SAN CLEMENTE (CBSLA/AP) — Female Marines this week began training with the Marine Combat Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton for the first time in the base’s history.
Officials say the 40 female Marines checked into the battalion within the School of Infantry on Tuesday and will train with their male counterparts after arriving from Parris Island, South Carolina.
Marine Capt. Joshua Pena says the entry-level course is for Marines who’ve finished boot camp and aren’t assigned to infantry jobs. It lasts about a month and includes basic combat training, including patrol and convoy operations, marksmanship and the use of grenade launchers and machine guns.
It’s a move that will ultimately see roughly 1,700 women trained at the Marine base, Pena told the Orange County Register.
“It’s never been done in the history of the Marine Corps,” said Capt. Joshua Pena. “In the past, the Marine Corps has trained women in combat training on the East Coast because that’s where the facilities are.”
Pena says the female Marines will be fully integrated with the men, and that their inclusion triggered no changes to the course instruction.
Currently Marine boot camp on the west coast is male-only. Women attend boot camp in South Carolina.
More women serving in the Marines have moved into combat roles since Jan. 2016, when Defense Secretary Ash Carter lifted gender-based limits on military service.
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