The Marine Corps announced plans to deactivate a historic female-only training battalion that for decades served as the only point of entry into the force for female Marines, according to a press release issued Wednesday.
The 4th Recruit Training Battalion at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, has trained female Marines since 1986, and since 1949 the base itself was the only location female Marines would receive instruction, according to Military.com. On June 15, the unit will be officially deactivated, the Corps said in a press release, as the service seeks to speed up gender integration in training companies amid pressure from Congress.
“This is a moment to celebrate the legacy of so many of our Marines who made the transformation through 4th Recruit Training Battalion,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David H. Berger said, according to the press release.
“It’s also a moment to celebrate progress. I’m proud to see our male and female recruits benefit from having access to the quality of all our leaders—at Parris Island and San Diego—through an unchanging, tough, and realistic recruit training curriculum,” Berger said.
An all-female training battalion is no longer necessary, since Marine recruits have been training in a co-ed setting since 2022, according to the press release.
Male recruits began training at Parris Island in 2019, with the base graduating the first integrated company of 50 Marines, according to Military.com. For comparison, the Navy has operated mixed training since the 1990s.
However, Congress still pushed the Corps to accelerate gender gender integration, requiring the Corps to stop separating trainees at Parris Island within five years in the 2020 defense spending authorization bill, Military.com reported.
Memos from Marine Corps officials have attributed challenges with a lack of available space and instructors to the perceived delay in integration, according to Military.com.
In a milestone emphasizing the Marine Corps’ successful standardization in recruit training, MCRD Parris Island will deactivate Fourth Recruit Training Battalion in a ceremony June 15, 2023, and realign personnel between the service’s two recruit training locations. pic.twitter.com/XOdTt9IcD4
— Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. (@MCRDPI) May 3, 2023
Part of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion will move to the recruiting depots in San Diego to balance the number of male and female recruits trained at each base, the release stated. About half of all female Marines will receive training at San Diego by 2024.
“What matters most is making the very best Marines,” Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Troy Black said in the release. “It won’t be long before there are female Drill Instructors who, as recruits, graduated alongside their male counterparts.”
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