own way of progress. We guess it’s a step in the right direction, but where most positions in the Navy and Air Force are accessible to women, with a few exceptions, the Marine’s are lagging way behind when it comes to gender parity.
In the name of research, another 40 female Marines have started courses in the past few weeks, it’s expected that about one quarter will pass.
The names of the other three women who passed the exam are being withheld by the Corps until after Thursday’s graduation.