Two new female Marine Corps officers have signed up to try their luck at the fabled infantry officer school (IOC) this March, just weeks after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the military to open combat positions to women.
Two women last October “washed out” of the notoriously grueling course -- one on the first day, along with several males, and the other woman left weeks into the program due to stress fractures.
“We’ve got two more women,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said during a visit with troops in San Diego. He met the two Marine lieutenants last Monday. They graduated on Wednesday from The Basic School, Quantico’s course for all newly commissioned Marine officers.
“They’re stalwart, they’re in great shape, and they’re excited about it,” he said of their IOC entry.
Amos said he has seen the results of the yet-to-be-released survey of the Marine Corps about allowing women into combat, and most respondents were ready to open doors for women.
“I don’t think there was this overwhelming majority that said absolutely not,” he said of the results. “I think from the infantry side of the house, they’re more skeptical of women in infantry. That’s to be expected.”
Amos also defended the woman whose injuries ended her IOC bid last year. “I want to be clear about that,” he said, referring to negative press implying she couldn’t hack the physically challenging ordeal. Amos said even her male course instructors were pulling hard for her.
“I gotta tell ya what… she didn’t want to drop…she did anything but quit.”