Three female Marine officers attending Infantry Officer Course passed the gruelling Combat Endurance Test on Thursday, and they now have a real shot at making history if they go on to pass the course as its first female graduates.
The CET, which involves physical and mental stressors, is one of the first tests officers must pass before they can continue the 13-week course that qualifies them to lead infantry platoons. Marine officials told the Washington Post that two female captains made it through, along with a female lieutenant who volunteered to retake the course after failing in July.
In total, 100 officers — male and female — attempted the course, and 30 of them failed, a source told Business Insider.
Out of a handful of women who have attempted the course, only one has been able to pass the initial CET, although she had to be dropped from the course for a stress fracture in her foot one week later.
The three women (out of six who started the course), who officials will not name, still have plenty of challenges ahead. A source who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak told Business Insider he believes potential trouble spots could be on the long hikes or in hand-to-hand combat training.
If one or all of them pass the course, that would make them the first graduates of IOC. However, as The Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe points out, since allowing females to try the course is currently on an “experimental basis,” they would not be allowed to join the infantry.
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