- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Marines testing women in combat jobs
There may be some anxiety among male Marines as female officers work their way into infantry and other combat jobs that historically have been open only to men, the Marine Corps commandant said this week.
Gen. James F. Amos said early steps to begin moving women into artillery, tank air defense and combat engineer units have been successful, but the more difficult tests lie ahead.
“Change doesn’t come easy to the United States Marine Corps,” Gen. Amos told an audience at the National Press Club on Tuesday. “But when it does, when it’s rooted, it lasts forever. So I think we’ll work our way through it.”
A key challenge will take place next month as female Marine officers attend the grueling infantry officer school at the Marine Corps‘ Quantico, Va., base as part of an experiment to gauge whether women can handle the course’s extreme physical and mental challenges.
So far, two women have volunteered to go through the 13-week course, which historically sees attrition rates of 20 percent to 25 percent when only men are participating.
“I need to get past hyperbole and get past intuition and instincts, and I need to get facts,” Gen. Amos said, adding that the Marines intend to maintain the same standards for men and women. “If you’re going to be infantry officer, you will spend 13 weeks at Quantico going through some very, very difficult training. So that’s the standard, the measure of an infantry officer in the Marine Corps.”
Officials, he said, will evaluate the test, collect the data and then he will give his recommendation to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta.
The Pentagon in February announced that the military is formally opening up thousands of jobs to women in units closer to the front lines to better reflect the realities of modern warfare.
Women already are fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan, and they did the same in Iraq. The new rules will allow women to perform many of the jobs they have been doing, but in smaller units that are closer to the fighting and were once considered too dangerous.
To say women are a minority in the Marine Corps is an understatement: Of the roughly 200,000 Marines, 13,700 are female. So the integration will be slow and in small numbers.
By mid-October, 45 women Marine officers and staff non-commissioned officers will join various artillery, tank and combat engineer battalions across the country.
And Gen. Amos said he met with the top leaders of the 19 battalions that could get female Marines and told them that they need to do this the right way and establish the proper command climate to give the women the opportunity to succeed.
He added that the Marine Corps also has sent out a survey to service members to collect their views on allowing women in the infantry. And officials are setting up a series of physical tests to compare the strength of male and female officers and enlisted Marines.
A 1994 Pentagon policy prohibits women from being assigned to ground combat units below the brigade level. A brigade is roughly 3,500 troops split into several battalions of about 800 soldiers each.
Historically, brigades were based farther from the front lines, and they often include top command and support staff, while battalions usually are in closer contact with the enemy.
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- CURL: The modern GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Six Senate seats could hinge on Keystone pipeline
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- CPAC 2014: Straw poll signals Paul-Cruz showdown
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again