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Defense budget bill would end Marine Corps’ gender-segregated recruit training

Marines with India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, graduated from recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island on March 29, 2019. India Company is the first combined company of male and female recruits to graduate from recruit training.

VIVIEN ALSTAD/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 10, 2019

WASHINGTON — Male and female Marine Corps recruits will train together at boot camp under a provision in the new defense budget, ending the service’s practice of gender segregation.

On Monday evening, the House and Senate Armed Services committees finished the compromise conference report for the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a requirement to end gender-segregated training at the two Marine Corps recruit depots.

The Marine Corps is the last service branch not to completely train men and women together at basic training. Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina is the only location where female recruits are trained. In January, the Marine Corps integrated a female platoon with five male platoons in the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion at Parris Island for the first time due to the small number of female recruits.

About 60% of recruit training is integrated, Marine Corps Combat Development Command/Combat Development and Integration said at the time.

If signed into law, the $738 billion fiscal year 2020 NDAA would require the commandant of the Marine Corps to end gender-segregated training at Parris Island within five years.

The bill also requires that training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in California not be segregated. This would bring female recruits to the depot for training for the first time. Congress is requiring that the commandant integrate the training there within eight years.

The NDAA went to the House Rules Committee on Tuesday. From there it will go to the House and the Senate for floor votes in each chamber. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

Kenney.Caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter: @caitlinmkenney

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