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Women Injured Twice as Often as Men, Less Accurate with Weapons, Marine Study Finds

Female Marines in 2013
Female Marines in 2013 / AP

A study conducted by the Marine Corps to evaluate how female service members perform in combat operations concluded that women are more vulnerable to injury, less accurate with weapons, and slower than men when completing tactical movements.

According to the Washington Postthe research was conducted over nine months by evaluating troops in the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force developed to compare male and female service members as the Pentagon contemplates the full integration of women into combat roles.

The approximately 400 troops, a quarter of them female, were based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Twentynine Palms, California.

According to the research, female service members were injured twice as often as their male counterparts, demonstrated less accuracy with infantry weapons, were slower than men when completing tactical movements, and did not perform as well when removing injured troops from the battlefield.

Furthermore, male Marines who had no infantry training were more accurate in their use of firearms than female troops who had received such training.

Marine Col. Anne Weinberg, who serves as deputy director of the Marine Corps Force Innovation Office, labeled the research "unprecedented."

"This is unprecedented research across the services," Weinberg said. "What we tried to get to is what is that individual’s contribution to the collective unit. We all fight as units. … We’re more interested in how the Marine Corps fights as units and how that combat effectiveness is either advanced or degraded."

The executive summary of the over 1,000-page report was released Thursday, and the full study is expected to be released online over the next few days.

This fall, services are required to submit recommendations to Defense Secretary Ash Carter as to whether specific positions in the military should remain closed to women, nearly three years after then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta scrapped a ban on women fulfilling combat roles.

The study’s findings come less than a month after two women became the first female soldiers to graduate from the Army’s Ranger School after the combat leadership course was opened up to women on a trial basis.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert recently said that the Navy is "on track" to open up its SEAL teams to women who pass the required grueling training course.