A female lieutenant in the Infantry Officer Course hangs from a rope during the obstacle course portion of the initial Combat Endurance Test at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on July 2. Fourteen women have volunteered to try IOC, but none have made it through. (Staff)
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Four more female Marine officers have dropped out on the first day of the Infantry Officer Course at Quantico, Va., bringing the number of women who have attempted and failed to complete the course to 14.
A requirement for Marine infantry officers, the grueling 13-week course has been open to women since September 2012, in keeping with a servicewide review of restrictions on women serving in combat arms fields. But to date, no women have graduated the course and only one has made it past the initial Combat Endurance Test that kicks off the course. That woman was injured, however, and did not continue on with the course.
Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Maureen Krebs said the latest iteration of IOC held its initial Combat Endurance Test on Jan. 9. Of the 104 students who began the course, one was medically dropped and 28, including the four female volunteers, were unable to meet the requirements of the CET.
The Marine Corps continues to send female officers to the course on a volunteer basis, with plans to use data from IOC to make an informed recommendation in 2016 as to whether the Marine infantry and reconnaissance fields should be open to women.
While IOC, which has a 20- to 25-percent drop-out rate among male participants, has stymied women so far, female Marines have had more success with the less-challenging Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Geiger, N.C., which trains enlisted Marines for infantry fields.
So far, 13 female Marines have completed the course in two evolutions of training. Another company in ITB with six female volunteers was set to graduate in early January, but Marine officials did not immediately have data available about that graduation.
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