Marines Must Go Co-ed and Gender Neutral
Marines Must go Co-ed and Gender Neutral
All branches of the Armed Forces were required to submit a plan for integration of women by January 1.
SecNav Ray Mabus issued two memos to Marine Commandant Robert Neller ordering him to prepare a plan to integrate genders for Marine training (i.e. ‘Boot Camp’) and Officer Candidate School, and that all job titles must be gender neutral. He told the Corps that he wanted a plan by January 15 to be implemented by April 1.
Up until now, women have trained only at Parris Island in South Carolina… separately from the men. USMC will now have to figure out a way to integrate Camp Pendleton in San Diego as well. The Marine Corps has been the only remaining force to train enlisted personnel separately. Their OCS has been co-ed.
The memos read in part:
“The Department of the Navy’s implementation plan must include gender integration of Marine Corps enlisted recruit training and officer candidate school. In this submission, identify where, if anywhere, this training is already integrated, where it is separate, and specific steps that you will take to fully integrate these trainings…
As we achieve full integration of the force … this is an opportunity to update the position titles and descriptions themselves to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these MOSs. Please review the position titles throughout the Marine Corps and ensure that they are gender-integrated as well, removing ‘man’ from the titles and provide a report to me as soon as is practicable and no later than April 1, 2016.” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus
The military forces are not being required to remove titles like ‘Infantryman,’ ‘Rifleman,’ or ‘Midshipman,’ only titles where the word “man” is separate.
Issues of “Equality”
The time-frame for the Corps to comply is tight. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter opened all combat jobs to women in early December, after a 3 year study.
The USMC had already turned in a plan for other areas, but not boot camp integration. It left them with only 15 days to come up with something that would work. Integrating women into boot camp could pose some issues.
One Marine interviewed by the Marine Corps Times stated,
“It requires a look at … how much personnel to bring, how many drill instructors to bring, the leadership and support cadre that comes along with that. The barracks in San Diego are H-shaped, for example, so you can see everything that’s going on. If women are living in them, do you black out the windows or make an entire building that’s theirs? Do you do a floor for men and a floor for women?”
There are always problems when attempting to make everyone “equal.”