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This female Marine just joined elite military company

A female Marine Corps lieutenant is expected to lead an infantry platoon of about 40 Marines after becoming the first woman to complete the Infantry Officer Course. (2013 file photo/Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A female Marine Corps lieutenant is expected to lead an infantry platoon of about 40 Marines after becoming the first woman to complete the Infantry Officer Course, a program known as one of the toughest in any military branch. Twenty-five percent of all students fail to complete it, and 10 percent fail on the first day.

A groundbreaking achievement

Thirty-six women have tried to pass the grueling course, and this lieutenant is the only one ever to succeed (her identity hasn't been released because the graduation has not taken place yet). Her accomplishment comes almost two years after the last restrictions for women in the military were lifted.

Women were first allowed to attempt the IOC in 2012 as a part of research on integrating all-male units.

Other women in combat roles

Three women have completed the U.S. Army's Ranger School, including Captain Kristen Griest, who became the Army's first female infantry officer in 2015. Many women have since been placed in combat roles throughout the military.

Should women be in combat roles? This writer's perspective

If there are women smart enough, tough enough and willing enough to become leaders on a battlefield, who am I to say they shouldn't be given that chance? There aren't many people who can pass the training required to fill those roles.

A person's gender should not be a determining factor in whether they're allowed to put their life on the line in service of country. The only things that matter should be merit and desire.

I believe men should take a leadership role in defending women and children, and, if we are called to do so, we should put ourselves in harm's way to protect them. But that belief shouldn't be used to prevent women like this lieutenant from pursuing a dream and a noble calling on her life that few are capable of answering. God bless this woman, and godspeed to her in her continued service.

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