The Marine Corps – for the first time in history – will integrate female and male platoons during boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, ABC News reported.
How is this different?
Unlike other military branches, the Marine Corps has not fully integrated men and women during recruit training. Traditionally, the first three battalions are all-male and the fourth battalion is all-female at Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, the report said.
The Marine Corps decided to place 50 female recruits into the historically all-male battalion because the recruiting classes are often much smaller in the winter months, according to ABC News.
"On January 5, 2019, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, will start their training cycle with one female platoon and five male platoons," the Marine Corps announced in a statement, ABC News reported.
The integration means that Parris Island will not have to activate the 4th Recruit Training Battalion staff for a single female platoon, the report said.
"The decision was made by Marine Corps leadership in support of training efficiency and is a first in the history of Marine Corps recruit training," according to the statement.
Under the arrangement, female recruits will still be led by female drill instructors. However, they will live in barracks co-inhabited by male recruits.
"This training cycle of about 300 recruits will provide Recruit Depot staff a unique opportunity to assess outcomes, achievements and challenges in training, logistics and resource impacts of this company training model," the Marine Corps stated.
In the past, some women's advocacy groups have complained that separating males and females during training gives the false impression that female Marines have an easier training program, the Marine Times reported. Integrating training can help foster more respect between male recruits and their female superiors and leaders.
Among all other branches of U.S. armed services, the Marine Corps has the lowest percentage of women at just below 9 percent.
Is this part a trend?
Despite segregated male and female battalions, the Marine Corps has been increasing the amount of training men and women do together, according to the news outlet.
"The value of increasing the amount of integration that occurs between male and female recruits is that with increased exposure and socialization we address some of the attitudes that male recruits might have about female recruits and vice versa," Lt. Col. Misty Posey, who leads the 4th Battalion, told ABC in a previous interview.