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The next Marine Commandant says another gender-integrated boot camp class could happen in 2020
Male and female Marine recruits could once again train together at Parris Island next year, said Lt. Gen. David Berger, who has been nominated to be the Corps' next commandant.
On March 29, the male and female Marines in India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion graduated from Parris Island. The company had one female platoon and five male platoons, marking the first time the Marine Corps had integrated men and women into the same training unit.
Overall, India Company did "very well" in terms of how recruits performed physically and how many were injured, Berger said at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
"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 told Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). "The program of instruction that we use in the Marine Corps didn't change. We just changed where they were billeted, and it all worked out."
Berger also said he has spoken with current Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller about the possibility of having another gender-integrated training company go through boot camp next year.
"He said, 'Absolutely,'" Berger recalled. "So, I think it's a discussion he and I will have and the Marine Corps will have."
When Corps officials initially announced that India Company would have both male and female platoons, they made it sound as if it were a one-off event, saying that since only about 50 female recruits were at Parris Island for that cycle, it was not enough to stand up a full staff at the 4th Recruit Training Battalion, the Corps' female training unit.
It is unclear when male and female recruits could train together again. There are no plans to have gender-integrated training companies go through boot camp before the end of the fiscal year in September, according to Marine Corps Combat Development Command, in Quantico, Virginia.
"Although the previous decision was made by leadership in support of training efficiency, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island will continue to assess the results of India Company's training and future opportunities that may permit this company training model," MCCDC said in a statement on Tuesday.
One takeaway from India Company's experience is how important individual platoons are during recruit training, the statement says.
"This company's performance demonstrated the platoon model as the proven and ideal method for making Marines," according to MCCDC.
See Lt. Gen. Berger's entire exchange with Sen. Ernst below:
Q: Gen. Berger, just very briefly, because I have one minute left, earlier this month the Corps concluded an experiment integrating female recruits into an all-male unit for their initial training at Parris Island. Can you just give me a quick overview; and if confirmed, based on those results, would you pursue further gender integration during Marine Corps basic?
A: That company graduated a few weeks ago. It started with about 50 females as part of the company as you're probably aware, ma'am.
We measure the same things in every company that goes through there: How well they did physically; how many injuries they had; all of those sorts of things.
The statistics – to answer immediately your question – for this company were the same as every other company – a few areas higher, a few areas lower, but it went great. The program of instruction that we use in the Marine Corps, we didn't change. We just changed where they were billeted, and it all worked out.
I talked to the commandant this morning about it and the results of it. What I asked him is, I said: You know, we have to look at this, perhaps, for next year.
He said, 'Absolutely.' So, I think it's a discussion he and I will have and the Marine Corps will have but the class that entered in January and graduated a few weeks ago did very well.
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A memo circulating over the weekend warning of a "possible imminent attack" against U.S. soldiers in Germany was investigated by Army officials, who found there to not be a serious threat after all.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Comedian Jon Stewart has joined forces with veterans groups to make sure service members who have been sickened by toxins from burn pits get the medical care they need, according to the Military Officers Association of America.
"Quite frankly, this is not just about burn pits — it's about the way we go to war as a country," Stewart said during his Jan. 17 visit to Washington, D.C. "We always have money to make war. We need to always have money to take care of what happens to people who are selfless enough, patriotic enough, to wage those wars on our behalf."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Editor's Note: A version of this article originally appeared on the blog of Angry Staff Officer
This morning, the Virginia state capitol in Richmond saw dozens of armed men gathering to demonstrate their support for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution – the right to bear arms. These men were not merely bearing arms, however; they were fully accoutered in the trappings of what one would call a paramilitary group: helmets, vests, ammunition pouches, camouflage clothing, and other "tactical" necessities, the majority of which are neither tactical nor necessary. Their weapons, too, are bedecked with all sorts of accessories, and are also in the paramilitary lane. Rather than carry rifles or shotguns that one would use for hunting, they instead carry semi-automatic "military grade" weapons, to merely prove that they can.
This is not an uncommon sight in America. Nor has it ever been. Armed groups of angry men have a long and uncomfortable history in the United States. On very rare occasions, these irregulars have done some good against corrupt, power-hungry, and abusive county governments. For the most part, however, they bode no good.
How We Found Out explores recent reporting from Task & Purpose, answering questions about how we sourced our stories, what challenges we faced, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how we cover issues impacting the military and veterans community.
Following a string of news reports on private Facebook group called Marines United, where current and former Marines shared nude photos of their fellow service members, the Corps launched an internal investigation to determine if the incident was indicative of a larger problem facing the military's smallest branch.
In December 2019, Task & Purpose published a feature story written by our editor in chief, Paul Szoldra, which drew from the internal review. In the article, Szoldra detailed the findings of that investigation, which included first-hand accounts from male and female Marines.
Task & Purpose spoke with Szoldra to discuss how he got his hands on the investigation, how he made sense of the more than 100 pages of anecdotes and personal testimony, and asked what, if anything, the Marine Corps may do to correct the problem.
This is the fourth installment in the recurring column How We Found Out.