Women to attend Marine combat schools

Aaron DuBois

The U.S. Marine Corps is now allowing women to attend combat schools.

An undetermined number of volunteers will attend the Infantry Officers Course in Quantico, Va., said Gen, Joseph Dunford, Marine Corps assistant commandant, according to the Marine Corps Times. There, Marine officers are trained to serve in direct combat roles.

It is still unclear on what the women will do after their training.

Soon women will also be allowed to go through infantry training, Dunford said.

The Marine Corps has been studying the issue for more than a year.

Starting in May, women will be considered for about 400 positions in six battalions: amphibious assault, artillery, combat assault, combat engineer, low-altitude air defense and tanks.

The Marine Corps will also be moving toward gender neutral physical fitness standards. Currently, women can earn an equal physical fitness score with slower run times and less repetitions than men.

The data from these efforts will be used to inform a recommendation to defense secretary Leon Panetta, said Dunford.

Working in support roles, 144 women have been killed and 865 have been injured since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq according to a report released this past winter by the Department of Defense.