The first wave of female students landed Tuesday at Camp Pendleton’s Marine Combat Training course, an influx expected to grow to 1,700 annually.

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U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Patrick H. Owens

Before newly minted Marines even reach the fleet, they spend months being inundated with knowledge and transformed from soft civilians to napalm-pissing, high-and-tight-rocking warfighters, ready to shove their combat boot up the ass of America’s enemies. (At least, that’s how they see themselves on leave. Everyone else just sees a dumb boot.)

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Caitlin Brink

The Marine Corps is considering a plan to add a fourth phase to its recruit training regimen, multiple sources have confirmed to Task & Purpose. The proposed phase is aimed at providing recruits more time to get comfortable in their newfound identity as Marines. The addition of a fourth phase would not extend the length of boot camp, though it could require certain training events to be shifted to earlier in the cycle.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Bryan Nygaard

There’s a common saying in the Corps: “Nothing is Marine-proof.” A determined lance corporal with enough time on his hands and limited supervision could find a way to break a ball bearing. Which makes Marines the perfect testers for new “rugged” gear, and explains why the Marine Corps seems so confident that it’s new pack frame is built to last — at least, until Marines get bored, and their SNCO walks away for a smoke break.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Thomas

Maria Daume, one of the first female Marines to enlist into the Corps on an infantry contract, made history March 23 when she graduated from the School of Infantry East at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. Daume is the first female Marine to join the infantry through its traditional training pipeline; she’ll join the Fleet Marine Force as a mortarman, one of the combat arms fields opened to women last year. But her remarkable story began 18 years ago and 6,000 miles away, in Russia.

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