WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) — The U.S. Marine Corps has unveiled new physical standards that all recruits — male and female — must meet to qualify for 29 of the branch’s jobs.
The new gender-neutral standards could make it a lot harder for boot camp recruits and Officer Candidates to obtrain certain positions, according to the Marine Corps Times. These fields include infantry, combat engineering, tanks and amphibious assault vehicles, close-air support, and ground ordnance.
One of the standards all recruits must meet is being able to evacuate a casualty, and conduct an MK19 grenade launcher lift. Most posts in the Marine Corps might have differing qualifications. The Daily Caller reports the standards arrived a day before the deadline for U.S. military officials to submit an exemption request for keeping combat roles open only to men.
The new standards are the latest development in gender integration in the U.S. military. In September, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who manages and represents both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps, announced he was not going to file for an exemption, despite pressure from Marine Corps officials to do so. This effectively opened all Marine Corps jobs to women.
Marines opposing what many see as rushed gender-integration point to a nine-month study conducted by the Marines showing combat units with women were slowed by injury more often than all-male units. The research followed combat teams in training, comprised of 100 women and 100 men, and showed women getting injured twice as often, and firing their weapons less accurately.
Secretary Mabus dismissed this study in his announcement, saying that the addition of women to combat forces will actually improve their performance, because “a more diverse force is a stronger force.”