For the first time since its opening in 1921, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego has begun training male and female recruits together in an integrated unit.
Sixty female recruits arrived at the training site this week, where they’ll spend the next three months training as part of Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, a Marine Corps spokesman told Military.com.
The integrated company is the Corps’ latest trial run as it attempts to meet a congressional mandate that Marine boot camps become co-ed in the coming years.
Previously, female recruits were only trained at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina.
The service’s first-ever gender-integrated company, comprised of five all-male platoons and one female platoon, graduated from Parris Island in 2019.
According to Harris, recruits at MCRD San Diego are following the same model pioneered at Parris Island, with female platoons trained by female drill instructors.
Fifty-seven of those drill instructors graduated from the Corps’ first gender-integration drill instructor course back in December.
“While platoon drill instructors will remain the same gender as their recruits, recruits in like-gender platoons learn the teamwork, discipline, and esprit de corps required to win our nation’s battles as part of an integrated company,” Harris told Military.com.