Female Marine Becomes First Woman to Complete Grueling Officer Training

The Marine Corps expects to soon have its first female infantry officer, a feat that has been attempted by three dozen women in the past but never accomplished until now.

Following her anticipated graduation on Monday from the service's grueling Infantry Officer Course, the lieutenant will become the first female to lead a platoon of infantry Marines in history, said three military officials with knowledge of the training.

The Infantry Officer Course is a 13-week long program and considered one of the toughest in the military, with about 25 percent of all students washing out. The unnamed lieutenant completed the three-week combat exercise at the Marine's training center in Twentynine Palms, California on Wednesday — the final graded requirement before graduation.

The class will mark its graduation on Monday morning at a "warrior breakfast" in Quantico, Virginia, where most of the course is conducted, the officers said. All three spoke to The Washington Post anonymously because the graduation has not yet occurred. All that remains between now and graduation is to return equipment used during training, and a few administrative days.

The historic moment arrives almost two years after then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter lifted the military's remaining restrictions on women. The Marines first opened the Infantry Officer Course to women on an experimental basis in 2012, allowing women to attempt it as a part of broader research across the Defense Department examining how to integrate all-male units. Thirty-two women attempted the course before the research ended in spring 2015, and none completed it.

Since the Pentagon opened the officer course to all women in 2015, four additional female Marines, including Monday's graduate-to-be, have attempted it.

Officials say that she is unlikely to conduct any media interviews after graduation, preferring to be a "quiet professional" and just do her job.




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