Latina Woman Making History In the US Marine Corps

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When you think of the US Marines you think of big strong tough men who say things like “Hoo-ah!” and have that Semper Fi bumper sticker on their car right? Well we did too, until we read about the tides of change slowly happening.

NBC Latino reports on Thursday, November 21st, 2013 the first three women ever to graduate from the Marine Corps’ enlisted infantry training course at Camp Geiger, North Carolina, made history not just because of their gender but also because one of them was Latino, making her the first Latina ever to graduate.

They are Pfc. Cristina Fuentes Montenegro, Pfc. Julia Carroll and Pfc. Katie Gorz. For the first time ever in fall 2013 the opportunity was opened up to women to complete a 59-day test of physical and mental strength, in an effort to identify areas where they can lift restrictions on gender for ground combat positions.

In September the course started with a total of 15 females, but by the end only three remained. Out of a total 225 people who graduated, only 3 were female, isn’t that crazy! But like the ancient proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and these women have become the first among many who will follow in their footsteps in the future thanks to their persistence and inspiration.

“Currently, Marine Corps infantry specialties remain closed to women; the three female ITB graduates will receive credit for the course, but report to non-infantry schools for further training. However, the Marines continues to consider the possibility of opening infantry roles as part of the Pentagon’s Women in Service Restriction Review.” says NBC Latino.

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Lt. Col. Dave Wallis, the battalion’s commanding officer, told the graduating class: “You have to fight for that job. You have to earn it. Never stop challenging yourself, never stop moving forward.”

25 year old Cristina told the Marine Corps Times in an interview: “Our instructor, he told us all it takes is everything you got, and it’s true,” she said. “Once you are committed to a goal, you can make it if you put everything into it.”

The three women said they were treated with respect and professionalism by the men who were part of the same Delta Company. And although Marine Corps infantry specialties currently remain closed to women, this may not be the case for very long, hence they opened it up to the females for the first time.

There were three more companies, Echo and Alpha who started training in October, and Bravo Company who started in November all have women in them who are determined to make it until the end to prove women should be allowed specialty occupations in the military.

During the Delta Company training, the identities of the women were kept hidden from the media, but now that they have graduated, the Instagram pic below has gone viral.

The military may not be for everyone, and certainly not for all women. But there are women out there who feel strongly about serving their country and don’t want to be held back because of their gender. The number of women who will graduate from these infantry training camps will only increase as they inspire others to keep going.

Sure, it is still mostly a man’s world but whose to say that can’t change? To be the first women ever to graduate, and the first Latina woman to graduate is a big deal, and it only takes one person to create change. The rest will follow, with the knowledge and inspiration that anything is possible if they work hard.

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2 Comments

  1. What an accomplishment for these women and an inspiration to others. This is not for everyone, for sure, but it shows what women can do if they set their minds to it. Congrats to them!

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