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Marine Corps to Allow Heavier Women to Join the Service

Female recruits at the Marine Corps Training Depot on Parris Island, S.C. / AP
• July 5, 2016 4:28 pm

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The U.S. Marine Corps issued new guidelines over the Fourth of July holiday weekend that will relax weight limits for servicewomen.

Female Marines will now be allowed to weigh five to seven pounds more than previously accepted for each inch of their height, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. A 5-foot-9 woman, for example, who was previously allowed to weigh up to 169 pounds, can now weigh up to 176 pounds.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, detailed the changes Friday as the military continues to fully integrate women into combat positions. He also outlined an overhaul to the Marines Corps’ annual combat fitness and physical fitness tests.

Maj. Gen. James Lukeman, the commanding general of Training and Education Command, said the new standards "raise the bar" for physical fitness in the service.

"Marines today are stronger, faster, and fitter than ever, and these changes reflect that," Lukeman said in a statement, according to the Marine Corps Times. "Bigger and stronger often means heavier, so tying performance on the PFT [Physical Fitness Test] and CFT [Combat Fitness Test] to changes to the Body Composition Program are improvements that we think the Marines will appreciate."

Neller issued the updated guidelines after completing a "comprehensive review of physical fitness and body composition standards," he said.

The Marines Corps will track the changes for two years and make adjustments if necessary "to ensure our standards continue to contribute to the effectiveness of our force and enhance our ability to respond when our nation calls," Neller added

The service will also give Marines the option to replace pull-ups with pushups to test upper-body strength. The flexed-arm hang, which women could previously do instead of pull-ups, will be entirely phased out.

The Marines will also drop body fat limits for service members who receive high scores on their fitness tests, as long as they have high scores on their fitness tests.

Published under: Marines, Military, Women