The Marine Corps is on track to graduate its first female Marine infantry officer from its notoriously intense 13-week course, several Marine Corps officials told Task & Purpose, a historic first for the service branch.
The news was first reported by the Washington Post.
The unidentified Marine lieutenant, the 31st female candidate for the branch’s grueling Infantry Officer Course, has officially completed PALMFEX, the three-week live-fire exercise conducted at Twentynine Palms in California that marks a “culminating event” for all aspiring infantry officers, alongside her male colleagues. She is expected to graduate on Sept. 25.
As of early September, the candidate overcame the obstacles that had weeded out her predecessors, including the course's six graded tactical-movement exercises that, as Task & Purpose previously reported, include brutal slogs of between 6.4 and 9.3 miles with weight loads of up to 152 pounds — significantly more intense requirements than other officer candidate schools throughout the armed forces.
Photo via DoD
As the Washington Post notes, the 86-day IOC is considered one of the most grueling training course in the Corps and among the most challenging for U.S. infantry troops, boasting a 25% washout rate.
“It’s essentially [The Basic School], but on steroids,” an active-duty Marine and recent IOC graduate who declined to be identified told Task & Purpose in early September. “It’s the varsity level for a lot of skill sets, techniques and procedures that are refined through the most mentally, physically, psychologically and emotionally challenging situations you’ll ever experience.”
This is a developing story. Check back for new updates.
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)
The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.