That’s one step for women and one giant leap for womankind. The first woman has graduated from the grueling Marine Infantry Officer Course.
It’s considered one of the toughest military courses. The lieutenant has asked that her identity remain private.
Women were prohibited from pursuing this course, along with other occupational specialties, until April 2016. That’s when a ban lifted by the U.S. Department of Defense paved the way for women to take on combat assignments.
“I am proud of this officer and those in her class who have earned the infantry officer MOS,” Gen. Robert Neller, Marine Corps Commandant, said in a press release. MOS stands for military occupational specialty.
Out of 131 Marines, 88 finished the course
The course started in July with 131 Marines. Just 88 of them graduated on Sept. 25 in Quantico, Virginia.
The course lasts 13 weeks. Historically, 10 percent fail on the first day, according to a press release from the Marine Corps on Monday.
Fifteen percent of active-duty Marines are women, the press release said.
Neller congratulated the graduates in Marine Corps video on Twitter.
“Well done. Proud of you, but that’s just the first step,” Neller said. “Now you are going to go out to the operating forces and be given the responsibility of a platoon of infantry Marines.”
What is the Infantry Officer Course?
This course is designed to produce the next generation of military leaders.
“The course requires both proficiency in the field and the strength and stamina to carry equipment weighing up to 152 pounds. The school begins with a day-long combat endurance test that includes rigorous hikes through Quantico’s rolling, wooded hills, an obstacle course and assessments of skills like weapons assembly and land navigation.” -Marine Corps.
According to the Marine Corps. this course provides advanced training for highly qualified infantry and ground intelligence officers.
The Marine has been congratulated by service men and women everywhere on Twitter, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
She heads to her platoon to prepare for combat
“Marines expect and rightfully deserve competent and capable leaders, and these IOC graduates met every training requirement as they prepare for the next challenge of leading infantry Marines; ultimately, in combat,” Neller said.
She is the second woman to complete military combat leadership training. In 2016, Capt. Kristen Griest became the Army’s first female infantry officer when she completed Army Ranger school.
No woman has broken through the glass ceiling in the elite Navy SEAL or Army Green Beret specialties yet.
She is now on her way to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California, where she will lead a 40-person platoon.
Marines at Camp Pendleton are frequently deployed to highly risky areas, according to the Marine Corps.