- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Marine Corps‘ efforts to integrate women into infantry units has hit a snag: Cpl. Remedios Cruz will exit military service after pleading guilty to fraternization.

The 1st Battalion, 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, will be the last stop for one of the first women to serve in an infantry unit. The former sergeant lost rank as part of a plea deal to avoid a court-martial on charges of fraternization, adultery and accessory to larceny.

“The biggest mistakes I’ve made in the infantry were from my personal relationships,” she told The New York Times for an interview published Wednesday. “I really want to move on.”

Cpl. Cruz, who enlisted in 2013 as a supply clerk, is waiting to hear whether she will receive an other-than-honorable discharge by the commanding general of 2nd Marine Division.

In 2017, she and two other women became the first females to join the battalion. According to the New York Times, there are now 24 women serving in infantry billets in the Marines, though the Corps has almost 16,000 women in all positions.

Military officials originally launched an investigation into the NCO’s behavior after she married a lower-ranking Marine in her unit in August 2017.

“[Sgt. Cruz created an] environment which compromised her professional reputation and ultimately the good order and discipline of the unit,” Lt. Col. Reginald McClam, her battalion commander at the time, wrote after the initial investigation.

The officer recommended charges while two senior officers above him in Okinawa recommended no disciplinary action, the newspaper reported.

“Regardless of the outcome of this case, Corporal Cruz has been a courageous pioneer for women in the military and she has earned a place in Marine Corps history,” her lawyer, Capt. Jacob R. Johnston, said in a statement to The Times.


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