Marines integrate male and female platoons during recruit training for the first time

Recruits with Platoon 4040, Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, try on their blue dress coats for the first time Aug. 21, 2018, on Parris Island S.C. The recruits are part of the first female company to be issued the new female blue dress coat, which features a mandarin collar.


By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 4, 2019

WASHINGTON—The Marine Corps is integrating a female platoon with several male platoons at Marine Corps Depot Parris Island for the first time in the history of the service’s recruit training.

One female platoon will be training with five male platoons in the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion starting Saturday, according to a Marine Corps statement.

The Marine Corps has remained the last service branch not to completely train men and women recruits together. About 60 percent of recruit training is already integrated, according to Marine Corps Combat Development Command/Combat Development and Integration.

Each training cycle is composed of four phases during three months. Parris Island has four recruit training battalions, of which three are for male recruits and the fourth is for females only.

The 50 women recruits in the platoon is less than they regularly have during a training cycle, according to the statement. The platoons will still be led by drill instructors of the same gender as their recruits and the Program of Instruction will remain the same.

The decision to integrate the training was made by the Marine Corps leadership “in support of training efficiency,” according to the statement. The small number of female recruits this training cycle might have been a factor.

“Based on the number of incoming female recruits, it made sense to find efficiencies and to integrate that platoon into 3rd Battalion,” said a Marine Corps official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “This is not necessarily the model we will use moving forward.”

The men and women recruits will be living in the same building but each platoon will be separated into their own squad bays, which is normally how they are situated, according to the Marines.

“This training cycle of about 300 recruits will provide Recruit Depot staff a unique opportunity to assess outcomes, achievements and challenges in training, logistics and resource impacts of this company training model,” the statement reads.

The first women recruits to train at Parris Island began arriving Feb. 28, 1949 after the passage of The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 allowed women to join as regular servicemembers, according to the base website.

Twitter: @caitlinmkenney

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