Earlier this year, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey announced the Pentagon’s plans to
integrate women into previously closed combat jobsacross all military branches.
Now the first 15 female enlisted Marines have volunteered to participate in enlisted infantry training. Before even starting this pilot course, the women have to complete a Physical Fitness Test (PFT), Combat Fitness Test (CFT) and the beastly High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT) assessment.
On the command side, 10 women thus far have attempted the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course, and all of them have washed out.
We’ve got some pictures of enlisted women (notably kept anonymous) and men taking the tests.
This is the 'buddy carry' drill which is an element of the Combat Fitness Test. Marines run 65 yards, zigzag through obstacles all while carrying a comrade. It is important for Marines to master this skill in order to save lives on the battlefield.
After running with the ammo cans each Marine drops and performs three pushups. Immediately after the pushups, they have to grab the 30-pound cans again and sprint to the finish line.
Marines can only rest after they have completed the entire drill -- which should last just under 4 minutes.
The 3-mile Ruck March is another element of the CFT. Marines carefully arrange their gear for maximum comfort. This allows them to focus on the arduous hike instead of a loose strap -- or worse, a rock stuck inside their boot.
Marines walk at about a 4 mph pace over rough terrain while carrying a pack and M16 rifle. On average, Marines carry approximately 90-pounds of gear.
One female Marine breaks down during the Ruck March and removes her rucksack -- which only weighs about 45-pounds.
Musculoskeletal injuries are the top reason for trainees to drop out of program. Here a corpsman inspects a large blister directly after the hike. Tricks to prevent these blisters include showering in your boots and then walking around in them for two hours. This helps mould the boots to your feet reducing friction.
The CFT is based on a 300-point scoring system which is broken down by age group. Marines must score 190 points or more to pass.
Now it's time for Marines to begin the High Intensity Tactical Training assessment. HITT is designed to enhance combat readiness through physical fitness, fatigue management, and injury prevention. This is the Marine Corps answer to the popular CrossFit workout.
The Broad Jump is used to measure explosive leg power while training large lower body muscle groups to work in fluid coordination.
This 25-yard sprint tests the rate of acceleration and ability to smoothly transition into top running speed.
It's breakfast time and these Marines are eating AFTER they complete the beastly HITT assessment drills.
After initial strength tests, Marines go on to develop skill sets like map reading, squad assaults and marksmanship. This electronic simulated range scenario saves the military money by using less live ammunition while producing the same marksmanship training.
Even if this female Marine completes infantry training she will not be awarded designation. Since she volunteered to participate in the pilot course she is allowed to drop the program at any moment.
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