(Sputnik) – A female officer is expected to graduate the US Marine Corps’ onerous 13-week Infantry Officer Course (IOC) on Monday, for the first time in the unit’s 250-year-long history.
The officer, whose name hasn’t yet been disclosed, has already completed the final graded stage of the course alongside her male peers, US military officials confirmed to The Washington Post. She is one of the four female Marine officers who volunteered and attempted the course after ground combat specialties were opened to women last year in April.
The course, seen as one of the most difficult and also one of the most resistant to full gender integration in the military, first opened to women in 2012 on an experimental basis. More than 30 women attempted it at the time, but none was able to pass.About 10 percent of all candidates give up on the first day of the course, which begins with a combat endurance test and assessments of skills like weapons assembly and land navigation.”This is such a huge deal,” Kate Germano, a retired lieutenant colonel who previously commanded the all-female 4th Recruit Training Battalion, wrote on Twitter.
The graduation will take place on Monday aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.