- The US Marine Corps is set to integrate men and women during boot camp for the first time in the history of the Corps.
- The training cycle beginning Saturday will incorporate one female platoon in a historically all-male battalion at Marine Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina.
- A spokesman for the Marines told ABC News that while the decision was based on logistics, the service will monitor how the company performs.
- In a statement last year, Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said he would not consider having men and women living together in their barracks.
- The incoming female recruits will occupy a barracks co-habitated by their male counterparts, but will still be led by female drill instructors, ABC reported.
For the first time in Marine Corps history, male and female platoons will integrate for boot camp at the Corps’ storied Parris Island training grounds, according to ABC News,
A spokesman told ABC News that the Marine Corps will be monitoring the company’s performance “as we continually evaluate how we make Marines.”
The decision to integrate women into the battalion is a matter of logistics, as recruit numbers typically dwindle during the winter months. The training cycle set to begin Saturday has only 50 female recruits; by incorporating them as a platoon, the depot will avoid activating an entire battalion-size staff.
The recruits will occupy the same barracks co-habitated by their male counterparts, but will be monitored by female drill instructors, according to ABC. The Corps, which has the lowest percentage of female service members of the military branches, has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years for refusing to allow men and women to train together, like the other services.
A Marine spokesman told ABC the service will monitor the integrated recruits “as we continually evaluate how we make Marines,” but the decision does not mark a permanent shift in policy.
In May 2017, Marine Corps Times reported that the Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. Robert Neller, had no plans to integrate men and women at boot camp.