A female Marine made history this week, as she became the first woman to complete the Corps’ grueling Infantry Officer Course.
The lieutenant, who asked not to be named, was one of 88 Marines to complete the 13-week training course, according to a press release. She’ll soon lead a 40-person platoon.
“Proud of this officer & her fellow leaders,” wrote Gen. Robert B. Keller on Twitter Monday. “Now they focus on what’s important: preparing to lead Marines in combat.”
The Marine Corps made all occupational specialties available to women in April 2016. More than 30 female officers have attempted the Infantry Officer Course, according to Business Insider, but she’s the first to graduate. The Corps released a short video showing the female lieutenant during the training. The course teaches officers about leadership, infantry skills, and the character required to serve as infantry platoon commanders.
“This is such a huge deal,” said Kate Germano, a retired lieutenant colonel who has commanded an all-female battalion. “My hope is that she is never an officer who says she never considered her gender as being an issue in her career.”
“Marines expect and rightfully deserve competent and capable leaders, and these IOC graduates met every training requirement as they prepare for the next challenge of leading infantry Marines; ultimately, in combat,” said Neller.
The female lieutenant now heads to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California.