2 more co-ed Marine boot camp companies are training together at Parris Island

news

VIDEO: Meet the Marine Corps's first female Assault Amphibian Officer

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

By the end of the week, two more co-ed companies will be training at the Marine Corps' East Coast recruit depot, where men and women have historically been separated during boot camp, as the service continues assessing ways to train its newest enlistees.


Men and women assigned to Hotel Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, arrived at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina this week and will begin training together on Friday, said Capt. Bryan McDonnell, a spokesman there. They'll be the third co-ed company to train at Parris Island.

Last week, male and female recruits with Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, became the second gender-integrated company to begin training at the depot, McDonnell said. The arrival of the co-ed companies was reported by Marine Corps Times on Thursday.

The companies will follow the same training model tested by 3rd Recruit Training Battalion's India Company earlier this year. Those men and women, who graduated in March, stayed in separate squad bays and had one-on-one time with their drill instructors, but most of their training was done together.

That included marksmanship, martial arts, swim and academic training.

There are five male platoons and one female platoon assigned to each company, McDonnell said. There are about 50 recruits in each platoon.

"Since India Company was here, we were looking at opportunities to continue assessing this thing and seek improvements in our training model, and that's what we're doing," he added.

Delta Company is expected to graduate in late January and Hotel Company in early February.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, introduced a measure in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act legislation that would require the Marine Corps to make recruit training co-ed.

While that amendment remains in flux as lawmakers work through differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill, it would require the Marine Corps to stop separating men and women at Parris Island within five years and allow female recruits to train in San Diego within eight.

McDonnell said more co-ed companies are likely to pass through Parris Island this fiscal year, which runs through September 2020. None has been scheduled yet.

"We're assessing times throughout the fiscal year when it's more conducive to do this," he said.

Male and female recruits aren't given a choice about whether they'll train in co-ed companies.

"They have a ship date, that ship date correlates with a company and that's it," McDonnell said. "They just want to be United States Marines."

Commandant Gen. David Berger told Military.com in an interview at the Pentagon this summer that men and women at Parris Island would "definitely" continue training in co-ed companies this year. Since women haven't trained at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Berger said the base isn't built to accommodate them yet.

"[But] we'll look at what makes sense going forward as far as on both coasts and when it makes sense to do what level of integration," the commandant said.

Berger told members of Congress in the spring that he had reviewed the results of the first co-ed training company at Parris Island, and it "all worked out." None of the training was altered as a result of women being assigned to previously all-male company, he added.

"The statistics ... for this company were the same as every other company -- a few areas higher, a few areas lower -- but it went great," Berger said.

The Marine Corps remains the only service to separate new enlisted recruits during their entry-level training. Male and female Marine officer candidates complete their training together.

Former Commandant Gen. Robert Neller stressed last year that 65% of the training recruits complete at Parris Island is co-ed despite men and women typically being assigned to separate training battalions.

"I think this idea that we're trying to disadvantage women is inaccurate," Neller said. "I think what we're trying to do is give all recruits every advantage to have the best opportunity to earn the title of Marine."

This article originally appeared on Military.com

More articles from Military.com:

A military funeral at Fort Jackson National Cemetery in 2014. Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Joel Quebec/U.S. Army

A U.S. soldier died on Friday while in Syria supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the Defense Department announced on Saturday.

Read More
DoD photo

A word that could once not be mentioned in court — torture — was front and center on Friday as a military tribunal prepares to take on the long-delayed trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed chief plotter of the 9/11 attacks, and four other defendants.

"I know torture's a dirty word," defense attorney Walter Ruiz told the tribunal. "I'll tell you what, judge, I'm not going to sanitize this for their concerns."

Read More

The suspect in the death of 21-year-old U.S. Marine Cpl. Tyler Wallingford, who was fatally shot in the barracks of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort more than nine months ago, was found guilty in military court of involuntary manslaughter earlier this month and sentenced to more than five years.

Read More
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McKay

A U.S. Navy aircrew has been rescued after their MH-60S helicopter went down into the Philippine Sea on Saturday.

Read More
Photo: Fort Jackson Public Affairs

A 19-year-old Army private who died during basic training earlier this month was posthumously promoted to private first class, just before friends and family gathered for a memorial service to honor his life on Jan. 16.

Read More