Gender Experiment at Marine Infantry Officer Course Ends with Zero Female Grads

Female Marine recruits spar in Parris Island, SC / AP

The U.S. Marine Corps' trial integration of women at its Infantry Officers Course (IOC) has ended with no female Marines graduating from the course.

The Marine Corps Times reports that the final iteration of the experiment concluded when the two female volunteers participating in the current IOC class in Quantico, Virginia, were dropped on April 2 during the grueling Combat Endurance Test, a gateway evaluation that occurs on the first day of the course. Nine male students (out of a total of 90 who began) also were cut.

This result means that zero of twenty-nine attempts by female officers at the course have been successful.

The senior leadership of the Department of Defense have made no secret of their intent to integrate women into ground combat arms units across the military, insisting that the services "validate" their physical standards to ensure that they are "current."

The Marine Corps has been conducting a trial integration of women in its ground combat arms specialties, including the infantry, since 2012, and will report back to the Department of Defense later this year with its full assessment of how gender integration could occur in those communities.

Female Marines have been able to complete the enlisted School of Infantry in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The Marine Corps Times reports that the graduation rate for women at that course has only been 34 percent, which is significantly lower than the typical rate for male students.

The trial gender integration at IOC has received wide coverage in the press, and has attracted criticism from both advocates and opponents of women in ground combat units.

Though the volunteer-based integration experiment is complete, female Marines may still attempt IOC if they wish to compete for a slot in the ground intelligence officer community. The Marine Corps is also collecting research from an experimental integrated task force, currently conducting exercises on the West Coast to evaluate performance in units with different ratios of gender integration.

Also underway this spring is the U.S. Army's first experimental effort to integrate women at its famed Ranger School.