Females unlikely to pass tougher gender-neutral standards for 29 Marine jobs

Janna Smith, an 18 year old Marine Corps poolee from Recruiting Sub-Station Livonia, conducts the flexed-arm hang during Recruiting Station Detroit’s bi-annual female pool function at the Boys and Girls Club of Troy, Mich., June 20, 2015. The flexed arm hang is the first of three events the poolees performed during their Initial Strength Test. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. J.R. Heins/Released)

It may now be a lot harder for Marines Corps candidates – male or female – to succeed since the Corps has introduced new, gender-neutral physical standards for 29 ground combat jobs.

Officials introduced these new rules for military occupational specialties like infantry, artillery, combat engineering and others Sept. 30, Marine Corps Times reports.

Some of the new standards apply to all 29 jobs. Being able to perform a casualty evacuation and an MK19 grenade launcher lift are a couple of the new standards that are universal.

Other standards are more specific and vary by job, including tasks like swimming 2,000 yards  – for those looking to go reconnaissance — or scaling a wall, for all infantry MOS’s.

For now, the new gender-neutral standards only apply to new Marines entering into their MOSs, said 1st Lt. Matt Rojo, a spokesman for the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command.

“It raises questions about how Marines at boot camp or Officer Candidate School might be screened for jobs in certain communities….and how the standards might affect Marines already assigned to these 29 MOSs.”

If the Defense Dept. moves forward with the decision to open all MOS’s to female Marines come January, the new standards could prove difficult for women to meet. The Marine Corps requested an exemption from the Defense Department-wide requirement, and was the only military service to launch a physical requirements study ahead of the mandate.

The controversial study has its detractors.  Navy secretary Ray Mabus called it flawed and criticized the   Corps for “measuring average performance instead of looking at individual capabilities.”

At the end of the Marines’ nine-month study, only two women in the infantry-trained rifleman platoons were left standing, according to the Times article.

Capt. Mark Lenzi, the commanding officer of the weapons company, says the new requirements could be difficult for some men entering into certain MOS’s as well.  He said — after seeing what he did during the experiment – “some male Marines aren’t up to the tasks that come with serving in the infantry.”

The new standards affect all Marines who start their MOS schools after Sept. 30. The new tests won’t take the place of the standard Physical or Combat Fitness Tests all Marines must take, the article said.


  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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