By Debbie Gregory.
While entry-level training for the other military services and Marine officers have been integrated for years, Marine Corps officials have maintained that separating the genders is the best way to train impressionable young recruits. But now, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has instructed the Corps to end gender-segregated initial training by April. This is a means to comply with Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s decision to open all military jobs to women.
Mabus ordered Commandant Gen. Robert Neller to submit a gender implementation plan by Jan. 15 to integrate enlisted basic training and officer candidate school.
GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) called for Mabus’s resignation over this attempt to end gender segregation at boot camp.
“The only way this relationship can be repaired, I believe, is through the leadership of a new Navy Secretary — specifically one who does not regularly make a point to undercut the Marine Corps, distract it from its mission and insult its leaders,” Hunter said in a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
The Pentagon is currently reviewing the plans submitted by the Marine Corps, Army, Navy and Air Force detailing how they intend to open all previously male-only jobs to female troops.
The Marine Corps’ submission did not address entry training, the only military branch that segregates its entry training.
Making enlisted boot camp coed would likely require changes to infrastructure — such as restrooms and living quarters — and perhaps the size of the staff, the Marine official said.
While males may have concerns that adding females to all-male training units will diminish the challenge that recruit training provides young men, women fear it will impede the development of self-confidence among female recruits. Trainers may be leery of the sexual tension and resulting distraction that could accompany mixed gender boot camp. The most important thing to keep in mind is that recruit training is where Marines are made; not male Marines, not female Marines, but all Marines