For the first time in history, a company of female recruits will train at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego early next year.
MCRD San Diego said Tuesday that starting on Feb. 12, 2021, an integrated company of male and female recruits is set to start training at the facility to become U.S. Marines. The group has been dubbed the “Lima Company.”
“This initial opportunity for male and female recruits to train concurrently at MCRD San Diego will serve as a proof of concept to validate requirements needed to sustain integrated training on the west coast in the future,” a press release from MCRD said.
The plan is part of a “test run” as the U.S. Marine Corps experiments with ways to end its practice of separating recruits into male and female boot camps.
Until now, female recruits were only training at Parris Island in South Carolina. There have been nine integrated companies trained at that facility over the past year.
A congressional mandate to make entry-level training at both the Parris Island and MCRD San Diego facilities co-ed calls for the practice of separating boot camp groups by gender to end within the next decade, so this company coming to San Diego is another step in that direction.
“In an effort to forge Marines of the highest quality, we must give them every opportunity to succeed. This is the first time we are able to give Marines who graduate from MCRD San Diego the same integrated experience that many of their peers at Parris Island have received already,” said Brig. Gen. Ryan P. Heritage in a press release. “The opportunity and experience these young men and women will get in terms of training and learning from one-another is immeasurably important to prepare all of our Marines for success, and this also will get us one step closer to understanding the facilities and personnel needed to make this a sustained reality.”
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The recruits from the Lima Company who complete their training at MCRD San Diego will graduate together as the first integrated company from MCRD San Diego in the installation’s 100-year history.
The Marine Corps said information learned from the Lima Company’s training will be used to “validate long-term facility and personnel needs to accomplish one of the Marine Corps’ top priorities of gender integrated training companies at recruit training.”
MCRD San Diego also announced that 57 Marines – 54 men and three women – were set to graduate from the first gender-integrated Drill Instructor Course at the facility on Dec. 16.
The Marine Corps said these drill instructors will soon report to their training companies – including some joining the Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, for “the opportunity to serve as drill instructors in the first integrated training company of recruits at MCRD San Diego.”