Round Two: Two more women sign up for Marine officer course

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, ...

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

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.

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.”

Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron

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