1st 3 women Marines graduate from infantry course

CAMP GEIGER, N.C. – Three Marines have become the first women to graduate from the Corps’ tough-as-nails enlisted infantry training school in North Carolina, officials said Thursday.

The three completed the 59-day course and met the same test standards as the men, said Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Geraldine Carey.

The step comes as the Marine Corps continues to evaluate where women might serve in combat. Earlier this year, the Pentagon lifted the ban on women serving in combat jobs, but each of the service branches is developing how this might be accomplished.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps are looking at the standards required for serving in battlefront jobs such as infantry, armor and elite commando positions. They have until Jan. 1, 2016, to open as many jobs as possible to women, and to explain why if they decide to keep some closed.

The common requirements for men and women for each job would be based on specific tasks. Military officials have said the standards will not be lowered in order to bring women into any combat posts.

Carey identified the women as Pvt. 1st Class Julia Carroll, 18, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, who is entering a school for signal intelligence training; Pvt. 1st Class Cristina Fuentes Monternegro, 25, of Coral Springs, Fla., who will study to become an aviation mechanic; and Pvt. 1st Class Katie Gorz, 19, of St. Paul, Minn., who is going to study logistics.