Another female Marine is on the verge of graduating the Corps’ Infantry Officer Course and earning the 0302 Marine Corps infantry officer military occupational specialty, according to the Corps.
That female Marine started the infamously difficult course in October and is “on track” to graduate Friday, Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command, told Marine Corps Times Monday.
As of August, 11 women had attempted IOC, with only two passing since 2016 when the infantry field was opened to women for the first time. In August the Marine Corps issued an administrative message asking active-duty field grade officers who joined the Corps before IOC was open to women to consider laterally moving from their current military occupational specialty into the infantry field.
The Marine expected to graduate Friday did not lateral move, Stephenson said, instead she shipped to IOC straight from The Basic School, the Corps’ initial training for newly commissioned officers.
Three more women are expected to start IOC on Jan. 11, 2021, Stephenson said. The course would be only the second ran by the Marine Corps since the August Marine message was released.
One of the Marines is another direct ascension from The Basic School, while two Marines made the lateral move into the infantry field, Stephenson said.
One is currently an artillery officer, while the other has left the tank officer military occupational specialty as the Corps looks to end that job field.
Increasing the number of women in the Marine infantry has been a goal for Commandant Gen. David Berger, who has said increased diversity improves the Corps’ ability to complete its mission.
Some people “think that diversity women, minorities, add,” Berger said during the closing remarks of September’s Women in Defense Virtual Leadership Symposium. “We can actually not do our mission in the Department of Defense in the Marine Corps, without the dedication of women.”
The first female Marine to pass the course, Marina Hierl, already has the left the Marine Corps as a captain, leaving it with no active female platoon leaders, Marine Corps Times previously reported.
The second Marine to graduate from IOC went on to be a 0203 ground intelligence officer and was working as the assistant intelligence officer for 7th Marines as of August.