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For the first time ever, a female Marine has graduated the grueling Basic Reconnaissance course
A Marine lance corporal has become the first female Marine in history to graduate the Basic Reconnaissance Course, earning the military occupational specialty of 0321 Reconnaissance Marine.
Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth completed the 12-week course on Nov. 7, said Maj. Kendra Motz, a Marine spokeswoman. Barth previously graduated from the Corps' Infantry Training Battalion-East, earning the MOS of 0311 Rifleman.
The news was first reported by Marine Corps Times.
After graduating from ITB, Barth was sent to Reconnaissance Training Company at Camp Pendleton, where she successfully completed the recon training and assessment program (RTAP). This primer course for all prospective recon Marines prior to BRC places heavy emphasis on swimming, and has an average attrition rate between 50 to 60%, said Maj. Joshua Benson, a spokesman for Marine Corps Combat Development Command.
At BRC, Barth and other students learned basic reconnaissance skills such as amphibious entry, extraction, patrolling, land navigation, and weapons, according to a course description.
A separate document for prospective attendees notes that Marines and sailors at the course "will perform physical tasks involving obstacles, swimming while wearing utilities with boots, open-ocean swimming with fins in full combat equipment, and travelling long distances cross country while carrying a rucksack weighing as much as 85 pounds."
"Total body strength and physical endurance is mission critical to ensure success at BRC," the policy document adds.
Historically, roughly 25 to 40 percent of Marines are unable to complete BRC, said Benson, the Corps spokesman. Benson added that in addition to being the first female graduate of BRC, she was also the first ever to apply and attempt it.
No other female Marines besides Barth are in recon training, Benson said.
Barth has additional training ahead before she joins her unit, which is slated to be California-based 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. That could happen sometime in late spring of 2020, given she meets all training requirements.
Reconnaissance Marines are a commander's "eyes and ears on the battlefield," according to the policy document, adding that they are organized into highly-trained six person teams that often carry out missions behind enemy lines.
The Pentagon's top spokesman tried to downplay recent revelations by the Washington Post that U.S. government officials have consistently misled the American public about the war in Afghanistan for nearly two decades.
Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock first brought to light that several top officials acknowledged to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction that the war was going badly despite their optimistic public statements. The report, based on extensive interviews and internal government data, also found that U.S. officials manipulated statistics to create the public perception that the U.S. military was making progress in Afghanistan.
An Army colonel's alleged abuse saddled his wife with ongoing medical needs. Escaping him could bring that care to a screeching halt.
Katherine Burton was sitting on her couch when she heard a scream.
Though she had not yet met her upstairs neighbors, Army. Col. Jerel Grimes and his wife Ellizabeth, Burton went to investigate almost immediately. "I knew it was a cry for help," she recalled of the August 1 incident.
Above her downstairs apartment in Huntsville, Alabama, Jerel and Ellizabeth had been arguing. They had been doing a lot of that lately. According to Ellizabeth, Jerel, a soldier with 26 years of service and two Afghanistan deployments under his belt, had become increasingly controlling in the months since the couple had married in April, forcing her to share computer passwords, receipts for purchases, and asking where she was at all times.
"I was starting to realize how controlling he was, and how manipulative he was," Ellizabeth said. "And he'd never been this way towards me in the 15 years that I've known him."
Taliban fighters attempted to fight their way into Bagram Airfield on Wednesday by invading a medical facility just outside of the base's perimeter, a spokesman for Operation Resolute Support said Wednesday.
J.P. Lawrence of Stars and Stripes and Jim LaPorta of Newsweek first reported that the battle lasted for several hours after using car bombs to attack the hospital, which is near the base's northern corner. Helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft were reportedly used to drop ordnance on the hospital.
Actor Mark Wahlberg will be visiting troops overseas to plug Wahlburgers, a fast-casual restaurant chain owned by the actor and his two brothers, Donnie Wahlberg, and chef Paul Wahlberg.