MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
As more female Marines continue to graduate MOS schools and follow-on courses, I Marine Expeditionary Force will employ these Marines in various infantry battalions throughout the 1st Marine Division, as well as other previously closed jobs such as reconnaissance, artillery and low-altitude air defense.
According to the U.S. Marine Corps Concepts & Programs Almanac, there are currently 14,223 active duty female Marines, making up 7.6% of the 186,886 active duty force.
“I think (female combat integration) is a great opportunity for women who feel that they can be in the infantry positions,” said Cpl. Coraima Dignetti, an aviation operation specialist with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. “It takes a lot of physical endurance to build up to where most of our male counterparts are at. (The difference in male and female body structure) doesn’t mean that female Marines can’t do (what males can do), it just means that they are going to have to try a lot harder and build a lot more endurance than most male Marines.”
Female Marine MOS integration continues into the month of March, Women’s History Month, a time of increased awareness and education about women’s contributions throughout history.
Former President Jimmy Carter recommended a week in March to be designated National Women’s History Week. By 1988, Congress passed resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month.
According to Marine Administrative Message 110/07, “a significant chapter in Marine Corps history began when Opha Mae Johnson joined the Marine Corps Reserve in Aug. 1918. During World War II, another generation of women was called to ‘free a man to fight,’ and more than 19,000 women joined the Marine Corps. Some of these women were retained and became regular Marines as a result of the Women's Armed Forces Integration Act of 1948.”
“She set the path for all of us,” said Cpl. Roshanda Pierre-Bresier, a supply administration specialist with 1st Marine Logistics Group. “In my eyes, she is a role model that every female Marine should attempt to emulate and exemplify.”
On Dec. 3, 2015, former Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, announced that beginning in Jan. 2016, all military occupations, including combat-specific roles, would be open to women.
“They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat," Carter said. "They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force (pararescue), and everything else that was previously open only to men."
On Jan. 5, 2017, three enlisted female Marines with infantry jobs joined an infantry battalion at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
As the Marine Corps continues to grow, expand and integrate its ranks, females will serve as Marines in combat arms on the battlefield.
“As we move forward, we will maintain our standards and maximize the talent and skills of all Marines — male and female — to strengthen our Corps and increase our combat effectiveness,” said Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. Robert Neller, in a December 2015 video message.